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AgeWise: Help is available for paying mortgage – Winston

Mortgage due

Mortgage due

Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 12:15 am

AgeWise: Help is available for paying mortgage

Q: I’m having trouble paying my mortgage. I am re-employed after a recent job loss, but making less money than before. Is help available to make my mortgage more affordable?


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Monday, May 30, 2016 12:15 am.

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Bonita Springs’ Spanish Wells Golf and Country Club in foreclosure – The News

Spanish Wells, a private golf and country club in Bonita Springs, is in foreclosure, according to a notice filed Wednesday.

Wells Fargo Bank financed the $4.55 million purchase of Spanish Wells Golf and Country Club in 2011 for Escalante Golf. The Colorado-based company owns 15 similar properties, including Tarpon Cove Yacht Racquet Club in Naples.

Escalante had marketed the Spanish Wells’ golf amenity with the waterfront amenities of Tarpon Cove.

“We are going through a slight transition here,” Spanish Wells staff responded to a News-Press phone call.

David Matheson, marketing VP for Escalante Golf, confirmed his company no longer owns the golf club since the bank assumed control of the property a week ago.

Located at 9836 Treasure Cay Lane, Spanish Wells Golf and Country Club includes a  32,000-square-foot clubhouse, freestanding fitness center, swimming pool and tennis and bocce courts, as well as the 27-hole green.

“The foreclosure of Spanish Wells is a bit of a surprise considering the location of the course and demographics of the surrounding area,” commercial real estate consultant Paige Rausch said. “Golf courses have high fixed costs. Even with the right location, maintaining and growing membership is critical to compete as the game and the business evolve.”

According to Matheson, the club is being managed by Jon Whittemore of Dallas-based Advance Golf. Advance owns or is invested in 11 courses, including Serenoa and Rolling Green golf clubs in Sarasota.

Principals of Wells Fargo and Advance were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Follow this reporter on Twitter @PatriciaBorns.





Here are six tips to be a good spectator on the golf course. Video by Dave Breitenstein/
Dave Breitenstein/

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NM gets $3.3M for foreclosure legal assistance – Las Cruces Sun

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Letter: State must speed up foreclosure process

State must speed up foreclosure process

Though well-intended, State Sen. Jeffrey Klein’s vacant and abandoned property legislation does not address the underlying issue or resolve the situation for neighborhoods and consumers. The issue lies in the fact that New York has the second-longest foreclosure process in the country, taking over 3 years. This proposed legislation requiring lenders to maintain properties that they do not own will expose them to both unnecessary financial burden and legal concerns, such as trespassing.

The property registry will not resolve the neighborhood blight but only serve as an advertisement of properties that are ripe for vandalism and other illegal activity. The passage of Klein’s bill will not resolve the situation for neighborhoods, but rather add additional costs for future consumers, further eroding housing affordability.

The best solution is to complete the foreclosure action in a timely manner, so the property can be sold to a new homeowner. Ohio and Pennsylvania are advancing bipartisan legislation, with input from both lenders and consumer advocacy groups, that will create a fast-track foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned properties. The New York Mortgage Bankers Association would welcome working with Klein and consumer advocacy groups to craft bipartisan fast-track foreclosure legislation that will truly address this blight caused by New York’s extremely long foreclosure process.

Marianne Collins

Executive Director and COO

New York Mortgage Bankers Association

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San Jose: Hillary Clinton bashes ‘loose cannon’ Trump

SAN JOSE — Facing a tightening primary battle in California and renewed criticism over her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton received a hero’s welcome Thursday from more than 1,000 supporters in downtown San Jose eager to help the likely Democratic nominee get her campaign back on track.

Clinton devoted much of her 25-minute address in Parkside Hall to blasting “loose cannon” Donald Trump, who clinched the Republican nomination Thursday, as a menace to the world and working-class Americans alike.

“People say you talk about Trump a lot … and I’ll tell you why,” Clinton said. “Because what he is saying is dangerous and divisive; what he is saying is harmful to our future and our country.”

Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets supporters as she makes a campaign appearance at Parkside Hall in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, May 26,

Clinton took a much different tack with Bernie Sanders, whom she described as a kindred spirit who would help her defeat Trump after they battle it out in the days leading up to California’s June 7 primary.

“We are on the same page,” she said, noting her support of universal health coverage, making college affordable and reining in Wall Street. “We are going to be coming together as a unified Democratic Party … because Sen. Sanders and I — our supporters together– have so much more in common than we do with Donald Trump.”

From San Jose, Clinton headed to San Francisco for another rally as she winds down her California visit, which started Monday in Los Angeles. She will meet with Oakland community leaders Friday morning.

Clinton’s arrival in the Bay Area came at a difficult moment in her campaign, even as she closes in on clinching the Democratic nomination. Sanders’ refusal to concede California has forced her to put dozens of hours and millions of dollars into the state, with little so far to show for the effort.

A poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California shows the race with Sanders having narrowed to a virtual dead heat. And the survey was taken before the State Department’s Inspector General’s Office on Wednesday sharply criticized Clinton for using a private email server when she was secretary of state. Clinton’s prospects in California could worsen if Sanders and Trump make good on their talk Thursday of debating each other ahead of the state’s primary. Still miffed that Clinton turned her back on an earlier agreement to debate him in California, Sanders said Thursday he was eager to share a stage with Trump.

Attendees react as Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses supporters as she makes a campaign appearance at Parkside Hall in San Jose,

Trump appeared to be plotting how to make the most of what would be a made-for-TV spectacle. He said he would go ahead with the debate “if we can raise $10 million or $15 million for charity, which would be a very appropriate amount,” he told Politico. “I understand the television business very well.”

A Trump-Sanders showdown would leave Clinton out in the cold of a potential ratings bonanza and give both her rivals the opportunity to market themselves to undecided voters, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a veteran political analyst at the University of Southern California.

“You would have two people up there dumping on Hillary Clinton, and she would not be able to respond in real time,” she said.

Bebitch Jeffe said Clinton finds herself fighting a three-front war in which the toughest adversary isn’t Sanders or Trump but the email controversy that refuses to go away.

“You can’t spin this if you’re the Clinton campaign into something positive,” she said. “It goes back to the reality that she’s been polling very low with regard to honesty and trustworthiness.”

Clinton’s campaign on Wednesday defended her use of a private email server Wednesday, noting that State Department officials were aware of it and that former Secretary of State Colin Powell did the same thing.

Clinton didn’t address emails in her speeches in San Jose and San Francisco on Thursday, choosing instead to contrast herself with Trump.

She said that rather than building a $25 billion wall along the Mexican border, she would launch a major infrastructure program, constructing schools, roads and water systems, as well as expanding broadband Internet access.

She also blasted Trump for video footage of him one year before the 2008 foreclosure crisis, saying he would welcome a real estate swoon as an opportunity for profit.

“He roots for himself, not for you,” Clinton said. “That is not the kind of person who should be president of the United States of America.”

The San Jose speech had a South Bay political flavor. Local politicians addressing the crowd included Assemblyman Evan Low, San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo mocked Trump’s campaign slogan, saying, “Hillary Clinton knows America isn’t great because of one person. America is great because we are one people.”

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who introduced Clinton in both San Jose and San Francisco, stressed that beating Trump will begin with a victory in California next month. “We have to make sure she has wind on her back heading into the convention by winning this primary,” he said.

Clinton’s supporters said they remained confident in Clinton and her ability to win in California and across the country.

“I’ve liked Hillary since she first did not take her husband’s name,” said Pamela Smith, a San Jose attorney who said that sexism was at play in the email issue and many of the other criticisms lobbed at Clinton over the years.

“Powell did the same thing and no one said anything,” she said. “Women are held to a different standard.”

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435. Follow him at Twitter at Matthew_Artz.

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Is Texas’ Julián Castro still a Democratic veepstakes front-runner?

Four years ago, Julián Castro, then the relatively unknown mayor of San Antonio, was keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

His career trajectory soon brought him to Washington as secretary of housing and urban development – and constant speculation that he was a leading contender for a different role in the upcoming 2016 convention: vice presidential running mate.

But after a year as the only Latino on the veep “short list” for presumed nominee Hillary Clinton, Castro, 41, is no longer such a clear choice.

He doesn’t have the pole position as he had five or six months ago. Cal Jillson, political science professor, Southern Methodist University

Other Democrats, notably Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, are getting attention. And likely GOP nominee Donald Trump has agitated Latinos with his comments on immigration, assuring strong Latino support for Clinton, even without a Latino on the ticket.

And that may be costing Castro.

“He has definitely lost altitude,” said Bill Miller, an Austin political consultant with clients in both parties. “The presidential race has tightened.”

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Trump shouting match: ‘He is calling my people rapists’

Outside the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday, a supporter of Donald Trump tries to engage a young protester angry about the candidate’s rhetoric on Hispanics.

Ryan Osborne


“At first it was ‘Julián, Julián, Julián,’ ” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. “Now it’s Xavier, too. I’m a Texan, so I’m a little biased. Just the fact that we’ve got two Hispanics that are being talked about is a big plus for the Hispanic community.”

Also getting some mention is Labor Secretary Tom Perez. But will all the buzz translate into a Latino as Clinton’s running mate?

Castro downplays the vice presidential talk since he is constantly asked about it, even telling CNN recently, “That’s not going to happen.” On a conference call with reporters Wednesday about affordable housing, he declined to talk about his role in the Clinton campaign.

Henry Cisneros, himself a former Democratic mayor of San Antonio and former HUD chief, began touting Castro for vice presidential running mate a year ago. The Latino establishment fell in line, with an endorsement from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. On a campaign stop in San Antonio last October, when Castro endorsed her, Clinton said she would be looking “really hard” at him.

“I think that’s the point: a Latino on the ticket,” said Henry Munoz, the Democratic National Committee finance chairman. “I am always concerned about the Latino community and the lack of representation.” Munoz, who is from San Antonio, is not taking sides in the vice presidential search.

Hispanic voters are projected to grow to 27 million in the 2016 elections, up about 3.5 million from 2012, when 71 percent of them voted for President Barack Obama, according to the Pew Research Center.

Liberals recently took aim at Castro over a HUD program that sold “underwater” mortgages – when the balance due is higher than the value of the property – saying they were being sold to Wall Street power brokers instead of community groups.


Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., a supporter of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who’s running for the Democratic nomination, raised the issue in a letter to Castro. But Grijalva told McClatchy that “this was no ‘he shouldn’t be vice president’ campaign.”

Still, there appears to be a division. Asked about Becerra, who is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Grijalva said, “He’s a good guy.” Asked about Castro, he said, “I don’t know him well enough.”

HUD maintains that the program has built-in protections. “HUD has received feedback from stakeholders, which has led us to make a number of important changes to the program, including the creation of nonprofit-only pools and delaying foreclosure for a year,” said Cameron French, a department spokesman.

Castro gets a lot of attention in part because has an identical twin, Joaquin, who represents San Antonio in Congress. Also a favorite of Obama, Joaquin Castro just accompanied Obama to Vietnam on the president’s trip to Asia.

“Julián Castro would bring quite a bit to the table as a vice presidential candidate: He’s talented, articulate, youthful and Latino,” said Mark Jones, professor of political science at Rice University in Houston. “At the same time, his political résumé is a bit thin for a vice president.”


Castro has been at HUD since 2014 and before that was mayor for five years in a city with a strong city council and city manager structure. Another drawback is that he is not fully fluent in Spanish the way Becerra is, who is popular in Latino media.

And there is the issue of what he would bring to the ticket – likely not Texas, which is overwhelmingly Republican – leaving the question of how much he can draw Latinos nationwide.

“With Trump antagonizing and repelling Latinos in droves, it would appear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t really need much help in mobilizing and winning the Latino vote in key battleground states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia,” said Jones.


Gabriel Sanchez, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, thinks Castro is still a strong contender.

“Castro remains on the short list, given his credentials and his youth,” Sanchez said. “Through the primary season, it has become clear that Latino millennials will be a vital subgroup of the electorate, and Castro has the potential to be very helpful in engagement of young Latino voters.”

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City to begin seizing properties over rates owed

The Mayor and City Council (MCC) has announced that it will begin seizing properties for which owners owe millions of dollars in rates.

According to a press release issued by the MCC yesterday, this will be done as it moves to intensify rate collections.

This comes at a time when there are reports that the council is…to continue reading this article, please subscribe.  Already a subscriber ? Sign In.

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Why HUD’s Loan Sales Continue to Stoke Concerns

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Housing Administration’s loan sales are drawing more attention after a recent critical report said it was resulting in vulnerable borrowers losing their homes.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development began the loan sales in 2012 as a way to pare down a growing portfolio of nonperforming loans. But selling them means that borrowers who might qualify for HUD’s loan mitigation programs are suddenly no longer eligible.

HUD designed “specific alternatives to foreclosure that lenders and their servicers must consider before they proceed with foreclosures,” says a May 10 report by the National Consumer Law Center. But “HUD opted to sell tens of thousands of loans in its foreclosure pipeline, making these loans ineligible for the FHA loss mitigation options.”

Meanwhile, the private investors who purchase these loans at a discount were under no obligation to provide options to avoid foreclosure.

HUD initially sold the loans to reduce losses on delayed foreclosures and restore the health of the FHA insurance. But now it is trying to improve the program to help borrowers.

In response to the report, HUD said that “FHA offers a variety of opportunities for a homeowner to remain in their home and ensuring lenders follow the proper procedures.”

“In 2014, we made improvements to more accurately review loans that shouldn’t be included in a… loan pool and were entitled to the loss mitigation process,” a spokesman said in a statement.

HUD piloted nonperforming loan sales in 2010 and launched its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, called DASP, in 2012. By January 2013, FHA had 738,000 seriously delinquent loans (90 day or more past due) representing 9.5% of its insured single-family loan portfolio. Most of loans sold are delinquent by two to three years.

The loan sales accelerated in 2013 and by the end of 2014, FHA had sold 85,640 nonperforming single-family loans.

Nearly 55% of those loans have been resolved, according to HUD data, including 21,138 loans that were foreclosed upon. Only 9,460 of the loans are re-performing. The remainder of the nearly 15,000 resolved loans avoided foreclosure mainly by deed-in-lieu and short sale transactions, according to a Jan. 22 DASP report by HUD.

Overall, the latest data shows that FHA has sold over 105,000 nonperforming loans with an unpaid principal balance of $18 billion under the program.

In a panel discussion last week, HUD senior adviser Erik Cribbs said the loan sales have helped HUD and homeowners. He also touted the agency’s recent changes.

In April 2015, HUD officials announced that buyers will be required to evaluate borrowers to see if they are eligible for the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program. So far, 10,000 former FHA borrowers have received a HAMP modification, Cribbs said.

“If the loans stay in HUD’s portfolio, we see only one alternative and that is foreclosure. There is no other alternative,” Cribbs said May 18 during an Urban Institute discussion on nonperforming loans sales. “By selling the loans, we can give these borrowers a second chance.”

But the HAMP program is slated to expire at the end of this year.

“At this time a decision has not been made about the rules after HAMP expires for loans sold through the sales program,” the HUD spokesman said.

The average FHA loan is 29 months delinquent at the time of sale. In addition, investors that buy these nonperforming loans can’t foreclose on owner-occupants for 12 months.

“HUD is committed to constantly evolving the DASP program to improve its effectiveness,” the agency’s January DASP report said.

FHA currently has 433,435 seriously delinquent loans that are 90 days or more past due, representing 5.5% of its insured single-family loan portfolio.

HUD also sells pools of nonperforming loans that are geographically targeted under its Neighborhood Stabilization Outcome program,

FHA will be “doing more” of these NSO pools so that non-profit community and housing groups will have more opportunities to bid on these pools, Cribbs said.

“We have held training seminars for nonprofits to get them more involved,” he added.

The NPL sales got off on a “wrong foot” because all of the stakeholders were not included in the process,” said Julia Gordon, executive vice president of the National Community Stabilization Trust. “That is part of the dynamic,” as to “why the NPL sales have been under fire” from housing advocates and community organizations.

“But changes have been made in the right direction,” she said at the Urban Institute event. “I still think we have a ways to go. But there are continuous improvements with every sale.”

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When it comes to zombies, prevention is the best medicine

I’ve written a lot about zombie homes.

I’ve written about them in Gates, and in Chili and in Greece and in Penfield, Pittsford and Rochester.

And, I’ve written plenty about them in Irondequoit — where I’m awaiting a ruling by state Supreme Court Justice Ann Marie Taddeo in the Democrat and Chronicle‘s lawsuit against the town over access to the town’s vacant home registry. I filed a Freedom of Information Law request asking for addresses of properties on that registry, and the town denied me, saying that making the locations of these properties public could prove dangerous.

The heart of the problem remains this: Too many homeowners running into mortgage troubles and in turn, leaving their properties behind in the face of foreclosure proceedings. Even now, one out of every 21 home mortgages across the state was in foreclosure in last year’s third quarter, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. That affects all of us when zombie homes are directly linked to lower property values and a shrinking tax base.

That’s something that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is hoping to address. On Wednesday, he announced a $100 million expansion of his Mortgage Assistance Program that provides no-interest loans to help New Yorkers avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.

MAP, which started up in late 2014, has so far provided $18 million in loans to help homeowners pay off small debts that are preventing them from securing mortgage modifications. According to Schneiderman’s office, every $1 the program provides ultimately preserves about $8.50 in property values for homeowners who live within 750 feet of the person who’s gotten the MAP loan.

In all, his office says, the full loan program is expected to preserve more than $875 million in property values statewide.

Funding for the loans comes from a settlement Schneiderman reached in April with Goldman Sachs over “the bank’s deceptive practices leading up to the financial crisis,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The program is expected to provide more than 3,000 non-amortizing, interest-free loans that will help homeowners clear up debts such as unpaid property tax bills, delinquent second or third mortgage liens or missed mortgage payments.

According to figures provided by the Attorney General’s Office, there have so far been 132 MAP loans in western New York alone, for a total of $3.1 million. Those loans, which average out to be around $24,000 each, have preserved an estimated $5.2 million in property value.

To qualify, homeowners must work with the state’s Homeowner Protection Program, a network of about 90 housing counselors and legal service providers.

The loans come due upon sale of the home, refinance, death of the borrower, transfer of ownership or mortgage maturity. But with the smaller debts cleared up, homeowners can work with their mortgage lenders for a modification and ultimately remain in the home.

Because let’s face it, the best way to combat zombie homes is to prevent them from becoming vacant in the first place.

For more information on how to apply for MAP loans, call (855) 466-3456 or visit

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Eastland Center foreclosure complete; banks now own Harper Woods mall

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