Kramer Law: Home Assistance Mortgage Program (HAMP) Termination May Lead to Better Outcomes for Homeowners

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Kramer & Kramer: By terminating HAMP, homeowners will be forced to take matters into their own hands and seek justice in court

Kramer & Kaslow

As reported in the Huffington Post, “Eighteen Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sided with Republicans in a symbolic vote to terminate the Obama administration's signature anti-foreclosure program Home Assistance Mortgage Program (HAMP). Among those Democrats was California Rep. George Miller, a member of House Democratic leadership and a key ally to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who voted the other way.

Miller says he made up his mind to vote to kill HAMP after considering stories from California residents who said they tried to get reduced mortgage payments under the program and said they wound up ripped off or otherwise abused instead.

Attorney Philip Kramer, a perennial recipient of the prestigious “Southern California Super Lawyer” award, understands the problems with the government HAMP program all too well. He represents the largest group of plaintiffs ever assembled in several mass joinder lawsuits to force banks to modify homeowners’ loans. “For most homeowners,” observes Kramer, “HAMP has not been successful. The banks seem either unwilling or incapable of providing assistance – at least in the experience of the vast majority of the people who come to me.”

Representative George Miller sees it the same way. "What we saw was just a commonality of abuse by servicers, the banks, of our constituents," Miller said. "They were being lied to. Their documents were being lost on a regular basis. Their phone calls were not returned. They were told they'd be handed off to another person; that never took place. They were told they would be eligible in a couple months; that never took place."

The Treasury Department oversees HAMP and many observers say that they cannot punish lenders for their failure to properly implement HAMP. The Treasury Department argues that the program is entirely voluntary. However, it also seems clear that the banks signed a contract with the Treasury Department, and if the banks are not living up to the terms of that contract – the Treasury Department can withhold payment. The Treasury Department has refused to take this action thus far.

What’s a person to do? Representative Miller argues, "The real answer, of course, is to give these people access to the courts to get the modification...” Philip Kramer certainly agrees. Many interested parties are closely watching his mass joinder suits. If they succeed, perhaps Congress will decide to revisit legal remedies like “cramdown” in bankruptcies, which the banks lobbied heavily to defeat in the 2008 Congressional session. Philip Kramer is happy to have as many arrows in his quiver as possible to protect his clients. For now, his mass joinder suits are making their way through the courts.

ABOUT PHILIP KRAMER
PHILIP A. KRAMER is the senior partner of the Law Office of Kramer & Kaslow, in Calabasas, California. Kramer & Kaslow is Martindale Hubbell “AV” rated. Mr. Kramer is a perennial recipient of the prestigious “Southern California Super Lawyer” award.

Mr. Kramer received his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC. His practice emphasizes commercial litigation and trial advocacy, with a concentration on business litigation, and real property matters. He has prosecuted and defended cases for over twenty five years.
Mr. Kramer is a licensed real estate broker and has spent considerable time providing legal services in connection with real estate issues relating to loan modification and loss mitigation, land use and zoning, environmental issues, easements, construction and development, finance, and landlord tenant matters.

Mr. Kramer is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of California, the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Military Appeals. Mr. Kramer has tried in excess of 200 cases. He has appeared on nationally televised programs regarding pre-trial procedure and trial strategy and has appeared as a guest lecturer on topics ranging from constitutional law to trial practice, and Mr. Kramer frequently lectures on a broad spectrum of various legal and business issues.

Mr. Kramer also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court and as a Mediator.

Mr. Kramer is also a past president of the Los Angeles West Inns of Court, a national organization dedicated to bringing professionalism and civility back into the legal profession. He also serves on numerous Boards of Directors and serves as an officer in many companies. For more information call (818) 224-3900 or visit http://kramer-kaslow.com

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