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Mortgage Crisis

  • Published
  • By Major Scott A. Hodges
  • Air Force Chief of Legal Assistance
There is a new twist in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. It has been reported that certain mortgage companies were falsely signing affidavits, which are supposed to be written and sworn to by a person with personal knowledge of the facts in the affidavit in the presence of someone authorized to administer an oath, like a notary public. The accusation is that companies were issuing these affidavits so quickly that it would have been impossible for the person signing the documents to be aware of their content.

As a result of this revelation, many mortgage companies have completely stopped foreclosures for the time being. There are questions about what will be done in the courts regarding the homes that were already foreclosed on. Some commentators believe that this situation could further damage the housing market as uncertainty and confusion cripple future transactions. Others believe that it could benefit the housing market because the halt on foreclosures will reduce the supply of foreclosed homes that has depressed the prices of homes overall.

As a servicemember, what can you do if you are facing difficulty paying for a mortgage? There are some programs out there that can help. First, there is the Homeowner's Assistance Program (HAP). The HAP gives cash back to servicemembers in certain circumstances who cannot sell their home, or who can only sell their home at a loss. There is also the Home Affordable Modification Plan, which under certain circumstances requires the mortgage company to suspend foreclosure action. Fannie Mae and several of the largest mortgage lenders have also recently agreed to give up to 6 months of forbearance, meaning a suspension of mortgage payment without any delinquency, for servicemembers who are injured or killed on active duty.

If you need to speak to an attorney or get more information about help that is available, please visit the legal assistance website, The website has handouts and information, as well as a locator that will help you find the legal assistance office closest to you.