Thanks, GMAC, I’ll Just Stroke Out Now

Several weeks ago I applied to my mortgage company, GMAC, for a loan modification. They use HAMP, Home Affordable Modification Program, begun by the Obama administration in 2009. Yesterday I got the call that I was denied. I’ve been in a state of shock for two days, as I fully expected to qualify. It took about 20 minutes of talking to my “counselor” to figure out what the hell she was talking about—she kept saying that they can only help homeowners get their mortgage to 31% of their monthly income. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t do this for me. After much questioning, it finally got through—I don’t make enough money to qualify!

I can’t believe how useless this program is for most people applying for it. It’s supposed to help people who have mortgages up to $750,000. What a joke! I’m not looking to lower a $3,000 mortgage to $2,000, we’re only talking hundreds here! They said they have to follow strict guidelines. The guidelines allow the mortgage company to reduce your interest rate or lengthen the term of the loan so the homeowner pays less each month, but the target is 31% of your income, and apparently they can’t do this for me because, though the amount is small, the actually percentage of reduction exceeds their rules. It’s still a huge mystery why they can’t find a way to help me, but they were very, very firm that the answer is no. They told me to reapply WHEN I’M MAKING MORE MONEY! I felt like I was talking to the Mentally Ill Mortgage Company.

So the people who really, really need this can’t get it. It’s not like I bought some stupid mansion way beyond my means and now can’t afford it. They suggested other programs, which I looked up or called and most require you to be at least 90 days behind on your mortgage. Since I’m a responsible person who has not let this happen (yet), I don’t qualify. They punish the proactive.

What do they accomplish by not working with me? I lose my house and they get stuck with a dump on the border they’ll never be able to sell. The plantings die and the house gets battered by wind, sand, rain, and sun. It’s bad for the neighborhood, the town, the state, and the country. There are houses all around here that have been for sale for years, and it doesn’t take long for them to become ruins. Windows get broken, people break in.

Now they’re sending me threatening letters about back taxes, penalties, and actually increasing my mortgage to include my property taxes. I ask for relief, I get my ass kicked.

I had an appointment to have a blood pressure check at the clinic this morning. I hate the clinic. The TV in the waiting room was blasting news and I became irritated. When they finally checked my blood pressure it was 220/104. The girl went to get the doctor, and I was immediately surrounded by women being told to call 911. I said NO! No, no no! I have to go to work! No way am I going to the hospital! They made me sign a release form stating I refused their medical advice. They gave me pills and made me lie down. I told them how insane it is to have news on in a medical waiting room, and they said “but people like it.” How do they know? Did they ask? And would I like to speak the “management”? Maybe it’s job security for them. Instead of taking a few minutes to relax before seeing your doctor, they stimulate your anger by forcing news on you—that way, your blood pressure never has a chance. Plus I’m now so terrified of having it taken that it automatically causes anxiety. When I go to the fire station to have it taken, they, too, have the TV blaring news.

When it lowered to 199/100, they let me go. I went to work. I already know all about the natural ways to lower blood pressure, I just don’t care. The demons are waiting for me at any attempt to sit still.

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29 responses to “Thanks, GMAC, I’ll Just Stroke Out Now

  1. The sad and ironic thing about any kind of loan is that those who truly need them cannot get them. Job ads are running now stating that the unemployed need not apply, it’s the same stupid mentality. as to the property tax inclusion, most mortgage payments do include this along with homeowners insurance, I’m surprised you weren’t hit with this before. in fact some people prefer to mortgage rather than buy free and clear for just that reason, so at least you’re not being singled out for punishment. are you hearing at all from the we-buy-houses companies? More importantly, I am concerned about your BP. I too have “white coat” syndrome but my doc knows about it. Once I was in the waiting room and “The View” was on. For me, the news would be more relaxing than that gaggle of cackling geese. Gawd what a year for you. How I wish I could help.

  2. Debra,
    You are so right about the short-sightedness of the federal programs designed to HELP people. They rarely do. The rules become ridiculous paradigms – no one will step or look outside of the box. I have run up against it many times myself. My response was always, f–k you, I don’t need your help anyway.

    For most of us things are not getting better. I’m actually being forced to quit a job I’ve had for 10 years and relocating where my wife could and has found a job. She had no luck for almost a year in Reno. So again, like so much of my 40-year working life, I can’t pay the bills and I live pay check to pay check (if I have one) and hang up on the incessant creditor calls demanding I pay them their late fees and exhorbitant interest that they refuse to stop, so they can have a better chance of getting the principle back. They don’t want to lose money, its outside of the rules.

    I find your blood pressure issue very interesting…because I have the same problem now. I’m so stressed knowing its going to be high, even with medication that is getting harder to pay for, I’m afraid to have it taken. I learned that if I don’t smoke a cigarette on the way to the doctor, don’t let the traffic bother me, and take deep breaths on the way, they’re usually okay with the reading, sometimes even saying things like “Good.”

    You must calm yourself down. You know the perspective, so putting anything in to it isn’t going to help. I just want you to think, whether its true or not, that things will get better. Whether they will in Bisbee, probably not for a while, but something will happen and the trend line will go up.

    • Hi Leonard, I’m too realistic to believe things will get better. Even if we get a new president who cares about regular folks like us, we probably won’t see a difference for many years, if ever.

      You know the way people blame Obama’s faults on Bush? Well the next president will blame it on Obama, and on and on and on until there’s nothing left here.

      GMAC wouldn’t help me because they claim they have to follow the rules of the useless HAMP program. But GMAC is a huge company. There’s not one person there with a soul? Are all the people working there scared of losing their jobs too? It’s almost impossible to get through to a real person, and when you do, they’re clueless. They not only won’t step outside the box, they won’t even approach the edge.

      Since they refuse to help and won’t advise, I guess they’re telling people to go ahead and foreclose, though they’ll never say that.

      And yeah, the worse one’s life become and the harder you try to better it, the more expensive it becomes with penalties. As I read about other people with mortgage problems who can’t get help, I noticed a suicidal theme running through the forums.

  3. I find it very disconcerting that people who over spend their already big budget and get in trouble with their mortgages get help. People like yourself who live on the edge, and who try their damnedest to break even get nothing. This is so wrong.

    Please, please do something about your blood pressure before your kidney’s fail. Now that’s expensive.

    Wishing you the best. I think of you often.

    • Thank you Bill. I guess having a job is now considered an entitlement. Wow, you have a job? Not everybody can get one of those.

      The rest of us are going down. That’s why I can’t stand to see homeless people berated—millions of Americans are an unpaid bill away from it.

  4. It has always been in a bank’s best interest to work with a borrower who tries to meet their obligations. It is especially true now, when banks have so many properties on their books. Their action harms themselves as well as you. Merely because the bank is not forced by law to work with you, does not mean that the bank shouldn’t work with you IN THE BANK’S OWN BEST INTEREST.

    The health clinic you go to should have classical music on, and ideally from the baroque period (Bach, Vivaldi, Teleman, et al). It makes waiting seem less onerous, and adds a touch of class to the operation. They will not do this. Why? Because consultants have determined that most people (we used to call them the many-headed) want something else, so they give them what they want. In the mental health clinic I go to every month, the tv is locked on “reality tv” shows. Is this good for the patients and their loved ones? Of course not. Do any of the psychiatrists or counselors believe it is? Of course not. Why is this harmful trash on? That’s a long story.

    “Choosing your battles wisely” is the key phrase of this massively self-destructive society. Those with the ability to do so can thrive. Those whose internal “clock” forces them to fight the battles and injustices that confront them often do not.

    How can you avoid becoming self-destructive in a self-destructive world? I have no idea. How do you avoid fighting for justice or common sense, and still retain your integrity? I have no idea. In fact, I think I’m better off knowing that I have no idea how to tolerate systemic injustice and stupidity.

    • Hi Joel, why why why won’t the banks help us? Of course it’s in their best interest. This is insane. What good does it do them to not be flexible with a person who is trying to pay? I want to say greed, but that can’t be accurate—because they LOSE money on foreclosures. I want to understand but guess I’m not demented enough to get the logic behind this.

  5. Everything seems to be getting more and more ridiculous. Common sense is an antiquated idea left in the history books. It also used to be deemed honorable to help someone out, to care about those with less, to work with someone who was willing to work it out.

    Now, everything seems to be geared towards (pardon the language, feel feel to bleep) fucking the little guy and wiping the ass of the rich with the thousand dollar bills they use as toilet paper. Those who ask for help are weak and deserve to be spit on because, after all, the wealthy work sooooo hard, they should be able to keep those trillions of dollars they never spend. We little people don’t work hard, we just whine, so why not fuck us a little more.

    Am I bitter? Hell yes. I worked hard, my parents worked hard, my entire family worked hard with the hopes of making a better life for their children/grandchildren. Now, I have a worthless degree that someday I’ll burn in the trash bin to stay warm when I’m homeless because there are no jobs. Oh, but that is my fault, sorry, forgot, I don’t kiss the right ass. My elderly mother can’t pay for repairs on a house that is falling down around her, she can barely pay the heating bills, but she can’t sell the house that is a burden because the housing market tanked. None of her children can help because we are all in the same boat.

    I never had debt until I went to graduate school. I was responsible. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that working hard, being responsible, is for idiots. My student loans, from the school that promised me allll those jobs when I graduated. Credit cards? Yeah, screw you, I have to pay the rent somehow, you can get the money from my cold dead hands (which will be empty). My car? It barely runs anyway, maybe you can afford the repairs when you repossess it. No one else cares about giving me a job, giving me a hand up, giving me a break, so I no longer give a shit who expects what from me. Yep, I’m bitter and broken therefore, I’ve thrown responsibility out the window.

    • Indigo, thank you…your story helps me keep my problems in perspective. There are so many of us in trouble. I’ve never defaulted on anything in my life either until now. It feels awful, sickening. I can’t eat or sleep. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t give a shit, but we do, even though we say we don’t. We wouldn’t be this upset if we didn’t care.

  6. I’m not a religious man, but I will say a prayer for you. There is nothing in the world that makes me boil more than the little guy being screwed over and over and over. You are in my thoughts.

    • Amen! I am in the same boat after being responsible, ethical, loyal, and dedicated to my employer. I also furthered my education with a graduate degree that is not worth the paper it is written on and I am also up to my eyeballs in student loan debt. I futhered my education in order to expand my career opportunities. I mean that is the “American way”….or was. Someone changed the rules and regulations and now I am left without a career and a pile of debt for the effort. However, there is one thing the government cannot ever take away from me and that is my integrity. I still believe that Hope is not just a four letter word in a world where I have no control. I am hanging in there like all of you and praying for us all to find peace.

      • Hi Lauren, thanks for writing and telling your story. So many of us are in trouble and no one in our government is listening. Rather than choosing sides I’ve learned to hate all the self-serving bastards. I’m glad you still have hope and you’ve inspired me.

  7. Good heavens Darlin –

    There are few words that will help here, and no advice that I have will lessen the problems you’re experiencing. Saddle up – Hang On – sounds like this is going to be a rough ride for a while.

    I have known many that have attempted to take advantage of these so called Obama mortgage plans. No one who truly needed the help was able to benefit, which is why many people just walk out the door. Not just younger people – but baby boomers that had paid everything on time for 20 plus years.

    Now comes the hard part – deciding your next step that will hopefully prove beneficial in the long run – even if it means walking out the door. I have faith that you’ll find the right decision and act on it. Good Luck – Wishing you the best.

    On a final note……..There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.

    Take care – Ciao Bella

    • Hi Cowboy, wow was that experience an eye-opener. I was so naive to think they really wanted to help me, like the little blurb said on my mortgage statement. Was I stupid. I still don’t get the logic behind the rejection. It doesn’t make sense to me. Now I have a whole new thing to hate, my mortgage company. But there’s not one drone there that would listen to what I have to say. GMAC is kind of like the government in that way—you get computer menus, put on hold while they eat up your cellphone minutes, incompetent workers, wrong information, and then disconnected. There’s more horror to this story I can’t even bring myself to write. They really, really, hurt me and made things worse for me. Ha ha, your last line is funny. Thanks hon.

  8. Midway thru 2009, for reasons I wont elaborate on, I decided for my continued good health to do a total disconnect from politics. I maintained my voter registration (Libertarian) for ID purposes but I don’t follow politics or candidates except for news blurbs when I happen to be watching something else, and my car and home radios are always on sports talk programs. Here’s what I want to get across, Debrushka – my BP meds have now been reduced from 75 mg daily to 25mg and I feel a lot calmer. Of course this doesnt relate to the horrors you’re experiencing now but it is about BP – you need to get a handle on this silent killer. You cant saddle up and hang on, like Cowboy says, if you’re flat on your back in a hospital on tubes. Another thing I’ve always done that has helped me thru life in general, some may not like this outlook but it works for me – and that is – expect nothing from the world. Absolutely nothing. Thus, when good happens, it’s delightful. When bad happens, so what else is new?

    • Well I’ve had to lower my standards, that’s for sure. I already don’t expect much from the world. It’s awful hard to change the personality you were born with, but I’m trying. No hospital. Gun.

  9. Hi Debra

    I haven’t checked in for a while but things do seem bad. My little troubles seem so small compared to yours and yet they loom large sometimes in my mind. It just goes to show everything should be taken in perspective. I don’t know what I can do to help way out where I am except maybe think of you and wish you well.

    I do know one thing though: the clinic where I go has tv as well but at least they don’t blare it out like in the Emergency Area which is weird because like you say people are already in a stressed state and don’t need this added.

    As for the blood pressure Deb you can get medication for this and maybe you should. I don’t know what it costs in the state but you would qualify for it.

    As for the personality you’re born with, that takes some working on, that’s for sure. When you’re way out of your comfort zone like I am now, it’s easier because you haven’t got your normal crutches to lean on or places to retreat to but it makes you more compassionate, that’s for sure.

    Uh oh I hear voices. I gotta go. Thinking of you…

  10. Hi JL, thanks…I am on meds, then they were doubled, still no change. It’s me fighting myself. You really are what you are. I guess if you’re born evil or good that’s what you are forever. Pathetic. No amount of therapy or religion or meds or smacking around really changes what a person is.

    GMAC is now known as ‘Satan’ in my house.

  11. You can be what you are, it’s the only way to fly. But that doesnt mean it should kill you. Be what you are but try to modify the aspects that are making you physically ill. Channel the shit. The blog is a great way to do it. Working your body is good, the cleaning you do is good, I skate best when I’m raging, then when I finish I cant believe I was that angry. And honey I wrote the book on angry. I’m talking foaming at the mouth, kicking and throwing things, the whole 9 yds. It’s a constant battle because as you have probably discovered, rage is an addiction. Hard to lose a habit that’s built into you. But it can be modified. Approach it as an addiction. Work on it, Debrusha. You CAN.

  12. So sorry to read of your ever increasing problems. Government mortgage programs are like everything else the government does….pure bullshit. If you think you’re going to lose your house anyway you might as well quit making payments and hang on to the money. You’ll need it. Collectors call, hang up, turn the phone off. Screw ’em.

    My BP always goes up when I go to the clinic too. Once a yr. Uninsured. I have an Omron digital BP cuff at home and check it with that. Always within very reasonable levels until I make the appointment with the clinic. The clinic knows that. I take Lisinopril, $4 a month and Hydrochlorothiazide, a little over $2 a month. Quite effective.

    The best thing for you is to not be concerned about the state of the country or the world. Look out for yourself & yours and the hell with the rest. I know I always feel the best when I can maintain that attitude. Loyalty to any job, boss, bank, location, etc., is useless. Look out for #1, because no one else will.

    • Hi Linda, thank you for writing. It’s really beginning to hit me that America has turned into a third-world country and you’re on your own. Up until the current administration I thought we had a government who wasn’t out to destroy us, but that’s all changed now. It’s hard to believe people still support any politician at all, they’re all jokes. I have stopped looking at my home page in the past few days, and will keep trying. Wish I could afford one of the BP cuffs, then I wouldn’t have to deal with public BP checks.

      Do you have a blog?

  13. I have a friend who is fighting this housing issue, too. She and her husband had a house built and the builder left them holding the bag for over $75,000 worth of unfinished work. They had to take him to court, which cost them thousands of dollars they didn’t have. Their compensation wasn’t anywhere near what it should have been. Then there was a mixup with their mortgage and now they are almost losing their house. They have been in the modification process for months with their mortgage company. They just got a whole list back from them stating why they are not eligible for the modification. It is RIDICULOUS. They are both hard working and still….they are so stuck. She told me they will probably have to walk away if nothing gets resolved.

    I am so sorry you have to go through all of this. It is ridiculous. There are many people who are trying to just make it and not try to beat the system. I find it ridiculous that those who really want to do the best they can just can’t get the help.

    And, as far as your BP goes…I hope it starts going down with your meds. Our life woes and disappointments do affect it, too. You are having more than your share right now. I continue to think of you often and hope for the best for you (not much help for you, I know)!

    • Hi Char, thanks for writing and sharing. Your friend’s story sounds like a bank-related nightmare. I don’t think banks have actual humans working at them, just automatons programmed to say “NO” to anything that might actually help someone stay off the street.

      So many people going down, yet developers are still building big conspicuous-consumption type houses in Sierra Vista, I just don’t get it. You’d have to be crazy to get involved with a big mortgage right now, jobs nowadays are as ephemeral as raindrops. I know some very chi-chi people with huge houses who are about to get foreclosed on. They have businesses and bet on more people coming here—man were they wrong. More illegals, yes.

      It’s time to buckle up and hang on for a bad ride into poverty. I’m already used to it, but now will try to accept it as a lifetime lifestyle rather than something temporary. I’ve had good credit all my life, I’m now prepared to kiss it goodbye. Who needs it?

  14. Why does it bother me?

    These programmes are usually set up to benefit the rich or upper middle classes, who God forbid might lose their Audis, BMWs and the like. I really feel for you. Financial strain is utter nightmare. 2006 was the year I had to declare myself bankrupt in the UK and I am still ashamed and still can’t do anything to try and bring the man who took out loans in MY name to justice. I have given up trying and I am hoping that time and karma will rectify this on my behalf…

    • Hi WDIBM, within the past few days I have learned the truth about these programs and who they are designed for (not desperate people). I have been denied twice now. I am considering bankruptcy. Maintaining good credit all your life actually works against you, I found. I’ll write about it to inform others who are in my situation so they don’t waste their time and sanity trying for programs who hardly want to help—it’s all about the banks, not the homeowner. As soon as I can think clearly and my head stops pounding. Karma, huh, something I USED to believe in. Well you have to believe in something, I just don’t know what that is.

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