Tales of PMI Cancellation: I’d Personally Prefer a Root Canal

He has the power of causing great pain!So Countrywide responds late last night to my inquiry in a timely fashion:

Thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to the Customer Service Department.

Our initial research shows that we can best resolve this inquiry for you by speaking with you in person. We appreciate that you have initiated this inquiry electronically but to ensure that we can fully resolve your concern. We ask that you contact PMI Department on the contact number provided on the letter or at 800-669-9092. On behalf of Customer Service, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.

Thank you for communicating with us electronically; we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

Hmph! They dodged my question again…

The good news is that it appears that this most recent response was written by an actual human being — with the typo where a comma should be instead of a period.

And since when it the word “internet” worthy of capitalization? Whatever…

What’s upsetting is that I don’t want to call them. I want their response in writing, either online or through the mail. In my experience, he said/she said claims never get very far.

It’s also very frustrating because I don’t believe that there’s anything to discuss anyway…

The law is black and white.

The math is simple.

Over 22% equity means no PMI. By law, cancellation is to be automatic.

Where’s the problem?

I’ll make the call later today.

Posted on August 27th, 2008 at 7:43 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 3 Comments »

Countrywide’s Inept MI Deletion Department

Disgraced Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo — Where’d he get that un-natural skin tone?Guess what I received in the mail today from Countrywide?

Yep, exactly what I expected.

The same letter I received on July 14 and August 1.

So now I’ve gone back to the customer service route that has failed me in the past.

I’m not really sure why I bother.

Oh yeah, because they bill me over $1k/year for something I shouldn’t have to pay for!!!

Anyhow, I think I was a little more direct this time:

Hello!

On August 18, I submitted my third request online to have a Mortgage Insurance Review done on my account in an effort to have my mortgage insurance cancelled.

Today, for the third consecutive time, I received the same letter from Countrywide stating that I need to schedule and pay for a home appraisal for my mortgage insurance to be cancelled.

This is UNACCEPTABLE.

According to the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998, Private Mortgage Insurance must be terminated automatically when the borrower reaches 22 percent equity in the home based on the original property value.

Logging into my account and heading to the “Mortgage Insurance Deletion” section of the Countrywide website, it states that my current loan to value percentage is 77.879%.

That means that I currently have 22.121% equity based on the original property value of $141,000.

According to federal law, I no longer have to pay for mortgage insurance.

Please explain to me why it has not yet been cancelled.

Thank you.

Of course, I’m not actually expecting a response that answers my one request for an explanation. I’m not that naive.

In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d wager that Countrywide’s response will be:

Thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to the Customer Service Department.

Our records indicate that we have requested the escrow review department to mail you the list of requirements if it is eligible for PMI deletion. Please allow 7-10 business days for receipt. If you should require any additional assistance, please contact our PMI Department at (800) 669-9092.

Thank you for communicating with us electronically, we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

Yep, heard that before.

If only the threat of filing a complaint with the FTC would get some attention… Sad, a threat like that is about as effective as a car alarm…

Posted on August 26th, 2008 at 8:31 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 3 Comments »

PMI Cancellation Request (3rd Attempt)

Hopefully today is the day that my 40 day PMI saga concludes.

Countrywide has corrected Friday’s $1500 mistake and the balance on my mortgage is now less than 78% of the original value.

Even Countrywide’s website says so:

Countrywide’s PMI Deletion Page

Combine that with the FTC‘s claim:

For home mortgages signed on or after July 29, 1999, your PMI must be terminated automatically when you reach 22 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current. Your PMI also can be canceled, when you request – with certain exceptions – when you reach 20 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current.

So here goes nothing… I’m going to submit another request to Countrywide to have my PMI canceled.

Hopefully this time I won’t get the same form letter that I’ve already received twice

Posted on August 18th, 2008 at 7:43 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 9 Comments »

I don’t F’ing Believe It…

Countrywide Home LoansI logged in to my Countrywide account to submit my latest requested to have PMI canceled and it threw me into an internal rage.

I’ve been sending Countrywide additional principle payments on a weekly basis for over a year now.

Not a single hitch. Not one.

Today, they decide to apply my extra payment (yeah, the one that will eliminate PMI) towards interest and escrow instead of principle.

WTF?!

I put in a request for them to correct it and the response: “Your request will be personally reviewed, therefore, please allow 2 business days for your request to be processed.”

This, being a Thursday, means they won’t do anything until Monday.

Okay, I’m jumping on the bandwagon now…

Countrywide sucks.

Posted on August 14th, 2008 at 11:25 am by Brainy Smurf
Mortgage, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 3 Comments »

Yet Another Automatic Insurance Payment for Coverage I Don’t Need

Add another $85.15 to the amount I’ve needlessly paid for Private Mortgage Insurance.

Another round of PMI…

Yep, as I predicted last month when I first reached the threshold required to request PMI cancellation, Countrywide really is going to squeeze every last penny out of me.

Total, that I feel has been stolen from me, is now $170.30.

Do you know what an additional $85.15 per month towards principle instead insurance I don’t need anymore would have gotten me?

According to Countrywide’s very own ‘Amortization Schedule Calculator’, a monthly payment in that amount ($85.15) would save me almost $17k in interest and knock over 7 years off of my mortgage. That’s a big deal.

I’m not planning on letting them “steal” $17k from me.

Tomorrow, with another $1500 being applied towards the principle, I’ll make my third attempt at getting them to drop it once and for all.

At this point, now that I will have exceeded the federal auto cancellation mark, I can’t imagine they’ll turn me down.

Actually, I take that back… I can imagine that.

I almost expect it.

Any one wanna bet they hit me up for $85.15 in September too?

Grrrrr…

Posted on August 13th, 2008 at 3:32 pm by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance | No Comments »

Shuffling Debt: My Impatience has Gotten the Better of Me…

Fudgie the Whale - Happy Birthday to Me!Using one of those 0% credit card offers, I wrote a $1500 check to myself and deposited it into my checking account yesterday as a pseudo birthday present to myself.

Once the check clears, probably today, I intend to send all $1500 towards my mortgage to put myself beyond the 22% mark on the balance which should kick off the automatic cancellation of PMI.

I have a sinking feeling that when I put in my third cancellation request that Countrywide will come back and say, “No, you actually need to hit the 25% mark before we cancel the PMI… Oh, and please send us an additional $135 too!”

A response like that will be deflating…

By the numbers alone, I would have made this benchmark later this month without taking this short-term loan but I feel a little bit more comfortable doing it this way as I’m not tapping myself out.

In reality, I’m not really taking on more debt — I’m just shuffling it around a bit to a lower interest rate. At least, that’s how I’m justifying it to myself…

From here on out, I’m going to relax the mortgage paydown pace and focus more on the auto loan. That should be finished in short order at which point I’ll focus more heavily on savings.

Oh, and let’s not forget the new $1500 balance I’ll have on my Chase credit card…

Posted on August 13th, 2008 at 5:16 am by Brainy Smurf
Credit Card, Finance, PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 7 Comments »

My Countrywide Calamity Continues

Broken Countrywide RecordAs predicted here back on July 23rd, Countrywide mailed me the exact same form letter they’d sent me a week prior that I’d told them was unacceptable.

I was hoping for a fresh response, but to no avail… They sent the exact same letter:

IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR LOAN

Thank you for your recent inquiry about deleting the mortgage insurance on your Countrywide home loan. Your loan must meet current mortgage insurance cancellation requirements for this to occur. Please allow us to explain what this involves.

——————-

WHAT THIS MEANS

The current value of your property must be equal to or greater than the original value of your property at the time the loan closed for the PMI to be deleted. The original value of your property means the lesser of the sales price or the appraised value at the closing of a purchase loan, and the appraised value at the closing of a refinance loan. A Certificate of Value (COV) is required to determine if the current value of your property is sufficient to meet this requirement. Your noteholder requires Countrywide Home Loans to select your COV provider. You will be responsible for the cost of the COV. Before you send a check or call to provide credit card information for you COV, we would suggest that you try to verify that the value of your property meet the above mentioned criteria.

——————-

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

If you choose to continue with the COV ordering process, simply complete the form at the bottom of this letter and return it with a check made payable to Landsafe Appraisal Services for $130.00. You must reference your loan number and write “COV Fee” on the check. Please do not include the COV fee along with your regular monthly payment. It must be sent separately.

Landsafe w ill [sic] contract a local Broker or Realtor to perform the COV, which will include an interior inspection and photographs. The Broker or Realtor should identify himself or herself and indicate that he or she was contracted by Landsafe. If he or she fails to do so, please ask. Our department will then review the COV and if it is determined that it adequately supports at least the original value of the property, your request will be approved. The insurance will be cancelled and your payment adjusted accordingly.

——————-

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Because of your timely payment record, we are able to consider your request; however, please keep in mind that any late payment may prevent cancellation.

If you do not take action within 60 days, please contact us at (800) 669-6607 to confirm your continued eligibility.

We look forward to receiving you COV soon so that we can take care of this matter for you.

Requirements are subject to change.

This letter supersedes any previous information that may have been provided to you.

Gee, thanks.

Once again, they failed to answer my simple yes or no question.

They also, apparently, didn’t comprehend my question either… Either that or they ignored it.

I certainly didn’t ask for this letter a second time. Did I?

If you’re completely lost, new to my personal PMI plight, or are in a similar situation with your own mortgage company, I suggest you read the PIAC archives on the subject.

I can’t claim that they hold a lot of real useful information, but at least you won’t feel like you’re the only one getting screwed over.

I’m not really in favor of bashing Countrywide — there are entire websites out there dedicated to that sort of thing.

Looking at some of the listed “gripes”, I dunno, you sorta have to take them with a grain of salt.

Lots of people bitch and moan about things that they really have no business complaining about. I also think that they exaggerate the facts a bit too… Ever look at some of the negative product reviews on Amazon? Yikes!

When my mortgage changed hands 3 times before my second mortgage payment was due, I was pretty happy when that first bill came from a company I’d actually heard of — Countrywide.

Since then, things have gone quite smoothly for the most part. It’s been nearly 6 years with Countrywide.

I love that I’ve been able to send them payments blindly on a weekly basis and that they’ve correctly assumed to put those extra payments towards the principle. They haven’t charged me a single fee either — though if I’d initiated a bi-weekly plan through them, there would have been associated fees.

I’d originally tested out the plan starting with one $25 payment back in June 2007. Last month, I sent them over $1500 extra in payments. All of it towards the principle. It’s been great. Kudos to Countrywide.

But my relationship has also been soured in the last month.

As I approached paying off 20% of my mortgage, I started to look into having the Private Mortgage Insurance on my mortgage removed which was (is) costing me $85.15 per month.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – PMI is extra insurance that lenders require from most homebuyers who obtain loans that are more than 80 percent of their new home’s value. In other words, buyers with less than a 20 percent down payment are normally required to pay PMI.

PMI plays an important role in the mortgage industry by protecting a lender against loss if a borrower defaults on a loan and by enabling borrowers with less cash to have greater access to homeownership. With this type of insurance, it is possible for you to buy a home with as little as a 3 percent to 5 percent down payment. This means that you can buy a home sooner without waiting years to accumulate a large down payment.

Under HPA, you have the right to request cancellation of PMI when you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less. You also need a good payment history, meaning that you have not been 30 days late with your mortgage payment within a year of your request, or 60 days late within two years. Your lender may require evidence that the value of the property has not declined below its original value and that the property does not have a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan.

I put in a request to have it removed when I surpassed the 20% mark.

In response, I received the letter quoted above. I was not happy.

A little research pointed me towards the Federal Trade Commission. They’re an independent agency of the U.S. government and one of their primary functions is to regulate and enforce consumer protection. Kinda like Clark Howard but on a bigger and more authoritative scale.

They state that Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) must be terminated automatically by the mortgage company when the borrower reaches 22 percent equity in the home based on the original property value — most often, the purchase price.

Having been rejected by Countrywide when I was allowed to request removal (at 20%), I wanted confirmation from them that when I reached 22%, like the FTC says, that the PMI would indeed be terminated.

They responded with the same form letter. Yeah, that same one quoted above. Again.

Is this post starting to sound like a broken record?

Yeah, I thought so.

It’s really frustrating because I can’t seem to get a solid answer.

On the previously mentioned Countrywide-bashing website, you can read all about countless other people in a similar situation but nothing quite as simple as mine.

They all have 3/1 ARMs, re-fi’s, stacked mortgages, interest-only mortgages, and some are trying to get the PMI removed after just 4 payments or something.

You know, really complicated stuff. Stuff that I’d side with Countrywide on. They should be rejected cause, well, they’re risky.

My situation is not complicated.

I have one mortgage.

It’s a standard 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The rate is a decent 6.735%. I paid 0 points.

It’s not an FHA Loan. HUD was never mentioned. There weren’t any special “First Time Buyer” prizes or credits thrown in upon purchase. They were offered, yes, but I was quite skeptical about such freebies and turned them all down.

It’s just a boring generic old fashioned run-of-the-mill mortgage.

I’ve made 71 payments so far. Seventy-one out of 360 total scheduled. If it takes me all 360 payments to pay this mortgage off, I’m just shy of 20% of the way finished right now. This isn’t a new loan.

It’s also not a jumbo loan. I borrowed $131k. That’s it.

There are no other liens against the home.

It wasn’t a zero-down home purchase.

I’ve never missed a payment.

I’ve never taken out a HELOC.

I’ve never refinanced.

With all that, you’d think that I’d be an ideal candidate to have PMI removed at the 80% mark — when you’re permitted to ask them to remove it.

Well, you’d be wrong.

I haven’t hit the 78% mark just yet. It may come later this month, at which point I’ll submit another request to have PMI removed. If not this month, then next month for sure…

But I’ll be damned if they send me the same form letter a third time requesting that I pay them $135 for an appraisal that the FTC indicates isn’t necessary.

Hmmmm… Countrywide policies or Federal Law?

Which takes precedence?

Sadly, I’m expecting my third form letter.

And then I’ll file my FTC complaint and continue to pay PMI indefinitely…

Posted on August 2nd, 2008 at 4:15 am by Brainy Smurf
Mortgage, PMI - Mortgage Insurance | 8 Comments »

Customer Service, or Lack Thereof : Revisited

Customer Service certainly isn’t what it used to be…So apparently my second inquiry online with Countrywide regarding my Mortgage Insurance got some notice.

I received a reply! I received a reply! And it only took a few hours! How about that?

Here’s my original inquiry from July 16 that they never responded to:

Hello!

I’m wondering if my PMI will be dropped automatically when my Loan to Value percentage reaches 78%.

I recently broke the 80% threshold and requested that PMI be cancelled, but received a letter asking for me to pay for an appraisal to make that happen. I didn’t find that an acceptable offer so now I plan to hit the 78% mark.

The law states that once the 78% mark is reached, the mortgage company is required to cancel PMI and I just wanted to make certain and verify that that is the case — without me having to schedule an appraisal or spend additional money out of pocket to make it happen.

Thanks very much!

Never got a response. So yesterday, as detailed here, I tried again:

Just thought I’d try this again since it’s been more than 1-2 business days and I haven’t yet received a response.

I’m wondering if my PMI will be dropped automatically when my Loan to Value percentage reaches 78%.

I recently broke the 80% threshold and requested that PMI be cancelled, but received a letter asking for me to pay for an appraisal to make that happen. I didn’t find that an acceptable offer so now I plan to hit the 78% mark.

The law states that once the 78% mark is reached, the mortgage company is required to cancel PMI and I just wanted to make certain and verify that that is the case — without me having to schedule an appraisal or spend additional money out of pocket to make it happen.

Thanks very much!

A couple of hours pass, and wham, they respond with:


Posted 07/22/2008

Reply : Dear Brainy Smurf:

Thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to the Customer Service Department.

As per our records a PMI deletion letter has been mailed to you on July 09, 2008 asking for the Certificate of Value to confirm Market Value and LTV Ratio. You are requested to either fax or mail the appraisal report for further research.

You can fax the Certificate of Value at (805) 520-5019 or mail it to:

Address:
Countrywide Home Loans
SV-314B
P.O. Box 5170
Simi Valley, CA 93062-5170

Thank you for communicating with us electronically; we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

OMFG! Thank you, Captain Obvious…

Yep, that is true that I requested PMI deletion on July 9.

See, the thing is, I KNEW THAT ALREADY!

I even went so far to predict that this was going to be a long drawn out hassle.

So, I respond with:


Hello again!

The response I received today didn’t actually answer my question — just stated what I already knew. I am fully aware that I requested PMI deletion on July 9 when I reached the 80% threshold.

The PMI deletion letter arrived and asked that I schedule and pay for an appraisal of my home. To me, this was unacceptable, so I will not be taking that route. More hassle than it’s worth — even though $130 is a very reasonable fee for an appraisal.

My question now regards whether or not the PMI will be dropped when I reach the 78% LTV ratio. As I understand it, at that point, the law requires that the PMI be dropped based 100% on the original value of the home — NOT the current market value, which is obviously higher anyway — I just don’t want to pay any extra to prove it.

I’m asking now if that is indeed the case — when my mortgage balance dips below $109980, will the PMI will be dropped without any appraisal fee required?

Thanks much!

Seems pretty simple, right? Just looking for a yes or no answer. Right?

Overnight, they responded (I’m now impressed with their response time — though it took them awhile to get going…)


Posted 07/22/2008

Reply : Dear Brainy Smurf:

Thank you for your recent Internet inquiry addressed to the Customer Service Department.

Our records indicate that we have requested the escrow review department to mail you the list of requirements if it is eligible for PMI deletion. Please allow 7-10 business days for receipt. If you should require any additional assistance, please contact our PMI Department at (800) 669-9092.

Thank you for communicating with us electronically, we appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

So much for a simple yes or no answer… This is like a Presidential debate. They totally dodged my question. Sheesh…

I’m all but certain that this apparently too-confidential-to-have-online “list of requirements” that they’re mailing me *still* won’t answer my question simple yes/no question.

In fact, I’d bet it’s the exact same letter they mailed me back on July 9.

Looks like I’ll be camping out at the mailbox waiting, again, for Countrywide to respond (and swindle another $85.15 from my account).

Sigh…

(Oh, some may wonder why I don’t just pick up the phone and ask a customer service rep… Reason is, I want this in writing, or email, or online on THEIR message center. In the past, this has saved me a lot of trouble when it comes to billing disputes. Playing he-said/she-said has *never* gotten me far. And if I do pursue this all the way up to a complaint with FTC, I want all of Countrywide’s claims in writing.)

Posted on July 23rd, 2008 at 7:48 am by Brainy Smurf
PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 3 Comments »

Customer Service, or Lack Thereof…

Customer Service certainly isn’t what it used to be…Still awaiting an online response from Countrywide regarding my PMI situation.

Their website claims a 1-2 business day response time because they need to individually research each inquiry or some such nonsense.

Thing is, my first inquiry was on July 16.

Not even including that specific day, it’s now been 3+ business days.

I just submitted another long-winded and slightly more obnoxious inquiry with essentially the same question, “Will you drop my PMI at 78% like you’re supposed to?”

I’m almost to the point where I’ll pick up the phone, but chances are, that won’t result in a real solid answer either.

I’m pretty familiar with how call centers operate and, sadly, I’m already quite aware that my inquiry is not a question that level one support will be able to answer.

Level two (or three) will likely just tell me what I want to hear just to get me off the phone and out of their ear.

That’s probably why I haven’t received any answer at all online. Ignore the customer — they’ll go away on their own eventually…

Customer service is truly wonderful these days…

Posted on July 22nd, 2008 at 8:17 pm by Brainy Smurf
Life, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 1 Comment »

Reaching the Automatic PMI Cancellation Mark

United States Federal Trade CommissionAccording to the Federal Trade Commission, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) must be terminated automatically by the mortgage company when the borrower reaches 22 percent equity in the home based on the original property value — most often, the purchase price.

In my instance, the purchase price of my home was $141k. A bargain, really. Even back in 2002.

As of this morning, the remaining balance is $112,535.99. That works out to 20.187% equity based on the original property value.

To reach the 22% mark, I need to pay down an additional $2,555.99 in principle — preferably before October of this year when the mortgage company re-evaluates my escrow account (where the PMI payment is drawn from) and re-calculates my monthly mortgage payment for the following year.

If this is the first post you’ve read of mine on the subject of PMI cancellation, you may want to take a look at this earlier post where I was, in my opinion, wrongfully denied cancellation by Countrywide.

I plan to do this as soon as possible and am currently evaluating various promotional credit card offers I’ve received in the mail to be able to make the additional payment as soon at this week.

The most attractive offer so far is from Chase Bank. It’s 0% until April of 2009 with a 3% transaction fee capped at $199. In this scenario, I’d write a check to myself for $2555 and be charged with a $76.65 transaction fee (3 percent).

My new balance with Chase would be $2631.65 at 0% for 8 months. That works out to around a minimum of $330 per month to pay it off before any finance charges come along. That wouldn’t be a problem.

If this plan were successful, it would prevent paying $85.15 in PMI charges for at least 4 months (possibly more), a $130 appraisal fee, and loads of difficult to calculate interest.

So, for a cost of $76.65, I could save an absolute minimum of $470.60.

Sounds like a good plan.

Before any of this happens though, I first need to get in contact with Countrywide and ensure that reaching the 22% mark will indeed automatically cancel PMI without any additional effort (or $130 appraisals) from me.

My interpretation of the law (and I read it like 50 times over) indicates that automatic cancellation at 22% has nothing to do with an increase or decrease in the value of the home, only with how much the mortgage is paid down. I have my doubts, but we’ll see…

(In all actuality, my wife will probably make the confrontational phone call. She’s *way* better at that sort of thing than I am. That’s why I married her!)

Worst case, I knock off a lot more principle, save a bunch of money, file a complaint with the FTC, and then see where that takes me…

Posted on July 15th, 2008 at 1:13 pm by Brainy Smurf
2008 Goals, Credit Card, Finance, Mortgage, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 8 Comments »

FTC Bait? My Own Mortgage Crisis…

Countrywide Home LoansI knew it.

I knew it!

I knew that canceling PMI wasn’t going to be easy. I just knew it.

And I’m pissed.

Here’s the letter I received from Countrywide’s Mortgage Insurance Department yesterday:

IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR LOAN

Thank you for your recent inquiry about deleting the mortgage insurance on your Countrywide home loan. Your loan must meet current mortgage insurance cancellation requirements for this to occur. Please allow us to explain what this involves.

———————————-

WHAT THIS MEANS

The current value of your property must be equal to or greater than the original value of your property at the time the loan closed for the PMI to be deleted. The original value of your property means the lesser of the sales price or the appraised value at the closing of a purchase loan, and the appraised value at the closing of a refinance loan. A Certificate of Value (COV) is required to determine if the current value of your property is sufficient to meet this requirement. Your noteholder requires Countrywide Home Loans to select your COV provider. You will be responsible for the cost of the COV. Before you send a check or call to provide credit card information for you COV, we would suggest that you try to verify that the value of your property meet the above mentioned criteria.

———————————-

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

If you choose to continue with the COV ordering process, simply complete the form at the bottom of this letter and return it with a check made payable to Landsafe Appraisal Services for $130.00. You must reference your loan number and write “COV Fee” on the check. Please do not include the COV fee along with your regular monthly payment. It must be sent separately.

Landsafe w ill [sic] contract a local Broker or Realtor to perform the COV, which will include an interior inspection and photographs. The Broker or Realtor should identify himself or herself and indicate that he or she was contracted by Landsafe. If he or she fails to do so, please ask. Our department will then review the COV and if it is determined that it adequately supports at least the original value of the property, your request will be approved. The insurance will be cancelled and your payment adjusted accordingly.

———————————-

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Because of your timely payment record, we are able to consider your request; however, please keep in mind that any late payment may prevent cancellation.

If you do not take action within 60 days, please contact us at (800) 669-6607 to confirm your continued eligibility.

We look forward to receiving you COV soon so that we can take care of this matter for you.

Requirements are subject to change.

This letter supersedes any previous information that may have been provided to you.

So, basically, they want me to pay them $130 even though I’ve met the criteria required to cancel PMI. I get it.

“This letter supersedes any previous information that may have been provided to you.”

Yep, it must.

I understand that the housing market is down and that mortgage companies like Countrywide are struggling but it was pretty clear (even on Countrywide’s website) that PMI cancellation could be requested at the 20% mark based entirely on the original value of the home. I’m past that mark.

While $130 really isn’t that much — my wife says it’s a great deal — the idea of paying them more to tell me that my house is worth more than it was 6 years ago doesn’t sit well with me.

Neither does taking time off of work to have a realtor come over and tour my house with a camera. The Fair Plan insurance inspections I’ve been subjected to are more than enough… Yeah, maybe I have privacy issues, but it’s really not cool to be forced to let strangers (essentially un-invited) poke their heads into your closets. And then demand money.

Heading over to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, on the subject of Private Mortgage Insurance they state:

For home mortgages signed on or after July 29, 1999, your PMI must – with certain exceptions – be terminated automatically when you reach 22 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current. Your PMI also can be canceled, when you request – with certain exceptions – when you reach 20 percent equity in your home based on the original property value, if your mortgage payments are current.

One exception is if your loan is “high-risk.” Another is if you have not been current on your payments within the year prior to the time for termination or cancellation. A third is if you have other liens on your property. For these loans, your PMI may continue. Ask your lender or mortgage servicer (a company that collects your payments) for more information about these requirements.

None of those exceptions apply to my loan. Not one.

My mortgage was signed after July 29, 1999. It’s not high risk, it’s current, and there are no liens on my property. No re-fi’s, no HELOC’s… Nothing…

Perhaps I should file a complaint with the FTC? That would probably be an even bigger hassle. You’d think that what the FTC says would “supersede” anything Countrywide says about the matter… You’d think…

But now I’m wondering if Countrywide will drop PMI without question at the 22% mark — where it’s supposed to drop automatically. While I’d prefer not to send the additional funds towards the mortgage right now, that mark is just around $2500 away. Do-able.

But if, at the 22% mark, they still come back with this exact same form letter, well, I guess I’m not sure what I’ll do then, but filing a complaint with the FTC will definitely look more attractive.

Posted on July 15th, 2008 at 8:11 am by Brainy Smurf
2008 Goals, Finance, Insurance, Mortgage, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 11 Comments »

Wouldn’t you know it…

Just days after requesting that the private mortgage insurance from my mortgage be removed, I see that they’ve taken another $85.15 from my escrow account to pay, well, for the private mortgage insurance I shouldn’t have be paying for anymore.

PMI Payment from Mortgage Escrow Account

Not that I didn’t expect that to happen — Countrywide did give themselves 3 weeks to “research” the request.

In fact, I’d bet that I even end up paying it yet again in August.

Sure, August 10th is more than 3 weeks in the future, but just you wait…

Posted on July 11th, 2008 at 8:09 am by Brainy Smurf
Finance, Mortgage, PMI - Mortgage Insurance, Rants | 1 Comment »