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He never missed a payment, but the bank still foreclosed on his home anyway

Michaud believes mortgage servicers have a greater incentive to foreclose on homeowners and sell the properties at sheriff’s sales than to fix disputes or modify loans.

“Think of it like a toilet swirling,” he said. “Once you're in that vortex, it's almost impossible to get out of it, and that's their goal, to push you into that vortex. And that's why I think that the whole business model is fraudulent, because that's their goal.”

He never missed a payment; Chase sent his checks back

Chase and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which represents the largest mortgage servicers, say banks are not angling to take people’s homes at the first sign of trouble. They said new regulations put in place after the mortgage crisis of 2008 have assured that homeowners get every opportunity to modify the terms of their loan, settle defaults and avoid foreclosure.

But Green said that’s not how Chase treated him. Court records show he never missed a mortgage payment until Chase started sending his checks – more than $1,000 every month -- back to him. The bank considered those partial payments because it said his insurance and tax escrow fees had increased.

What Is a Home Equity Loan? |®

Here's how to decide if a home equity loan is right for you.

What is a home equity loan? How to use these funds—and why

When you get a home equity loan, you can spend that money anyway you choose. However, there are some primary ways people use their funds.

According to a recent Lending Tree study, 43% of home equity loan applicants said they planned to spend the money on home improvements.

Meanwhile, 38% of applicants said they’d use the cash to consolidate debt. That’s often a smart use, “particularly if you’re moving higher-interest debt to lower-interest debt so that you can pay off your debt more quickly,” Giles says.

Using home equity loans for education is also common, given the skyrocketing costs of college education. Plus, families with higher incomes may not qualify for grants or government-backed student loans, but they can qualify for home equity loans.

Additionally, some borrowers put the money toward a down payment on a vacation home or investment property, while others use the funds to buy a car or pay for emergency expenses.

When refinancing a home mortgage, is it usually best to go through a lender's national center or locally?

I am interested in refinancing my home mortgage. My mortgage lender has a number of local mortgage offices as well as a national call center through which I could proceed with the refinancing.

I would simply call the national number. If they have a program for some sort of streamline refinance that would be the best way to go.