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Pioneering LoanMod.com fights for homeowners in Michigan and beyond


While the state of Michigan was one of the hardest-hit during the recent U.S. mortgage crisis, many residents have been lucky enough to have one of the leading organizations in the fight to save homes in their backyard.
 
LoanMod.com, hailed as the first loan modification company in America, was founded in 2006 by Chairman & CEO Moose M. Scheib, a highly-decorated entrepreneur with degrees in Economics and Management from Albion College in Michigan along with a Law degree from Columbia University of New York. 
 
Scheib lobbied for the loan mod option since 2006. The process of loan modifying, which Scheib has been credited for bringing to the forefront as a solution to the national housing crisis, is performed by the company to reduce monthly payments so families can afford to stay in their homes.  To date, the loan mod option has saved over two-million homeowners from foreclosure.  

The idea for the company began when Scheib's uncle faced foreclosure and Scheib negotiated with the bank to rework the terms of the mortgage in order to save the home.  Scheib eventually left his plush law firm job in New York City and began his company in Michigan, going door-to-door to meet with struggling homeowners in Detroit.  He spoke to people one-on-one about their concerns and the causes for their hardships. He then went on to build a staff around him to continue to help others to obtain loan mods that stick and loans that are executed according to the law. One client from Atlanta was able to have his principal payment on his mortgage lowered from $850,000 to $450,000 through LoanMod after irregularities were found in the bank's mortgage. The man sent Scheib a large mounted moose's head to thank him, which now hangs on the wall above his desk. 
 
As the housing crisis has persisted, with over 10,000 loan mod transactions under their belt, the LoanMod team is venturing into more non-profit and do-it-yourself how to training to ensure that anyone facing the loss of their home has a fair chance to fight for it. Expanding reach of resources and knowledge of the foreclosure crisis is one of their primary goals. Large clocks showing current times in Los Angeles, Denver, and Honolulu line the walls of LoanMod's office in Dearborn so the LoadMod team can stay on track with clients across the country.
 
Schieb said that banks are willing to negotiate but added that it's important for a company to go into the process with a strong background in law so they can explore all options for reducing payments and perhaps finding problems with original mortgages that may allow homeowners to gain the upper hand in the negotiation process. 

LoanMod is a one-stop-shop for homeowners in dealing with their housing situation.  Other services offered by LoanMod are becoming popular including settlements and short sales, which allow the owner to sell the house for less than they owe on it with the bank's agreement.    

Scheib talked about the growth of his company and the emerging problem of foreclosures.
"Half of it was luck and half was preparation. I don't think anyone foresaw how big the crisis would be; I saw how easy people were getting these bad loans but I do not believe anyone ever imagined this scale of foreclosure numbers." 

The problem is likely to persist according to data from colleague and analyst Sama Chahine of LoanMod. "  As people's savings continue to dwindle due to joblessness, we will see more waves of foreclosures hitting even deeper into middle American neighborhoods, in turn lowering home sale values."  According to CoreLogic, of the nearly 48 million mortgages in the United States, more than 11 million of them, or 23%, are underwater, with an additional 2 million nearing negative equity status. 
 
But LoanMod's success stories show that the crisis can be solved with the right know-how on a larger scale. Scheib believes that many banks have been dishonest with their loan policies and that the law is often on the side of the homeowner.  The key is to get homeowners connected to the information and resources that can benefit them. "Our primary focus today, is empowering homeowners to make sound financial decisions with their housing situation.  Even those that want to walk away can walk away responsibly to secure their financial future," says Scheib.  
 
In 2011 funding for foreclosure prevention has been wiped out. For example the 2012 Federal Budget, Michigan Foreclosure Task Force and CEDAM are pushing for HUD's housing counseling assistance program funding to be restored.  Banks are working to have laws shifted in their favor to protect their interests and leave homeowners out in the cold.  "For these reasons alone, we need to find new ways to empower and educate homeowners," says Scheib.
 
Scheib was named the 2010 Arab American of the Year in Entrepreneurship by the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, won the Albion College Top 10 in 10 Young Alumni Award, and was also named to the "30 Under 30" list of the next generation of Arab leaders by Arabian Business Magazine, sharing the spotlight with two sons of the billionaire Hariri dynasty started by late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; the only Arab American on the list. Scheib has been featured in Forbes Magazine and on Fox News with Neil Cavuto among other top media outlets. 

Now that his company has a strong footing, Scheib and his team are hoping to live up to their motto of "Saving the American Dream" on an even higher level. 
 
"A big obstacle for a lot of people is getting over their fears," Scheib said. "Homeowners think their credit score determines who they are, they think that a piece of paper with their mortgage on it controls their destiny, but we're here to tell people you should educate yourself on your options and take matters into your own hands."

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