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Live chat: Get answers on fixing mortgages

Joan LaFemina, who runs foreclosure prevention efforts for

Joan LaFemina, who runs foreclosure prevention efforts for the nonprofit Community Development Corp. of Long Island. Photo Credit: Community Development Corp.

Looking for a loan modification? Get advice at noon Friday on Newsday’s live online chat with Joan LaFemina of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island and Migdalia Murati of the Federal Housing Administration.

Share stories, ask about pitfalls and find out how to lower monthly payments quicker. Questions in Spanish welcome.

Expectations of speedier and better help for struggling mortgage borrowers have been low on Long Island despite the White House crackdown on lenders last month.

The Obama administration last month began withholding financial incentives from three major lenders in the homeowners rescue program known as Making Home Affordable, saying “substantial improvement” was needed in handling loan modification requests.

Lenders and loan services get money for lowering borrowers’ monthly payments, for each loan that continues to be paid on time.

But the three institutions – Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase – say that the federal evaluations were based on old data and that they’ve made several improvements in customer service since then.

“It’s not been dramatically different than what was happening before,” said  LaFemina.

It is the first time that the White House has put teeth behind its criticism of lenders. In the past, each time federal officials have publicly chastised lenders, LaFemina said, the customer service improves but after a month or two, “things start to worsen again.”

The chat is at noon Friday, but send in your questions ahead of time to Newsday real estate reporter Ellen Yan at


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