I see nothing wrong with PROFESSIONALS collecting advance fees from consumers to assist them with their loan modifications. To make advance fees illegal is a knee-jerk, ridiculous response to the problem. Who will help homeowners for free? No one of consequence. The governments own monthly reports on modifications show that the banks/lenders are NOT aggressively approving modifications. December 2009 numbers showed that LESS THAN 2% of those eligible for modifications have received a permanent one. HUD counselors don't have the time, experience or MOTIVATION to put in the effort required to get a modification approved. Everyone's just a number to them, next! In Michigan, we have laws that now require a lender to offer a face-to-face meeting with their lender representative to discuss a modification. EVERY meeting I've been to with a homeowner has been a waste of time. There is no discussion - just the lender informing the homeowner they've already been REJECTED for any type of modification. In every case the homeowners actually qualify under HAMP, but the lenders can't seem to perform the simple math needed to calculate 31% of a homeowner's income, or they can't even calculate income from paystubs correctly! Homeowners are then forced to hire an attorney to go to court to fight for their HAMP rights. How many Michigan homeowners do you think have given up in the face of these lender strong-arm tactics? Where are the penalties for the banks/lenders in all this? If a homeowner can prove they were incorrectly rejected for a HAMP modification, who helps that homeowner take on their lender? Everything is stacked too far already in favor of the banks/lenders. Removing upfront fees will effectively remove the private sector from the loan modification process. I'm sure the banks/lenders would like nothing more than to have TOTAL control of the HAMP process with no challenges to their modification rejections.