HSBC’s Tom Detelich and MMI PHASES raises questions

HSBC is donating (if that is the right word) money to help with foreclosure prevention. We view this announcement with reservation, since foreclosures and lack of response by HSBC are still reported by homeowners. However, Money Management International (MMI), a nonprofit credit and debt counseling and education agency, today announced the official launch of their foreclosure prevention program that started in July 2007. With receipt of its second $1 million grant from HSBC-North America, MMI is able to expand its Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program.

So HSBC funded MMI with $2 million and that “delights” HSBC? There must be a catch somewhere. “HSBC is delighted to continue this partnership with MMI to provide the resources families need to keep their homes, and feel more confident about their future path, ” said Tom Detelich, president, Consumer and Mortgage Lending for HSBC Finance Corporation. “We are committed to working with MMI and other top national and local community organizations to provide practical tools to help families make an immediate difference and help plan for the future.”

Something does not ring true. MMI says their MMI PHASES program is currently available to homeowners in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Either some HSBC customer service representatives do not know about MMI, or there is some internal criteria involved. On October 13th we received this from Illinois: “A family of five is about to lose their home – three children under the age of 10 plus a Disabled Veteran! We began in January 2007 to let HSBC know that we needed to refinance our mortgage…” (see entire report)

Perhaps Tom Detelich can explain the problem. Remember, he is delighted. Is Tom Detelich lacking when it comes to training? Is MMI owned by Detelich’s relatives and friends? Is a collection agency involved? How does HSBC recoup their $2 million “delightful” award to MMI? In theory Money Management International (MMI) is a national HUD-approved housing counseling agency and nonprofit credit and debt counseling firm.

To learn more about the MMI PHASES program, call 888-589-6959 or visit www.MMIPHASES.com. Please let us know about your experiences, both positive or negative.

Maybe its the current financial crisis that makes us wonder about HSBC and MMI. After billions in losses, how would you like to be the president of consumer and mortgage lending for HSBC Finance Corporation? Subprime, former predatory lender (Household International), layoffs, a bad reputation, — the list goes on and on. For those of you that do not know Tom Detelich was William F. Aldinger’s right hand man at Household International while Aldinger was telling his employees and investors that they were not predators. One week later nationwide predatory lending charges against Household made headlines.

Detelich told some people to leave Aldinger alone, saying “our troubles have a tendency to disappear.” Detelich, unless he has his head up his rectum, knows his troubles never disappeared. I think that is why we have trouble with this “delightful” marriage of HSBC, MMI, HUD, and homeowners.