Use this CNN link http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/01/real_estate/foreclosure_abuse/index.htm to find out about your chances for a review.
I just received my letter. If you have not received a letter – ask for a review.
Just to let you all know – this blog is still very active. I’m pretty busy working my butt off – to pay the penalties the lenders imposed on us for NO reason – other than they could and did.
While I may have gotten a modification I do not trust these lenders. I have made 14 payments – not late once.
I’m not done fighting – these bandits need to be held accountable. Those of you out – don’t give up. Write to every politician connected to your state including your state Attorney General, your mayor and your governor. Do not let up.
I don’t know when the White House and all those elected official will finally get the message that this crisis is NOT just about sub-prime loans. This is about people that are in a heap of trouble because of loss of income. Jobs!
You have to fight for yourself and fight back hard.
Follow up on this folks -
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Homeowners whose lenders played fast and loose with their foreclosures may be in for a payday.
More than 4 million mortgage borrowers who were foreclosed on between 2009 and 2010 will have a chance to request an independent review of how their foreclosure process was handled, according to Joe Evers, the deputy comptroller for large banks at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
Now – this is something to follow. Happen to me. Saved out home but it cost us.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said she is preparing to sue some mortgage lenders for foreclosure-related improprieties, including allegations that the companies have threatened homeowners with property seizures and unwarranted fees even after granting them permanent loan modifications.
“To the extent that banks are not meeting their obligations, this conduct is inexcusable and my office will work to hold them accountable,’’ said Coakley, who did not name the lenders she is targeting for litigation.
She was responding to a story in yesterday’s Globe that focused on homeowners who have filed suit against Bank of America Corp., claiming the nation’s largest lender agreed to modify the terms of their mortgage loans but continued to hound them for more money and – in some cases – kept pursuing foreclosures. The suit – which includes two Massachusetts homeowners – was filed earlier this year in US District Court in California. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the case. http://articles.boston.com/2011-10-18/business/30293266_1_mortgage-lenders-coakley-permanent-loan-modifications
“Mitt Romney’s message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: You’re on your own, so step aside.”
Yeah, well thanks a bunch Mitt. He was all for bailing out those banks that are foreclosing on us.
Don’t think for one minuter any politician is looking out to help the middle class. Not one D or R is helping those struggling.
For the full story - http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/romney-says-foreclosures-should-1205148.html
The state’s highest court added further turmoil to the housing market yesterday when it ruled that buyers of some foreclosed homes may not be the legal owners of those properties.
The decision leaves in limbo hundreds, if not thousands, of people who bought homes seized by lenders under questionable circumstances. They are left with no easy recourse; among their options are to sue the lender behind the botched foreclosure or “reforeclose’’ on the prior owner.
Foreclosures………..A MUST SEE! Have you ever
wondered why banks are not modifying many mortgages, and instead are
letting homes go into foreclosure?
NORTH ANDOVER — A new bill would set up a special court to resolve questions raised by a court ruling that could invalidate thousands of Bay State foreclosures.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin filed legislation Friday to give the Land Court authority to create a special master to deal with foreclosures that may have occurred improperly. Anyone seeking to challenge the legitimacy of a foreclosure would have one year to file a lawsuit in the court.
Galvin’s bill follows a Supreme Judicial Court decision in U.S. Bank v. Ibanez, upholding a 2009 Land Court ruling that a bank or lender must have proper documentation proving it holds a title before foreclosing on a home.
“It’s opened the door to anyone that wants to question a foreclosure that’s already moved forward,” Galvin said of the decision. As the secretary of state, Galvin is the state’s register of deeds. Galvin’s bill will go to the Legislature for debate.
The special court could play host to homeowners who purchased a foreclosed home staking claim against a former homeowner who may have faced an improper foreclosure. Galvin pointed out that about 40,000 foreclosures have taken place in Massachusetts since 2006.
“I doubt that half of them are going to be involved in this,” Galvin said. “I don’t know if it’s 5 percent. But if it’s 5 percent, that’s 2,000 properties.”
Attorney Paul Maggliocchetti, a partner in the Haverhill firm Sheehan, Schiavoni, Jutras and Magliocchetti, LLP, believes the Legislature needs to act fast to tackle the potential lawsuits from people who have faced foreclosure.
“Where do they go to inquire whether they get their home back or whether [a foreclosure] was done illegally?” Maggliocchetti said. “Are they all going to have to file suits in the courts? You’re going to overload the courts.”
Limiting the special court to one year will help the state move forward, Galvin said.
“There’s significant enough numbers here that we’ve got to straighten this mess out,” Galvin said. “We want to get this problem solved and we want to move on.”
The legislation also includes new provisions and protections to make the foreclosure process more transparent. A lender seeking to foreclose a property would have to provide 25 days notice to the homeowner as well as contact information for the lender and anyone working on its behalf. Protections include giving courts the power to order a restructure of mortgage debt for unemployed and underemployed homeowners.
Banks, Galvin said, were reluctant to work with the state in the past to change foreclosure laws.
New day for banks
“It was in the banks’ best interest to keep it the way it is because they were winning the game,” Galvin said. “Well they just lost, so it might be in their best interest to straighten this mess out.”
Maggliocchetti would like to see the burden placed on the banks to figure out whether foreclosures were conducted correctly so purchasers of foreclosed homes can find out quickly if they have a title that’s questionable. Banks, he said, should develop a database of foreclosures and create a pool of money to pay damages to Bay State residents who were foreclosed on improperly.
“I think that the banks should be required to pay to figure out which properties have defective titles and notify the present owners and notify the former owners,” Maggliocchetti said. “I think the onus has to go on the banks who committed this violation and this is part of their compensation to the public. This should not fall on the taxpayers.”
David Turcotte, a co-editor of the Merrimack Valley Housing Report and a research professor of economics at UMass Lowell, said Galvin’s proposal has good intent, but he wants the special court to be staffed adequately and he would like to see more details on how the court determines who has been wronged.
Answering the questions on foreclosure titles quickly and efficiently, Turcotte said, could mean the difference in selling more homes and turning around the market.
“The more you slow down the process, the longer the impact will be in the real estate market and the economy,” Turcotte said.
Other foreclosure news:
The Warren Group, a Boston-based real estate data firm, reported this week that completed foreclosures jumped 32 percent over 2009. Earlier this month, the Merrimack Valley Housing Report released numbers for 2010 showing double-digit increases over 2009 in Haverhill and Methuen foreclosure notices – which start the foreclosure process – and completed foreclosures. Lawrence had single-digit increases in both numbers.
Bay State officials will be holding a public hearing in Lawrence on Tuesday on new foreclosure legislation that extends for homeowners the time period following right-to-cure notices from 90 to 150 days, among other provisions. Under the legislation, the Division of Banks would create regulations regarding information about the timing of the cure period, counseling options, alternatives to foreclosure sale and the language in which the notice is printed.
It has been a long road but I have received my modification.
Within 2 weeks of making my 3 trial payment I received a package. While the terms are not great – there affordable and most importantly to me – I get to keep my home. Yes, my home is underwater but I’ve been there before. If you recall in the 80′s this was negative equity. To me this is an okay deal – yes they could have done better.
Each one has to make their own decision of what they are willing to accept. For me keeping my home was my goal. I’ve accomplished that. The payment has been lowered - the interest rate has been lowered. They offered us some incentives and the payment is affordable.
It has not been an easy road – I am convenienced that had I not written to every politician connected – had not contacted and attorney - had not had this blog - I would be out on the street.
That’s my advice – hound the politicians.
Package to be mailed out tomorrow – and once I’ve made that first payment – I’ll breathe easier. I still do not trust them.
I’ve got more to post – as there have been some other developments - but for now I wanted to share my good news.
Finally !!! This isn’t just about paperwork errors. It’s about the banks consistent and deliberate deceit and even intimidation of struggling homeowners.”
Attorneys General Hope Lenders Will Re-Write Loans With Troubled Documents
A coalition of as many as 40 state attorneys general is expected Wednesday to announce an investigation into the mortgage-servicing industry, an effort some of them hope will pressure financial institutions to rewrite large numbers of troubled loans.
The move comes amid recent allegations that mortgage-servicers, which include units of major banks such as Bank of America Corp., submitted fraudulent documents in thousands of foreclosure proceedings nationwide
I love this poster!!! Thank You Shirley!!! I’ve been working my butt off just trying to keep my home and food on my table that I have not been able to put in the time this blog deserves. I am back on track becasue I am not going down without a fight.
We’ve made our first trial payment – we received confirmation and the check was chashed. IBM unlike First Horizon that looses checks – seems to have their act together. I am strating to like IBM. I still do not trust them. We’ll see if we go from trial to permanent. I’m still writing and I’m still angry.
On to Shirley’s Fix:
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!
Congressional Reform Act of 2010
1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when
they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and
back to work.
If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete
For the entire article click here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100916/ap_on_bi_ge/us_foreclosure_rates
Lenders took back more homes in August than in any month since the start of the U.S. mortgage crisis.
Larry Book of Winter Garden, Fla., was one packet away from a permanent loan modification from Chase under the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention plan after more than a year of back and forth and one failed attempt.
But his modification never went through. Instead, his loan was transferred from Chase to IBM Lender Business Process Servicers in July and he was told he owed $9,562.62 and must bring his mortgage current by Sept. 15 or foreclosure proceedings will begin.
It just becomes too exhausting,” Book said about the modification process. “That’s why some people walk away. But I’ve invested too much and given up too much to just let it go.”
Most homeowners will NOT qualify because of the “rules” the lenders and Fannie Mae impose. I’ve stated that before many times. Homeowners are NOT looking for a handout – just a chance to save their home.
This is NOT going to get better in September. Those numbers 1 in 381 SCARE ME.
We received our 3 month trial package – and for the most part we are not unhappy with the “terms”. We are very unhappy about all the fees added on. Interest on top of interest bother me a whole lot. That for another day and more research.
I am wondering why the “trial”? They say that is a Fannie Mae rule but… Is this just another delay tactic? I can’t help wonder if they are trying to shut me up. Since I’ve had so many elected officials looking into this on my behalf I don’t think I am unreasonable in posing the question.
I hope to hear from those of you that have received a 3 month
Bankruptcy specialists say lenders and loan servicers often do not comply with even the most basic legal requirements, like correctly computing the amount a borrower owes on a foreclosed loan or providing proof of holding the mortgage note in question.
Loan servicing is extremely lucrative. Servicers, which collect payments from borrowers and pass them on to investors who own the loans, generally receive a percentage of income from a loan, often 0.25 percent on a prime mortgage and 0.50 percent on a subprime loan. Servicers typically generate profit margins of about 20 percent
On Oct. 9, the Chapter 13 trustee in Pittsburgh asked the court to sanction Countrywide, the nation’s largest loan servicer, saying that the company had lost or destroyed more than $500,000 in checks paid by homeowners in foreclosure from December 2005 to April 2007.
This is more that sickening.
for the full atricle click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/business/06mortgage.html?_r=4&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Wanted to share this with you – from a poster. Thank You!
Fannie Mae executives bungled their stewardship of the federal government’s massive foreclosure-prevention campaign, creating a bureaucratic muddle characterized by “mismanagement and gross waste of public funds,” according to a whistleblower lawsuit by a former Fannie Mae executive and consultant.
click here for the full atricle http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2305/
The words written below are not mine – I posting to bring them in the spotlight as most do not read all the comments.
Thank You for you very thoughtful, intelligent insight. While this is your personal story – we have many similar. This poster sure sheds light on those of us that have been depicted as living lavish lifestyle. Like this poster my lifestyle is NOT lavish in fact I have always lived within my means. We have been wrongly grouped in with those that did live a lavish live and bought what they knew they could not afford.
Thank You for taking the time to post. I wish you all the best Shirley and hope you will keep us updated. I also hope you continue to read my blog and use whatever tidbits you can. In the next few days I will be posting some more news.
Well, I’ve waited long enough…406 days since first applying for loan modification and 122 days with IBM Lender Services. I want to comment on my frivolous, greedy and incompetent lifestyle that got me into this mess. I want to congratulate you smarter people who have not had to experience any adverse affects to the abuses of capitalism in our Great Nation. I’m sorry to be such a drain on my fellow citizens. Here’s my greedy and irresponsible story….
May God Bless America and lead us all out of this mess.
I am a 70-year-old single, female, retired elementary school principal.
I have a credit rating in the 800′s
I owe nothing on credit cards
I drive a ten-year old car with 180,000 miles on it.
I have been making house payments for 45 years and have NEVER missed one.
I have always tried to “do the right thing”!
I worked out my budget down to the last penny to sell my primary residence (at the assumed value of that time) and some resort property (at the assumed value of that time) to buy a retirement home on one floor (my knees were giving out). I would be left with a comfortable, affordable mortgage and additional funds for retirement
The new home was on a discounted sale one weekend so I purchased it….before the resort property sold.
My admitted mistake…the resort property has never sold so my mortgage is more than I planned. I will get a loan modification or be out on the street at age 70 and my retirement funds in free fall..
Weather we realize it or not; we all go into financial contracts with certain assumptions in mind to make the payments sustainable, ie….”I will continue to have my job, I will get my COLA raise in Sept, the kids will be in school and the wife will be going back to work, my health will continue to sustain me, we’ll have the car paid off with $400 more a month to spend, we can refurbish our savings with my year-end bonus”…and, so, we sign the contract. believing that life will go on as planned and the payments will fit into our “ASSUMED” long term budget.
But, in 2007-2008 life did not go on, as planned, for me and many others. The ABUSES of CAPITALISM came home to haunt us all. So, government programs were put into place to support and assist. (Whether you agree or disagree with “the plan”; that is the capitalism game we are now playing) and I applied for a loan modification and find myself in a very unexpected place.
So, you who are smarter and wiser than I…be careful about the assumptions you make…including the lavish, wild, irresponsible lifestyles that you indict. Remember the old adage….”there by the grace of God go I”…
I hope I have been able to clarify that my lifestyle has been neither lavish, nor wild, nor irresponsible to my fellow citizens…I happened to make sound financial assumptions……………….one month too late.
1. do you send in all of those proxy votes from your IRA account funds to hold Boards of Directors accountable for non-abuse of capitalism?
2. do you take action to lobby corporations who scrape too much off the top for CEO salaries and profits and do not share the profits with the middle class workers in salary compensation for the productivity that provided the profits in the first place? (Middle class salaries have not kept current with the rise of productivity in this country for the last 20 years)
3. do you lobby against corporations who are buying elections in this country and making our “one person/one vote” principal a thing of the past?
4. do you lobby for the supreme court to overturn its recent decision to give corporations even more power and take it out of our hands?
5. did you question your banks and their Boards of Directors when they were making irresponsible loans?
6. did you lobby your Senators and Representatives when deregulation of banks, and oil companies etc. went into effect? (We won’t even play a football game without referees to implement the 3 inch notebooks full of rules to make it an even playing field and fair game for all and yet, we’ve let capitalism run wild without any rules for fair play.)
7. are you lobbying to unleash the stimulus money the banks are sitting on that keeps ALL of our real estate suppressed in value.
If you answered “NO” to any of the above then…are you doing your part to keep Capitalism and our Corporations accountable?….we are their bosses, you know.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a socialist, or a Marxist or a Communists or any of those “ists” that critics like to throw around. I love Capitalism….We need Capitalism…Capitalism unleashed the talent and entrepreneurship that made this country great and will make it great again…but lets play by some rules to make it a fair game that includes us all…and quit abusing it with unregulated greed!
Well, that’s my say…thanks for reading….if you’ve come this far.
And remember “Those who live in glass houses…better be throwing soft and empathetic and presumptuous stones!” The stone may come back atcha someday!
I wanted to share some information I took into consideration regarding walking away from an under water mortgage. In my case, we made a decision not to walk away. I think this article adds another dimension that for consideration in your decision. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/risks-of-walking-away-from-mortgage-debt-1.aspx
A few highlights that made me rethink walking away.
Some homeowners underwater on their home loan — meaning they owe more on the mortgage than the home’s current value — are turning to “strategic defaults” in which they simply walk away from mortgage debt.
The American Bankers Association recently warned homeowners about the consequences of strategic default, including the possibility of the bank obtaining a judgment to pursue the homeowner’s assets, such as bank accounts, cars and investments.
A foreclosure — regardless of whether it is because of a strategic default or other circumstances — also has a negative impact on a consumer’s credit score.
“A foreclosure is one of the stronger predictors of future credit risk,” says Craig Watts, public affairs director of FICO.
Foreclosures remain on a credit report for seven years, with the impact gradually lessening over time.
In addition, a voluntary foreclosure can impact a homeowner’s ability to qualify for a new mortgage for years to come
Tax liability is another potential danger of defaulting. Although the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (extended through 2012) offers widespread protection from federal taxes following a foreclosure, state taxes still may be due on unpaid debt.
A lender can also pursue the remaining debt from an unpaid loan by obtaining a deficiency judgment against the delinquent borrower, or may work with a collection agency to recoup losses.
Despite the potential negative consequences of a strategic default, the move is less risky in some states than others.
“The first question for anyone considering a strategic default is whether the homeowners will be liable for the debt anyway. “Each state has different rules.”
Non-recourse laws protect homeowners in some states. When a borrower defaults in one of these states, the lender can take the home through a foreclosure but has no right to any other borrower assets. (Home equity loans are not eligible for this protection unless they were used as part of the home purchase.)
According to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 11 states are “non-recourse” states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.
“In California, we have some of the best anti-deficiency rules around, so banks can foreclose on the home but cannot get any other judgment to claim additional assets.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.
The program is intended to help those at risk of foreclosure by lowering their monthly mortgage payments. Friday’s report from the Treasury Department suggests the $75 billion government effort is failing to slow the tide of foreclosures in the United States, economists say.
More than 2.3 million homes have fallen into foreclosure since the recession began in December 2007, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. Economists expect the number of foreclosures to grow well into next year.
“The government program as currently structured is petering out. It is taking in fewer homeowners, more are dropping out and fewer people are ending up in permanent modifications,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Besides forcing people from their homes, foreclosures and distressed home sales have pushed down on home values and crippled the broader housing industry. They have made it difficult for homebuilders to compete with the depressed prices and discouraged potential sellers from putting their homes on the market.
Approximately 630,000 people who had tried to get their monthly mortgage payments lowered through the government program have been cut loose through July, according to the Treasury report. That’s about 48 percent of the those who had enrolled since March 2009.
And it is up from more than 40 percent through June.
Another 421,804, or roughly 32 percent of those who started the program, have received permanent loan modifications and are making their payments on time.
RealtyTrac reported that the number of U.S. homes lost to foreclosure surged in July to 92,858 properties, up 9 percent from June. The pace of repossessions has been increasing and the nation is now on track to having more than 1 million homes lost to foreclosure by the end of the year. That would eclipse the more than 900,000 homes repossessed in 2009, the firm says.
Lenders have historically taken over about 100,000 homes a year, according to RealtyTrac.
Zandi said the government effort will likely end up helping only about 500,000 homeowners lower their monthly payments on a permanent basis. That’s a small percentage of the number of people who have already lost their homes to foreclosure or distressed sales like short sales — when lenders let homeowners sell for less than they owe on their mortgages.
Zandi predicts another 1.5 million foreclosures or short sales in 2011.
“We still have a lot more foreclosures to come and further home price declines,” Zandi said. He said home prices, which have already fallen 30 percent since the peak of the housing boom, would drop by another 5 percent by next spring.
Many borrowers have complained that the government program is a bureaucratic nightmare. They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did not send back the necessary paperwork.
The banking industry said borrowers weren’t sending back their paperwork. They also have accused the Obama administration of initially pressuring them to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.
Obama officials dispute that they pressured banks. They have defended the program, saying lenders are making more significant cuts to borrowers’ monthly payments than before the program was launched. And some of the largest mortgage companies in the program have offered alternative programs to those who fell out.
Homeowners who qualify can receive an interest rate as low as 2 percent for five years and a longer repayment period. Those who have successfully navigated the program to reach permanent modifications have seen their monthly payments cut on average by about $500.
Homeowners first receive temporary modifications and those are supposed to become permanent after borrowers make three payments on time and complete all the required paperwork. That includes proof of income and a letter explaining the reason for their troubles. But in practice, the process has taken far longer.
The more than 100 participating mortgage companies get taxpayer incentives to reduce payments. As of mid-June only $490 million had been spent out of a potential $75 billion the government has made available to help stem the wave of foreclosures
Article can be found here:
The new term for Home Foreclosure is Home Repossession. That is the new politically correct term for foreclosure.
They think we won’t notice. They think it sounds better, softer more friendly.
Record number of foreclosures and still – they all tell us the economy is getting better! Is this administration deaf, dumb and blind? The media - continually reports things are getting better – wake up – the numbers do not add up to the economy is getting better.
I have said over and over – none of the programs enacted by this president are working – 6% since 2009 is the proof.
Here’s a thought Mr. President – “have a beer summit” with all those lenders and force them to “do the right thing”. Work it out with the homeowners!!
I have NO confidence in the administration or our leaders in congress. Nothing has change and everything has gotten worse. You own it – you can fix it!
Main Street may be about to get its own gigantic bailout. Rumors are running wild from Washington to Wall Street that the Obama administration is about to order government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forgive a portion of the mortgage debt of millions of Americans who owe more than what their homes are worth. An estimated 15 million U.S. mortgages – one in five – are underwater with negative equity of some $800 billion. Recall that on Christmas Eve 2009, the Treasury Department waived a $400 billion limit on financial assistance to Fannie and Freddie, pledging unlimited help. The actual vehicle for the bailout could be the Bush-era Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to Obama’s loan modification effort. HARP was just extended through June 30, 2011.
The move, if it happens, would be a stunning political and economic bombshell less than 100 days before a midterm election in which Democrats are currently expected to suffer massive, if not historic losses. The key date to watch is August 17 when the Treasury Department holds a much-hyped meeting on the future of Fannie and Freddie. A few key points:
1) Republican leaders believe this is going to happen since GOPers and Democratic moderates in the Senate are unwilling to spend more taxpayer money on more stimulus. But such a housing plan would allow the White House to sidestep congressional objections and show voters it is doing something tangible about an economy that seems to be weakening.
2) Wall Street banks are alerting their clients privately to this possibility. Here is what some are cautiously saying publicly. This from Goldman Sachs:
For the full article : http://blogs.reuters.com/drudge.html
Maybe Obama gets it. If more and more homeowners are foreclosed on at the current rate – the economy will never recover. Real Estate is the economy.
If Obama finally gives some help for homeowners – and I do not mean a bailout – He just may get my vote.
August 3, 2010
By Jillian Jorgensen firstname.lastname@example.org
SANDOWN — All Victoria Gauvin wants to do is pay her mortgage and stay in her home.But since May, she has called Bank of America repeatedly. Her attorney has called Bank of America repeatedly. Mail has been received by the bank, but has gone unanswered. And though Gauvin said she was just two months behind on her payments, the bank is asking her for more than $86,000.
She doesn’t have much time left to get any answers or reach any agreements: The foreclosure date on the notice she received in May is Aug. 5.
“They give us the runaround,” she said. “Basically, they said to have my toothbrush packed, because I could be on the street.”
Gauvin, a special education case worker in the Sanborn School District, has the ability to pay her mortgage. But she certainly doesn’t have $86,000 to pay by Thursday.
She said she had never even heard of owing that much money until March, shortly after her mortgage loan was acquired by Bank of America. Before that, the mortgage was handled by Wilshire Credit Corporation.
“Why did (Bank of America) buy this and all of a sudden say, ‘This is what you owe,’” she asked. “Why am I not continuing with my normal payments?”
Her attorney, Christopher Perry, is a longtime family friend and is representing her pro bono. He said Gauvin first started to fall behind her payments in 2007, after a house fire.
Her insurance claim took time, he said, and while she waited, she had to pay both her mortgage and her rent to live elsewhere, due to smoke damage in her home. Gauvin said she was never more than two months behind, although she acknowledged she has struggled to pay since 2007, with a wage freeze at work making things worse.
Modification may be heart of matter
In 2009, Perry said, Wilshire modified Gauvin’s mortgage payments. She owed a total of $257,000, but an appraisal showed the house to be worth just $160,000. So Wilshire allowed her to make payments based on the $160,000 value, holding about $67,000 in abeyance for 12 months.
That brought her to the start of this year, when Wilshire was selling the loan to Bank of America, Perry said. He said all banks have a common strategy when they are helping to modify — or continue a modification — on a mortgage.
“They tell you, ‘Well, we can’t help you as long as you’re making your payments. So stop making your payments,’” Perry said.
So Gauvin stopped, intending to keep the modification in place.
“They tell her, ‘We’re going to modify you. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine,’” Perry said.
Six weeks later, Gauvin got a notice from Bank of America, welcoming her to the bank — and saying she needed to send them a check for a little more than $86,000 to become current on her loan. Perry thinks that figure must come from the amount Gauvin had in abeyance for the year.
The bank also stopped paying her insurance and taxes from her escrow account, he said.
“In fairness to Bank of America, in the beginning, I think it was possible it was just a mistake,” Perry said.
But he sent letters, with evidence attached, disputing the amount.
“I was critical, but I was also trying to be fair,” he said.
Lawyer: Bank has been unresponsive
All his letters have gone unanswered: a notice of representation, a dispute of the debt, everything. The foreclosure notice came from a firm in Laconia — Haughe, Philpot and Laurent. Perry finally reached them Friday, and said Thomas Haughe said he had received Perry’s letters and attachments, which were sent within the 20 days allowed by law to dispute a foreclosure, and had forwarded them to Bank of America.
Perry said Haughe told him he thought the bank should work with Gauvin.
“It’s very frustrating, even as an attorney, when you’re trying to deal with a big institution like Bank of America,” he said. “You can never reach the same person twice.”
Perry said yesterday he has made “at least 40 calls” to Bank of America — with no success.
In a statement Friday, Bank of America said, “Due to customer privacy issues, we are unable to discuss specific details of Ms. Gauvin’s account. We have assigned an associate to work directly with Ms. Gauvin to resolve her issues.”
That made Gauvin laugh, long and hard.
“Me and my attorney, they will not give us the same person on the phone,” she said. “I have written down the dates and the different people I have spoken to.”
When she asks for something in writing, she said, they tell her no.
I’ve never heard of a place who won’t put anything in writing,” she said.
Gauvin is still two months behind on her mortgage payments. She can make her payments, but the bank told her that even if she’s up to date, they can still foreclose for the $86,000 she owes.
“I said, ‘I have the ability to pay, why won’t you let me?’” Gauvin said.
Because of the difficulty she has had getting information from Bank of America, Gauvin’s not sure if they are going forward with the foreclosure or not. But the threat of being told by someone from the sheriff’s office that she, her 13-year-old son and two dogs need to leave the home she’s owned since 1994 is haunting.
“My son is terrified,” she said. “He’s like, ‘Mama, I couldn’t go without my dogs. What’s going to happen to us?’”