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The BOA Bunk

Back in June of 2010 we applied to Bank of America, our mortgage holder, for a loan modification. We were told that they would not accept a modification request unless we defaulted. We didn’t want to get behind to the point we couldn’t catch up, so we decided to pay the interest and use the balance to pay down some of our debts while we waited for our modification to be approved.

We applied for the “Making Homes Affordable” program, with a promise from Bank of America that they’d have an answer for us in 30 – 90 days. Meanwhile, we received a call from a debt collector every morning about 8AM, informing me that BOA would move toward foreclosure if we didn’t pay the entire monthly payment (which we couldn’t if we wanted them to consider us for a modification).  We explained every morning what we were doing but without fail, the next day we would receive another call, with another promise that we’d receive an answer about the modification in 30-45 or 30-90 days. Each called assured us we would be foreclosed on if we didn’t pay up – saying, “Application for modification doesn’t guarantee approval.” In November we decided to pay $1000 on the balance to help keep our loan balance manageable. Like I said, we didn’t want to get too far behind. But our $1000 check was cashed and then our account was credited back with the full amount with a letter telling us they were no longer accepting payments and were foreclosing. When I called them, they said it was just a formality and that BOA would not foreclose while we were in modification. The next time I called they told me that the foreclose was not put on hold. We felt like a termite in a yoyo!

This went on for 8 months. We called every week to 10 days like we were supposed to. We called the HOPE hotline asking for help. We saw a housing counselor in Kzoo to try to get them to help us get an answer. We called MISHDA. I filed a complaint with the OCC. I even emailed the CEO of Bank of America and got our file transferred to the Office of the President who actually assigned a moderator to our case who was supposed to keep us in the loop regarding our modification. He was pretty good until we received our first denial. Soon after that, he transferred to another department. After much runaround, we found out they denied our modification using the wrong income figures. We’d furnished new paperwork to them half a dozen times (pay stubs, utility bills, etc.), had meetings with a housing professional, even met with the BOA lawyer from Trott and Trott. We jumped through so many hoops over the past few months that we felt like we were in a circus act.

All we wanted was a manageable house payment until we could sell the house. We had equity, but with the housing market the way it is, our equity was being gobbled up by the failing house values. We kept dropping the price, but found no buyers.

Though we were paying the interest and had followed all the rules required for a modification, proving we could afford the new modified monthly mortgage payment (31% required by the govt. for the Making Homes Affordable program) we still were denied because BOA dept losing our paperwork or part of the paperwork. We were told once our file had been lost.

Finally, we decided to drastically drop the price, change to a different realtor, and reinstate the loan by making our loan current (we had the $$ in the bank). I called HOPE again and was told that we were so close to an answer that we should wait to reinstate the loan because it would start the modification process all over again and we might be charged up to $2000 in atty. fees if we made the loan current. So we decided to wait it out since our new realtor said she could probably sell it after the first of the year in about 90 days.

We did find a buyer, and on the way out the door to our closing, we received ANOTHER request for our paperwork from BOA. We laughed and went to the closing.  All went well after we finally got BOA to give us our pay off (It took us weeks to get them to give it to us…you’d think they’d be in a hurry to get our money since they obviously didn’t want to do a modification for us.)

A week after closing we received a letter from Trott & Trott saying they were foreclosing on our house (the house had been paid off for over a week). I called the atty. office letting them know there was no mortgage because we sold the house. He said they were foreclosing anyway. OK, whatever. I hung up and laughed again. It was so ludicrous. As we were packing up the house and loading the truck to move to Wisconsin, we received another letter. This time BOA was informing us that they had set up a sheriff’s sale for April 28. After some investigation by our title company, we discovered BOA had published the sheriff’s sale in our local paper. At that point we informed the new owners that their house was going up for sale by a mortgage company that no longer owned the house.

Is anyone going to call to task this mortgage company that preys on homeowners? No.

Do you know why? Because they prey on the poor by leading them down the primrose path of a promised modification – while all along they plan to get the homeowner in so much debt that they can’t come out of it in time to save their house when they are denied their modification. They string the homeowner along with empty promises (lies) by untrained employees schooled in the art of “run around.”  After months go by and the homeowner goes into thousands of dollars of debt because the bank refused payments, they give the official denial letter and swoop in and take the house through foreclosure.

As few as 7% of homeowners get modifications. It’s all a ruse. And America is the one who is losing.

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