Trust

I may be going offline in a week or two for a time.

I received a foreclosure notice from Bank of America about three weeks ago.

So why this word “trust” in the title?

Because I’ve been working on a loan modification for over 18 months, and it’s becoming very apparent to me that BoA has no intention of working things out. Let me give you two examples.

Example one, today. I got a phone call from the BoA team that informed the house was still under foreclosure. “What about the foreclosure freeze?” “It’ll end November 1st.” Wait, what? See, in Georgia they can only sell the house on the second Tuesday of the month. They announced the freeze just after the first Tuesday of October, and they’re telling me (but not the press) that they’re going to end it on the first Monday of November — meaning the sale isn’t delayed at all. But I was speaking of the home workout.

(following is paraphrase)
“I’ve got a loan workout in progress.” (they check)
“You’re missing documents. You don’t have your bank statements.”
“Three months ago I sent them in for the third time, and was told everything was complete.”
“They’re not. You can’t send in internet printouts, you have to send the ones you got in the mail.”
As I just noted I sent them three months ago and was told it was complete. And for the past three months, right up to the last time I checked (last Thursday) they were still at the reviewer. For three months everything has been fine, and suddenly they’re not only not fine we’ve backed up a step.

But I said I’d do two examples. We’d done everything and received our final document for signature in January. There was one tiny error – my wife’s name was misspelled. Odd, since the security deed from which they’re working has it spelled correctly. I called and asked if they’d send another. No, I just needed to line through the name and correct it, with both of us initialing the change, and I needed to include a statement why the change. I did so, we both signed it, I put it in a FedEx envelope, and we followed the tracking till it got to BoA.

In March I received a rejection of the loan modification. Two reasons: it was late, and a unilateral change had been made on the contract without getting approval from BoA. Yeah, read that again and look above. “Nobody should have told you that, you should have requested and received a corrected document, and besides, our records show that spelling as what’s on the title.”

If this were a judicial state, by the way, that would be enough to challenge the whole issue of foreclosure on the question of where the note might be. It would be enough to do so in many other non-judicial states as well. Here in Georgia it’s not enough. Servicer can proceed. Trust me, I’ve asked.

It’s quite apparent BoA doesn’t want to do a workout, and will reject even due to its own mistakes.

I expect to lose the house – I’m rather resigned to it, actually. Angry, but resigned. But I will never trust any of the banks that are involved in this mortgage mess again. I cannot trust them to act in good faith.

I suspect I’m not alone.

===
I’d like to add my inevitable digression. Just a question, for those who are paying faithfully into their mortgages. If the banks have lost all these deeds and notes, what makes you think they have yours? Remember you cannot trust their word. Perhaps you should, while you’re in good standing, make sure the document exists. You know, so that when you’re supposed to be done you get clear title to your home instead of a questionable Lost Note Affidavit that is insufficient to register with the county.

Bank of America. JP Morgan and Chase. Citibank Group. Wells Fargo. Deutsche Bank. Those are the top five, all five have been caught using robosigners, and all have been claiming tens if not hundreds of thousands of mortgages are lost. I will not trust any of them with my money any more.

Will you?

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26 thoughts on “Trust

  1. Pingback: Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » The Foreclosure Mess Hits Home

  2. I can’t understand why so many banks are eager to foreclose these days. The housing market is not good, home values are sinking, and the economy in general sucks. Doesn’t it seem that a loan workout would be in the best interest of the banks? What are they going to do with a bunch of houses, when there aren’t a lot of eager buyers?

    • Simple – it’s more profitable for servicers to foreclose than to modify. Your points are true for lenders – for those who actually hold the note. But servicer is not the lender, and the big banks are servicers.

      • So the big banks are doing again what they did earlier–namely, churn fees for themselves while offloading the losses to the MBS investors.

        Nice work. Twice!

  3. I saw your plight on John Cole’s balloon juice, and am cross-posting this to your personal blog. I’m not a lawyer, but I hope this helps

    This is what I sent to my cousins in Florida about two years ago (written from memory) when they were about 2 weeks from being kicked out of their house. They lived about another rent-free about another 16 months before they decided

    Step 1: Get a Lawyer

    I mean it. You will be able to direct your lawyer to do things that will make the big banks cry in this day and age, they just want you to roll over and take it. Even if you are completely in the wrong (which I am doubting), It will be possible to drag things out for six months at the very minimum, and possibly for multiple years. Think of him as an IT professional, he can do the boring bits, but you need to direct him. Think a lawyer is too expensive? how much is your house worth? Don’t be cheap and let the bank rape you easy.

    Another thing… If the bank says they want to do arbitration, and can’t force you to do it, tell them to spin on a one legged stool with no seat, the arbitration companies know which side of the bread for them is buttered, it’s a sucker move, don’t be a bank sucker.

    Step 2: Document everything you send to your bank

    If you haven’t been doing it already, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that you mail to your bank dealing with a loan needs to be sent certified mail. What does this mean? with certified mail you get proof of receipt of any mail that you have sent the bank. It is legal to send US documents of a classified nature marked “confidential”. Any document that the bank receives has to be signed by a member of the bank, and you get a copy of that signature. What this means, is that if the bank is stupid to say “we never got the mail”, you can prove that they were LYING.. in WRITING… to the judge. Judges don’t like that, judges REALLY don’t like that.

    Step 3:

    Tell your lawyer to make the bank produce the note to the house. No note, possession is 9/10th of the law. That scrap of paper is the magic that says who really owns the house, and who has sent paid thugs or bribed/defrauded police officers to seize said property. If the bank is giving you a runaround like “you are missing documents” they don’t have the note, you have temps handling you, MAKE THEM PROVE THAT THEY HAVE THE NOTE.

    Step 4: (New trick for late 2010)

    Point out to your lawyer that the banks have been caught engaging in a MASSIVE “fraud upon the court” (magic lawyer words there) across the entire country. If your lawyer can show that any of the documents that your bank has provided have been prepared by a “robo-signer”, It will be huge. INAL, but showing that notarized documents were illegally prepared in such a horrible fashion that it might cross the line into forgery would be a powerful weapon against the banks.

    Step 5*:

    Check these things with your lawyer first, always. A lawyer is a cross between an IT specialist and a priest. If a lawyer screws you for the bank and you can prove it (documentation is key here, keep those copies), you can visit a world of pain on them that makes losing your house look like a minor surgery.

    You have attempted to act in good faith, the banks have probably acted in bad faith in such a fashion that can be proved in a court of law. Feed your anger in this, do not give into resignation, that is what the banks want.

    By tying the banks up in the courts you will probably be able to live 6-12 months in your house in the worst case. If you want to go Gonzo, or are resigned to losing the house, stop paying your monthly payments immediately, and stash them in an account somewhere.

    By doing this one of 3 things will happen in the end. #1 the court gives you the property free and clear due to massive fraud (not likely, but hey). You get 6-12 months of mortgage payments you have saved as money for whatever you want. #2 the bank figures they can cut a deal with you, and now you have 6-12 months of cash saved up as a bargaining chip for a starting lump sum. #3 Bank wins, but you have 6-12 months worth of mortgage cash to find an apt and use as a cushion for your ruined credit score (though that hurts less than you might think these days).

    • Yep. Get a lawyer. The problem is that one needs money to pay the lawyer. I am unemployed and have been for two years. That’s a separate pain, but it’s the underlying cause. If BoA had accepted my workout I’d have enough in savings for about 10 more months – assuming I kept enough to move me and mine to live in my brother’s spare bedroom. As it is, either the foreclosure/bankruptcy or the attorney is going to clean me out and force me to move now.

      But yeah. there’s always the chance with the attorney, and zero without.

      • As a lawyer (sadly, not a member of the Georgia bar), I can’t underscore this advice strongly enough. A communication from an attorney is typically received by an entirely distinct (and generally much more careful) set of hands in any major bureaucratic organization than is a contact from a layperson. For many companies, the marginal return on mistreating a consumer is much, much, smaller than their marginal cost of fighting with an attorney. When they realize that’s what they’re up against, more frequently than not they become much more pliable.

        In Georgia, it appears that one place to look for a pro bono referral is the local voluntary bar organizations. Hopefully, some member of the Georgia bar will jump in with an offer of assistance or a better recommendation.

  4. This is really shocking, and jibes with the reports of foreclosure handling by -people with the brains of chimpanzees at major banks. What is scary is that similar things could happen anywhere, perhaps happen even with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Kirk, I hope that you can get thru to the management of BoA in time to rectify what is obviously a major screw up, and maybe some web publicity can help. Best of luck. JHH

    • At a certain point it becomes obvious the primary intent of the bank is not to work things out. Yes, the publicity might change things. Not calling management, however. I haven’t shared the time I dug out the numbers (I’m a researcher) and called higher levels, only to be cycled back to the basic circle. And it’s a basic circle. One attempt I spent just under two hours on the phone, being constantly transferred to a supervisor who could handle my issue. I ended when I got, literally, the person who’d answered the phone first.

  5. Pingback: Here Comes Tomorrow » History Repeats Itself, First as Tragedy, Second as Farce

  6. Check out naca.com. They’re a HUD-certified agency that works to help homeowners and wannabe homeowners.

    They started as a branch of a union in Boston in the 1980s, and they have deals in place with most of the big lenders like BoA.

    I’m working with them right now, because I got laid off for a few months, and I don’t make enough money to catch up, even going without stuff. Like heat.

    They’ve worked out a whole system of electronic document submission, and they’re agitating to take over the HAMP program, because so many people are getting screwed.

    Hang in there, man.

  7. Write a letter to your US Senator and copy the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. I believe there is a consumer affairs unit of the OCC and that’s where the letter should go. Try calling the senator’s office and tell them the letter is coming.
    It may not stop the foreclosure but it should buy some time.

    • When I was rejected for the workout in March (because the bank misspelled my wife’s name even though they supposedly had the title), I did. I contacted both my senators. One never returned calls. The other – or rather his aide – sent me to the OCC where I got sent to a few different offices and eventually dropped. Either I was unclear or I got sent to the wrong department. Regardless, attempts to go back to Senator Isakson’s office had me sent back to the OCC. After a few times on this treadmill the message gets through.

  8. I expect to lose the house – I’m rather resigned to it, actually. Angry, but resigned. But I will never trust any of the banks that are involved in this mortgage mess again. I cannot trust them to act in good faith.

    Firstly, you need to contact your state’s Attorney Generals office, see if they are investigating the foreclosure mess, and you need to add your name to the witness list.

    Secondly, given the number of banks that ARE involved in this mortgage mess, you may not ever want to get a mortgage ever again period. One of the reasons you and millions of other Americans are in this mess is because the banks got to trading around the mortgages like so many hot potatoes to the point that the paperwork on titles and whatnot got lost: hence the huge amount of forging documents that has been going on. I signed up for my current mortgage with USAA only to have them within SECONDS ship that mortgage over to (I fear retribution so name of bank withheld until I win the Powerball Lotto). I haven’t gotten any foreclosure notices yet, but that’s probably because the value of my duplex has dropped so low (82k) it’s BELOW the current amount left on the mortgage (88k), and I’ve been told the banks aren’t pulling their foreclosure stunts unless the mortgage is a 1/4 of the current house value so they can try reselling it at a profit.

    Thirdly, you need to run for office, Congress or Senator, in 2012, and you need to run on this campaign: “REVENGE!” Because I’ve got this terrible feeling that Obama and whomever is getting control of Congress in November are gonna roll over and play dead for the Banks AGAIN just so they can have stability of the stock markets… and that us street-level Americans are gonna get screwed and ignored until enough of us rise up and get REVENGE for all the damage those goddamn financiers brought upon us in the name of their Greed. And you’re gonna have to start on the paperwork right away, they rigged the game for all these damn deadlines and hoops to jump through.

    Good luck.

    • Firstly, sent to state’s AG office. We’ll see.

      Secondly, maybe. Actually it may be decided for me – I’m 50 and unlikely to have enough earnings to pay off a loan before retirement even if I get one after this. On the other hand, I have five pets. Rescues all. One is old and will probably die within a year or two, but that’s not now and it’s still four left. There are issues besides money.

      On the gripping hand of the second, if I CAN pay off a house it’s (for the cultures in which I like to live) the best choice for heading into retirement. I won’t have a good retirement pay. Owning – paying taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance – will still be less than renting.

      Thirdly, it almost sounds good except this area… Nathan Deal was my congressman. I’m a liberal in a very conservative area. I’m from Colorado/Kansas, and this is the South. Barring extreme events, I’m not electable. In addition, while it sounds good REVENGE is not a good platform. Any cleaning up is so you can build, and the emphasis of the platform has to be the building. It feels good, but it’s fairly destructive.

  9. Hello,

    I saw this through a link on Balloon Juice. Have you considered contacting the media, like some kind of “Action” segment or any other kind of consumer help segment on TV news? A lot of times, something like this, that sounds to me like BoA is purposely creating circumtances to foreclose on your house. A name spelling mistake should be easily fixable and the fact that they’re acting like vultures tells me they’re sabatoging you intentionally. But I bet that if you’re featured on something like a “On your side” news feature, BoA will want to do damage control. Good luck to you.

  10. Hi there, saw your post through balloon juice. I am a lawyer, doing foreclosure defense in Massachusetts, which is a non-judicial foreclosure state. I don’t know Georgia law, so can’t give you legal advice. I can try to give you advice about how to find help.

    I agree with the previous poster who advised you to get a lawyer. However, since you mentioned you can’t afford a lawyer… contact legal aid! http://www.legalaid-ga.org/GA/index.cfm I don’t know where you are in GA, but you might have a local legal aid office. If not, contact the state bar association and find out what they do pro bono. I know in my state the bar association put together a foreclosure prevention task force about 2 months ago. Yours might have something similar.

    If that doesn’t work, call the law schools. See if you can find a consumer law professor to help you through a legal clinic.

    If that doesn’t work, contact the metro fair housing center in Atlanta. If they can’t help, they might have other ideas of who to contact.

    Best,
    Dan

  11. I think your closing is the most important part to the general public (though of course all the bad-faith dealings of BofA on their ‘workout’ are important too, as is your misery).

    But I’ve been wondering this exact thing for weeks now, and not hearing much at all from major news sources. If the banksters have lost or mishandled 1000s of foreclosure-related docs, then no doubt hundreds of thousands if not millions of loans that are not delinquent/in foreclosure are poorly or not documented, and title will be a mess for a lot of these.

    I think a lot of us who have mortgages should be applying pressure to our banks – and state Attorney’s General – to answer the question of who has title NOW to still-preforming loans.

  12. If I’m not mistaken, BoA gets a HAMP payment of around $3000.00 just for “trying” to re-negotiate your mortgage.

    It was probably their intent from the beginning to never follow through – just trying to capture the govt. cash before giving you the boot.

    It won’t help your situation in any way but it would be nice if a bunch of these criminals actually end up going to jail eventually.

    My son’s house is in foreclosure here in Florida (lived in the house for 15 years but refinanced the mortgage to pay off his divorce – then lost his job) and I’ve advised him from the beginning not to send them a dime until they put a credible offer on the table.

    Two years without a payment and he’s still living there. Eventually he’ll have to go but (In this case J.P. Morgan/Chase) the back is taking a little haircut.

    He still has hopes for a re-negotiation but it would break his heart if I showed him this post…

  13. Pingback: Lest We Forget: How The Banks Are REALLY Screwing Us In The Foreclosure Mess « The Inverse Square Blog

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