Countless people hoping to avoid foreclosure in Florida and across the country took their fight public. They contacted legislative representatives, the news media, the attorney general.
When this happened in cases involving Bank of America, the financial giant would forward their complaints to the Office of the CEO and President. Finally, borrowers thought, we are going to get somewhere. Their case had reached the upper echelon, and maybe someone would finally listen.
The reality was the bank had no intention of taking those complaints more seriously. Instead, they were funneled to subcontractors Urban Settling Solutions in Colorado. This is quite a distance from the company’s headquarters in North Carolina.
The Home Affordable Modification Program that was supposed to create home loan modification solutions for those facing foreclosures did not go exactly as expected for many of Bank of America’s consumers. The firm received some 15,000 complaints just in 2010 regarding its handling of the program.
The Colorado subcontractor handled grievances for the bank and also operated a mail-processing center for HAMP documents.
While the bank had an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department to help people stay in their homes, instead the bank actively worked to stall these efforts. That’s according to numerous former bank employees, who spoke to Bloomberg News on the condition of anonymity. Bank representatives would repeatedly ask for the same paperwork over and over again. They would tally incorrect income calculations. Some borrowers were herded into expensive home loan modification options that included all kinds of extra fees. Others were forced into foreclosure. Almost all of the cases experienced delay after delay after delay.
And these were the people that Bank of America had pledged to help!
The fact that this was the way BofA handled these complaints makes it very clear why HAMP was not nearly as successful as President Obama anticipated when it was first unveiled. While the president had anticipated some 3 million foreclosures would be averted as a result, only about 905,000 people received successful modifications. That’s despite the fact that nearly 7 million applied.
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that BofA’s mortgage loan modification program has largely been deemed a failure, primarily because it tapped managers from Countrywide Financial Corp. to oversee it. We’re talking about the same Countrywide that perpetuated one of the largest subprime loan scams in history. And yet, these same individuals were responsible for resolving complaints. One of those was Rebecca Mairone, the very same woman who in October was found liable for defrauding Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
A July complaint filed in Colorado against both Bank of America and Urban Lending alleges that both companies improperly denied tens of thousands of government-ordered home loan modifications since the spring of 2009. One former worker who did go on the record with a reporter said that employees were clear on the fact that they had no power to actually help anyone.
“Everyone knew we weren’t helping people,” he was quoted as saying.
It was also well-known that Urban Lending was given clearance to refer to itself as “CEO” and “President” in communications with distressed borrowers.
Bank executives would later “clarify” that the subcontractor was “viewed as an extension” of the CEO. However, that was clearly not the impression given to those desperately trying to hang onto their homes.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Secret Inside BofA Office of CEO Stymied Needy Homeowners, Dec. 16, 2013, By Hugh Son, Bloomberg Personal Finance
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