From Houston’s Fox 26 News Channel, EMILY AKIN reports on how tough it is to save homes from foreclosure. By the end of this year it is estimated more than four million families will face foreclosure on their homes. Many of those families will try and save their homes through government subsidized Home Modification Loans. While the intent of Home Modification Loans may be good, getting one of these loans can be frustrating. When Kelvin Crain listed his job last August, he and his wife Joanne were afraid they might not be able to pay their mortgage with only Joanne’s salary. “We actually called the bank right away,” Joanne Said. They applied for a home modification loan. They sent their lender, Bank of America all the documents requested, but the bank said they never got the documents. So the Crain’s sent them again and again, certified mail. ”No response, absolutely nothing. We have sent letters, demand letters, the applications, the income, tax returns, over and over. Nothing,” Joanne explained. Then in January, the family of five gets a notice their house would be foreclosed despite assurances from Bank of America assured their loan request was in review, so the foreclosure should have been put on hold. Nevertheless, another notice of foreclosure arrived in the mail. ”We just panicked. At that point we didn’t know where to go. We knew we didn’t want to file bankruptcy,” she said. Take it to Akin referred the Crain’s to Lone Star Legal Aid. Rich Tomlinson admits working with Bank of America wasn’t easy for him or the Crainís. ”Itís harrowing. It’s a harrowing experience for many consumers,”Tomlinson said. ”We had to have them call in every day to Bank of America to give them permission to talk to us.” Bank of America is one of many mortgage services who got federal bailout money to help homeowners renegotiate their loans to avoid foreclosure. Take it to Akin referred the Crain’s to Lone Star Legal Aid.
Marietta Rodriguez with NeighborWorks, a HUD approved non-profit agencies authorized to help with home modification loans, says the process hasn’t worked as well as expected.
”I think there is a lot more that can be done. Many Lenders are backlogged with decisions on loan modification packages,” Rodriguez explains. A Bank of America a case worker told Fox 26 News, the company had done due diligence on the Crain’s case, but she would check to see if some paperwork had been misplaced. Meanwhile the Crain’s wonder if and when they’ll lose their home. ”It’s devastating. It’s sad. It’s scary and we feel quite alone,” Joanne said. ”We feel like we’re little people going up against a big conglomerate and they’re bullying us.”
Finally, seven months after that first call to Bank of America, the Crain’s get pre-approved for a home modification loan. But that new loan that took so long to get will save them only $30 a month. And here’s the clincher: several weeks after the letter of pre-approval arrived, the Crain’s get a second letter from Bank of America; this one telling them they were not approved for a home modification loan! Joanne says Bank of American couldn’t explain why they got the second letter, since they were in the system for remodification.
Bank of America is just one of dozens of financial institutions participating in the bailout program. If you have had problems with your home modification loan process please email Emily Akin: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the severity the problem, ProPublica, an independent, investigative, online newsroom offers extensive coverage of the issue.
Here’s a link to ProPublica’s website:
If you need help with your mortgage or a home modification loan here are some agencies to contact.
For information about Home Foreclosure Scams visit the Federal Trade Commission Website: