Bank of America - Doing What it Seems to Do Best

I took three different calls this past week from homeowners who have sought the assistance of Bank of America's servicing subsidiary, BAC Home Loans Solutions, for a loan modification.  What most unsuspecting homeowners do not realize is that BAC simply has no vested interest in actually making good on the false promises it continues to peddle to these homeowners.  Is it any wonder that the Arizona Attorney General has intervened.  In summing up the over 400 complaints it has received about Bank of America and its servicer BAC's handling of loan modifications, the A.G. states the following in its Complaint against these entities: 

"Defendants have continued to engage in widespread consumer fraud by misrepresenting to Arizona consumers whether they were eligible for modifications of their mortgage loans, when Bank of America would make a decision on their loan modification requests, whether Bank of America had approved their modification requests, why Bank of America declined their modification requests, and whether and when Bank of America would foreclose upon their homes."

BAC, like many other servicers, systematically lulls homeowners into believing that a loan modification is something other than a pipe dream.  However, and as noted in the A.G.'s Complaint, BAC, again, like many other servicers, has been "dual tracking" delinquent loans.  While BAC promises that it is working on a homeowner's loan modification, it is at the same time, in a different department, pushing forward with a foreclosure action.  Indeed, servicers habitually allow howeowners to make lower "trial modification" payments and then send the homeowner a Notice of Intent to Accelerate.  So the servicers accept the lower payment and then use the fact that the homeowner is paying less each month to create lump sum delinquencies that most homeowners cannot pay. 

Indeed, in one case I reviewed this past week, the homeowner had never missed a payment, but sought a loan modification to try and ease their struggle.  They sent in the requisite paperwork, then sent it in again, then sent it in again.  They were promised a lower trial modification payment, which they dutifully made each month for several months, and then they received word a Notice to Accelerate.  While BAC was happy to take the new trial modification payments each month and cash those checks, it was at the same time reporting to credit agencies that the homeowners were delinquent each month (due to the difference between the old payment and the lower trial modification payment).  BAC was again dual tracking this loan towards foreclosure.

We would have been far better off if the banks had just said to homeowners, "Sorry, we are not offering any loan modifications.  Make your payment or lose your house."  Instead, in no small part due to the federal HAMP program, howeowners are instead lulled into the very mistaken belief that they are going to receive a loan modification.  Well, guess what, BAC, like most other laon servicers, get paid whether they string you along or foreclose.  Indeed, it is best to "dual track" by stringing people along and then foreclosing on them.  That way, the servicer makes the most money - even if it is contrary to the best interest of the actual investor holding the mortgage.  Perverse times we live in, eh?

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lori Peterson - February 20, 2011 10:37 AM

yes, I was led to believe that GreenTree servicing (who held my second, servicing it for Bank of America) would work with me and my first mortgage (Wells Fargo) to complete a short sale.
until I got breast cancer and left my job I had never missed a payment. I spend a GREAT deal of time finding an agent (none of them really want to do short sales because so few actually happen), cleaning the home, etc...We found a buyer, and wells fargo and freddie mac approved the sales price. low and behold Green Tree was almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a hold of. They refused to speak to me and insisted they could only talk to my agent. Finnally they said they would only release the loan if paid $8500 (I owed them $32000) and the short sale price was $140k. Freddie mac would only pay $4000 - and Freddie mac would not allow me, or the agent or the buyer to contribute any more to GreenTree. Freddie mac did want ME to pay them $2500 - which I would have to take out of 401k -but I said ok.
of course greentree refused to accept the $4000 -and after about a month told my agent they were charging off the debt. so the whole sale fell apart and so the home being foreclosed. greentree still trying to call me...all the funds for the second had been put into the house to fix the backyard. they have really messed up my credit. Still no work = looking for =over a year.

kelly - March 20, 2012 10:35 PM

I sell real estate so when the housing bubble burst we felt it hard as my income went down with it. We worked with GMAC that suggested we stop making payments altogether in order to "have enough red flags" to meet criteria for a program that could help. After refusing to do that they suggested a "six month trial period reduced payment plan" after which we could qualify for a loan modification with a monthly payment similar to the reduced amount in the plan. After completing the 6 months I contacted GMAC to talk with the person we were working with to find out he no longer worked there and there was no indication of our plan anywhere in their records. We received an over night return receipt packet the next day with a notice of a 2nd lien against the property that consisted of the shortages in our payments, monthly late penalties, daily interest and various other fees totaling just over $10k. We had to agree to pay it in full or face foreclosure. After calling GMAC again another option of a 2nd loan was offered which we took. That was back in 2006 so we'll be paying on it for several years to come. What a racquet!

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