Banks Gone Amok, Unlawfully Foreclosing

“Darnit, where was that mortgage modification paper? I knew I put it somewhere. Oh well, let’s just foreclose on these people’s house. STAMP! Whoo, that was tough. Time to treat myself to a Diet Coke.” That’s an imaginative reenactment at what’s going on inside the mortgage departments of the biggest banks in America: total disorganization, the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, a bureaucratic and document-strewn nightmare that can swallow up people’s homes right from under them.

So Gomez applied herself. She twice succeeded in getting Bank of America to postpone the sale date and said she was assured it would not happen until her application was reviewed. Gomez had opened a smaller salon and understood there was a good chance she would qualify.

She was still waiting in March when a Realtor, representing the new owner of her home, showed up. Her house had sold at auction — for less than half of what Gomez owed. “They don’t give you an opportunity,” she said. “They just go and do it with no warning.”…

…Under the federal program, which requires servicers to follow a set of guidelines for modifications, servicers must give borrowers a written denial before foreclosing. When Gomez called Bank of America about the sale, she said she was told there was a mistake but nothing could be done. She did get a denial notice — some three weeks after the house was sold and just days before she was evicted.

People who want to contest a foreclosure under the federal program are told to call the HOPE hotline at 888-995-HOPE, staffed by counselors who can escalate issues. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that oftentimes callers receive rote information instead of solutions.

Disorganization at Banks Causing Mistaken Foreclosures [ProPublica]