Tag Archives: Bank of America

Countrywide-Fleecing Heroes

CountrywideThere was this mortgage company a few years back named Countrywide. They started out a small company in New York founded by the son of a butcher, Angelo Mozilo. A few years after founding the company he moved the business west to make his fortune in the Southern California mortgage  business.

The California property market was on the rise and a good mortgage lender was the ticket to home ownership.

How they got to the front of the subprime mortgage debacle is anybody’s guess, but the fact remains with Countrywide holding roughly 20% of the American subprime mortgage paper of the late nineties, early 2K, their hands were elbow deep in the crisis.

When the wheels fell off the mortgage industry and foreclosure rates rose faster than the space shuttle, one casualty was many of the deployed servicemen holding Countrywide mortgages. In spite of a law on the books known as the  Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA), it is alleged that Countrywide systematically and knowing violated the regulations by carrying out foreclosures on homes belonging to deployed U.S. Servicemen.

Bank of America purchased Countrywide in January of 2008 for over four billion dollars. I don’t know what they got for their money other than a boatload of trouble. They have spent millions in legal fees defending their acquisition and operation, but the hits just keep on coming.

A class action lawsuit against Countrywide/Bank of America was recently filed on behalf of servicemen who lost their homes to foreclosure. The lawsuit alleges Countrywide was fully aware of the laws set forth by the SCRA but moved foreward with foreclosure proceedings on deployed service members anyway.

To be honest in the course of researching this blog I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of injustice and greed at the root of this sub-prime mortgage and subsequent foreclosure crisis. Good people by the hundreds of thousands lost their homes. In many cases it was out right fraud and there hasn’t been any true accountability. People should be in jail for this travesty.

It’s not light reading. It’s not fiction. This really happened. It’s still happening.

If you don’t quite get what happened with the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, this animated documentary does a great job of simplifying it for you.

BOA 80 Penny Foreclosure

Tom MudieIs it any wonder there’s a “Them vs. Us” mentality these days? Them being big banks and high-finance types at the top of the American money pyramid.

Meet Florida’s Tom Mudie. This guy is like many in our country these days. The economy tanked and Mudie had to renegotiate his mortgage. Millions of homes have been under foreclosure the past couple of years.

Families are living in their cars wondering what happened to the American dream.

Tom caught a break. He recently got word that his loan modification had been approved and his mortgage payment would reduce by $200. That may not sound like much but when you are struggling to buy groceries a couple of c-notes makes all the difference in the world.

He got on his phone recently to make a mortgage payment. Tom accidentally entered a “0” instead of an “8” and ended up shorting his payment by 80 cents. He immediately noticed the shortfall and called his mortgage holder, Bank of America.  The customer service there told him, “No problem Mr. Mudie, just send us a check for the $0.80 and will take care of it.”

So he did just that thinking the problem was solved.

So what does Bank of America do? They send back Mr. Mudie’s check attached to a letter that read, “Your loan is not eligible for the Fannie Mae modification program because you did not make all the required trial period plan payments by the end of the trial period.”

“Holy, living in the streets, Batman!!” For 80 pennies Bank of America is ready to put this guy in the streets.

Mudie also received a “home transition guide” from United Way Charities advising on ways to prepare for his foreclosure. “When you start seeing that,” Mudie said, “you start thinking charities and stuff. So I knew that I am in trouble.”

If there is any company in America that doesn’t need any bad press its Bank of America with their CEO, Ebenezer Scrooge. They are still reeling from the $5.00 debit card fee and the South Carolina branch manager ripping up American Flags set along the street by her bank to honor a fallen soldier. That bonehead move had people lined up the next day to withdraw their money from the big bad BOA.

It appears that Bank of America is very much like the Tin Man. No Heart.

But all is not lost. Someone showed up with common sense and took the horses off the foreclosure wagon. Tom Mudie may not lose his house after all. At least not today and not over 80 cents.