Written by Sherry Hernandez
I sat in the lawyer’s office in the chair across from his massive desk as he asked me the question I have been asked so many times before. “Are you behind on your mortgage payment now?”
He raised a disapproving eyebrow as he looked down at the papers on his desk and shuffled them around.
I’m used to this response. People who didn’t buy a home during these years don’t understand. We have purchased several homes over the years and we still have trouble understanding how this could happen. This goes against everything we have been raised to believe about business and our country.
So how did WE get behind on our mortgage? It is a legitimate question and there are as many stories as there are people. In the past these stories had been about lost jobs and poor planning, but today most of the stories involve some dishonest on behalf of the banks and because banks have established a reputation over the years of operating in integrity, people have a hard time believing that they are capable of this degree of duplicity.
“You signed the 50 page mortgage contract, no one forced you.”
The contract was 375 pages, presented to us at 7 pm 3 days before the closing of the loan. There were no brokers, real estate agents, or escrow officer present, only a notary. We had a reasonable expectation that the loan we were signing was the same one we had spent a month discussing on the telephone with the loan company. We had a reasonable expectation that banks and lending institutions were not in business to cheat us, we understood that they were in business to make money for themselves, but not by deceit, not by a bait and switch method. They used their position of integrity to lure in the established public trust and then switch their methods and responsibilities and lay them back into the laps of their customers.
In retrospect, we feel guilty, we should have all gone to law school and taken real estate classes before buying our home, but it wasn’t our first home, we had done this before. My husband and I both worked, my husband worked at the Los Angeles Harbor, I worked as a designer. We worked hard. We worked long hours. We didn’t have the time for real estate school, also. We had to be able to trust the professionals.
I have posted before how our loan was baited and switched. I posted about the three year prepayment penalty that was supposed to be changed to one year, but was later not honored. One month after the loan was secured Countrywide raised the interest on our 1st from 7.4 to 8.5% and on the 2nd from 7.5 to 13%. This increased our monthly principle and interest payment by over $600. The mortgage company had told us we didn’t qualify for a 30 year fixed at 7.5%, yet after they set the standards, they raised us to 8.5% on the option ARM that was supposedly a better loan. It didn’t make sense.
Nevertheless, we took responsibility and set out to obtain another loan as soon as our year was up. The full story can be read on our other post. Because of the prepayment penalty we DID NOT agree to, and because of the loan-to-value ratio, we had to pay out an additional $75,000 in fees and penalties to get a new loan, which we did. We had already lost the $85,000 downpayment we had invested in our new home.
We knew the new loan was only temporary, because we needed something quickly to get out from under the 8.5% and 13% interest rates. Our intention was to pay off the 2nd and roll everything over into the 1st, but this was not to be either; because Countrywide had sold our 1st to Wells Fargo and could not get it back in time to combine the loans.
We got the new loan through Best Rate Financial, who sold it to CitiMortgage.
Countrywide profited from their little “error” on our behalf and we paid for their “error”, but that is what a court of law is for. We filed a lawsuit against them in hopes of retrieving the money they had stolen from us. That was over four years ago, we have still not seen the inside of the courtroom.
So…why is our mortgage payment behind? That is the initial question, the question those who do not know always ask. Why?
The money we had set aside to pay off the 2nd mortgage we used to sustain us and pay our legal fees while we waited to go to court. My husband continued to work long hard hours and we continued to make our payments. Life happens along the way, my husband had to have surgery, our children lost their jobs and moved back home until they could get on their feet again. Nonetheless, we continued to pay on time.
In December of 2009, CitiMortgage called us and asked us if we would benefit from a modification. We knew it was a matter of time before our financial drain would catch up to us. Properties values had dropped over $150,000, and we could not sell. We had already been waiting for our day in court for over 2 years, so hope of recouping our losses were a distant possibility.
So we agreed to participate in the modification program and we hired a law firm to supervise the process.
We had already heard the horror stories about others who had been deceived in the modification process and we wanted guidance along the way. We had learned from our past mistake and we did not want them coming back to us and telling us that we agreed to something we did not agree to. We did not want them telling us that they lost our paperwork, or that we did not qualify because of something we had no knowledge of, so we hired American Law Firm to be our modification counselors at a cost of $2,500.
Our trial date of March 3, 2010 had been moved. Bank of America was supposed to have settled with us, but cheated us again on our settlement agreement. Fortunately, we had not yet signed the papers…this time we took the time to read them first! So our trial date was reset for December 6th, 2010.
Our house payments were still being paid on time.
In April of 2010, in a 3-way conversation with CitiMortgage and American Law Firm and myself, they informed us that we initially qualified and that our modification should be completed in about 30-60 days. They knew all of our financial information and they knew that our savings was running out. We were very candid and honest about our situation. We were, at last, hopeful that we would be able to save our home before it became a problem.
By August of 2010, we still did not have the modification. We knew our finances were bending under the strain and we still had pending attorneys fee. We had already paid $30,000 to our attorney to get us to court and we still had additional court costs pending. The implications were clear, as long as we made our payments on time they had no motivation to modify. And for us, if we continued to make our payments on time, we might not have the money needed to make it to court. In September we called and notified them that we could not make our payment and inquired once again about the modification. They told us it was pending and should be authorized any day now.
The banks and the lending firms have held us to our contracts and agreements to the full extent of the law, while they, in turn continue to move the bar and shift the lines on their own adherence to the laws. They can give their word and take it back at random, yet we, the consumer, are held to these vague contracts and agreements like a bulldog to a bone. The message is clear…only those who have no clout are subject to the law.
Copied from the article: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=190415
States Knob Banksters – Again
IN THE COMMENTS SECTION:
FROM ONE READER: Immunity from civil lawsuits is bad enough, but this.
State and federal officials declined to say if any form of immunity from criminal prosecution also is under discussion.
..blows me away! That should be an emphatic ‘no’ if you want to maintain faith in the rule of law. Did I miss a stealth law that gives certain classes a ‘get of jail free.
Pass Go. Collect 2 billion dollars’ card?
ANOTHER READER WROTE: I’ve already reached that point. The only restraint on me is getting caught and going to prison. I have no moral incentive to follow laws that only apply to me to enslave me but don’t apply to billionaires or corporations.
Laws that are not about basic decency such as killing your neighbor, but laws to enrich others by regulating my every detailed action and blocking me from conducting business to sustain myself and my family
I think they have no idea how much civil order is voluntary. When people only follows the law under strict enforcement they will find out they can never hire enough cops or judges.
So the question on the table is “Why are you behind on your mortgage payments?” When what the question should be is “Why are these bankster allowed to get away with breaking the laws?” or “Why don’t the banks have to keep their word?”
In October 2010, CitiMortgage informed us they were missing a paystub from my husband’s paystubs in August. We faxed it to them, again, and tried to verify their receipt, but apparently it takes them about a week to register the transmissions. In November 2010, they assured us they were just days away from an answer regarding our modification. We told them of our pending trail date and that we would be late with December’s payment.
In December 2010 our attorney informed us that our trial date had been vacated due to a heavy court calendar. We later learned that our attorney had run out on us after we had paid him $36,000 to take B of A to court. CitiMortgage told us that they would have an answer for us on the 1st of January regarding our modification.
On January 17th CitiMortgage sent us two letters informing us that we did not qualify for a modification. At this point, we felt there was no point in paying our mortgage since it was obvious they were not willing to work with us. Then on January 28th they sent us a letter telling us that they were going to give us a temporary 3-month modification while they reviewed our case again! Halleluiah! We were saved! We immediately sent in the 1st modification payment as laid out in their letter.
Yes, we had been late on our payment, but now we could pay on time with a clear conscience. We had hope again. Everything was going to work out.
We did not yet know the attorney had run out on us, we did not yet know that Citimortgage was lying.
“Why are you not paying your mortgage?” “Do you think that it’s fair that you don’t pay?”
They ask us this while the news is inundated with documentation of fraud and excess spending on behalf of the corporations. They ask us this with allegations of bribery and corruption flooding the news.
We paid our modification payments on time for two months. We didn’t stop paying because we wanted to, we stopped paying because CitiMortgage sold our loan (for pennies on the dollar) to PennyMac before the three months was up. After our 2nd payment we received a letter from CitiMortgage informing us that our loan had been sold to PennyMac. We were to make no more payments to CitiMortgage and to wait until we heard from PennyMac.
When PennyMac contacted us, they informed us that they were not going to honor the temporary modification issued to us by CitiMortgage, nor did they count the temporary modification payments as “payments”. They informed us that we were now 6 months in arrears on our mortgage.
The trap snapped shut on our hope.
We cannot “catch up” to their bookkeeping and to even try would only be sending good money after bad.
This is why we, and so many other honest hardworking Americans are behind in their mortgages. We have been duped by Mortgage companies that consider us ,“securities,” and not people, just as the slaveholders of old considered their slaves livestock and not human beings.
Countless numbers of Americans have lost their homes, not because of unemployment and drops in property value, but because of the fraud and deceit that the banks are still allowed to perpetuate on the public.
These corporations have not JUST robbed us of our homes, but they have robbed us of our credit rating, our ability to move freely within the public market to conduct business and support our families.
And they are allowed to get away with it.
I watched a recent episode of Bill Maher where he talked about the willingness of the American soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of the American people, but Wallstreet is not willing to sacrifice their tax cuts for the good of the American people. They are, however, willing to sacrifice us.