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A protest at Bank of America demands loan modifications and accountability

bnk of amer.jpg
Illustration from Colorado Progressive Coalition.
Linda Stapel was a field researcher in February 2009, making enough money to buy a home by herself. But that's when she was blind-sided a by a woman in her car while collecting data for work. Stapel was left with Annular tears in her neck, severe pain and arm weakness that prevented her from working.

She received disability compensation in June 2009 and applied for a home loan modification a year later. That's when things got bad.

After months of back and forth, Bank of America denied her application. Having reached the end of her rope, Stapel led a protest of fifty or more people at a Loveland branch of Bank of America today -- the same day that Bank of America share-holders are meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stapel, who lives in Johnstown, is a member of Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), an organization dedicated to empowering different sectors of people to have a voice in public policy through grassroots campaigns. CPC helped organize this protest when it heard about Stapel's situation. She owes more on her mortgage than her home is worth. One in five homeowners is in the same situation, according to CPC.

When Stapel and her fellow protesters, including four generations of her family, arrived at the Bank of America mortgage location at 11 a.m. today they were met with a note saying the branch would be closed today. Stapel suspects the bank got word of the protest.

Members of the CPC picketed outside the branch until employees at Keller Williams Realty, which shares a building with Bank of America, called the police. When the police showed up Stapel explained that she just wanted her letter faxed to the Bank of America. She says her letter reminds them "as nicely as possible that they have a job as a mortgage company."

"Bank of America would no longer exist if the American tax payers had not helped them out," says Stapel. "I'm not asking for a bail out. I'm just asking for a chance to get a rate that I can pay, so I can continue to pay off the loan I signed to pay. I'm not asking for an easy way out. I got myself in to this. I will pay my way out, but I just need some help."

Keller Williams faxed the letter for her. After this, Stapel actually received a call from a Bank of America employee.

"I told her my situation and she said she is going to start an inquiry and assign somebody to my case and that they will be contacting me on Friday with some answers," says Stapel.

At the time of this writing a message seeking comment about the protest left for Mark Wisroth, the branch's Home Loans Manager, had not been returned.

This is certainly not the first communication Stapel has had with Bank of America's mortgage department. She is one of many Colorado residents who have had long and painful interactions with their banks.

"Our members around the state have been working on the issue of bank accountability, especially loan modification, for the last few months," says Ben Hanna, organizing director of CPC. " What we've heard and learned from dealing with a lot of individuals is that all the avenues you think would work to get a modification don't. Housing counselors struggle the same way homeowners do. Banks are losing people's documents. One hand doesn't know what the other is doing. You might talk to eight different people at one bank in one week. We have folks here who have been going through a process like that for months, and for some, years."

Hanna could very well be describing Stapel's ordeal. She filled out the appropriate paperwork through the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and sent it in to Bank of America. Two months later she received a letter saying she was missing documents, so she sent them again. She soon received a second letter saying certain documents were still missing, so she called the bank to find out which documents and assured the bank she had sent them.

"This continued on for months and months to the point that I labeled every single paper with my loan number on it so they would know it was part of the same package," says Stapel. "They would still lose it. Finally, after many phone calls and working with somebody, the underwriting department told me all the paperwork had finally been received and they would look at it."

She then received a letter saying she had been denied for a loan modification along with a list of twenty-plus reasons why the modification might have been denied. She called to ask for the specific reason.

"They said, 'We don't know, it's just one of these things from the list,'" says Stapel. "It could have been any number of reasons but they wouldn't tell me which one."

She was then offered an in-house modification from Bank of America, as her previous loan was from Century Wide Insurance. Seeing no other option, she went directly to the Loveland branch where she protested today and had bank employees fax the paperwork to the appropriate number. She received a confirmation at the bank that the fax had been received. Thirty days later she was told she was denied because she had not submitted the correct paperwork.

Stapel's case is not all that unique and CPC has held similar protests at banks around the Denver area before. Bank of America was chosen not just because it is Stapel's bank, but because it is the leading bank foreclosing on Colorado families, according to CPC. The organization also points out that Bank of America scores poorly in comparison to other banks when it comes to granting permanent home loan modifications and leaves the highest number of struggling homeowners either foreclosed or with an unresolved modification.

"Folks are pretty fed up that we're years into the foreclosure crisis and banks and servicers still haven't gotten their shit together in a way that can provide service to their own clients," says Hanna. "We decided we're just going to start marching in to banks and demand that they do what they should have been doing all along."

The CPC and the protesters are pushing Bank of America to reach an agreement with the fifty state Attorneys General to provide permanent home loan modifications and principal reductions to the current market value of homes.

Stapel is running out of savings. She is not sure she can make her house payment next month. Her monthly income went from $6,000 as a field researcher to $1,877 on disability.

"I worked very hard to get where I am and am now disabled and unable to work at this point after something you could never foresee," says Stapel. "I'm just trying to work with them because I thought they were supposed to help people like me. They never let you through. They prevent you from going through the system. All I want to do is say, 'At least talk to me. Tell me how I can get some resolution so I don't lose my house.'"

Today's protest provided some relief and publicity for Stapel. The real work is still ahead.

"It is satisfying that the wall is finally broken," says Stapel. "I feel like I have a voice and I hope they understand there will always be the CPC to support people in this situation. They need to take a look at what their banks did and open themselves up to helping these other people so we don't have to continue to have protests."


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25 comments
kwikquid
kwikquid

Loan modification leads to help them find prospects to which they can provide loan mod agreements. Loan modifications leads are essential in ensuring that a loan mod specialist has at least enough customers to sustain its operations.

USLoanZ
USLoanZ

Hi, I just ran across your web site via google. Your post is truly relevant to my life right now, and I’m really delighted I discovered your website.

Thinbar2002
Thinbar2002

My home loan is due on the first of the month with Bank Of America. On the eighth I got a call from their collection agency. There is a 15 day grace period. HARP loans don't have to be with the originator. I got a much better deal from my local credit union in Las Vegas. It will happen soon and I won't have to deal with these scum buckets anymore.

Charles Gladsworth
Charles Gladsworth

Type your comment here.

My name is Terry Goldberg and to my surprise I actually hada loan modification done without  gettingbeat for my money!! I was laid off last year and fell behind on my mortgage. Ihad tried to get BofA to modify my loan and got nowhere. Then I went with alocal law firm and ended up losing $2500 just to find out they could not help!!I wanted to give up but my wife started looking online and came across WilliamBerger law offices in south florida. After my wife did the research so we couldtrust who were dealing with. I called and spoke with Lenny which right away heinformed me of what his firm can do for $1500 and $750 a month and it would only take 3 months. My wife and Ihad only one try left before we would lose our home of 16 years, so we gave ita shot and in 3 months exactly we were able to get a principle reduction with afixed interest rate for 30 years. I want to let everybody know who's goingthrough the same problems, that this firm helped me when I had lost all hope! Hereis the number you can reach Lenny with 561-201-8159 Good luck everyone...

Avrinell520
Avrinell520

This isn't enough, bank of american hasn't changed!  I"m still going through this process now adn they are still doing the exact same thing.  I want to take action, I want to get more people involved in rallying against bank of america!  They cannot keep doing this to people.  Our government is bailing them out so they can help us, but there are being greedy and selfish and are not working with the american people.  It is time that more people fight!

best car loans
best car loans

Very informative post. I was not aware of it. I am glad I visited here and come to know about it. I have gathered a huge knowledge being here.

Bebossy
Bebossy

My situation is the same with list paper work and being juggled to one dept. to the next. I now have negativity equity because my situation has lasted 4YEARS!!! It began with Wilshire modifying my account and me making all trial payments(well over a year) to be them selling it to BAC. All the while they assured me to continue with payments which I did. Then the letters started. Added fees, etc

Brownsector
Brownsector

 Do you need a loan to pay off your bills? if yes then email us brownsector@blumail.org with the following information: THANKS 1.Full Name:......2.Sex:.....3.Age:......4.Phone:.....5.Country:....6.Loan Amount needed:......7.Duration Period:.....

Joeewilliams38
Joeewilliams38

I live in upstste New York and have ran into the same issues. In November of 2008 my employer let us know that we were going to take a $400.00 a week paycut. I immediately called Bank Of America to let them know and, see if I could modify or refinance my mortgage at a lower rate because I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford my current Mortgage payment. BOA told me the same thing, we didn't receive this information, we didn't receive that information, and so on. This went on for months. I did call a Consumer Credit Counselor to call BOA  on three way calling just so a third party could witness the runaround that I received from BOA. I never did get the refinance.

Ajfresh
Ajfresh

Oh this is fun who want Brian Moynihans #

Ajfresh
Ajfresh

Office of the CEO 18187132868 Sheryl Her boss charlene 18187132867There boss Dave Thorton senior vice president 18187132863All Bank of America loan specialists no trial periods

O.G.
O.G.

Thank you for standing up to BOA. I also have been dealing with the same stuff since August 2010.  It has been nothing been so stressful and crazy. Even thou I don't agree with it, I understand now why poeple ust walk away from their home.

Oic
Oic

I also live in California and our family had a significant loss of income. Bank of America has been giving us the same exact run around for over a year. Lost documents, shuffled to another department. It is so discouraging.

J Elite
J Elite

 You know It's sad..  The Gov. guy's Do not do any thing , they buy em gun's and AMO.  and tell the bank to go ahead and shoot the people who's tax dollars they are, They have killed the const. industry ..no jobs .. I'm in calif. 21 years in Biz designing homes for myself..God help us Banker's ,loan mod. pro's Crooks .. demo or rep.  It's a shame ,HELP US LORD!

Brittany
Brittany

In live in California and the EXACT same thing is happening to us. Bank of America is refusing to modify our loan even though our house is worth 25% of what we bought it for. I really hope the government steps in and helps out home owners dealing with these fraudulent banks. The government bailed out the banks and how do they repay us? By foreclosing on victims of the recession.

Robert
Robert

Thank-you CPC for standing up to the banksters!

familyfirst23@yahoo.com
familyfirst23@yahoo.com

Who is Brian Moynihan..I just called the numbers listed in your previous blog for Bank of America. .I left messages..having a reeeeeeeally hard time getting a loan modification...Thanx for the info..hopefully this bank will hear some important info.from some important people who do pay taxes..

aileen
aileen

Hi, ajfresh, were any of your contacts of help with your situation. If you have moynihans number, please post. Id like to give him a call and see if hes willing to assist me with my situation. Thank u.

Theresadimartino
Theresadimartino

Hello, I just received my 2nd denial for loan modification on my house. I went for months like you, faxing numerous documents for review.... and faxing same all over again, ....   so now I guess the foreclosure will be next for me and my son... All I wanted was a reduction of $300 to $400 off my current mortgage.   I honestly didn't think this was too much to ask for.    So, now they'd rather foreclose and accept a lesser amount, than to help me keep the home....I am exhausted, depressed, don't sleep well....  I am just ready to move out.... thanks alot to Bank of America for jerking me around, giving me hope that I would be approved for the loan modification.   I will never buy another house.  Way too much stress for a single mom.    take care allTheresa DiMartino, Burien - WA

Spinellia
Spinellia

Why should they modify your loan just because the value of your home went down? Would you offer to pay more if the value of your home went up?

Landlord
Landlord

Right on Spinellia. People who lived in their homes for years built some equity, then borrowed against it. It's was YOUR speculation on value. Don't want the risk?, don't take the money. Every single one of my friends encouraged me to "trade-up" when all of that cheap money was available from '98 to '06. I said, "no, my cheap and tiny house is just fine with me." If I had traded-up, do you think my friends, or the bank, would have bailed me out?

People always cry "bad luck", but if you look deeply enough, there is a conscious decision along the way that sets that bad luck in motion. When you're trying to keep up with the Joneses, the Joneses aren't going to rescue you when things go south.

Robert
Robert

We gave the banks many billions of dollars for precisely this purpose. Across the country, a vast conspiracy to commit Federal felonies such as wire fraud and the RICO statute (off the top of my head) by banks is underway. They fail to process loan modifications, routinely and falsely disclaiming their receipt of documents required from the borrower, then proceed to foreclose under knowlingly false pretenses. We should turn loose every drug offender in the prisons to make room for many of the nation's bankers.

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