The Year of the Mortgage

After 12 months of working to get a loan modification, she and her partner were pushed to the brink.

by Luellen Smiley • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

Who hasn’t head of Brian Moynihan? He’s the President and CEO of Bank of America. His corporation has been under government examination for mismanagement of Real Estate Owned (REO) properties and hasty foreclosure proceedings. B of A received billions to solve homeowner bumble-gum default problems. After reading million, billion, and trillion figures all day, I imagine our loss was too trite to power ball.     

A home is the single most significant investment for most citizens. After reading about the billions churning into B of A’s REO departments, I didn’t swing shift on calling Mr. Moynihan.

The search rolled onto dozens of B of A websites, offering to loan money for the purpose of increased security and peace of mind. That was their press packet punch line. Reading about all the investment options was daunting to me, and worse, I didn’t understand what they were talking about. My training was in real estate, that’s all I count on for return on investment. Finally I landed on Moynihan’s advertising photo and his office phone number.

When I was 22 years old, my father taught me a critical lesson. While I was employed with Gibraltar Savings and loan, my first desk job, he instructed me to "Call the President of Gibraltar!" if I had any problems with co-workers. Right Dad, I silently voiced. Eventually I was ordered to call the president after repeating to my dad what a co-worker said. He slipped on his anti-Semitic tongue and told a Holocaust joke!

“No! I demanded to the answering B of A receptionist.” (Is that what they’re still called?) “Do not transfer me out of the president’s office. This is an emergency.”

“What sort of emergency?”

“My business partner threatened to kill himself."

“Can you be more specific?”

“We’re in the process of a loan modification, and have been for over a year. Our payment increased from $3,500 to $7,200! Yesterday, my partner was told we have to start the process all over because you have a new servicing agency, and then, the representative told Rudy, my business partner, that the whole package, all two thousands documents have to be resubmitted updated.”

“Can you hold the line?” she interrupted.

A few moments later, she got back on the line and said she was transferring me to Investor Relations. A woman came on the line, and introduced herself.

“Do you work in Mr. Moynihan’s office? Specifically his office?” I asked.

“Yes.  I am a … I forgot her title, a Relations Control something. She asked me to tell her what happened, and I laid it all out from the beginning. She apologized; sincerely more in fear and apprehension of the story, but she had a smooth calming affect on me until she said, “I will personally take care of this Monday.” I was hoping Mr. Moynihan was standing next to her listening.

“Not Monday. Today, Friday. Robert must get the call before the end of the day. I am prepared to go public, I work for the press, (ie. I write a blog a few hundred read), and if anything happens to Robert; I am going to hold you responsible.”

“I understand your frustration.” She’d already said that three times.

“No you don’t. He’s all I have in the world. He’s a most resilient man. He works seven days a week, but B of A has pushed him over the edge. He’s never gone over the edge like this. Call Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, ask if he has a mental disorder.”  

“I’m going to see what I can do. I will call you back.”

“When will you call me back?”

“In two hours. Maybe less.”  

It was two hours, and now it was two in the afternoon. The woman asked how I was, and added she understood my frustration again.

“I contacted our Vice President in Los Angeles, and he will contact Robert today."   

“Are you sure? I have to be completely sure when I tell Robert. There can’t be any more false promises.”

“You have my word  Mr. Funk will be contacted today.”

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