Bank of America is looking into negotiating another mortgage with Mike and Mary Boehm. Well, so their representative said in a phone message. Monday night. But he hasn’t returned any of the three messages the Boehm’s have left for him since then. So far, that phone message and reports given to the Post-Dispatch and KMOV-tv that the Boehms are in no imminent danger of foreclosure are, at the very least, unverified.
We hope these claims are more than just an attempt from B of A to shunt aside nuisance publicity until the media spotlight ricochets to some other story. The Boehms would like to think that the assurances have some substance, but the family was not reassured on that score by today’s mail. Mike and Mary had printed a request for 13 items pertaining to the loan off of Attorney General Koster’s site and sent it to Bad for America. Today the family received a letter from the bank that included three of those pieces of documentation but that said: “Please note that all other requests are declined as they seek documentation that goes beyond that which is available.”
Translated loosely, that means, ‘We’ll give you what we damn well find convenient.’ Not the spirit of cooperation the Boehms are looking for. Yes, I realize that this is probably something the bank’s bureaucracy churned out before the action on Monday, but here’s the thing. The letter went out. The phone message was left on the machine. But nobody at the bank seems to be engaged in settling this problem. It will take continued pressure from activists to move Bank of America to let the Boehms off the hook.
Meanwhile, I’ve spoken to two women in Attorney General Koster’s office. This entire brouhaha was news to the first one, Chris. But someone named Nancy called me back a couple of hours later to say that the office has called Bank of America about the Boehms and has not yet received a return call. Good on them for that prompt action. I asked Nancy if the AG’s office has legal authority to press a case against B of A for disobeying the federal mandate to modify mortgages for qualified applicants. She’ll check. And I asked whether Chris Koster will consider taking such action on behalf of the many complainants against B of A. She’ll check.
Koster’s office needs to hear from you. 1-573-751-3321
Bank of America’s troubles in St. Louis are both typical of and at the same time less alarming than what’s happening for them on the national scene. Huffington Post tells us that Bank of America “has seen easier days.”
The bank been reportedly identified as a target by WikiLeaks — it reportedly maintains a war room to defend against the leak — it’s the subject of a federal racketeering lawsuit, one of many high profile lawsuits involving its foreclosure practices.
Now, the bank has been accused of breaking into a woman’s home and taking her possessions, including her late husband’s ashes.
That incident is part of a pattern of home break-ins reported by other homeowners, according to a New York Times article. The piece describes a typical Bank of America subterfuge that the Boehms will recognize:
“Every day, smaller wrongs happen to people trying to save their homes: being charged the wrong amount of money, being wrongly denied a loan modification, being asked to hand over documents four or five times,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
Sounds like what I described happening to the Boehms:
They spent hours upon hours on the phone trying to straighten out glitch after snafu after hitch caused by the bank’s carelessness. “You faxed us this information already? Really? Then do it again. You’ve faxed it twice? Oh. Try faxing it to this other number.”
It’s gotten so that it’s easier to have faith in Santa than to believe that Bank of America can be trusted.