This is not a fucking liberal movement you fucking retards. I am not a tree hugging hippy. I am Pro Military, Pro Gun, and for smaller government. This is about The constitution being sold out, the american people being sold out, and Banks making a profit off of it. If our police and military are protecting us and our rights, im in full support, but they are not. they are protecting the interests of the banks. the 1%. these people are committing treason and should be dealt with accordingly.
Not all of the wingers get it, mind you. Several on our side of the fence spoke up … and got put down.
I’ve had at least five reminders in my mailbox this morning to call Chris Koster, who is in DC today in conference with other AGs and Elizabeth Warren about a settlement with the big banks. Here’s the heart of one of them:
Call Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster right now at 573-751-3321 and demand nothing less than a strong settlement against the big banks. Tell your Attorney General, “My Name is [SAY NAME.] I am a resident of Missouri. The Attorney General must come out in support a settlement that provides justice for millions of homeowners and holds the big banks accountable for their crimes. Nothing less is acceptable.”
Let your Attorney General know it’s time to choose a side – the homeowners they’ve sworn to protect or the big banks that broke the law and bankrupted the economy.
In case you haven’t had five reminders–or even if you have–I thought I’d sneak another one in on you. The lady I spoke to answered promptly without a hint of being harried. We need to keep her busier than that.
There’s a good reason why Attorney General Koster has not taken any action against serial mortgage abuser Bank of America. He is waiting for a report. One of his lieutenants is in charge of getting interviews from everyone who has listed a complaint on the AG site. Currently that is 152 Missouri homeowners. When I mentioned all this to Mary Boehm more than two weeks ago, she chuckled. “Right. Well, they haven’t gotten to us yet.” But within a couple of days, bingo, she got a call from the AG’s office. The investigator wasn’t calling to set up an interview, but he did offer concrete information. Here’s how Mary described it in an e-mail:
An investigator from the AG’s office called me two weeks ago. He was very nice and said he was calling to let me know that the AG was investigating all the banks and their possible fraudulent behavior, but that it was a very time-consuming process. He said he would be calling us back to get our statement soon. He also said that the AG was investigating this crisis along two lines:
1. The banks telling people to make modified payments while they were “processing” modifications and then suddenly trying to foreclose on them.
2. The banks refusing to give customers their loan documentation proving who holds the note (most likely because no one knows where the notes are).
He told us that we were one of the few complainants who were in both situations. He also said we might be called as witnesses. Lucky us!
When I called and asked Mary if the “lucky us!” was sincere, she laughed and told me it was and it wasn’t. Yes, she and Mike would relish a chance to turn the tables on their tormentors. On the other hand, it’s one more way to assure that the nightmare drags on.
And yet, even on the mortgage modification front, the Boehms are finally getting some traction. Here’s more of her e-mail:
Big news: We paid BOA on 2/11 the amount Stephanie Caruso gave us in writing to come current, which we agreed with (no fees!) and she also put in writing that BOA would fix our credit. (Caruso is in Customer Relations at the Office of the CEO and President.) We will have to wait 90 days for our credit reports to be updated, and by then interest rates will probably be too high for refinancing our loan to be helpful, but we thought this nightmare was finally over!
But then Bad for America reverted to type:
Of course, on Monday, 2/14, I got another collection call from BOA! When I told the woman that we had paid up on Friday, she said that we still owed $830 more and that our Notice of Intent to Accelerate had expired on Dec. 26. (I guess this was a threat to frighten me into paying.) When I told her that we were working with someone from the Office of the CEO and President, she said there were no codes in our file stating that we were working with that department. I said a bad word and hung up on her.
Then Mike left an angry message on Stephanie Caruso’s voicemail complaining. She called back and left a message stating that she was sorry that happened, that it SHOULDN’T have happened, and that we really WERE paid up and current through Feb. 28. To top this off, she said she was putting a “hold” on our phone number which means that we won’t get any more calls from BOA. Unfortunately, she said, that also means that SHE can’t call us anymore either. So if we need to talk to her, we have to reach her in person, because she won’t be able to return any calls. RIGHT! Can you believe that this is real?! This is world-class customer service? It sounds to me like a great excuse for not talking to us anymore. I am beginning to believe that this will NEVER really be over.
Bank of America doesn’t ever believe in doing things the classy way. There will be more teeth grinding glitches for the Boehms. But it looks like they might be among the lucky ones.
A cockeyed optimist might look at the foreclosure problems Mike and Mary Boehm are facing, at the mortgage modification that BoA is offering them, and say, “Look. All the pressure is working!” Indeed, one of the BoA people explained to Mike that a dozen different people–including Russ Carnahan’s office and Chris Koster’s office–have complained about the treatment the Boehms have received. So, since the family is a wee hair short of meeting the MHA standard for modifying a mortgage, the bank is prepared to offer an in-house mortgage modification. Isn’t that wonderful news?
Well, no. Not when you see the terms of the new deal.
Bad for America is offering to lower the monthly payments by $200–and extend the loan from a thirty year contract to a forty year contract. But the interest rate is still more than five percent. If Bad for America weren’t ruining the Boehms’ credit rating by saying that they haven’t been making their mortgage payments, the family could negotiate a better deal than that at another bank.
And the bank could fix their credit. It knows that for well over a year, the Boehms made the payments that a homeowner getting a modified loan would be making–made every one of them on time, because that’s the amount the bank told them to pay. The family has refused to pay all kinds of bogus “fees” that BoA has tried to impose on them–a typical money-grubbing scheme of these upstanding businessmen. But rather than just declare that the Boehms have met their fiscal obligations with BoA and let them negotiate a fair loan at a local bank, Slim the Slimeball Bank of America is offering them this “deal”–just something to report to Carnahan and Koster to make it look as if they give a fig about a congressman’s or an AG’s complaint.
Slim the Slimeball sells you a used car with a transmission that has about five minutes left on it. When you’re a mile and a half down the street, you hear a thunk and the car quits on you. Slim is all innocence when you confront him, but, having flirted with his secretary, you manage to obtain documentation from her that Slim knew how bad the car was. You threaten a lawsuit and Slim offers to reimburse you for the $3,000 you spent. Thirty bucks. That’s right. One dollar for every hundred you gave him.
Slim needs to apply to Bank of America for an executive position. He obviously knows how the financial game is played. BofA, for example, just transacted a deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay them approximately one cent on every dollar that the bank’s mortgage sales to Fannie and Freddie are likely to cost those government entities over the next few years. The backstory on this is that the big banks, including Bad for America, put together packages of loans and sold them to private investors (who often insured them in case the loans went bad) as well as to Fannie and Freddie. Many of those were risky loans that eventually turned toxic. F and F, who don’t actually lend money but who were set up to buy loans from private lenders, were forced to buy more of these risky packages:
Brian Moynihan, BofA CEO
In an effort to promote affordable home ownership for minorities and rural whites, the Department of Housing and Urban Development set targets for Fannie and Freddie in 1992 to purchase low-income loans for sale….
And now, Bad for America is facing lawsuits that would force it to repurchase these bad loans (repurchases are called put-backs) that it sold to F and F as well as to private investors–think: give you back your $3,000 bucks for the crappy car. Instead of repurchasing loans it never should have had the gall to sell, Bad for America has offered Fannie and Freddie this “deal”. It is going to pay F and F a. whole. penny for every dollar these bad loans cost F and F. Wow.
A diarist at Kos says that there’s been lots of hoopla lately (since Citizens United) about corporate personhood. He’s got a metaphor for the way these corporate “persons” just screwed the taxpayers.
And, right about now, if Bank of America was a person, they’d be propped up on a pillow, naked in bed, smoking a cigarette, sipping a glass of wine, smiling as they looked into your eyes while tritely asking: “Was it as good for you as it was for me?”
“This looks to me like a gift from Tim Geithner… there’s politics all over this.”
And since this is a signal to the other big banks to put their liabilities behind them, the stock market rocketed on Monday.
So, whew, say the bankers. Another big bailout. And this one we won’t even have to pay back. The taxpayers will just eat it. That will allow us to stay in business, profiting off of pretending to modify mortgages. I saw the profiting-off-of-loan-modifications part of their business in action with the latest news on the Mike and Mary Boehm front.
I got a 45 minute phone call from a Ronald at BOA calling because Elizabeth Gomez has had a mysterious illness or emergency since we last talked to her on Dec. 23 and that is why she hasn’t called. Yeah, right.
The entire 45 minute conversation was basically an info-mercial for how great BOA is and how they are trying to help people, but MHA is a government program. It’s just like FHA when it was first introduced and everyone wanted it. So many people signed up and then there was a backlog. People are getting mad at the banks, but really it’s the government’s fault. And Obama told the banks to stop HAMP and convert to MHA and blah blah blah…….. Those poor little banks, they just want to do the right thing.
Ronald said he could NOT put anything he was telling me in writing because BOA’s lawyers have to look at every piece of paper and email that leaves the building, and so he is very limited in what he could send me. He gave me his phone number and email address, but said his email was just for us to send HIM things, he couldn’t send us anything. He would not give me a dollar amount to come current, could not do anything about late fees, etc. and said he could not tell me what to do, but since we are already HALFWAY (please don’t laugh) through the MHA program (after 14 months?), it would probably be a good idea to complete the process and see what happens. He kept mentioning how we might be able to get as low as a 2% interest rate. Ronald kept telling me he was just there to answer my questions, but he never answered a single one!
This was just a call to placate us for now. NOT WORKING!!!!!
If that Troy woman who has brought suit against Bad for this sort of conscienceless, greedy, hypocritical, lying, unethical, illegal behavior–if she, as I said, manages to get it filed as a class action suit, something tells me the Boehms would be interested in joining her.
Unless, of course, Chris Koster wants to put the weight of the state behind dealing with complaints like these. He could save the homes of people who have no money to spare for legal fees, who don’t deserve the runaround they’re getting. Real Democrats like to do that sort of thing.
(Another h/t to Adam Shriver, this time for the link to the Kos diary that got me investigating the F and F deal)
Graham, who lives in Big Bear City, Calif., applied for a loan modification under the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, which is supposed to give eligible borrowers a “permanent” five-year modification if they make reduced payments during a three-month trial period.
Graham said his trial dragged on for 18 months. He said he made every payment until Bank of America told him in May that he didn’t qualify for HAMP, and that he’d lose his home unless he paid about $7,000 to make up the difference between his normal monthly payments and the reduced payments he made during the trial period.
“Each month when I did talk to them I was informed it’s still under review.”
B of A is already facing a racketeering lawsuit, but that’s for using perjured affidavits on foreclosure proceedings. It seems like Holder would have a slam/dunk case if he would also bring suit for the kind of thievery Bank of America has foisted on the Boehms and thousands like them.
And Attorney General Chris Koster could beat Holder to it if he’d bring suit here in Missouri.
KMOV-TV had a fine piece on the Tuesday evening 5:00 news about a Troy woman who is suing Bank of America for its pattern of failing to grant qualified recipients modified mortgages and charging them fees while it keeps them hanging. The woman hopes to make it a class action suit. So KMOV sent a reporter, Marc Cox, to interview in her kitchen someone who might be interested in joining that lawsuit, Mary Boehm. Cox let Boehm talk about the pattern of deception she and her husband are all too familiar with. Then he pointedly mentioned that the bank refused even a phone interview, adding that one of its suits [my terminology, not his] gave some lame excuse about its treatment of the Boehms by saying ‘we’re going to make a ruling on that case sometime fairly soon.’ Cox observed that they’ve had 423 days to make a decision that should have taken only 45 days.
Correction: I was working from memory of the broadcast when I reported that Cox said the bank would rule on the case soon. Now that the video is up at KMOV, I see that the bank spokeshole sent Cox an e-mail, not commenting at all on the federal lawsuit and saying that the Boehms–after being in limbo for 13 months–still may not qualify for a modification. Cox points out that the bank gives no explanation why that would be the case.
The photos below are from last week’s action outside Bank of America in Clayton: one sign, a group of activists, and one activist in the making.
Bank of America is a master of the “string them along/stonewall them” technique that we’re seeing skillfully applied to Mike and Mary Boehm. The Boehms are so frustrated that they are beginning to wonder if the bank’s managers have read Catch-22 and instructed middle managers to follow Sergeant Towser’s example in that book.
In the World War II saga, Major Major was determined to avoid any contact with people plaguing him for favors–or indeed with anybody at all. So he summoned his aide:
“From now on,” he said, “I don’t want anyone to come in to see me while I’m here. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” said Sergeant Towser. “Does that include me?”
“I see. Will that be all?”
“What shall I say to the people who come to see you while you’re here?”
“Tell them I’m in, and ask them to wait.”
“Yes, sir. For how long?”
“Until I’ve left.”
“And then what shall I do with them.”
“I don’t care.”
“May I send them in to see you after you’ve left?”
“But you won’t be here then, will you?”
“Will that be all.”
And Sergeant Towser had no problem following those orders and leaving befuddled, frustrated supplicants standing in the major’s empty office, wondering if a cruel practical joke was being played on them. The Boehms can identify with their bewilderment.
When I spoke to Mary last Wednesday, she reported that someone from the Bank of America had left a phone message Monday night saying that the bank would be negotiating another mortgage with them. Then he failed to return phone calls. I spoke to Mary today, and she said that he finally did get back to them Wednesday evening and gave them the name and phone number of a negotiator, Elizabeth Gomez, who returned their calls on Thursday.
But Ms. Gomez claimed that there was no record in their file of an intent to foreclose. Odd, considering that the Boehm’s possessed a letter from Bad for America listing December 26th as the date that foreclosure proceedings would begin. Gomez was puzzled, furthermore, to find no paperwork in their file saying that they owed late fees–which is also odd, considering how the bank has been badgering the Boehms for those fees. Sergeant Towser Gomez promised to check on those issues and call them the next morning, December 24th. Would they mind, she asked, being bothered on Christmas eve, about this matter? (Never let it be said that paper shufflers at B of A have no sense of humor.) After Mike and Mary assured her, nay, urged her to call on Friday, Gomez said she would phone them at 11:00 sharp, which is 9:00 in her time zone, opening time.
11:00 Friday came and went. Nothing.
It’s more than five days since the promised call, and the Boehms are standing in Major Major’s empty office.
Meanwhile Mike and Mary are pursuing every avenue they can think of to persuade Chris Koster to pressure the bank to modify their mortgage and even to bring suit against Bank of America, as Arizona and Nevada have, for its foreclosure practices. They are contacting their elected officials to plead their case with the Attorney General.
I put in my two cents this afternoon, talking to Chris and Nancy in Koster’s office. They’ve had no reply from Bank of America to their letter of inquiry about the Boehms’ situation. I asked if Koster will consider bringing suit. Nancy says she “will check.” I didn’t exactly expect to hear positive news on that front yet. I’m prepared to be persistent.
So are the Boehms. Mary is determinedly upbeat. Hey, she even offered to describe the decor in Major Major’s office for me. If anybody can pin down that elusive son of a gun, it will be the Boehms.
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
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.