By: Michael Powers
There are no two ways about it. The US legal system has always served the interests of those who can afford it. Truth and justice? Well, those are words for idealists and dreamers. How many celebrities and wealthy individuals do we have to watch literally and figuratively get away with murder, before we conclude that our “justice” is severely slanted towards the wealthy. In our legal system, the seemingly simple matter of right and wrong clearly takes a backseat to the party with the most resources.
Today’s housing and mortgage crisis is no exception to this rule, as hard working Americans find themselves homeless as a result of the out and out fraud and greed driven deception by some of America’s biggest lending institutions. Though many homeowners have attempted to save their homes by battling the banks in the court system, most of them find that they are outgunned by the seemingly endless resources of the banks they seek to defeat. To compound matters, many judges have favored the banks as a matter of “policy decision”, in order to prevent further chaos in the housing market and the US economy in general.
A few years later, the real estate market crashed, as the artificial bubble created by the Wall Street mortgage backed securities scandal finally burst. Anna knew that she was in a loan that she would not be able to afford in a couple years, so she proactively sought to refinance the loan before it became a problem. Unfortunately, it was already too late. As housing values had plummeted, she was living in a house that was worth less than what she owed on the mortgage, or “upside down”. Consequently, she was consistently denied a refinance loan, so she began corresponding with her bank to see if they could help. After being bounced around, she was finally told that she would not qualify for any of the loan modification or foreclosure alternative programs unless she was delinquent on her loan. It seems that banks had formulated policies whereby only homeowner in immediate distress (behind in their mortgage payments) would receive attention with mortgage relief assistance. Accordingly, Anna felt she had no alternative but to stop making her payments in order to get the bank’s attention. At this point, she was only months away from her mortgage payment nearly doubling anyway, so she thought it was time for drastic measures.
Anna spent the next two years going round and round with her bank, without receiving assistance. They would consistently seek updated paperwork and claim the assistance request was “being reviewed” and that she should “not worry”. Unbeknownst to her, the bank was simultaneously moving forward with foreclosure proceedings in a deceptive practice known as “dual-tracking”.
Finally, in May of 2013, Anna was informed that her loan modification request had been denied, and her house was sold at auction less than one week later. Unaware of her rights, and simply trying to “do the right thing”, she complied with a demand to vacate the premises. As a single mother of two grammar school aged children, homelessness was not an option, so she took up residence in a trailer parked in her parents’ backyard, where she remains to this day.
Anna’s story is a very typical story, and one that we hear every day in the trenches of homeowner assistance. While Anna may have been naive in relying on the words of a quick buck artist mortgage broker and some greed driven bank representatives, the fact remains that she, like millions of other Americans, was the victim of predatory lending.
Sadly, the America of yesteryear is gone. Honor and dignity have been replaced by greed and callousness. If you are a homeowner dealing with a troubled mortgage, don’t be naive. Greedy people only respond to the threat of losing money, and these days, legislators have given homeowners plenty of ammunition for lawsuits against their lenders. If you are fighting to save your home, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced mortgage litigation attorney, and sue your lender. Stop asking for assistance, and take control of your situation. Banks make decisions based on one thing; money! By taking the fight to your lender with a lawsuit, you can completely change the “bean counting” equation, and give yourself the best chance possible of resolving your mortgage with terms that are most favorable to you!