Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Did Bank of America Have It's Fingers Crossed?

The more that I read about Bank of America's settlement with the federal government and State Attorneys General, the more that I believe that they are not keeping to their side of the agreement.  Obviously I'm not an attorney and I'm certainly not an expert on the intricacies of the deal. Perhaps there are loopholes that they have exposed but from my vantage point there seems to be a willful disregard of their commitments.

For example, Bank of America and the other 4 banks agreed to no longer use deceptive practices in offering loan modifications.  I've heard long before the settlement and after that Bank of America and others often use these kinds of practices.  It seems as if they want to present themselves as working with struggling homeowners when in reality their system is willfully dysfunctional and endless. It is as if they are simply trying to run out the clock on struggling homeowners.

My own personal experience (which is post-Settlement) seems to verify this perception.  I've already detailed how Bank of America sent a packet suggesting that I apply for a loan modification.  But even after consulting with them during the process, they simply sent another packet telling me to start all over again.  When I called to inquire about what was wrong with the first packet and application they actually told me that they could not tell me.  Apparently I was supposed to guess and hope that the next package and application would magically become acceptable.

Bank of America then advised me by phone to call a national nonprofit that could allegedly walk me through the modification application process "line by line".  The only problem is that when I actually called that national nonprofit, the person told me the exact opposite.

Again, based on the settlement agreement I believe they they are supposed to establish one point of contact with me. They have in fact assigned me to an "account manager" but I have only received a form letter from this alleged person. I've tried to contact her and she has never answered the phone and has not returned multiple messages weeks later. My reading of the settlement suggests that this requirement was set up to improve communication, not completely cut it off.

These kinds of antics seem to violate at least the spirit of the settlement agreement if not the actual letter.

In my own unfortunate experience I am waiting to see if Bank of America will keep playing fast and loose with other elements of the settlement.  For example, will they restrict themselves from trying to foreclose on me while I am under consideration for a loan modification? Based on the settlement agreement, it appears that they are restricted from doing that very thing.

I may be resubmitting my modification package (with the help of a local nonprofit) as early as January 15 yet they have threatened to begin foreclosure actions after January 26th (Note: that may be avoided because I very well could become current before the deadline).  If I am not, will they honor that agreement since my loan will be under consideration for modification? By the way, isn't it technically already under consideration since I submitted the initial application package? Will they just ignore my modification status and just proceed anyway?

The settlement provides for a wide range of modification and other financial aid options for struggling homeowners.  Will I be seriously considered for any and all of them as I should be?

I already feel like Bank of America is not living up to their agreement under the February 2012 settlement with the government. Unfortunately in my own personal experience it will become quite clear one way or the other over the coming weeks and months.   I will respond accordingly.

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