- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Too Important To Fail
Living with the “F-bomb”
Dear President Obama:
After four years of struggling to avoid it, my wife and I were hit with the “F-bomb” last week, 3 April 2012. And I’m not talking about “firetruck” with five letters removed. Our dream home, in which we lived only three years and left four years ago for new jobs, was foreclosed.
It was a slippery slope to foreclosure fueled by circumstances which were largely out of our control. My wife’s company “right-sized” in 2006 due to financial problems resulting from mismanagement, and she and a large proportion of other older employers were let go. She returned to higher education after 17 years in the private sector and found a part-time position at roughly half the salary.
Two years later she accepted a full-time position in a different city, which meant leaving our home, but more security. I followed and was able to also find work in higher education. The net impact on our family household income was roughly a 30% cut.
Our house was the model home in a private subdivision with large lots, lots of trees and a lake. It has a spacious kitchen, modern kitchen which looks out over roughly half-an-acre of woods, a large den with a functional and enhancing fire place, a formal dining room and large bedrooms upstairs. And yet there had been fewer than a half-dozen people look at the house in almost four years. The house was empty for almost 2 years primarily because the economy had tanked and the county had been overbuilt with homes.
And it’s important to note that this wasn’t a “McMansion.” We bought the house for less than the loan amount for which we were qualified at the time.
After we moved, we almost managed to stay current with our payments despite our drop in income, double mortgages, lack of rent support, furloughs at the university, and a child with serious and expensive medical issues. In 36 months, we missed three payments and had made 19 straight payments when the playing field changed.
Then in September 2011, Goldman Sachs was forced to sell Litton Loan Servicing to Ocwen financial services. And EMC Mortgage, which serviced the second mortgage, was taken over by Chase.
On 1 October, I went online to pay both mortgages and was told by both companies that I couldn’t make the monthly payment until we had paid the three late months. When I called the “Help” lines, I was told the same thing; either pay the three months past due or no payment would be accepted and we would be four months behind.
As I pointed out to the numerous agents with whom I spoke, had we had the money to make the past due payments, we would have made them. And the fact that both Litton and EMC had tacitly agreed to let us continue to make payments demonstrated that they had understood the reasons for the three months which had been missed.
I further pointed out that, if Ocwen and Chase would check the home sales in the county for that time, they would discover that home sales were basically at a standstill. But they had mortgagees who were willing to continue to make the monthly mortgage payments.
Logic doesn’t trump the legal commitments or the banks’ drive to become property owners. So, we began the process of dealing with the bureaucratic mazes which Ocwen and Chase have created to “help” customers to try and forestall the inevitable.
We asked to have the loan restructured so that the three, now four, now five, now six months of non-payments could be moved to the end of the contract term. Sorry, you can’t qualify with a second. We applied to refinance the property. Sorry, you have too much income. Or your credit score’s too low because of late mortgage payments.
We laid out our argument for the Ocwen ombudsman. Sorry, we’ve already told you, pay up or shut up.
Sisyphus’ boulder was the size of a futbol (soccer ball) compared to the rocks Ocwen and Chase gave us. And Deutsche Bank bought our original first mortgage the day after we signed it. I can only assume that they’re complicit in Ocwen’s foreclosure business strategy.
The financial impact: reality. The mental and emotional drain on us and our family given that we were doing everything we could to honor our mortgage contracts: immeasurable.
So you and vice president Biden can set up a middle class task force and talk about getting the middle class – “the backbone of this country – up and running again.”
That’s only rhetoric as long as the soulless banks and mortgage companies that we as taxpayers helped bail out are driven by profit and refuse to see their customers as more than anonymous numbers on a balance sheet. We’re resigned to the fact that we’ll never be able to own another home. The lesson hasn’t been lost on our children.
- Photo: Licensed by LikeTheDew.com at iStock.com.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
You get a hint of the problem. Of course, the article I'm referencing was published way back in 2001. But, the mindset is telling. The author, who was employed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, dismisses one kind of grass as a bank stabilizer because: Fescue tends to clump in our climate and wither in droughts. It fades in hot, dry weather, which lets weeds, brush and other noxious vegetation grow. Fescue is simply not a turf type grass. That is to say, natural vegetation is noxious and the problems unending: In the past, the vegetation on the newly completed dam has been Read on →
There is a gathering storm of American voter unrest from citizens tired of having to chose between the party of blither, Republicans, and the party of dither, Democrats. The former jabber endlessly, making no sense, spouting nonsense and being outraged when sensible people point out these failings. On the other hand, the ditherers believe they have a winning strategy in simply not being the other guy. Who can blame them? President Obama was awarded what had previously been the most prestigious prize on the planet, the Nobel Peace Prize, for the achievement of not being George W. Bush. It was Read on →
“I remember the City Park Prophet once said everything that isn’t darkness or death is a vision. I remember he said we are all God’s hallucinations.” As I read further into Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, ostensibly about the second Chechnya war set in 2004, I begin to wonder how much people think about god and the afterlife when all the minutes of their each and every day are focused exclusively just on keeping one step ahead of any number of thugs who want to plant them in some garbage pit. Some might say that men and women turn to religi Read on →
There's a simple reason why small turnouts at elections bother me. Simply put: Low turnouts run the risk of having a small pinch of the electorate choosing our public officials. With a small number of people voting, splinter and fringe groups can dominate the election. This can produce elected officials representing these way-out views, often not in step with the main-line, middle-of-the-road process it takes to let our government function best. It doesn't matter is the electorate if one third right, one-third left, and one-third in the middle or independent. If these different thirds don't turn out to vote in significant numbers, Read on →