It’s only 5 days before Christmas 2009. At this point in the process, I was still naive enough to believe that America’s Servicing Company (ASC) was being sincere in their efforts to help avoid foreclosures. Since then I’ve seen how the bank’s attorneys will use every trick in the book to force you out when their clients’ business interests are served by that course of action. My house, in December 2009 had at least $50,000 worth of equity so the bank had no incentive to give me a modification. It makes more business sense to foreclose and then sell the house since there is equity… at least in the absence of regulation.
Most people would be heading out of town around the 20th for the Christmas holiday. I hadn’t really celebrated Christmas in several years since I lost touch with my family in East Texas, but most people do. What a convenient time for the bank to be conducting foreclosure business. You know, when the bank requests information, they’ll demand that they receive it within 10 days of the date of their letter, but you don’t really know how to proceed, especially if you’re new to all this foreclosure stuff. It’s really hard to find help from lawyers, HUD approved councilors, and the like because they’re booked up or are already on vacation by the 20th. I got a default notice that gave me until January 19th to bring my loan current or else face “acceleration” which means they can terminate your ownership of the home. It was less than a week prior that I got the notice to send in the questionnaire for assistance and it would not be for another 4 days before they would even be able to confirm that they received my response.
Three days after Christmas, I received an acceleration notice. It’s a good thing I wasn’t out of town trying to spend time with family when it came (a 10 day deadline would come pretty quick when you get the notice 5 days after the date on the letter). On the 28th, I called ASC and they verified that they had received my statement of wages and expenses but, they now say they need proof of income. So…I wrote a letter and faxed it to them with proof of income as they had requested. Somewhere, I found this discontinue phone contact form. It’s necessary to stop creditors from harassing you. It may seem like a small thing but it’s a Godsend. Creditors will drive you nuts calling you every week or two asking you the same questions over and over again.
On January 11th, I got this request for information (RFI). You’ll notice that if they don’t receive your response within 10 days, they’ll throw out your request for assistance. That’s not much time to do your research, collect the information, create documents and then mail it in. It’s a good thing I had a home office, database, a scanner, fax machine, and the professional experience of an account manager. Without those tools and resources, I think compliance with their demands would have been impossible. Can you imagine the average homeowner with nothing more than a desktop computer and maybe a printer trying to respond to this type of request over and over again for 2 years? I can’t, which is why I think this kind of highway robbery has never gone to trial.