New York Times: A Slack Lifeline for Drowning Homeowners
After Lucy Circe became disabled and could no longer work, she applied to Bank of America for a mortgage loan modificationon her Vermont home. Over more than two years, starting in 2012, the bank repeatedly requested copies of documents that had already been provided, asked for proof that she was no longer married to a man she did not even know, and made other errors, like asking why Ms. Circe had indicated that she didn’t want to keep her property when she had actually told the bank she did.
Ms. Circe’s efforts to modify her loan took a number of twists and turns. Jessica Radbord, [Circe's] lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid in Burlington, kept battling on her behalf. Finally, in April, Bank of America agreed to modify Ms. Circe’s loan.
“It’s kind of stunning when they come back with all these strange reasons for denials,” Ms. Radbord said. “What really bothers me is, how on earth would a homeowner be able do this on their own?”
Homeowners wouldn’t be, and the government isn’t helping them much. That goes a long way toward explaining how a program intended to help four million troubled borrowers instead gave them the boot.
[Read the report on the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program. The New York Times suggests that the “disturbing report” shows that "Ms. Circe’s experience was anything but unique."]