A number of months ago, it came to light that a number of banks, in conjunction with a few large law firms and foreclosure processing companies, were creating foreclosure assembly lines. As cases came down the line, outsourced “foreclosure specialists” would rubber stamp each one, regardless of its individual circumstances. For example, families who may have just started a modification program or were perhaps late on only one payment were being asked to turn in their keys.
It was also uncovered that a few banks had created incentive programs for the processing organizations (many were actually just individuals working from their homes) and had in place illegal financial relationships with other companies that made money from helping banks rapidly foreclose on homes.
Now, the process has become so convoluted that people completely up to date with their mortgages are being delivered notices to pay up or get out.
USA Today chronicled the story of a man in Naples, FL who was delivered a foreclosure notice by Bank of America despite paying cash for his house. On top of that, he has never had any relationship with the bank, not even a checking account.
This is a perfect example of what happens when large organizations outsource everything. When dealing with a person’s home, the circumstances are even more trying. It’s not like they simply called the wrong phone number. Bank of America tried to foreclose on a home on which they never supplied a mortgage.
The Naples story further proves just how out of control the sub-prime mortgage problem became. Banks and financial services companies were packaging and selling loans so rapidly that homeowners soon had no idea who really held their mortgage. Obscure, almost shadow entities suddenly started mailing letters to families with demands to pay in full or move out. It was only a matter of time before everyone started to get confused—and extremely frustrated.
The fear of losing your home can be crippling for a family. Moreover, the organizations involved offer no semblance of real help. If a person can reach their actual mortgage holder, they more often than not end up in a push-button quagmire of standardized messaging and information that becomes outdated by tomorrow. Live operators do little more than tow the party line, request paper work and recite impossible-to-meet time lines.
And now, they are trying steal homes from people who already own them. Things get really intriguing when folks who have fallen victim to such blatant idiocy find themselves already affected by the pretend foreclosure. Files exist in their name and credit scores get affected. They need to hire lawyers, pay fees and suffer through endless run-arounds.
The issues have become common enough to warrant a few class action lawsuits and earn the attention of Washington. Unfortunately, once you’re in the foreclosure system, it’s a long and bumpy road out. And the highway is starting to back up.
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