Posted on 05 December 2010.
Bank evicts, then offers Boca Raton couple a loan mod
By Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 10:34 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
Posted: 10:27 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
In hours of congressional hearings last week, the nation’s banks were repeatedly condemned for dual-track loan modification systems that give hope to homeowners seeking lower monthly payments while at the same time foreclosing on their properties behind their backs.
“Unacceptable deficiencies,” is how the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency put it. Failed oversight, ineffective practices and insufficient staffing were criticisms added by other top regulators and legislators.
Boca Raton resident James Strassburger could have told lawmakers all that. He just wishes they were listening this year when One West Bank sold his home at foreclosure auction during negotiations for a loan modification.
Strassburger, 56, and his wife, Deborah, 58, who lived in their home for 19 years, were ordered out in May, holding two yard sales so they could squeeze into a rented apartment.
But the real kick in the gut came in August, six months after the auction, when they got a letter congratulating them for earning a trial loan modification. It was followed by a note alerting them to a hearing that would essentially give them their home back. Their mortgage payment was due Sept. 1, the letter reminded.
“This all could have been avoided. We could have been living our lives,” said James Strassburger, a former business owner whose flooring jobs dropped off when the economy fell. “It’s not a good feeling. I don’t like seeing my wife cry.”
One West Bank said it was looking into the Strassburgers’ case, but did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Washington lawmakers began paying earnest attention to the nation’s foreclosure nightmare this fall as banks pulled back on their home repossessions after acknowledging assembly line-like processing systems had potentially illegal shortcomings.
Hastily prepared court documents, as well as the dual-track foreclosure and loan modification process, were discussed Wednesday in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.
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