Friday, September 30, 2011

This has to be good, right?

California exits foreclosure talks

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris vows to launch own probe of mortgage lenders.

By Alejandro Lazo and Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times

7:04 PM PDT, September 30, 2011

Reporting from Los Angeles and New York

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is bowing out of nationwide talks aimed at settling charges that banks wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners, vowing that her office would launch a more rigorous investigation.

The decision Friday is a major setback to negotiations that had been backed by the White House and dozens of national officials. The 50-state coalition, of which Harris had been a lead member before Friday, has come under fire for potentially letting off banks that include Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. too easily.

Harris said the nation's five largest mortgage servicers were not offering California homeowners relief commensurate to what people in the state had suffered. She also objected to the banks' demands that they be granted broad release from further investigations into Wall Street's role in the mortgage meltdown.

"I have decided that we have to go our own course and take an independent path, and that decision is because we need to bring relief to Californians that is equal to the pain California experienced," Harris said in an interview with The Times on Friday. "What is being negotiated now is insufficient."

Industry experts said the removal of California from the discussions could spell the end of an11-month effort by the 50-state coalition to strike a deal with the banks. At one point, the coalition held out the hope of returning as much as $25 billion to homeowners nationwide. A person familiar with the ongoing talks said the banks would continue to negotiate with the remaining states, and a meeting among the remaining parties is set for next week.

Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller, who has been leading the negotiations, vowed to press on.

"California has been an important part of our team and has made a significant contribution to this case," Miller said in a statement. "However, the multistate effort is pressing forward, and we fully expect to reach a settlement with the banks."

New York, Delaware, Nevada, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Minnesota have already signaled that they were unhappy with the proposed deal being discussed because of legal release from liability being offered to the banks. New York and Delaware have been cooperating in their own probes separate from the coalition.

"This whole concept of a settlement on foreclosure abuse is probably dead," said Christopher Whalen, founder of Institutional Risk Analytics. "Nobody in their right mind is going to opt into a settlement right now."

Harris' rejection of the broader settlement talks undermines efforts by the Obama administration, which has been pushing for a fast resolution to the so-called robo-signing scandal that erupted last year.

For California homeowners, it means the likely end to any hope of relatively quick relief stemming from revelations last year that banks improperly foreclosed on troubled borrowers. Key reforms to mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices advocated by the attorneys general may also be delayed, although Harris called on the banks to adopt such measure independently Friday.

But several groups working to help homeowners in California cheered Harris' move, saying that a full investigation is more important than a quick solution.

"She stayed at the table on the settlement as long as was reasonable," said Brian Heller de Leon, an organizer for PICO California. "It became clear that there was no longer a reasonable path for California to stay in these negotiations."

Harris has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks to reject a deal that was considered too weak for homeowners, particularly as the foreclosure crisis in the Golden State appeared to be worsening. Among the states with the highest foreclosure rates, California led the pack last month in new foreclosure proceedings with an increase of 55% over July, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine.

Frank De Caro, 71, who said his Thousand Oaks home was scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction Tuesday, said he supported the move by Harris to pull out of the talks, given the reported concessions being made to the nation's large banks.

"We need her to stand for the principles she was elected on, to really stand up to what is the biggest problem facing California, which is really a Democratic, liberal state and perhaps the last bastion of progressive thought," De Caro said. "Stand up for what you were elected to do — go down swinging please."

Harris' decision will create further uncertainty and legal liability for the large banks involved in the discussions — BofA, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. — which have been struggling in recent months because of questions about their legal liability from the mortgage crisis and exposure to the weakening economy.

"It's bad news for the banks — it's in their best interest to reach a resolution," said Ray Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has followed the mortgage crisis.

Wells Fargo and Citigroup declined to comment. BofA, Chase and Ally did not respond to requests for comment.

The banks could still choose to settle with the remaining states. However, Brescia said the banks would have little motivation to do so without California and New York on board.

"From the banks' perspective, they need to have all the attorneys general in the room for this to work at all," Brescia said.

The decision to bow out from the talks came one week after Harris met face to face with banking representatives in Washington. At that meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to speak, the main subject of contention was the banks' request to be broadly released from potential future legal claims, particularly those surrounding potential misconduct in the packaging and selling of mortgage-backed securities.

In a letter sent Friday to Miller and to U.S. Associate Atty. Gen. Thomas Perrelli, Harris referred to the latest proposed settlement, which has not been released publicly, as "inadequate for California homeowners" because, "In return for this broad release of claims, the relief contemplated would allow too few California homeowners to stay in their homes."

In her letter and in her interview with The Times, Harris said she planned to continue to investigate the mortgage practices that contributed to California's housing crisis through the 25-person Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. The group has a mandate to look at all levels of mortgage fraud.

In rejecting the 50-state talks, California widens the rift among law enforcement officials nationwide over the best way to pursue banks for their mortgage misdeeds. New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman, who was originally part of the 50-state negotiations, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into Wall Street's role in the mortgage meltdown, focusing on the institutions' efforts to bundle low-quality mortgages into sophisticated bonds.

Harris met with Schneiderman in July and at that point told The Times that she was considering joining his investigation, but she said Friday that California would go its own way.

"California will definitely walk its own path, and to the extent that New York or any other state wants our assistance, of course we are happy to give it," she said. "We do realize that we are the biggest state in the country and we are happy to help the smaller states."

A spokesman for Schneiderman said he would work with California.

"Atty. Gen. Schneiderman looks forward to his continued work with Atty. Gen. Harris and his other state and federal counterparts to ensure those responsible for the mortgage crisis are held accountable and homeowners who are suffering receive meaningful relief," said Danny Kanner, a spokesman for Schneiderman.

Schneiderman has been highly critical of the 50-state settlement and expressed concern that his counterparts in other states may let the banks off too lightly and provide release from liability from other efforts to bring them to account for their misdeeds. Schneiderman has also won support from attorneys general in Delaware, Nevada, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Minnesota, some of whom have launched their own investigations.

In April, federal banking regulators ordered the nation's biggest 14 banks to overhaul their procedures and compensate homeowners injured financially by wrongdoing or negligence, but those moves were immediately decried by consumer advocates as too weak.

Now even those efforts are likely to take a year or more to complete because of the complexity of the reforms needed, according to recent remarks by acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is this childish?

Then how come it brings me such stupid delight?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Promises of oppression -- er, I mean suppression

Tired and admittedly a bit curious and itching for a confrontation, I decided to answer the phone when BofA called this evening. The 7:30 p.m.-ish call, I mean, since there are several during any given evening.

The rep, a very nice woman who kept calling me Miss Christina because I don't think she could pronounce my last name (happens a lot), went through the spiel about phone numbers and how they're a debt collector, and how my Notice of Intent to Accelerate expired Aug. 17. Then she told me my total due, about $3,300, and asked if I were calling to make a payment.

"Nope," I replied simply.

She then asked how she could help me, to which I responded, "Well, I'm returning one of your 1,000 daily phone calls."

Let's give her lots and lots of credit. She didn't rise to the bait. Instead, she told me about their "Suppression of Calls" policy, whereby all collections calls will stop for a given period of time. In my case, it's 14 days.

Should start tomorrow.

I can't wait for the silence.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Please remove heads from asses. Thanks

Bank: Early payment foreclosure a mistake

Published: Aug. 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Bank of America said it made a mistake in filing to foreclose on a retired Florida couple who made their mortgage payment a week early.
The bank said Monday James Bullington, 78, of New Port Richey, and his wife Sharon, 70, will be returned to their loan modification plan and foreclosure proceedings will be halted, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported Tuesday.
The Bullingtons said they made their mortgage payment for January a week early, when it was still December. Officials told them the bank dropped the couple from their plan and filed for foreclosure because the payment was not made during the month in which it was due.
"We apologize to the Bullingtons for this error, and we hope to have a response for them shortly," Bank of America spokeswoman Christina Beyer Toth said.
James Bullington is bedridden with a terminal illness and Sharon serves as his sole caregiver, the couple said.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let's see what happens

Two things.

The first, very minor but still worth mentioning, thing is that I've sent an equity payment off to BofA with the "Pay to the Order of" line addressed to Bank of Assholes. tee-hee. I can't be the only one, right? Let's see what happens.

Second, the deadline in the "Intent to Accelerate" notice is Monday. I can't say that I'm not afraid. I am. Very much. Because I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen. There's no way I can come up with the total amount due, so I've just been sending along pieces. I've been trying to let it all go ... so MUCH of my life these past few years has been consumed with an aching stomach full of worry. What's going to happen is going to happen.

At least that's what I keep trying to convince myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Your future is calling

Have I mentioned yet how often BofA calls? Here is another thing I can document. Because it's part of my phone record, that fucking 800-669 message.

Do you know why I don't answer? Because what would be the point?

I have answered often in the past. The computer-generated message first tells me (doesn't ASK me, though it has called) to wait. Then I am asked to verify my account information.

Um. WTF are you to robodial me (sorry, but I guess automation is cheaper than wage-raping Third-World countries) and THEN demand *I* provide YOU with information?

Yeah. That would be why I don't answer your repeat phone harassment.

And I know I could block you.

But some part of me still believes in responsibility and accountability. This is MY house, I WILL pay for it.

Except ...

I won't be wage- or any other kind of raped without first scratching your balls off.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bunch of rambling shit

Friends have been telling me you're out there, and enjoying what I've had to write so far. But will you enjoy it when I tell you how close to the brink I am?

OK, OK. That is SO manipulative and unfair. But sometimes I just get So. Damn. Tired. of trying to play by all of the rules and still get (unpleasantly) fucked in the ass anyway.

I grew up in what's now considered The Ghetto of Seattle -- White Center. (When *I* was growing up, the ghetto was the CD ... the Central District. So see? Things DO get better!) Back to the point. I grew up poor, but was told all the time all I needed to do was get an education and I could escape. Make a better life for myself ...

And it was good, because for whatever reason, I was given the gift of intelligence. Curiosity. Creativity. And despite being the most stubborn person you would never hope to meet (till my daughter was born ... except you SO would want to meet this amazing human being), I still listened to and believed those people who said I actually would be somebody someday. And I pursued education to a perhaps obsessive degree. A master's degree in ... JOURNALISM??? WTF?

Wrap up, Christina. Wrap it up.

OK. Here I am. 40 years old. Supporting two children on my own (NOT my choice, judgmental fuckwads) as well as an unemployed-for-too-long sister who doesn't know how to say no when I ask her to do annoying things ... like wash my daughter's curtains. ALL of them. And our dad lives with us, too. He gives me what he can ... but with this mortgage, it's just not enough. My finding and scraping for whatever freelance stuff I can get also doesn't do it.

Aug. 22 is my deadline. BofA's Notice of Intent to Accelerate tells me this. I'm a month and a half behind in my payments. I have lived in and loved this house for 11 years, through a devastating breakup that contributed to this financial situation (YOU try buying out your soon-to-be ex when the real estate market is at its highest point), through losing my Dream Job ... through everything.






Try taking it away, BofA. I have a plan.

It involves my ass.

And it involves SuperGlue.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Got another one

Thanks to a friend for sharing this with me.

Stop BofA's Foreclosure on Vera Johnson's Home & Business




Brian Moynihan, President, CEO and Chairman(Bank Of America)


vera johnson
Seattle, WA


I’m a single mother of two kids and a proud Seattle business owner. When our family fell on hard times, I asked the bank for a loan modification that, under law, I am qualified to receive.

Now, Bank of America is trying to kick my family out of our home and foreclose on my business. But with your support, I’m fighting back.

I have been trying for 17 months to get a loan modification with Bank of America, providing endless copies of paperwork and being told repeatedly to resubmit lost or misplaced paperwork. A Seattle reporter verified the bank’s carelessness in dealing with my case, in a story here.

Bank of America even went so far as to “block” my account to prevent any payments to make sure my account went into late payment so as to “help jump start the loan modification action,” as they put it! Is that legal?

As a small business owner and well-respected member of the community, I am ready to make my story public. This is my home as well as my job. I am a divorced, single mother of two. I was recently awarded the house and property, as this is where I work.

I own and operate the home-based business Perennial Nursery and educational center in a very culturally diverse community. This business hosts many classes for our community, including planting, permaculture, sustainability and composting. We host schools and camps for classes and educational tours.  We also work with the South Seattle Community College by proving internships and training programs.

I regularly work with many schools in the area, local non-profits, and South Seattle Community College and strive to bring my community together by collaborating with other business owners in the White Center/Seattle area.  It's time for homeowners and business owners to stand up together. We deserve a fair, reasonable process for pursuing loan modification. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

New information

So today I had to call and find out the status of my account. First person I spoke with (after fighting through the automated system for five minutes, only to have it hang up on me) told me I only owed one month's payment. She also told me I have a "special" account and had to speak with a certain department. When I asked what that meant, she said it was a "Pay Options" account. I explained that no one had ever told me my account was "special" before.

I write this only because it's yet another example of, though my mortgage is 11 years old, how BofA is so vastly overcomplicated with layers and layers of unnecessary bureaucracy, it has absolutely no idea what it's really doing.

Made it through to the "special" department, where I was told that I only owe for one month.


So how come I received an "Intent to Accelerate" letter?

Asked to be transferred to the Home Retention Department.

And they hung up on me again.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Even better explanation

(And forgive this awkward sharing. I imagine there is a less cumbersome way to do this, but give me some time to figure it out. Thanks!)

State accuses Bank of America unit of thousands of illegal foreclosures

State Attorney General Rob McKenna has accused a Bank of America unit of conducting thousands of illegal foreclosures in Washington, in which he said the company had confused homeowners, made it nearly impossible to save their homes, and failed to act as a neutral third party.

McKenna sued ReconTrust, a California-based foreclosure trustee, in King County Superior Court Thursday.

The lawsuit alleges that the Bank of America subsidiary has violated state laws in "each and every foreclosure" in Washington. Since 2008, ReconTrust, which forecloses statewide, has done 9,900 foreclosures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties alone.

"ReconTrust ignored our warnings, repeatedly broke the law and refused to provide information requested during our investigation," McKenna said in a statement Friday.

"ReconTrust's illegal practices make it difficult, if not impossible, for borrowers who might have a shot at saving their homes to stop those foreclosures."

At a news conference held by McKenna, two women said ReconTrust had improperly foreclosed on their homes. Myra Cola, a single mother from Spanaway who was laid off, said her loan servicer was reviewing her home for a loan modification, when ReconTrust sold it at foreclosure.

"I couldn't understand how this could have happened," Cole said in a statement released by the Attorney General's office.

"I got the run-around. I just can't believe that the company that's supposed to be helping me is foreclosing on me. ... We are trying to save our homes. We're doing the steps they tell us. In the end, it's all for nothing. It's an injustice."

McKenna said ReconTrust violated the state's Deed of Trust law, which requires that a foreclosure trustee maintain an office in Washington. That's to help homeowners ask questions, make last-minute payments and request a foreclosure postponement.

"ReconTrust's claim that the company doesn't have to follow Washington law and procedures because it is a national bank is wrong," McKenna said.

A spokesperson for Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, did not immediately return a call for comment to Bloomberg.

The complaint against ReconTrust stems from a larger investigation into foreclosure mishandlings that McKenna and other state attorneys general began last year.

Washington is a so-called nonjudicial foreclosure state, in which courts don't review foreclosures. Instead banks hire trustees, who are supposed to act as neutral third parties, to handle home seizures.

In addition to failing to keep am office in Washington, McKenna also accused ReconTrust of:
  • Failing to identify the actual owner of a promissory note being foreclosed.
  • Giving confusing information on how borrowers defaulted and how to fix a default.
  • Holding foreclosues in private, like an Bellevue office park, instead of in a legally required public place.
  • Allowing documents to be improperly signed and notarized.
  • Failing to act in good faith toward a borrower.
McKenna is seeking a fine of up to $2,000 per violation.
Visit's home page for more Seattle news. Contact Vanessa Ho at 206-448-8003 or, and follow her on Twitter as @vanessaho.

Read more:

One for the good guys

Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s ReconTrust unit failed to conduct foreclosures as a neutral third party as required by law, Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a lawsuit.

ReconTrust, which acted as a trustee handling foreclosures, had a duty to act in good faith to borrowers as well as lenders, McKenna said today at a press conference announcing the suit. ReconTrust also concealed or misrepresented the actual owner of the debt when handling foreclosures, according to the complaint filed in state court in Seattle.

The lawsuit follows an investigation of Washington trustees’ foreclosure practices, including faulty documentation. McKenna said the lawsuit was filed because ReconTrust didn’t take corrective actions to change its ways.

“They have left us with no choice,” McKenna said. “We will have the full attention of ReconTrust and its owner, Bank of America, and they will be more interested in sitting down and making things right.”

Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the lawsuit.

Nonjudicial Foreclosures

Washington is a so-called nonjudicial foreclosure state, where courts don’t review documents and banks hire trustees to handle home seizures.

ReconTrust processed deeds that contained “material misrepresentations,” the attorney general said in the lawsuit. The company also didn’t maintain an office in Washington, as required by state law, McKenna said.

Washington law requires trustees to act in good faith for all parties, McKenna said.

“ReconTrust looks to the bank for direction and orders about what it’s supposed to do,” McKenna said.

The state is seeking civil penalties of $2,000 a violation and the complaint alleges thousands of violations, McKenna said. The lawsuit also is seeking restitution for homeowners who unfairly lost their properties.

The case is Washington v. ReconTrust Co., 11-26867-5, Superior Court, King County, Washington (Seattle).

To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit at; Brad Broberg in Seattle at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Share your story

Yes, the point of this blog will be to help me save my home, where I live with my two young children, my sister and my elderly, veteran father. Oh, and six cats, two dogs, a pet rat and some fish. But ultimately I of course want to make some kind of difference for someone.

I know you're out there -- scores of you, all having gone through the same shit from Bank of America (hereafter referred to as either Bank of Assholes or BofA, always remembering that A stands for Assholes and not America. Because America is suppose to be better than this. The American Dream, after all, is home ownership.) I have read so many horror stories all over the Web. What I want now is resolution. Accountability.

Bank of Assholes must pay.

I want to hear your stories. You can leave anonymous posts.* You can e-mail me. You can send me advice.

I will not exploit you.

What I will do, as I relate my own experience, is also tell your story.

*I reserve the right to delete and block spammers, trolls and various idiots who have nothing better to do than sit home in dirty wife-beaters, with a Coors in one hand and their dick in the other.