Countrywide Home Loan - Bank Of America / fraud and misrepresentation, abuse of customers
I am writing to make a complaint against Countrywide Home Loans, and the Bank of America, its owner. Countrywide is using a number of ploys to delay and avoid helping people in regard to the implementing the recently-announced federal program to assist its customers that need help.
Immediately on the announcement of this plan, I went to the Countrywide website which instructed me to collect and fax a list of information, which I did. That was in mid-March. I called a few days later to confirm that they had received my information. They confirmed its receipt, but when I asked about this new program, the Countrywide agent told me the only program they have to assist homeowners is for people with loans through Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, which my loan is not. I told them that they were mistaken, there are two programs that were simultaneously announced, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which is the program for Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae borrowers, and the Home Affordable Modification Program, which is for other borrowers. They told me that I was wrong. There is only one program, and they had no program to help me. When I tried to convince them that they were incorrect and giving their customers the wrong information, they hung up on me.
I have called them at least once a week since then, and have made no progress whatsoever—not only in regard to getting a modification, but even in getting someone who will rationally talk to me about doing so. All they do is demand immediate payment, which, of course, is impossible. If I had the money to made the payments, I would certainly do so and wouldn’t be calling them asking for assistance.
Last week when I called, after having been told the same story that there is no program available to help me, I requested to speak to a supervisor. After explaining this whole situation to her, I asked her to validate their receipt of my information. She said, yes, it was received on March 19th but no action has been taken on it. I asked why not. She had no answer, but just said no action had been taken. “It hasn’t been submitted yet.” I asked her to please submit it—I thought I was submitting it when I followed the instructions to collect and fax the information. She said she would request that it be submitted.
Today (April 21), I called, and got a different story. Yes, they have got my information, but there was no indication of its having been submitted. No, they don’t have a program available to help me. Regarding the federal program announced last month, they told me that the government hasn’t released the information to them to implement any such program. They told me to wait until mid-May when they might be able to start the program. Finally, they told me to call HUD. That was it. They have done nothing else to aid me in gaining the assistance that I desperately need.
I went to the United States Treasury website, and found the “Summary of Guidelines” document, which is dated March 4, 2009. In specific regard to the Home Affordable Modification Program, this guideline document states, “With the information now available, servicers can begin immediately to modify eligible mortgages under the modification program so that at-risk borrowers can better afford their payments.” (This text is boldfaced in the document.)
Thus, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, mortgage loan servicers could immediately be implementing modification program as of March 4, 2009. However, according to Countrywide, they have not received the guidelines to implement any such program, are not offering any program currently, and don’t know when they might be able to implement such a program. They told me to check back in mid-May. The approach that Countrywide-Bank of America, in regard to me and my case, has been to lie to me, mislead me, and postpone undertaking positive action until I am so far behind that nothing can save me.
In my most recent call (week of May 11-15), the response of Countrywide-Bank of America now is to tell the customer to wait. The telephone representative (you have to speak to a different one each time you call) said that Countrywide was determining who qualified for the program (although they are still steadfastly refusing to admit the existence of the non-Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac “Home Affordable Modification Program”), and that they will mail out notifications to those who qualify. Their advice to me was, “Wait to see if you get a notification letter.” To the question, “How long might that take? How long will I have to wait?” There is no answer. “Just wait to see if you get a letter.” This is very like their advice to homeowners when they embark on the Countrywide internal modification program: “Don’t make any payments while this process is underway.” What they don’t tell you is that the process can take as much as three or four months—time enough without making payments (as you are advised) to become significantly behind in mortgage payments and past the 3-month threshold for qualification for foreclosure. Thus, the obvious plan by Countrywide-Bank of America is to cause the homeowner to fall so far behind in their payments as to make the situation insolvable—government plan or no government plan.
If the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, Senators and Representatives believe that this program they have originated is helping anyone out there who is a customer of Countrywide-Bank of America, they are sadly mistaken. These, hopefully, well-intentioned public officials are living in a dream world if they think that by placing the administration of this program in the hands of the very lenders who created the problem in the first place something significant is going to be done to help endangered homeowners, they are willingly fooling themselves. They have put the fox in charge of the chickens, and the chickens are disappearing, one by one. I wonder why?
The Bank of America, during the first tranche of the infamous $700 billion "bailout plan, " got $20 billion, which they apparently invested in their buyout of Merrill Lynch and bonuses for Merrill executives. Now, when not only have they received significant federal government money, supposedly to assist them in freeing up the credit markets, and now have available an additional federal program to assist needy homeowners, they are refusing to do so. I have talked to a few other people that I know how are also having financial problems and mortgages with Countrywide, and they are also getting nothing but refusals and postponements. It is impossible to find someone to rationally discuss one's financial problems with at Countrywide as they refuse to do so. Their response is nothing but to insist on immediately bringing accounts up to date or paying off the loan. There is a serious abrogation of responsibility involved here by a company that has taken federal money but refuses to assist taxpayers who are their customers. I have read that the CEO of Bank of America has now admitted that he is sorry that his firm took the money--probably most of all because, subsequently, he has come to realize that responsibility would be expected of them in return, and that they would be expected to do something for their customers. The Bank of America-Countrywide should be prosecuted for taking money under false pretenses.
I am seeking information from you regarding Countrywide. I would like to contact other Countrywide customers who have been having similar problems to get them to join with me in contacting our members of Congress, the President, and Secretary of the Treasury, to inform them of Countrywide-Bank of America's abuses of the use of federal funds, the public trust, and their customers.
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