Someone At BofA Needs To Read This...Matt Vernon, Are You Out There?
Today, I was asked to participate in the Channel 12 News Loan Mod-A-Thon here in Phoenix, AZ. Channel 12 (the local NBC Affiliate, particularly reporter Melissa Blasius) should be given an award for the coverage they've given the local real estate crisis in AZ.
In a nutshell, Channel 12 took it upon themselves to conduct an 18 hour "call center" today. From 4:30 am-10:30 am, real estate and bankruptcy attorneys were available to take calls. From 10:30 am to 4:30 pm short sale real estate agents and housing counselors were there to take calls. From 4:30-10:30 pm representatives from banks were taking calls.
Needless to say, I was there for the 10:30-4:30 shift. I was amazed at the call volume. There were 12 of us taking calls, and as soon as I hung up the phone, it was ringing immediately. My brain was fried after 6 hours of non-stop action. That being said, I left totally amazed by the calls I had received. While I was happy to help, I was also totally dismayed by the stories I heard. The one bank that kept coming up over and over again was BofA.
The biggest heart-breaker... A 75 year-old man that took out a HELOC in order to pay for his wife's cancer treatment in 2006 and his young grandson's cancer treatment as well (he lost both of them in 2008). While he knew he would be ultimately responsible for his debt by signing on the dotted line, he NEVER expected the market to tank as it has. He has tried for almost two years to get a loan modification through HAMP/BofA, only to be given the same song-and-dance that we hear of everyday. He didn't have enough income (with his social security checks) to support a loan modification. He tried to explain that he had spent all of his savings, 401(k), and retirement savings up to this point to make his house payments. It didn't matter. He didn't have an income to support it. He is now faced with either short-selling his home, or walking away, and renting a home. This, from a Vietnam vet and retiree, after 45 years with his company. He can't stomach the thought of not owning a home.
Folks, I'm 41 years old, and I short sold my home in November/2009. I have the luxury over the next 30 years of my life to get it back. What about this guy? How is he going to "make it back"?
This is what scares me... I would say that 50% of the calls I took today were from people over the age of 60, in danger of losing their homes. In most cases, they borrowed against their homes in order to pay for catastrophic events in their lives, AND THEY ARE ALL SCARED TO DEATH. They know that time is running out, and they are deathly afraid of the "legacy" they are going to leave for their descendants.
At the end of my "shift" today, we were asked to hand off our phones to the "bank representatives" from all of the major lenders (BofA, Wells, Chase, etc.). The last call I took was from a lady that has been struggling with a HAMP modification for almost 18 months. I told her, "You are in luck. I'm going to hand you over to a BofA representative who can help you out". She was relieved.
I put her on hold, gave the BofA representative all of her details, and sat back and watched to see that he followed through. I wasn't going to leave until he picked up the phone. 15 MINUTES LATER, after screwing around with his computer, laughing it up with his other BofA cronies, etc., he finally made it around to picking up the phone and talking to her (this from a woman who had been trying to call in and finally got through after almost 12 hours of trying).
I left the building, sickened (but not surprised) with what I saw. After 6 hours of hearing the frustrations of the non-chalant attitude of lenders (particularly BofA), I saw it first-hand, with my own eyes. I've spent countless hours on the phone with people like this from BofA, but to actually see it first-hand really made an impact.
Folks, THEY JUST DON'T CARE. Sad to say, but it's true.
I've seen Matt Vernon speak of how BofA is changing directions. Based on what I saw tonight, IT AIN'T HAPPENING.
After seeing this, I pulled up the website for the Channel 12 News Loan Mod-A-Thon, and a viewer comment caught my attention:
Finally got through and talked to the Bank of America rep. Seems they hold all the power and don't want to work with the American public. Funny how they can keep saying that even though you were offered a trail modification that it can take up to 2 years for it to complete. Federal law states once approved and you make the 3 payments it becomes final. Guess I am gonna lose my house since I can not go out back to the money tree and pluck $11,000 off it. And I am upside down now $100,000. Thanks Bank of America you sure are helping us Americans out during this difficult time.
Matt Vernon, I hope you're reading this. This is reality. This is how your employees are dealing with homeowners. I watched you speak at the CDPE Convention in April, and you said you were here to change things. It's now six months later, and we are still seeing the same things.
Summit Home Consultants
Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2010 *Someone At BofA Needs To Read This...Matt Vernon, Are You Out There?*