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IdaBriggs

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 10,559

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3 Strange But True Facts About Me.

1) I was once fired from a role as an African American psychic on a ghost hunting reality show before filming of the pilot began, and no, it wasn't because I am a corpse white Caucasian - I wasn't taking it "seriously" enough. (They were right - I wasn't. )

2) I am mostly responsible for a new theory about the possible cause, prevention, and treatment protocol for pediatric neuromuscular issues including cerebral palsy and sensory processing which is currently benefiting 83% of the children using the protocol.

3) I won a foreclosure battle against my bank!!! <== Yes, this is the one people will probably disbelieve the most!

Although the first two are fun stories, this post is really about the third.

We bought a house in mid-2008 right as the market started crashing. We used a "203k" construction loan to rebuild the worst house in a good neighborhood, with the expectation the loan would be refinanced when the construction was complete. (The construction interest rate was several points higher than a traditional mortgage, and standard practice involves refinancing when complete.) We went over budget, and depleted our financial reserves / went into substantial "unexpected debt". When we finished the construction, the bank delayed the refinancing for six months until the GM/Chrysler bankruptcies of Spring 2009 ended up with my husband being laid off for two months, which meant we no longer qualified for the refinance.

We began the "Loan Modification Process" in August of 2009. Yesterday - October 10, 2013 - I received the papers from the bank showing it was finally completed.

Our house was officially foreclosed incorrectly TWICE during this process, and reversed both times. We attempted to negotiate in good faith, spent over $36,000 in attorney fees, won $1,500 for them destroying my husband's credit, and had an idiot judge tell us there was nothing she could do to help us.

The *only* thing that saved us from being homeless was that I am an Anal-Retentive Detail Oriented person who was able to document over 275 communications between them and us, provide written proof of our veracity, and when I didn't get what I needed (them following the rules), I escalated.

Oh, and our case was identified by a HUD Auditor in December of 2010 who contacted us/documented the bank's "severe non-compliance", and we "blind cc'd" the faulty instructions to her for the next several months.

In August of 2012 the bank was instructed by FHA to halt all legal proceedings against us while they investigated. (We had sued them, and they decided to foreclose during litigation because we OBVIOUSLY weren't going to win.) The bank decided to ignore the FHA folks, and foreclosed on us a few weeks later. The bank was repeatedly instructed to provide documentation about our case, and they ignored it. We correctly concluded they were waiting for the "six month redemption period" in Michigan to elapse so we would have no legal standing.

Our attorneys told us repeatedly to "walk away" because no one *ever* beats the bank.

In December of 2012, in a final desperate bid to save our home, I sent 21 3-Ring Binders with documentation of our complaints to every single vice president of the bank in question, all attorneys involved, and all the way up the chain of command from our "FHA Housing Specialist" to the Assistant Secretary of HUD in Washington.

In January of 2013, the bureaucracy moved - not, I am convinced, because we were being screwed over, but because the bank was "ignoring" the people who were supposed to be overseeing them, and THAT was unacceptable.

(I'm good with that! )

In February of 2013 the (second) foreclosure was reversed with apologies for having been done "in error" and in April of 2013 the findings came back that there were "servicing errors identified."

FHA spanked the bank HARD. We didn't get a free house (we weren't trying to get one), and the fuss I raised did end up making a difference that I hope will help other home owners.

Oh, and they have to clean up my husband's credit, which is HUGE deal for us.

I was repeatedly told "no one had ever seen a case so well documented" - and yet, we still came within weeks of losing our home.

We weren't special. The screwing we were getting was standard procedure. We actually had the money to fight, the skills to document the situation, and the wit to know when to escalate.

The bottom line is that the bank only did the "right thing" because the government regulators forced them to do it.

We were lucky. I have talked to dozens of people who gave up, lost their homes, had their credit destroyed, and finally walked away because there was nothing else they could think of to do, and they needed to move on with their lives.

We came so close to that - and even at the end, it almost got screwed up.

Last month we sent in our final notarized paperwork, and the week we did that, the bank "outsourced" their loan modification process, which meant anyone who knew anything about our account was no longer employed, and our paperwork was in a box on the desk of someone who didn't work there anymore. (I felt bad. Oh, and they couldn't find my "authorization to discuss" again either, which is a whole story in itself.) Fortunately a little pressure from our Not Happy FHA person (did I mention the bank was instructed to comply in April and we were now in late September?), and things smoothed out fairly quickly.

I have the bank notarized completed paperwork next to me. It has a cover letter that is definitely personalized. The last two paragraphs say this:

...Your concerns have enabled us to update procedures and practices ensuring a better relationship with our customers now and in the future.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly. <== their underline


It is real. I beat the bank.

(Thanks to the government regulator who is currently on furlough because the government is shut down.)

It is over. We won.

I beat the bank.

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