A few months ago, a friend called all exciting about refinancing her home. "It's easy," she told me. Five months later, Bank of America is still giving her the run around. Why? It's unclear, since the bank isn't very communicative, but my friend -- who has excellent credit, a steady job and a perfect payment history -- suspects it's because she's after a lower interest rate, which means a lower mortgage payment. But, her story isn't one of the appalling ones. It is, however, one more example of big banks dicking around with their customers.
Bank of America, the country's largest bank and Charlotte's darling -- along with many other banks now under investigation by attorney generals across the country, halted foreclosures for a minute earlier this month (a move widely looked upon as a public relations stunt), then they kicked them back into high gear days later. This after news that bank employees knowingly goofed around with people's financial paperwork.
Now, I know: People shouldn't have signed up for mortgages they didn't understand. I agree with you. But, let's face it: Most people don't read the long, jargon-filled documents they sign. I mean, when was the last time you read your insurance policy or your mortgage documents? Have you ever read them? So, the people who signed up for crazy-bad mortgages are also at fault, but, in my eyes, the big banks that enticed people into zero-down, gotcha loans knowing people barely understand financial documents are truly in the wrong here. And their greed, if you connect the dots, led us all directly into the midst of what's now known as The Great Recession. Gee, thanks Bank of America.
From The New York Times:
After months of horror stories, it seemed that the real estate mess could not get any worse. But now, the nation is in the middle of yet another foreclosure crisis.
Revelations that the nations biggest banks may have fudged crucial documents in their rush to reclaim tens of thousands of homes have the public in an uproar. Attorneys general from all 50 states announced sweeping investigations into the industrys foreclosure practices. The nations top financial regulators have also ordered reviews. And Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC and other big banks announced a few weeks ago that they were halting foreclosures in much of the country.
But now, banks are slowly getting back into the foreclosure business. And on Wednesday, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of housing and urban development, tried to ease concerns by saying that none of the problems threaten the health of the financial system.
The foreclosure crisis seems to be either in meltdown or in repair. Which is it?
Read the rest of this article, by Eric Dash, here.
Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.