Check out this really depressing map (this link takes you to the full-sized image).
The text introducing the map: "Leading Democrats, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) whose state was hit hard by the real estate downturn, have called on lenders to halt foreclosures. But the Obama administration says a nationwide delay could devastate the fragile real estate market in places like Florida."
Looking at Florida on that map, I'd say the devastation has already been wrought.
Meanwhile, Bank of America continues in its position as the most likely lender to fraudulently foreclose on borrowers. Here's the latest egregious story, from a few days ago.
In one of the more bizarre foreclosure cases, Bank of America is threatening to throw a West Hartford family out of their home even though the couple never missed a mortgage payment.
The largest bank in the United States earlier this month notified Shock Baitch and his wife Lisa (Friedman) Baitch that foreclosure action will start today – Christmas eve – unless the couple agrees to put their home up for a forced sale.
Because another unit of Bank of America erroneously reported to credit agencies that the family was seeking a loan modification, ruining their credit rating and as the result putting their mortgage into default.
All this is happening even though the bank – after admitting it erred and sent a letter of apology in September – handed this case to a special unit at Bank of America that is charged with dealing with severe customer issues. It promised to notify the credit reporting agencies that the couple were not deadbeats, but were good credit risks.
“I have never seen a case like this,” said Manchester attorney Wendell Davis, whose office handles many foreclosures.
Before taking the case, Davis said he thoroughly checked Baitch’s records and found that all his and his wife’s allegations were accurate.
“They have never even been late on a mortgage payment,” said Davis this morning in an interview....
Baitch’s story began about a year ago when he and his wife wanted to refinance their home in order to pay for improvements and to consolidate their debts. Baitch is a firefighter.
They spoke to a BofA loan specialist and asked for the cheapest refinance option. The loan specialist tentatively put them into the “Making Home Affordable program,” which unbeknownst to the couple would signal to the credit world that they were in financial straits.
When the couple received a package of papers to sign, they decided to go with a conventional mortgage because they did not want to have to add escrow costs and home insurance to their mortgage payments, not because they were aware of the ramifications on the loan program.
But it was too late. Shortly after that, in April, Baitch’s wife (whose name is on the mortgage) received a letter from BofA telling her that the credit limit on one of her credit cards was reduced to $18,800 from $30,000. The two weren’t worried because they had plenty of credit available on other credit cards. Baitch said he just figured that the bank was tightening everyone’s credit.
It was only after his wife started receiving notifications from other creditors that several of her other accounts were being closed that the couple discovered what had happened.
Because of BoA's fraudulent reports to credit bureaus, the couple's credit has been ruined. Supposedly BoA is working on restoring the credit limits on their BoA accounts, but that doesn't fix their credit rating. That's a hassle for the couple, but the true nightmare is the foreclosure letter the couple received just before Christmas, a foreclosure proceeding that no one at BoA has been able to justify. Baitch describes the long trail of customer relations calls he's made, culminating at the top.
“I then spoke to Debbie Lambert from the Office of the CEO and President. Debbie advised me that, in fact, my account is still “under review” and has a “work out negotiator” assigned to the case. She could not explain why the letter of foreclosure was issued, but, did confirm that our status is that we are still in the loan modification process. A process we NEVER agreed to or ever entered and were PROMISED that it would be corrected!”
“So, in summary, BOA is threatening to proceed with foreclosure on a house that was NEVER late or in risk of default. No one at BOA can find where this letter came from, but admits, that somewhere in there system, some department at BOA thinks we are to be foreclosed on. This is just proof that BOA is far too large to be of any benefit to themselves or the consumer.”
Reading this story, and looking at that map of the extent of the crisis, might be enough to make the Geithner and Obama reconsider forcing a national halt on foreclosures. Letting the banksters steal it all isn't a policy solution.