What could possibly happen if you owe zero dollars and zero cents to your home loan lender?
Silly question – but if your lender is Bank of America, they’ll try to seize your home for owing zero dollars and zero cents.
A man, known only as Mark, lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. He received a notice from his mortgage lender, Bank of America. The notice clearly said if the bank didn’t receive the $0.00 payment by February 4, the bank would foreclose and seize his home.
Mark had always made his mortgage payment on time and had never missed a payment. He tried contacting representatives at the bank explaining it was absurd for him to owe zero dollars and zero cents.
He jokingly asked if he should write out a check for zero dollars and zero cents. He kept calling and contacting the bank but didn’t get anywhere. No one had answers and no one would return his phone calls.
What he considered a joke was turning into his worst nightmare.
His credit score was downgraded because Bank of America reported him. Owing the zero dollars and zero cents was really hurting him and definitely not funny anymore.
For the next three weeks, he continued to call and email the BoA to find out what happened and explain how ridiculous they were. He was getting closer to his February 4th deadline and the bank was still determined to foreclose on him.
His attempts at pleading with the bank went nowhere fast. You would think someone – just one person – at a huge institution like Bank of America would see the error and elevate the mistake to a higher level or correct the problem immediately. You would think, at the very least, someone would call him back.
Mark’s story was spreading through his friends, and finally a local television station picked up on the story. Once the story was made public, Bank of America called Mark three times in 24 hours. Mark had been trying for 3 weeks just to get one call from BoA.
Eventually, and not without a lot of work the bank admitted there was an electronic filing error. In a statement issued by BoA to the television news station, the bank said the error was in “applying the homeowner’s payments to the wrong section of the account.”
Perhaps Bank of America should set up a special department for customers to call and name the department “Common Sense”.
The bank said they would correct and restore Mark’s credit score and allow him to keep his home. In a gesture that I won’t comment on, BoA gave Mark $150 and a gift certificate for ‘his troubles’.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado foreclosure defense attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. His foreclosure defense practice includes foreclosure prevention, foreclosure assistance, loan modifications, short sales, and all other foreclosure defense legal assistance. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.