A family who owns a small second home in rural northern NH just experienced a foreclosure - on a house that has no mortgage. From The Conway Daily Sun:
A major Wall Street bank is apologizing to a Maine couple who allege that the bank wrongfully claimed ownership of their second home on Green Mountain Road in Effingham. But the apology rings hollow for the Drew family.
Apparently, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. confused a little red house, owned by Travis and Paula Drew, at 529 Green Mountain Road, for a no-longer-existent mobile home at 519 Green Mountain Road.
The structures were owned by different people even though they once shared the same lot. The confusion led the bank's agents to change the locks on the Drews' home and remove $14,000 worth of belongings from the property.
The Drews aren't impressed with Chase's admission of an error. As of Wednesday afternoon, Chase still hadn't explained itself to them. Bank employees told the Drews that a representative named Michelle would be in contact with them when the bank's investigation is complete.
One would think that a company like Chase, after making such a mistake would be all kinds of apologetic, trying to make up for this. One would think they'd be at least attempting to do something - given how tarnished the company's image already is.
One would be wrong.
Some of the property that was removed from the house has been returned, but it was left outside, uncovered. The local sheriff had to issue a "stand down" order to the property management company that was hired by Chase - the company responsible for changing the locks and removing the Drew's property. That this could even happen is just insane.
Incidents of this sort have happened all over the country. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is getting involved. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is an independent bureau of the US Treasury, charged with regulating and supervising federal banks and savings and loans institutions. From the Christian Science Monitor:
About 4 million homeowners who may have been improperly foreclosed upon in 2009 and 2010 are getting an opportunity to have their cases reviewed. Whether they will be reimbursed is up to the same lenders who are accused of moving too swiftly to seize their homes.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Monday that mortgage services will begin sending out letters this month that ask borrowers if they want their case reviewed.
The nation's 14 largest mortgage servicers — including Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were ordered to offer to review cases after the government found that some rushed the foreclosureprocess without carefully reviewing documents.
At long last the folks who have been treated unfairly at best, and illegally at worst will have a review and some recourse.
Stories like this are why customers are moving their money out of big banks and into credit unions in record numbers. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Some 650,000 customers have opened credit union accounts and deposited about $4.5 billion since Bank of America announced its now-canceled $5 monthly debit card fee in late September, according to a survey of 5,000 credit unions by the Credit Union National Association released Thursday.
The website for the Move Your Money Project has a lot of helpful information, including a link to help interested folks find credit unions and community banks in their area.
It sends a message. This is another reason why the Occupy movement continues to grow.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org