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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bank of America/Countrywide Settlement and Relief



Washington and 39 other states announced a landmark agreement in October 2008 in which Bank of America agreed to modify loan terms for Countrywide borrowers. The settlement also provided money for borrowers who lost their homes and to fund local foreclosure prevention programs.

In short, Bank of America, the nations largest holder of distressed and pre-foreclosure mortgages have been instructed to offer more expeditious "short sale" processes to consumers, among several other loan modification programs designed to keep the consumer from losing their homes.

We currently have one of these "short sales" in our office to close next month, and have completed paperwork, provided HUD`s, and are ready for documents. Bank of America has instructed the "short sale" negotiators that escrow must complete this transaction for 300.00 dollars, and not a penny more. In our attempt to explain that our fee was 675.00 dollars, which is the lowest fee charged by any escrow company in the state, we were met with a decisive dictation that our fee cannot be more than 300.00 dollars period. In looking deeper into the file, we see that title was able to charge their full and accepted fee, and the agents were allowed their full and accepted fees as well.

In the interest of the customer, we have agreed to close this file, accepting the fee cap as imposed by Bank of America. We do this solely because we do not wish to jeopardize closing for this customer who is in distress. I spoke with a Bank of America representative about this fee reduction, and was met with a very typical "if you do not like it, tough" response. But why does this matter to you?

If Bank of America is allowed to dictate escrow fees today, then they will cut your fees tomorrow. According to my sources, they have cut agent fees already in Arizona from 3 percent to 2.5 percent. And where does it end? By the way, Bank of America receives TAXPAYER DOLLARS for every "short sale" they close as well as other
TAXPAYER supported incentives from the US Government under the current bailout and recovery initiatives. It is estimated that Bank of America could have as many as one million mortgages set for short sale acceptance, and stand to gain some 300 million dollars alone if they are allowed to steal from escrow companies a fee we earned, and worked very hard for. Angry yet? You should be.

I have filed a formal complaint against Countrywide dba Bank of America on the grounds that their actions violate State and Federal Anti Trust Law, by prohibiting free and fair trade, price fixing, and unfair business practices. I urge all of you to do the same, and have included a pre written letter to Rob Mckenna Washington States Attorney General. It is time for us in the industry to speak loud and clear that we will not accept penalties form taxpayer subsidized banks because they have failed in so many ways. Make your voices heard, as this is clearly a cut to the throat of our livelihood, and a clear message that greed is still the modus operandi of some lending institutions.

Thank you in advance for joining this cause. It does affect all of us, not only as Real Estate Professionals, but as consumers as well. It is time to fight! If you do not wish to send the attached letter, you may also file your concerns with the Attorney Generals office online at: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ContactForm.aspx . But please...say something.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for spreading the word. This action affects all of us not only as Real Estate Professionals, but as consumers as well. It is a huge issue the will test the resolve of our lawmakers, and us as well. Kudos for joining the cause

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