Citi Presently has My home in foreclosure. We have had more than our share of issues to deal with but Citi has made them worse. and continues to threaten to take my home. Calls and emails are eqnored. Below is our story of what has transpired. This is my last, most recent, and final communication with them. They have made my life a living hell for 8 years. It was ALREADY stressed! If this wasn't my dream home.. I would just give up and walk away.
August 22, 2007
To whom it may concern at Citi:
This will probably be the one of the most lengthy and important letters I have ever written in my life, but it NEEDS to be stated. Citimortgage presently has my account/home in foreclosure. We have been in court since last October. My husband and I want you to know WHY we are in foreclosure. It is a SERIES of events that put us here, some ours and some Citis.
We bought this house in July of 1999, my husband & I were both working full time. I was an IT professional. My husband is a Union sheet metal worker. We averaged 70- 75k a year. (Our children were in full time daycare while we worked. They were 7 & 8 years old. One is disabled and has had approximately 8 minor surgeries.) Our home was 199,999.00 and we put 20k down, it was our life savings. At the original closing, we were told we didnt need an attorney and to use the lawyers that would already be present.
Anxious and excited to have our dream home, but very young and naive, we went to the closing without representation. We had been told that the mortgage would be 9% fixed for 30 years with an escrow account for taxes, we believed the broker. Upon arrival it was sign here, sign here, sign hereheres your keys and congratulations!
Almost a year later, we discovered there was NO escrow acct. I called the mortgage company (Associates Home Equity at the time) and complained profusely. It did no good. So as a matter of principal, that we were lied to, we refused to pay them, until an escrow account was setup as promised. This continued for years, we were at a standstill, and the taxes went unpaid.
When we bought this house, it was based on our income, the mortgage payment was 1562.68 a month and the taxes were 2900 a year. Well within our means. In 2002 that all changed and everything fell apart.
Our oldest child, who has Bloch-Sultzbergers syndrome, accidentally leaned over a candle and caught fire. She was 3rd degree burned from the shoulders up. I spent day & night by her bedside in a local burn center for 3 months, while my husband cared for our son at home. At the same time, our town decided to reassess all the properties in town. They also increased the mill rate from 24 to 33 mills. Our taxes literally DOUBLED.
Then to top it off, CitiFinancial Mortgage introduced themselves by sending us a mortgage payment statement for 1863.00. I immediately called to find out what this was about. Citifinancial mortgage stated that they purchased our mortgage company and that our new rate was 11.75% I argued with them that they couldnt just raise our rate out of the blue. I also advised them of the tax issue and non-escrow acct.
I told them our mortgage was 9% fixed for 30 years. They then told me that what we had actually signed was a 2/28 and that the 9.75 that we had been paying (not 9 %), was an introductory rate. They also stated that Associates Home Equity had never enforced the increase. Which actually should have gone into effect on 8/1/01. It was now into 2002. I NOW believe, that at that point, the note had become illegal. It was a contract that had not been enforced properly.
I mentioned previously that both of our children were in daycare, while we worked. The town we live in is approximately 9 square miles. There is a church daycare for toddlers, and a lady who did daycare out of her home for older children. Our children were placed with her, for before and after school care, as well as school holidays and vacations.
During the hospital stay with my disabled daughter for the fire, The company I worked for downsized, the hospital stay and the after burn care she would need at home, were the determining factors in me getting a pink slip. They stated very graciously that I would be welcomed back with open arms when she was well. I had now lost my job in the midst of all the increases. But I still had unemployment and we would manage.
When my daughter was well enough to resume normal activities, without fear of infection, I would just go back to work full time. That fall, the lady in town who had been my childrens daycare provider, advised us that due to her own health issues she could no longer care for children. I could no longer work full time at my normal salary with no place to put a disabled child for daycare.
All of 2003, I did various night jobs, waitressing, bartending etc. anything to help pay the bills. But we were just barely scraping by. The town then filed suit for the taxes in October. The non-escrow issue had finally come to a head.
During this time, my husbands union slowed down, He began traveling to other states, to work for other unions for a lesser pay rate. What could be worse Right? Wrong, our disabled daughter began having difficulties walking and breathing. She already had scoliosis with a 40% curvature in her spine. We were referred to Connecticut Childrens Medical center.
After several specialists and tons of tests, we were advised that her spine was collapsing. She was now 75% curved and her spine was restricting her lung capacity and causing severe pain when walking. Our choices were watch her spine continue to collapse until her lungs were squashed and unable to breathe or let her have 14 hour surgery that she may not come out of with all of her health issues and heart problems, seizures etc.
In the spring of 2004, we opted for the surgery, they cut her from the back of her neck to her tailbone, untangled all of the nerves so she could walk hopefully, and placed 2 steel rods via drills into the bones of her spinal column. Well she made it, against everything we had been told. THANK GOD!!
My husband had been working in Boston Mass, since fall 03; there was still no work here in Connecticut. Due to the serious nature of her surgery, he had to stop traveling and return home. I was at the hospital with our daughter. He was home caring for our son. (More financial stress).
After the ordeal, He did return to work and I was home with her for several more months of hospital visits, doctors, surgeons, and physical therapists. During this time, I was still in contact with Citi, for all of the issues on the table, taxes, escrow, rate increase etc. In Nov, they finally agreed to modify the mortgage to 8.5 and start an escrow acct. Hurray!
After the notary showed up with the modification agreement. we noticed lots of fees added to the payoff, as well as taxes paid to the town. Citi claimed they paid $26,000 to the town for taxes, plus the backend fees and interest were now totaling a payoff of $212,000.00.
When I called to ask where the interest and fees came from? Citi then said that most mortgages carry a 5% late fee but ours was different. (Go figure) The rep advised me that our mortgage late fee is daily till paid. When I asked what the rate was or how it was figured. he couldnt reply or give me an exact figure. He stated that the late payment interest was being put at the end of the loan, and that the back end figure was also being charged interest.
Compound interest? Is that legal? My husband and I were already well aware that we had put many monthly payments to the end of the loan, due to our daughters illnesses and the financial struggles that it causes, but late interest?
For the rest of 2004 and 2005, my husband continued working in other states, and at other locals for less pay. There was still no work here in Connecticut. Construction was all but at a standstill. We pretty much held our own and scraped by. In June of 2004, God blessed us with a beautiful healthy baby girl. Our family was now complete.
In Nov 2004, I applied for and obtained, my Connecticut Notary license
In Jan 2005, I began to do loan signings, after watching the lady that did our modification last November, I said, I can do that. Work my own hours, be available for my children, and make a decent income to help pay the bills. It was a slow start, but as you know, as you build your reputation as a reputable and accurate closer, you build your business. By the end of 2005, I was averaging 2000 a month. This was great we were on the road to recovery; it was only a matter of time.
Although my husbands unemployment was running out and his union still had no work here in Ct. We knew that when it finally picked up again, we would have 2 solid incomes. In October 2005 his unemployment was all but gone, He called the union to ask about work and they told him There was still no work here, but things were picking up they would be booming again by spring. They also advised him that the New Orleans sister local had a call out for help due to Katrina.
With less than 2 weeks of unemployment left, and his union health insurance about to run out from lack of work, off he went, to New Orleans to work for 20.00/hr (-taxes and $150.00 living expenses). His disabled brother, who lived in upstate NY, came to stay with the kids, and me, so that I could continue to do signings. All we wanted was both be working, pay our bills and live in our dream home. We were starting to make financial head way, or at least in the right direction.
In November of 2005, shortly after my husband left for New Orleans, a representative from Citi (Latoria Choyce) began calling and harassing us about the mortgage being behind and consistently late. I tried to explain the situation and told her that we were both finally working and would be caught up soon. I sent money, my husband sent money from N.O. We were only trying to get back on our feet.
As calls went on, she became rude, vulgar and threatening. She called me at home, she called me on my cell at work DURING loan signings, she called day and night repeatedly 15-20 times per day. She told me were white trash, get out of the house, we couldnt afford it. She told me that since my husband was in New Orleans just pack up my stuff and leave in the middle of the night or she would send someone to remove the kids and me.
She tried to convince me that Citi had already filed for foreclosure. She was the nastiest person I had ever spoken to. Being in constant contact with my husband, I advised him of what was transpiring. He told me she was calling him on his cell down there as well, while he was at work. We just tried to keep making payments to get caught up and end this nightmare. The calls from Miss Choyce persisted.
I hung up on her several times daily, as the payment arrangements had not changed from the last call, 20 minutes ago. I had lost several clients due to complaints from homeowners, to their brokers, that I had too many calls during closings or that my phone rang repeatedly.
In January of 2006, I had, had it. I was home alone with 3 kids, one of which was disabled and the other an infant. I was terrified at night, and slept infrequently, locked every door and window in my house. I was ready for a break down and begging my husband to come home. This women was making my life a living hell. I finally demanded to speak to her supervisor. Her supervisor (Rene Garza) was almost as nasty as her.
Frequently the 2 of them were on the phone at the same time laughing and joking about taking the house for 2 payments (4168.00) I advised her I was sending another payment. She told me to keep it, That Citi no longer wanted us as a customer. I asked her why she refused to work with us and she stated that Citi had done a drive by appraisal and there was too much equity in the house. They would sell it for profit. I continued sending payments.
In late January, she followed true to her word and told me on the phone that she had refused the last payment I sent. She also stated that by the time that the returned payment got thru their internal processing It would be a month before I would get it back, as she laughed thru the whole conversation. She also told me that by the time the returned payment reached me, our 3rd payment would be due, and that they could legally get us out. That was the last straw.
Already financially stressed, we hired an attorney, Ralph Crozier. He advised me to record calls. Miss Choyce continued to call day and night, and as advised, we gave her the attorneys info and told her to call him. She refused. Her calls persisted, She told us that we did not have an attorney; we had a friend pretending to be an attorney.
The attorney filed a cease and desist which he had us, sign. She called me and said that she/citi would not accept it from any attorney; it had to be in my & my husbands handwriting. Mr. Crozier followed with a cease and desist to her supervisor. She then told us to rewrite it in our own handwriting, send it in and that she could legally call UNTIL then. The attorney called her from his office while we were sitting there and she told him that he was not an attorney, he was one of our friends, pretending to be an attorney, and to shut the F___ up.
The returned payment then came in the mail and he followed up with a letter to Citi, that they violated the Fair Debt and Collection Act. He also told Ms Choyce and her supervisor, that his office would be sending the payments that they refused from us, to bring the account current. She continued to call and harass me for payments, at which time we were giving everything to the attorney.
When I told her we paid the attorney and he would be making payments, she said that was a lie and that he ripped us off, cause she did not have the money. I advised her to call him and hung up on her.
In March 2006, the attorney forwarded our payments to Citi that paid our account up till the Feb 15th payment, that they refused to take from us. The calls stopped and life was back to normal. My husbands brother, during this ordeal, advised us he could no longer stay and help me with the kids, he had to get back to his life. My husband came home February 9th from New Orleans. He collected his last 2 checks from unemployment, and found a temp job for 15.00/hr. in March. The union kept saying theyll be work in 2 weeks. I was still doing signings. We tried to keep up as best we could.
In July of 2006 I sent a letter to Citi at least 3 times, explaining that we were having difficulties, until my husbands union has work again. My husband was still working a temp job for less money. We did not want the account to get behind again. We were asking for help, as per the company website.
Upon trying numerous times to access our account I found a page that states, contact us when you START to have difficulties. My letter fell on deaf ears. I never received even 1 phone call or letter. During the ordeal with Ms Choyce, my online access was revoked, so I could not see my account any longer or what was owed. We continued to send payments, the last one was made on Sept 8 via western union, for what I thought was July15ths I believed at that point we were 30-45 days behind.
In October I was just about to make another payment when we got hit with foreclosure papers on our doorstep. At the same time CITI was in the news that they had fired a head financial employee and were getting rid of deliquent accounts to increase shareholder value, and remain profitable in their mortgage division.
We consistently tried to call Citi to make arrangements to bring the account current. But they demanded a ridiculously high down payment. When I asked why we were not contacted about being 30 or 60 days late PRIOR to the foreclosure action, as was ALWAYS Citis policy, They fell back on the fact that there is a cease and desist on record and they cannot talk to us.
Please give me a break Your REP.. Ms Choyce called me day and night, violating the cease and desist repeatedly for months and now you cant talk to me The loss prevention dept is sick of hearing from me and wont take my calls.
My husband & I took the payment we were going to send Citi in October, and hired Mr. Crozier to represent us in court. Mr. Crozier immediately stated that we qualified for Ct general statues underemployed or unemployed foreclosure protection act in Ct. Our income was reduced 25%.
When I lost my FULL time income due to daycare issues with a DISABLED child, and my husband being UNDER employed due to no work at his normal rate of pay. When we bought this house we were making in the 70K per year, after I lost daycare and was forced into part time work we were struggling in the 50s. My husband s union slowing down only made things worse. If it didnt all happen at the same time, it probably wouldnt have been so bad. But how much can one family take?
In late October 2006, The union called my husband back to work one week before the foreclosure paperwork. They are booming again. He has been working steady since. They have steady work for years to come. I am still doing signings.
I am also trying to register our disabled daughter, who is now 16 1/2 for Ct Dept Mental Retardation, (DMR) They have programs that could assist me with her care so that I may return to FULL TIME work, and put our income back to where it should be.
We were denied the foreclosure protection act in court in early 07, which would have rewritten the mortgage at a reasonable rate and wiped out some or all of the back fees (up to the judge, but you can bet your bottom dollar I would have made it known what Citi has done to us). Not because our income didnt qualify, but because there is a clause in Connecticut that states,
In order to qualify for the foreclosure protection act you cant have had a foreclosure ACTION brought against you in the past 7 years the town filing suit for taxes counts as an action. We didnt pay the taxes because we were lied to, and to force Associates Home equity into an escrow account, little did we know you would purchase them and it would come back to bite us in the A__. We stood our ground for what was right and it hurt us now.
It was a matter of principle. Lesson learned!
We have been in court with you since last October. It is now late August. We have requested an accurate payoff numerous times since May of 07. I have called your loss prevention dept and requested a payoff, I called customer service to request a payoff, & I have faxed payoff requests. NO response! You legally have so many days to reply. I am now filing it with the foreclosure court.
When we were denied foreclosure protection , we decided to try to refinance. Every lender we speak to needs to know the payoff to stay within the LTV. Citi financial knows that you can only get foreclosure financing in a foreclosure situation if your payoff is below 65-70% LTV.
To top it all off you have filed an extension in court to delay the proceedings, while racking up foreclosure fees. I filed an answer to your charges in court and you not only filed for an extension but hired a SECOND law firm, racking up more charges, late fees, foreclosure fees and double attorney fees. You are a big corporation, We are NOBODY, Why else would you need to hire 2 LAW FIRMS? You have even refused payments in the interim that would have allowed us to keep the payoff down within the LTV.
I have also discovered since court began, that neither the original NOTE nor the modification, have late fees disclosed. No rate, no percentage, and no late date. IT IS BLANK ON MY COPIES. And Id bet, if we were to conduct a mortgage AUDIT, you charged me late fees on the payments that Ms Choyce/ CITI refused and returned to us.
Rather than helping us out of a difficult and akward situation, you choose to refuse payments, and bury us in fees, some of which I believe are illegal. Several times when my husband returned to full time work in October at his normal rate. I offered Citi a weekly high payment to bring the account current and they refused it.
I truly believe you are doing this deliberately to knock us out of refinancing. After all iof you keep racking up fees, and denying us our payoff. You will knock us out of refinancing. But this is OUR home, that we have fought for, FOR so long, that I refuse to just walk away quietly. We have been approved for alternate financing several times. Citi has yet to give us a payoff. You are deliberately stalling and trying to bury us in foreclosure fees and other charges, what kind of a bank are you? My husband and I are not perfect.
Our account has consistently been 30 days late numerous times but we always got caught up. Could you have done better with the same issues at hand? I ask you to ask yourself if you could have come as far with the challenges we have faced as a family? Losing daycare and his union slowdown were MAJOR issues that we have for the past 8 years tried to correct and move on.
Things will not always be like this. My husband is again working full time, and with daycare assistance from the state DMR , I will again be able to return to full time employment. Are you so determined to take our home that you refuse to work out a reasonable arrangement, while you are burying us in fees? We will continue to fight this out in court. Our options are to refinance, if you havent already killed the LTV, or file bankruptcy. We want our house and you want your money? There should be an amicable solution.
I recently learned from another attorney that WE can file suit against Citi and he advised me that it is $1000.00 per violation, per phone call, not to mention the Fair Debt and Collection act. A mortgage audit can be conducted and phone records CAN be subpoenaed. I am NOT by any means threatening suit at this point, but we are considering our options.
Senator Dodd here in Ct, was recently on a news channel, about foreclosures in the state of CT as well as the general market. Thats when I decided I would write to
you / CITI, just one more time, to come up with a solution.
I am also considering releasing our story publicly to every news channel that will listen. Maybe there are other people out there JUST like us, trying to make ends meet and being buried by BIG Business. I am also going to forward this to Senator Dodd, since he seems to be actively involved in what is transpiring in the housing market.
Maybe there are options that we are not aware of. There has to be a solution to this mess so that we can live and breathe again. We only want to go work, pay our bills, and live the American dream like every other family in America. This house, OUR HOME, is a big part of that. When will big business start to listen and help homeowners instead of burying them?
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Citibank CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. Consumer makes harsh but accurate statements. *Rip-off Report Investigation follow-up provides valuable information.