I don't know if this letter will ever reach the hands I need it to but this is my last resort. I realize that everyone in America has problems whether they be financial or personal, medical, or legal. My family is no different but I am not going to give up until I get some resolution.
I am talking about a battle with the #1 mortgage company in America, Countrywide Home Loans. I may be just a middle class woman from the south going up against a modern day giant but I have faith that this giant can be brought down if enough of us spoke up.
I don't know where to begin so the beginning seems appropriate. I am a mother and wife. My husband is a school teacher in a low paid parish in Louisiana and I am a nurse for a private practice and work multiple jobs on the weekends and nights as well as going to school. We have been married for 13 years with two boys. My stepdaughter who is 18 and bound for college. We are a hard working and honest family who struggle to make a home for our family and never can seem to get ahead.
A few years ago, 2003 to be exact, we moved back to my husband's family land and decided to build our dream home after his father died. We wanted to be close to his mother so we could help take care of her but instead she has been taking care of us. We built our home and a beautiful home it is. We had a mortgage company called Equicredit at the time who sold our loan to Countrywide. Our mortgage payment was $689 a month and affordable. And to make matters worse, I was a loan officer and chose a adjustable rate because we were making great money and our credit was good and getting better. So I thought. Life happened and our income decreased a lot due to loss of jobs, illness, and the birth of our second child. When it was time for the APR to go up we couldn't refinance because our DTI wouldn't allow the refinance. The rate continued to rise and our income continued to lower. We asked for help from their HOPE dept but we "MADE TOO MUCH MONEY" then as the money continued to decline they told us "WE DIDN'T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY" to qualify for their help. We wanted to keep our house so we did the unthinkable and filed for Bankruptcy, had vehicles repossessed, and I went back to medical school in hopes of a brighter future. We were now down to one income, my husband's. He brought home $1500 per month and our mortgage payment was now $1100.00. We sold our possessions, borrowed from family and friends and lost our dignity in the process and only got 30 days behind which was amazing. I don't know how we did it but the Grace of God was the only way. Then I graduated from nursing school and thought that now we would be on our way out of this mess. I know you don't solve money problems with money so we did other things such as going after better jobs, cutting back our debt. No entertainment, no phones, nothing other than necessities. I picked up two jobs and made enough money to send in two mortgage payments which would put me up to date. Boy was I surprised when I received my two mortgage payments back with a notice of foreclosure!! My heart sank, the tears began to flow, and my hope was gone. I called and called begging for help and finally they said I QUALIFIED!!! I now had HOPE from the HOPE department that left me HOPELESS in a matter of 48 hours. The loan officer I had was unreachable, and nobody knew anything about my case because it was her responsibility. I spoke to over 30 people in 30 days and these included supervisors, managers, and other loan officers who sounded sympathetic but in reality was just going through the motions. Finally I got a response and with that response I was given a deadline. Again, I couldn't reach anyone, even with direct extensions and voice mails. NOBODY WOULD RETURN MY PHONE CALLS. Finally I received the Remodification papers but the mortgage payment and interest was higher and now I owed back pay and attorney fees. I surrendered and paid everything. We tried to refinance but was turned down due to mortgage history. A history that was forced upon us. Then we decided to just move on and pay the loan.
The nightmare was far from over. Every dollar we made went toward bills and not a dollar left over. We failed to buy flood insurance the year before and this year. We were quoted $600 a year from state farm but unlike homeowners insurance you have to pay this amount up front and not in installments. Our home is 9 feet off of the ground and very unlikely to ever flood. Countrywide told us we would be notified if flood insurance was absolutely necessary. Then the federal government allowed the rate the be reduced and our interest rate was reduced by 0.5% but our mortgage payment went up AGAIN. Then after a investigation of my own, found out that I was charged $7666.92 for flood insurance for 2 years which would of only cost me $1200 if done myself. You can't tell me that is not padded. Then we noticed that the mortgage payment was different every month. Our payment is due every month on the on the 7th but my husband gets paid on the 28th so we always pay a late fee of $58. There was interest of a different amount being added to the principle balance every month for also being late. This amount averaged from $9 to $15. When I called to ask nobody could explain this and was told "we will get back with you.
My last straw was when I ordered my payoff. It is now $115,483.37. This is $14,000 more than I owed 5 years ago and I haven't gotten a dime of it.
A home is suppose to be a place of comfort and rest. A place where your future lies and your children grow up. We built this home with our own 2 hands and with a since of pride. Now when I sit down after a long work day or lay in bed a night with tears flowing down my face, all I see is those walls of my home closing in on me and a black hole of no return. The home is losing equity and I am losing hope. My husband now has heart trouble, I am suffering from anxiety and depression. If one emergency came our way, Countrywide will win the war. I don't have anything left in me anymore.
I am not asking for a hand out from anyone. My husband and I are honest hard working individuals trying to raise a respectable family. I am tired of our children seeing me cry or their dad suffering with worry. We have never taken a vacation with them or even as much had the money to give them what other kids have. Countrywide has taken that from my children. I am just asking for someone to give me a voice. I just want my payments where I can afford them and not have to worry about losing my home that I have worked so hard for.
$115,000 is a lot of money to my family. To some people, it is just a drop in a bucket. A write off, a night out, or a donation to a charity. It is just a bet at the casino or petty cash. To us it is a fortune. We are teachers and nurses and our children are wearing used closed, our vehicles or on their last legs and barely getting us to work, and the food on the table is stretched to last another day or two. We are middle America but living like we are in poverty. People on welfare and food stamps live better than us. They are driving $30,000 vehicles and buying 2 buggies worth of steaks and seafood at the grocery store when we are scraping change for bread and hamburger meat.
All I am asking, is there someone out there that can help us. I will never ask for anything specific because at this point, the smallest amount of gratitude is welcomed.
From Bobby and Dee in Jonesville, La.
Can someone give us the HOPE Countrywide has failed to achieve???
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