OneWest Bank is facing a jury trial on October 8th, 2012 in the District of Columbia on allegation that it
attempted to foreclose on Ross Yerger, a primary mortgage-holder, who was paying his mortgage. Ross Yerger is a Special Agent of the United States Secret Service.
In September of 2010, OneWest received a mortgage payment via its own electronic funds transfer system. When the money wasnt reflected in the homeowners account, he called OneWest to fix the problem. Several weeks later, OneWest issued a check back to the homeowner along with a letter saying that it was rejecting the prior funds transfernot because there was anything wrong with the homeowners payment, but because OneWest had held on to the money so long that it unilaterally
applied late fees and penalties and, as a result, the payment didnt reflect the entire amount due. Instead of accepting the payment and erasing the fees, the bank declared the payment as partial and rejected it. At that time, OneWest hired a law firm to begin the process of foreclosing on the property.
But thats not where this unfortunate story of egregious predatory mortgage practices begins, nor where it ends. In February of 2010, OneWest solicited the homeowner to join its Equity Accelerator Program. Under the program, OneWest promised to debit the homeowners mortgage payment in two bi-monthly installments every month for the remainder of the loan. OneWest said that the program would result in over $170,000.00 in interest savings and a gain of nearly $70,000.00 of equity in ten years.
After the homeowner entered the program, OneWest never made the debits as scheduled. In March, OneWest attempted to take money out on the wrong days not according to the schedule stipulated per the Equity Accelerator Program agreement. When the homeowner became aware, he immediately cured the delinquencypaying as well the late fees and penalties applied by OneWest. Though he was told he was still in the program, no debits occurred in the month of April. He was told by OneWest to make another manual payment and that debits would begin in May. When May came, no debits were madeeven though the homeowner had ample funds in his bank account. OneWest terminated the homeowner from the program, but never sent any notice informing him of the programs cancellation. OneWest also failed to contact the homeowner to let him know the program was canceled, or that his account was delinquent. Instead, OneWest phone operators told the homeowner that the debits would occur as planned.
Fast forward to the end of August when the homeowner discovered that OneWest had taken no money out of his account at all. Immediately upon learning of the delinquency, he then made the enormous payment all at once, which was returned to him after OneWest held onto it for several weeks.
By the time October came, the homeowner was required to pay OneWests attorney fees, late fees, and other charges that exceed $16,000.00 even though his regular monthly mortgage payment was $3,397.18. When the homeowner paid this amount on October 21, 2010, he was told he would be brought current. A few weeks later, he received a letter from OneWest saying he was still behind on his mortgage and he would be subject to foreclosure once more unless he paid an amount that was double his regular monthly mortgage payment.
After battling OneWest for nine months, the homeowner brought suit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. When he served the summons and complaint on OneWest, he included a letter, clearly articulating that he preferred this matter be resolved through negotiation, rather
OneWest ignored this correspondence letter and forced the homeowner into protracted litigation that has lasted for nearly two years. The case is set for trial on October 9, 2012. Yerger v. OneWest, Case No. 2011 CA 000706, Superior Court for the District of Columbia.