• Report: #336339
Complaint Review:

Merrill Lynch/National City/First Franklin

  • Submitted: Mon, June 02, 2008
  • Updated: Sat, June 07, 2008

  • Reported By:Deltona Florida
Merrill Lynch/National City/First Franklin
150 Allegheny Center Mall Pittsburg, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

Merrill Lynch/ National City Bank/ First Franklin Loan Services Won't Approve Re-Fi - Stalling Untill Forecloser Happens Pittsburg Pennsylvania

*Author of original report: Empathy & Entitlement - Not Knowing What You Are Talking About

*Consumer Comment: Empathy & Entitlement

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1St Letter sent

Friday, May 09, 2008

Attention: Flo Molchen

Re: Hardship Letter per loans - 104460XXXX | 104460XXXX

Ms. Molchen,

I would like to request that First Franklin Loan Services consider allowing the refinancing of our first and second mortgages for the following reasons

First I think it is important for you to know that I am speaking on behalf of not only myself but also for husband, who is unable to speak to you directly due to the fact that he is currently working in Iraq. I have the authority through our Power of Attorney to speak for R******.

In 2002 R******, I and my two children decided it was time to purchase a home. We as a family then decided that we would like to buy our home in Florida. All of us settled on a large lovely home in Pensacola Florida so we could be near the beaches. R****** had a well established career as a cross-country truck driver and everything was going well financially. Then in 2003 the truck driving industry started to experience a down turn and my husbands' income was slashed dramatically. R****** decided he needed to do something just as dramatic to be able to support his family.

My husband is a good hard-working man who has taken it upon himself to not only marry and support a woman who is physically disabled and not able to work, but he also took it upon himself to help support two grown stepchildren who are also disabled.

R****** applied for and was accepted as an employee of KBR/Service Employees International (A Halliburton subsidiary) and volunteered to work in one of the most dangerous places on earth Iraq.

When my children and I learned of his choice of locations to work, we were stunned and shocked to say the least. My husband explained that he felt it was his duty and responsibility to take care of his family. R****** explained that he believed the four of us were brought together so that he could take care of us, and that he felt it was meant for him to do.

Regardless of how my children and I felt, my husband needed to do this. Once an understanding was reached amongst the four of us, we began planning what we needed to do to improve our home in Pensacola; this was something that wasn't meant to happen. You see Hurricane Ivan came through the Pan Handle of Florida and we lost our home. The city of Pensacola found our home uninhabitable and actually condemned it. To say we were devastated is an understatement.

My husband had just shipped off for training two weeks prior to the devastation and was stuck in Texas without any means to help us. One thing R****** promised was that we would now have the money (from his new employment) to buy a better home in a safer area of Florida.

My husband kept his word; and we purchased a home in Deltona, Florida. We excitedly moved to our new home.

The excitement of having this home has now turned to nothing more than stress and worry. We now find ourselves in a situation where, do to the increase in our interest rate we are struggling to meet our current mortgage.

Over the past two years since we purchased this home, my illness has deteriorated and I have needed more and more medications. We spend on average over $325.00 per month to purchase the medications our insurance wont cover.

Starting last year R****** dropped his R&R from 45 days per year (three home visits) to just 15 days (one home visit) so we could have the extra income.

Our home does need some of the routine repairs and improvements due to being almost 20 years old. My husband wanted us to have enough money so that I could turn this into our Dream Home a place where he could retire and enjoy the rest of his life surrounded by his family. Now due to the increase in our interest rate (the first in January with another due in July) R****** doesnt see how he can come home for R&R at all.

It is incredibly unfair for my children and I to expect their stepfather, my husband, to work continuously risking his life on a daily basis in Iraq without any type of break what so ever.

If we cannot refinance our current mortgage that is exactly what my husband will do. He will work everyday and never come, just so he can continue to provide for his family.

We understand that we agreed to our mortgage, I signed the paperwork, but we could never have known that I would become sicker and the economy would become what it has.

We have virtually exhausted our savings to try and pay down our bills and improve the market value of our home. All of this has been for nothing due to the economic instability currently affecting the United States. We could never have foreseen that the value of our home, despite our upgrading and improvements, would plummet.

Our taxes have increased incredibly, and the cost of utilities has risen also. Just buying food and putting gas into our vehicles has become a juggling act.

My children and I do not socialize; we do not go to the movies or entertain friends and family. We have our home and this is where we feel comfortable and safe and this is where we spend almost our entire time. We enjoy planting flowers and my son has even learned how to do minor repairs and improvements so we can save this money instead of calling an expensive professional. Our home is our life.

We look forward to when my husband comes home and we can be a whole family. If we are not able to refinance our home then my husband wont be here. I do not know how to express how incredibly frustrated I am at our current situation. My childrens illnesses have been exasperated due to the stress of the situation and I fear for my husband even more so now than before.

R****** has worked very hard to earn every imaginable driving certificate while in Iraq. He now can drive any vehicle he asked to do so. By achieving this goal he can now drive tankers loaded with fuel. Do you know what one of the biggest targets in Iraq is, fuel convoys. Why is he doing this, to earn the extra income to pay our bills.

I cannot imagine what is going to be like come July when the mortgage resets yet again, that is why I am asking that First Franklin please allow us to refinance our current mortgages.

We are just regular Americans trying to live simply. We dont own extravagant vehicles. We dont go on expensive vacations. We spend our money on our home. The thought of us possibly losing our home saddens me deeply.

Despite the fact that we have been able up to this point to successfully pay our mortgage and other monthly expenses, I fear that come July this wont be the case.

If you can find a way or the means to be able to work with us on refinancing our home we would all be incredibly grateful.

Thank You,

R****** and S***** D***


2nd Letter sent....


Saturday, May 24, 2008

The President of the United States: George W. Bush

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Help with refinancing our home

Mr. President,

I will try and keep this letter as brief as possible, I know how very busy you may be and I do not want to take up anymore of your valuable time than is needed. Below you will find an abridged time-line leading up to this correspondence.

November 2007
Home value: $260,000.00 (at the time of purchase) -
Interest Rate(s): 7.375/11.375%

My husband and I decide to refinance our home, our two year pre-payment penalty has expired. We contact Jack Lewis at Statewide Mortgage Group, LLC. We discuss getting a Conventional Mortgage to consolidate our first and second mortgages with a lower interest rate. Our first mortgage is an ARM and our second is fixed.

December 2007
1st appraisal, value: $295,000.000 - Interest Rate(s): 7.375/11.375%

Mr. Lewis informs us that he has found a reputable lender and discusses the closing costs need for the Conventional Mortgage. The closing costs are too exorbitant and we discuss other financing options.

Mr. Lewis attempts to obtain a VA Loan (my husband was formerly in the military and has an unused DD214), however, the VA Loan Program does not allow for refinancing of second mortgages.

Mr. Lewis later informs us that his company will soon be certified to handle FHA Loans. The FHA Loan limits at this time were too low for us to be able to use this option, Mr. Lewis states that perhaps they will raise enough by the time his company is certified for us to be able to use this program.

We are informed by our current lender, First Franklin Financial that our interest rate on our first mortgage will increase to 10.250% starting in January.

February 2008-
2nd appraisal, value: $284,000.00 Interest Rate(s): 10.250/11.375%

To say we were shocked at the drop in our homes value is an understatement. We had spent over $15,000.00 in remodeling and improving our home since the first appraisal for our refinancing. We are still waiting for the FHA Loan limits to increase. Due to the home values dropping and Volusia County being deemed a High Risk area by lenders, we are growing increasingly concerned.

Mr. Lewis is still looking into other financing options.

March 2008
3rd appraisal, value: $238,000.00 Interest rate(s): 10.250/11.375%

Once again we need a new appraisal due to the time lapse. Once again we are shocked with the drop in our homes value. The stress from this situation is affecting my whole family.

Mr. Lewis has decided that something serious needs to be done, not only for my family, but for all of the homeowners affected by the mortgage industry fiasco in Florida. He tells us about the committee that he has created, with the help of various individuals in federal, state and local government as well as the mortgage industry itself, to come up with solutions to the housing industry problems.

We are still waiting for the FHA Loan limits to increase. Mr. Lewis has stated that an announcement has been made by the government, the HUD office I believe, that loan limits are going to be increased shortly.

Jack Lewis company becomes certified to handle FHA Loans. He informs us that he has a lender willing and waiting to refinance our home at a 6% interest rate.

April 2008
Home value: $230,000.00 Interest Rate(s): 10.250/11.375

Mr. Lewis has started to personally talk with representatives from First Franklin about modifying our second mortgage. He tells us that he has worked his way up the management levels and is speaking directly with the gentleman who needs to give the okay to the modification.

Mr. Lewis says that this gentleman, I believe his name is Mr. Short, doesnt see any foreseeable problems. Were elated; it finally looks as though we will be able to refinance our home.

We learn that the FHA Loan limits have been increased for our county. We now look to First Franklin so that we can get the approval to refinance. An application is submitted to First Franklin for the subordination of our second loan. It should be noted that no one from First Franklin Financial has ever told Mr. Lewis or my family that First Franklin does not subordinate loans.

Later that month we realize that First Franklin is stalling. I speak with a woman named Flo Molchen from First Franklins Resolution Team; Jack Lewis is also in talks with Ms. Molchen. Ms. Molchen informs me that First Franklin will not subordinate our second loan. Mr. Lewis as well as myself explain to Ms. Molchen that we have a pre-approval for an FHA loan waiting, this doesnt matter.

Ms. Molchen leads Jack Lewis and my family to believe that the possibility of modifying our second mortgage will happen instead of the subordination. This is great news. If the second loan is modified then we will be able to consolidate it with the first and refinance our mortgage.

So far the gentleman Mr. Lewis spoke with and Ms. Molchen have lead us to believe that nothing is afoul and everything should go according to plan. We were required to allow First Franklin to send yet another appraiser to our home for a 4th appraisal, which we did.

I am contacted by Ms. Molchens office and told that our home has now appraised at $230,000.00. We are now growing more frantic.

Jack Lewis tells me that Ms. Molchen needs a Hardship letter explaining our situation. I have enclosed a copy of this letter in its entirety.

We are then told by Mr. Lewis that First Franklin believes that we have an extra $1,700.00 per month that we can use towards our mortgage. We explain that this is not true and we have to submit an amendment to the Hardship letter showing our additional yearly and monthly expenses.

After waiting a few days I contacted Ms. Molchens office, up to this point I was speaking to her directly. Upon calling her, the phone was answered by her assistant who stated that Ms. Molchen wasnt available to take my call. I explained to this young woman who I was and the purpose of my call. She then began to tell me exactly what was going to happen. It should be noted that, up to this point, any and all conversations I have had with the staff of First Franklin have always been professional and courteous, this was about to change.

With what I can only describe as condescension, Ms. Molchens assistant informed me that Ms. Flo (as she was referred to) had received all of the required paperwork. Now our paperwork would be forwarded to the Assistant Loan Negotiator who will review it then pass it along to the Loan Negotiator. I inquired as to how long this process would take.

Ms. Molchens assistant then informed me that since we are not in default with our mortgage we will be put at the bottom of the list. She tells me that this process can take upwards of 60 days!

To say we are outraged is an understatement. We have done everything that has been asked of us for the past five and a half months. We understand we are not the only family wanting to refinance our home. We understand that there are families whose homes have been or are in the process of being foreclosed.

We feel as though First Franklin has been stringing us along all this time. My son has done an exhaustive amount of research in regards to First Franklin. We learned that First Franklin Financial a division of National City Loan Services was owned by National City Bank of Idaho, and was sold to Merrill Lynch.

My son printed page after page of the most outrageous and heart-breaking stories of families like our own losing their homes. Many of these individuals were trying to or were actually in negotiations with the First Franklin/Loan Servicer Resolution Team. When it comes down to it the loan modifications end up causing these people to lose their homes. There was even talk of First Franklin offering individuals cash to leave their homes, a process called Cash for Keys.

It is true we are able to pay our current mortgage. Each month it gets paid later and later, but we manage to pay it, but a time will come when the interest rate will adjust our mortgage out of our means (In all fairness I would like to state that First Franklin sent us a letter stating that our interest rate will be dropped by 1% in July). We all know that the interest rates will once again climb, and then we will still be in the same situation or worse.

My husband has decided that he should not come home from Iraq on June 28th for R&R, hes been in Iraq for almost 6 months and our 20th Wedding Anniversary is July 1st.

We dont know what to do.

Are we to be punished for paying our mortgage? Should we default on purpose just to maybe be able to refinance our home?

I find it incredulous that this country has gotten to the point where if you are a hard-working tax payer who pays their bills, you cannot get help to keep you afloat.

Were not asking for any special favors or hand-outs, we just want to be able to refinance our home with our new lender.

The housing market is not getting any better, home values are dropping on average of 10% per month and soon the value of our house will be far to low for us to be able to refinance our first mortgage to remove the ARM. Then what?

One of the reasons why my husband took his job was because he believed in this country, he believed we were doing the right thing in Iraq and wanted to show his support. I dont think it is too much to ask that he be able to come home twice a year to enjoy the home he is working so hard and risking his life for daily.

If there is anything at all you can do to help us it would be greatly appreciated. This would send a clear message to the hard-working citizens of Florida and to the rest of the United States, that we are not alone and that our elected officials care about us and are there to help any way they can.

Thank you and God Bless,

S**** *********

Enclosed: Hardship Letter

CC: Florida Governor: Charlie Crist, Florida Senator: Bill Nelson, Florida Senator: Mel Martinez, Florida Representative (District 28): Dorothy L. Hukill, The Office of the Comptroller of Currency, Merrill Lynch President: James Gorman, President National City Bank: Peter Raskind, Vice President of National City Home Loan Services, Inc. - Steven A. Baranet, First Franklin Loan Services


So far, as of June 2, 2008, neither Jack Lewis or my family has been able to get a response from Flo Molchen or her boss. The clock is ticking and we are still waiting to refi our home.

It should be noted that a Orlando Sentinel reporter is interested in doing a story, as well as, the possibility of a local news station getting involved.


Deltona, Florida

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/02/2008 09:23 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/merrill-lynchnational-cityfirst-franklin/pittsburg-pennsylvania-15212/merrill-lynch-national-city-bank-first-franklin-loan-services-wont-approve-re-fi-stal-336339. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Empathy & Entitlement - Not Knowing What You Are Talking About

AUTHOR: Maxx1968 - (U.S.A.)

First We can and do pay our bills. We have cut back on any and all extra curricular activities, if any. We have scaled back and tightened our belts; does this meet with your approval?

My husband took the job in Iraq 2 full years prior to buying our current home. He took the job because after working 10 long years as a cross-country truck drive, he wasn't making what he should have been. Why, because our illustrious government caved to the trucking industry lobbyist and allowed the trucking industry to cap what they pay their drivers and penalize them for idling their trucks too much (he should freeze in the winter and fry in the summer, right?) When he took his job he left J.B. Hunt at 47 cents a mile, they now cap at 42 cents, understand?

Oh as to your solution to sell the property obviously you didn't read everything I wrote. Our Appraisal has gone from $295,000 to $230,000 we owe $250,000 sell it to whom and for how much?

As far as priorities go, my husband has decided that the lives of his wife and two step-children are a priority. That's why he is working so hard!

As to your quip about entitlementWe have been preapproved and prequalified with a new lender for over 4 months, we met the FHA guidelines, we are entitled to refinance our home.

What planet do you live on? Obviously you must either work in the industry, work for First Franklin or you're just an a*s.

Oh and by the way contacting all the people we have been, doing all the work we have been and going to all the meetings we have been, is taking responsibility. We are trying to get laws passed that will help everyone. I believe there's a statement to this effect at the end of my letter.

I certainly hope you don't find yourself in a financial pickle misthang, cause God don't like ugly and he ain't too fond of cute.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Empathy & Entitlement

AUTHOR: Christine - (U.S.A.)

Although I empathize, truth be told, everyone that cannot pay their bills has a sad story as to why. IMHO you may be in a mortgage you can no longer afford. Solution:Sell the property. Seriously... if you are that concerned about your husbands safety, sell the property and bring your husband home. With so many properties for sale, surely you can find a home more suited to your household income. Or you could find a more reasonable area to live. You know, determine your life's priorities.

JMHO your post comes across like you're entitled to more consideration than say, someone like me. I could draft letters to everyone I know (even those in positions of power) saying I deserve a break or I could get up off my butt & take control of the situation. Oh wait, I already do that. It's called personal responsibility.
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