In a foreclosure crisis that's been short on compassion, one California couple facing tragedy has been able to delay eviction with help from their bank and a local newspaper.
In 2007, Claire Findley was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, the same year as her husband's construction business went belly up. The combination of Findley's medical bills and the couple's paltry income meant that they missed mortgage payments for nearly four years, leaving them staring eviction in the face -- even after attempting to refinance their mortgage multiple times and entering into BofA's hardship program, The Sacromento Bee reports. But after the bank received an inquiry from the Sacramento Bee, it has decided to delay the eviction until after Claire's passing.
Lenders have been moved to delay evictions in some circumstances. Private banks as well as government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said they aren't foreclosing on homeowners during the holiday season.
Still, lenders across the country have attempted or successfully evicted other families in dire circumstances. BofA itself has threatened foreclosure on families with young children, elderly couples who made a payment too early. Likewise, JPMorgan Chase saw no reason to delay the repurchase of a veteran's father's home due to foreclosure, the day the soldier returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
It may be that some banks are trying to make up for the mistakes of the past as they face widespread public scorn as well as increased federal scrutiny. Just this week BofA agreed to pay a $335 million settlement to resolve claims that its unit Countrywide financial engaged in discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers.
However, the bank isn't alone. Earlier this month, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit against four of the biggest mortgage lenders in addition to Bank of America, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citbank and Ally Financial Inc. The case alleges the lenders used fraudulent paper work to foreclose on "hundreds if not thousands" of Massachusetts homes, Businessweek reports.
Some of the most bizarre foreclosures of the year:
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