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Aaron Glantz

Aaron Glantz

Posted: April 20, 2010 01:33 PM

Reporting That Makes a Difference

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It's always good to know that your work in making a difference -- even in one person's life. So I wanted to let you know that my most recent story may help an Oakland homeowner keep her house out of foreclosure.

Today, I published a piece, "New Face of Foreclosure - Unemployment," where I profiled Giselle Jiles, a 52-year old financial planner, who lost her job more than a year ago and is now worried about losing her home.

You can read the story here or watch a video I produced below:

The New Face of Foreclosure from New America Media on Vimeo.

Jiles has been trying to renegotiate her loan since November, when - eight months after losing her job - she attended an all-day clinic organized by the city of Oakland designed to help people stay in their homes.

That day, Jiles said, she filled out all the paperwork that her lender, JP Morgan Chase, required. She's called the bank's toll free number every week since and faxed over required documents again and again. And until I started reporting her story, she didn't have an answer.

After interviewing Jiles and reading through her documents, I called Tom Kelly, Chase's chief spokesperson for retail banking. He initially refused to go on the record to discuss her case, saying he didn't want to come off as a heartless banker.

But after repeated inquiries, he agreed to take down Jiles' full name, address, and loan number.

The next day, Kelly called back to say that Jiles had only sent in the necessary documents the day NAM started reporting her story. Jiles' loan modification request would be decided "in a few weeks," Kelly said.

The same day, Jiles was contacted by an underwriter, the first time a bank employee had been assigned to work with her.

And Giselle wrote me this thank you note:

Hi Aaron, Thursday I did a followup call to Chase to make sure that they received the 16 pages of information I faxed to them on Wednesday, the day after I received their laundry list of requested documents. To my surprise, I was told for the first time ever, they had assigned an underwriter to my case. The Chase representative actually gave me his name and transferred my call to him. His name is Matt Sparks. I left a message on his voice mail on Thursday but I have yet to hear from him. Do you think your involvement had anything to do with this happening? I do! I would love to share information on others that you could do a story on. Do they have to be in the Bay Area? I have a girlfriend in Roseburg, Oregon that is going through rough waters and I have a two girlfriends here that is also going through some changes with Chase. The girlfriend in Oregon is dealing with a different bank. Let me check with them to see if they would like to disclose their horror stories and personal information. Let me know if it isn't too late to do their stories. Once again thanks for joining my one woman team against JPMorgan Chase. Giselle

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