Mortgage Meltdown: Teacher says Bank of America won't budge
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - As grandmother to an autistic grandson and special needs teacher in the Clark County School District, Colleen Roybal sees every day how hard work and perseverance can pay off.
Working weekends, overtime, and through summers, she's worked as hard at saving her home as she has in helping her students.
"Trying to get ahead. Trying to get those people paid off. And it's all come down to Bank of America saying, well, that's not enough," Colleen says.
She's at a point where she calls herself desperate, even signing emails "Desperate in Las Vegas."
"That is how I feel."
She's desperate to save her home for the family who rely on her to keep them afloat.
Colleen and her husband bought their Summerlin home when it was brand new in 1999. When the economy crashed, they had to take out a second mortgage as they watched $200,000 in investment income disappear.
"Then the house fell so drastically that we not only didn't have that investment income but we didn't have the money to pay back that second loan."
She says the financial strain led to the break-up of her marriage.
"Since that time I've been trying to get all my bills paid, which I did, and try to get back on top of my house payments."
And she's done that. But she says the only way she can afford to stay there is if Bank of America allows her to re-finance.
"Everything was going well, the loan officer said I met the credit score requirement, I met the loan-to-debt income ratio."
She went through the state's mediation program, which she says went well, because the second lien holder was willing to work with her.
"The mediator got him to settle for $70,000 instead of the $253,000 and then all I had to do was find a loan that would give that to me."
That's where B of A comes in.
"This is all the faxed documents that I had to send to Bank of America for the underwriter to approve my loan, and as you can see I have a lot," she told Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears as she displayed hundreds of pages.
She got an initial credit approval, good news on the appraisal, and was repeatedly assured that everything was moving along as planned with her refinance. But just days before her closing date, it all fell apart.
"It's been like running hurdles and just as I get over one I see another one crop up and I thought this was the last hurdle and I was ready to run across the finish line and they took the finish line away."
On August 25th, she got a Notice of Action Taken: a denial based on past credit performance that even her Bank of America loan processor couldn't believe. He wrote her an email saying, "I know you needed this loan and did everything you could possibly do to provide everything we requested. I am not happy with the decision at all."
Colleen had also reached out to Congressman Joe Heck for help. His office staff managed to help keep her in her home while she was jumping through B of A's hoops. But she says delays are really all they were able to accomplish.
"I just hope our congressmen will look at this case and other homeowners like myself and start an inquiry into what exactly is Bank of America doing? Because it doesn't appear they're doing anything except shuffling paper and then ultimately telling us no anyway."
Congressman Heck was supposed to go on camera for this story, but at the last minute, his staff said he was too busy. He sent us a written statement which says in part, what Colleen Roybal's "situation illustrates is that homeowners struggling to stay current on their mortgage and in their homes face a maze of confusing bank procedures and financial markets that overwhelm them and can lead to them losing their home. Her situation also highlights the need to make sure that banks are engaged and forthcoming with individuals about the consequences of their actions..."
Colleen thinks that's just diplomatic double-talk, when what she really needs is action.
"Maybe this will help some other homeowners that are going through the same thing or maybe it'll call Congress and the President--it's an election year--to action about doing something about Bank of America because something needs to be done."
Bank of America says Colleen was offered a loan modification, but it was for even more than she was already paying--which she obviously couldn't afford. They say they can't help her any further because underwriter Fannie Mae has very specific guidelines they must follow.
But Colleen isn't giving up. She's applied for relief from Nevada's Hardest Hit Fund.
We know the mortgage meltdown is far from over. If you're in the midst of one, share your story by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.