Minister fights to save home from foreclosure

Forest Park, Oklahoma Reverend Horace Scott and his wife Michelle are fighting to keep their home of fourteen years. The Scotts are in a catch twenty two of mortgage mess brought on by Countrywide’s’ predatory lending practices. Scotts are not along in this situation and their story is just one of the many out there.

The Scotts nightmare began in 2004 when they decided to add a room to their home. They refinanced their home with what they believe was going to be a fixed rate mortgage. The Scotts at closing were presented with an adjustable rate mortgage at the time of closing; the rate was to adjust every six months. The Scotts at the time believed the loan seemed reasonable as the monthly payments were only $692 and were within their income.

The Scotts hired a contractor to build the room. The contractor put of the frame for the room and then walked off the job leaving the Scotts to find another contractor to finish the project. The Scotts found another contractor to complete the job however they had to refinance the home again to get the project completed. The couple then was hit with a financial blow as Michelle had to undergo several back surgeries to relieve her of the severe pain she was in. Horace stayed home to help her recuperate. The couple was left with no steady income for three months.

Countrywide Home Loans in March of 2005 presented the couple with a notification that their mortgage payment was late. The Scotts were surprised by this as they believed their mortgage company to be a different lender. They had never received a notification from the other lender that that Countrywide Home Loans was the new mortgagor. Countrywide Home Loans is now Bank of America and has complicated matters for the Scotts.

The Scotts mortgage payment had climbed. Eva Jo Sparks did a bankruptcy audit for the Scotts for the U.S. Trustee Program. The U.S. Trustee Program mission is to promote integrity and efficiency in the nation’s bankruptcy system. The Scotts were denied health hardship relief and they ultimately filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy to restructure their debts in August of 2005. The restructure included the mortgage payment that had now climbed to $918 a month plus late fees and an increasing interest rate.  The payments had now climbed from $692 to over $2022 a month; more than what the Scotts monthly take home pay was.

The Scotts believing that most of the financial worries were handled in the Chapter 13 were shocked to receive notice from Bank of New York in September of 2008 which informed them that foreclosure had been filed on their home. They are not sure how Bank of New York was now involved with their mortgage. Mortgage lenders can explain how these new banks become involved. The Scotts mortgage was being bought and sold in a pool of loans on Wall Street.

Sparks found out for the Scotts that neither Bank of New York nor Countrywide Home Loans now Bank of America had the authority to collect the Scotts mortgage payments. Sparks discovered that Countrywide Home Loans had not properly applied fourteen payments made through the bankruptcy trustee. The payments were made to the wrong type of account so the couple’s payments failed to go toward the mortgage loans principal and interest. The Scotts Attorneys believe this to show only one fact; that being that the Scotts should have never been in foreclosure and the action should have never been brought against the couple.

The couple attempted to file for bankruptcy again seeking relief however the request was dismissed by the Judge. The Scotts Attorneys are hoping to hold off foreclosure by refilling for bankruptcy and claiming predatory lending. The Scotts Attorneys want their story told in court. They want the court to bring justice for the homeowners who were placed in loans where the payments would eventually exceed the homeowners’ income. The mortgage product the Scotts were put in by nature was predatory.

Horace Scott’s wages have been garnished at this point. He works a forty hour week and his take home pay is zero. The couple scratches out a living by Michelle’s disability check and with help from their congregation, Antioch Baptist Church. They say the worst part is people driving by taking pictures of the home.

Horace says they are not trying to get out of their responsibility to pay the mortgage they simply wan the payments to be within their means. They want to pay for their home but they also want to put food on the table.

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