In this time of depressing and maddening news about banks and their infuriating indifference to the suffering of underwater homeowners, it’s refreshing to know that some of us are not taking their shenanigans lying down. Here’s a story I found about one homeowner who decided to FIGHT BACK! Will he win? Only time will tell…
Why Wells Fargo Became the Target of Foreclosure
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer and retold by Casey Bond of GoBankingRates.com, it all started when music producer Patrick Rodgers, who purchased a $180,000 home in 2002, was suddenly notified last year by Wells Fargo that he needed to insure the property for $1 million. The bank demanded he insure the full replacement value of the home, not the purchase price, to prevent a total loss should devastating damage occur. Rodgers didn’t believe his home was worth that much and refused.
When Rodgers declined to up his coverage and was presented with forced-placement insurance instead, he wrote to Wells Fargo demanding further explanation. In fact, he wrote four times over the course of a year with no response.
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
After some research, he learned that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) of 1974 requires that mortgage lenders acknowledge written requests within 20 business days. They are subject to damages or penalties if they fail to respond. So, when his written requests for more information were ignored, Patrick Rogers took Wells Fargo to court.
The court ruled in favor of Rodgers and he received a $1,173 judgment against Wells Fargo. However, the bank didn’t pay up, so Rodgers began foreclosure proceedings against local office Wells Fargo office.
March 4, 2011 is the date scheduled for a sheriff’s sale of the contents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage office to cover the judgment and additional court and sheriff’s costs, though it’s likely Wells Fargo will pay a settlement to end the dispute before the sale happens.
In a late-breaking addenda to this story, Rodgers and the bank did,indeed, come to an agreement as mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Both sides declined to offer details, but Rogers said the bank had agreed to pay down his mortgage to the extend equal to the time and effort he had expended in his quest against the bank and, further, the bank agreed that his home insurance should equal his most recent appraisal at $255,000.
How You Can Learn from Rodgers
Technically, Patrick Rodgers didn’t really foreclose on Wells Fargo, but he brings an important issue to light. As a responsible, employed homeowner who felt his mortgage lender was taking advantage of him, Rodgers didn’t sit back and allow it to happen. He researched his rights and stood up against the bank, ultimately winning his case.
If you suspect your mortgage lender, or any other financial institution for that matter, is asking something questionable or even illegal of you, there are laws in place to protect you. It’s up to you to know what they are, but you don’t have to feel like your situation is hopeless or unchangeable. It’s not if you’re serious about changing it.