California Homeowners testify before a joint Legislative Conference Committee
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California Homeowners testify before a joint Legislative Conference Committee


my name is Ethan Hoff I’m i live in
nearby Carmichael and Thank You members of this conference committee for giving
me the opportunity to testify I have my story documented and I’d like to be able
to provide this to you yes so if you can one of the sergeant’s will pass them out
thank you very much for having written testimony that’s always very very
helpful fortunately I haven’t been foreclosed and I’m working to avoid that
this morning I heard from some of the others and you’re going to hear from
celeste and so I feel really lucky that I’m not in that position today the
reason I’m here is I got behind on property taxes and part of it was due to
a failed small business my wife had a little boys clothing company that during
the the worst time for the economy it didn’t take off and she became disabled
with degenerative disc disease so I got behind on property taxes I always
continue to maintain my wells fargo mortgage payment and i have not missed
one payment so I’m I’m current on that but the property taxes have added as of
this month 975 dollars to to my monthly payment so my issue is with the the
modification process back in august i contacted wells fargo because of the
property tax issue and i was told by them that if you if you want to keep
your home there may be a program that can help you the HAMP program and that
typically this takes 30 to 45 days and that I would be assigned a single point
of contact well that was really exciting news to me
but now nine months later it still is not resolved I’ve had to speak to 25
Wells Fargo representatives and most of the time I get a different opinion from
each one I’ve had over seventy-five calls I’ve documented my call log with
the employee and their employee number actually due to disconnections and
voicemails being full there’s there’s well over a hundred calls that I made
I’ve placed 27 faxes some as many as 29 pages this is my modification binder as
you can see it’s busting at the seams with information that I have provided
Wells Fargo so typically when I call I get a different opinion from each of the
representative representatives in the loan modification office usually they
tell me I need to talk to my single point of contact and when I tell them
that I’ve left messages or I’m unable to leave messages because his voicemail is
full which is very common something something is wrong the system is not
working I don’t quite understand it but it seems like it’s set up to discourage
individuals and perhaps the banks are interested in foreclosure I was told by
one of the representatives from wells fargo that i spoke to that fewer than
thirty percent reached the underwriter stage and i was told that because he
told me I was going my paperwork my case was being moved to
the underwriter well that made me excited however the next time I called
and said well that’s that’s not happening we need more documentation so
anyway one rep said that less than thirty percent of those that apply even
make it to be considered by the underwriter and I’m pretty good as an
educator at filling out forms and so the document I have lots of good
documentation typically i’m told that I send in I fax in information that they
request such as bank statements and they want the official ones so I may send
those in in in March which i did in March and then in April I call and they
said well we’re not moving we’re not able to move you to the underwriter
because your documents aren’t current your March bank statements are over 30
days old so I send in my April bank statements or I send in my April pay
warrants or whatever it is but it’s it’s I’m it the system is set up so you
cannot stay current because the paperwork that is faxed in must end up
sitting on someone’s desk on and then it’s outdated by the time it is to be
reviewed and sent to the underwriter so it’s kind of the catch-22 so the the
process is as flawed as far as I’m concerned and I go through my notes I don’t know whether
it’s just that I’ve been on lucky or that my single point of contact is
incompetent or that they’re lacking in staff I’m I’m sure i’m probably not
alone in this process because when i contacted attorney general Harris’s
office they told me that they receive they’ve received many many calls that
illustrate the same issue so I’m not sure what Wells Fargo’s motive is I’m
not sure what is happening with the 18 billion that’s supposed to be available
to hell strife you have about a little bit less than two minutes if you could
okay i’m almost done so anyway it’s for me I don’t know whether I’m going to
qualify or not I’m an educator not a loan officer the interest rates seem to
be at historic lows my solution which I requested just if I could get just a
slightly lower interest rate then I would be able to stay current on my
mortgage payments and everything would be fine so nine months later I’m still
waiting thank you for this opportunity Thank You mr. Hoffman to all of you who
have come today to the capital to share your personal experiences in a very
public manner we appreciate your ability to do that and to help us as legislators
to understand those of you in the community that are directly impacted
thank you very much if you’ll stay we may have some questions later on our
third panelists i believe it’s as it Celeste sing a homeowner if you could
identify yourself any further if you wish welcome to the committee and you
have about five to ten minutes to talk you could speak a little bit closer to
the microphone we think you need to hear every word thank all of you
I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity to speak here today i have a
typed outline because i have a brain injury and it’s easier for me to go by
reading i am the mother of four sons my youngest is 15 and now hitting six foot
two and eating me out of house and home I have three sons serving our country US
Army Coast Guard’s and Marines my son in the Marines just left for Afghanistan a
week before my house got sold auctioned and indymac mortgages services purchased
back after auction in it thank you for inviting me to testify today in support
of the California homeowners Bill of Rights which thousands of homeowners
like me across our state desperately need I have lived in my home in
forestville sonoma county for nearly 15 years raised on farms as a little girl
there in that home I have raised amazing sons three of whom are currently serving
the United States military in 2006 I was a victim of predatory lending and
received an adjustable mortgage rate at first at first my mortgage payments were
800 a month but after one year they jumped to 2400 a month which is more
than I could was able to afford I was able to receive a three-year
modification for my lender and demag after which my payments would go back to
2400 a month in 2009 I was in a serious vehicular accident that left me with a
severe brain injury and unable to work later that year while I was undergoing
intensive recovery I applied for and received another modification that kept
my payments afford I was so happy to be able to stay in my
home especially as I recovered from the accident I also join Santa Rosa Junior
College as a side note here and entered into the brain injury program I’m
graduating in two weeks with my associates and humanities in the fine
arts thanks to the disability department that we have indymac began cashing my
mortgage checks but one month later I was told my modification application was
denied because they claimed not to have received my paperwork despite the fact
that I had been working with HUD counselor and had made constant attempts
to contact the bank and had submitted a doctor’s letter documenting my brain
disability only one week later indymac changed its denial reason and told me
that my denial was based on unknown specific criteria I still have no idea
what that means I was told to reapply by indymac in September 2009 which I did I
was in the process of completing the modification at their direction when I
received a notice of trustee’s sale posted to my door I was not denied for
the modification until after the trustee sale was scheduled to prevent the sale
of my home and despite the intervention of senator Feinstein’s office I had no
choice but to declare bankruptcy nevertheless I continue to make the
modification payments and indymac continued to cash the checks during the time I was not able to find a
single point of contact at either indymac or a lone investor Deutsche Bank who could give me guidance on how to
proceed with my loan payments since that time I have managed to continue making
the payments stated in my modification agreement I reapplied for a modification
after the bankruptcy process but was denied after a flawed appraisal value of
my home for well above the market value unfortunately my home was sold back to
the bank on march twenty third of this year despite my ability to make the
monthly payments and my teenage son now and I now live in daily fear of being
evicted my son serving overseas in the military are devastated by this and tell
me stand strong mom stand strong don’t leave our home they took an oath to
serve for justice and equality an oath it too many for many different from many
different ethnic backgrounds have died for in this country what I want to know
is where is the justice and equality in the predatory lending that shoved
hardworking Americans from their homes our homeless shelters are full our pets
have been displaced and food lines are long not to mention the emotional effect
this crisis has had on our children a year after the no-fault accident left me
disabled my mortgage company tried to auction my home after approving
approving me for the modification my son’s told me never to give up I’m
standing here actually sitting here today
to tell you that a week after my son left for Afghanistan Mart in March when
West Bank formerly known as indymac before going bankrupt auctioned our home
every day I’m afraid when I come home that I will find notices posted to my
door again it feels like a death sentence thousands of Americans know
what I’m talking about here today is this crisis has hit every neighborhood
and it’s still happening as I share with you today my home is where my heart is
and my community is where my children and I have laid down our grass roots and
have active participants and have been active participants in our community
projects and events for years myself and my son forest who’s in the Coast Guard
started a giving tree project when he was just 7 together for our children in
our own community our home has seen memories of joy laughter tears when my
son’s go to war our home is our sanctuary and my son’s have always known
I will be there for them even in times of war speaking of war I knowingly
accepted this loan in 2004 that would allow me to save an extra two hundred
dollars a month to pay bills and feed my children while my son was leaving to
Iraq after nine eleven but what I didn’t know was that I accepted a bad load from
a predatory lender whose office had just happened to burn down this thing we have
about to a little bit less than two minutes left thank you I tried to get
out of this bad loan but failed I went to workshops to seek help only to hear
of another woman’s story whose house was taken and stripped of its goods while
Wells Fargo entered and took everything out of it while she was under the knife
having breast cancer removed I myself suffered the time has come for leaders our
leaders to put the brakes on these unjustified foreclosures thank you very
much for listening this thing I think I speak for the committee to tell you how
deeply sorry we are for your circumstances and how appreciative we
are that you would take the time to come and share your deepest concerns with us
and we can’t help but be moved thank you very very much for that very very moving
testimony

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