After writing to my friend Blue Gal, and getting my situation on paper, so to speak, I've decided to put it on my blog. This is the one of the hardest things I've ever done as a blogger. The last thing I want to do is have a pity-party for myself. I am really blessed in spite of what's happening now; I have my family, my health, my friends and my faith, and I know that I am luckier than most people in the world. Nevertheless, these criminals have to be brought into the light, and maybe the more people who speak out about how these banking institutions who have brought us to this place are using the bailout money that we taxpayers have given them, the more pressure will be put on Congress to change things.
Here's my letter:
Hi Blue Gal -
You may not have heard much from me lately; I haven't been blogging, or writing, or doing anything politically. This is because I have been spending every ounce of physical, mental and emotional energy I possess trying to keep our family afloat and save our house. We were the victims of a predatory loan from one of the most egregiously criminal offenders, IndyMac Bank. I have not wanted to go public with our situation; partly out of pride, partly out of the hope that we would be able to get the bank to work with us. But it looks like this is not going to happen, and I am out of options. We filed for emergency bankruptcy yesterday, to get 15 days' respite to make one more last-ditch effort, but the way that the bank bailout was set up, IndyMac has no incentive to work with us - they get money from the government immediately when they foreclose. They stand to gain nothing, short-term (which is all the balance sheets deal with), by keeping us in our house. So my only hope at this point is to try to make as big a stink as possible in the hopes that negative publicity would give them a reason to do the right thing. And if they want to take our house, by God they are going to have to break a sweat. We are not just going to roll over.
Here's the letter I wrote to explain our situation:
My husband and I are, at least for the next few days, California homeowners. Despite our best efforts, IndyMac Bank is preparing to sell the house that my husband purchased in 1983 on Monday, March 15.
This chain of events began when we refinanced our house in 2006. We are musicians by profession, and the unpredictability of our income has made it difficult to preserve a pristine credit score - although we are not always able to pay our bills exactly on time, we do pay them; nevertheless this negatively affects our credit score. Because of this, the loan we ended up with was a terrible one. We were told that if we made the payments on time on this overpriced loan for a year, at the end of that year we would be eligible for a more reasonable loan. This looked like a way to be able to improve our credit score and get the loan we wanted, so we agreed to it; even though a payment of $3500 a month (for our 2+1 house) was unsustainable and unaffordable, we figured it would be worth it if after a year we would get something we could afford.
Of course, the year goes by, we make every payment on time, and we are declined for another loan. Now we are struggling with a payment that we cannot possibly afford, and it makes all of our other bills more and more difficult to pay. Since 2006 we have been spiraling downward financially. When the Administration began its bank bailouts and loan modification programs, we hoped we would be eligible for this. About six months ago, our mortgage broker sent 65 pages of documents to IndyMac to begin negotiations, and never heard back from them. Then a couple of weeks ago we got a notice on the door that our house would be up for sale on Monday, March 15. They had simply ignored our broker and begun foreclosure proceedings.
Our broker sent them a RESPA request, and in speaking with IndyMac, they suggested 'a loan modification' to her. But they do not seem ready to work with us in good faith, and rather than trust to their honesty in negotiation, we have filed emergency bankruptcy proceedings to give us a couple of weeks to try to keep the house from being sold out from under us while they pretend to be negotiating. It does not seem to be in their interest to help us stay in the house; from my understanding they get money from the government when they do a foreclosure, and there is nothing to motivate them to work with us.
We are at the end of our rope. My husband is 62, I am 50 and our 3 kids at home are 11, 13, and 18. The idea of being out on the street at this point in our lives - and our kids lives - and losing the house that my husband has owned since 1983 is just shattering. We are not spendthrifts - we don't have credit-card debt; we don't have car payments; our debt (other than the house) is mainly stemming from our youngest child's eye surgery in 2008.
I don't know if there is anything that can be done or any place to turn, but if there is, we would greatly appreciate any assistance or advice.
Sincerely, Alicia Morgan
Anyway, I wish that I were not in this situation, and could be doing what I want to do - working to elect progressive candidates and writing about progressive values - but this, of course, is the result of these things that progressives have been fighting against, and that predatory capitalism and the unfettered implementation of Republican ideals - 'free' markets, deregulation, limited government oversight, 'what's good for Big Business is good for America' - have brought us to. But what's good for Big Business, while being very good indeed for Big Business, has proven disastrous for the rest of America.
(Update - how long has it been since I blogged? Long enough that the first iteration of this post did not contain the link to Blue Gal's blog! Love ya, Gal! Fixt.)