Friday, March 12, 2010

The Bank Is Stealing My House THIS Monday

(Update - to all of you who have taken the time to stop by with your support and advice - thank you! I really appreciate it.)

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:

Dear -------

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.)


bernthis said...

have you thought about calling the newspapers, any of the news tv stations? I know it sounds nuts but it seems the only thing that gets these asshole's attention is negative publicity on a grand scale.

This is horrible. I nearly got sucked into a CountryWide loan when I bought my home in 2001 and thankfully went to Wells Fargo where they basically told us that Countrywide was full of shit. My mortgage would easily be about an extra grand a month right now.

I'm so angry for you. Pls. keep us posted and let us know how we can help.

lisahgolden said...

Your story is so familiar to me. We did the high payment loan thing for a year and ended up having to walk away because another refi was impossible.

I hate this for you and I put the blame squarely where you've put it. As I've written about our role as the New Poor, I've done just what you've done. I try to explain the shame and guilt involved, but I'm going to say the same thing to you that a good friend of mine has said to me - this system WANTS you to fail. You are more profitable as a fee paying, high interest paying customer. We are the financial market's wet dream, people like you and me, in the middle, paying sometimes late, but always paying.

We ended up walking away. I hope that you can hang on to your house. One piece of advice - if they tell you that you have to pay $X before they can work with you, get it in writing and ensure that once you've paid $X that they are legally bound to work with you. Our lender told us we had to get our mortgage out of arrears before they could work with us. We borrowed money from family and friends to get up to date and then the lender said there was nothing to talk about because our loan was up to date.

I'm sick for you. Just sick.

Can I share this blogpost?

Alicia Morgan said...

bernthis - thank you! I am so touched that friendly folks are already here. It was not until all our other resources have been exhausted that I have considered going public, but I'm doing it now, by God. I have contacted Dianne Feinstein's offices and they are at least asking us to give them our info. And, yes, I may try the media also - thanks for the suggestion.

Lisa - I know you guys went through this too. It is so infuriating that we are, AS USUAL, ONCE AGAIN, financing our own destruction! Thanks so much for your kind words, and by all means, feel free to share. I'm over the shame and I'm just mad.

Agi said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I heard about this site on the radio and its CEO/founder seemed very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of foreclosure:

Good luck!

Tengrain said...

Alicia -

I am so sorry to read this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

One of the things that I recall from Michael Moore's Capitalism movie is that a family that was being foreclosed upon, got a lawyer who sued the bank immediately, got an injunction, and demanded to see that the bank actually owned the mortgage.

Because the mortgage had been bundled up and sold off in one of those credit default swap thingies, there was no mortgage to show. It was impossible to say who actually owned the house; I guess it is that "possession is 9/10s of the law cliché. The judge let the family stay in the house.

Granted it was a documentary, and granted it was not in California, but... talk to a lawyer. I hate those words, but I think this is what they do best. Most lawyers work on contengency so there is no money paid unless you win.

It's worth a shot.



Batocchio said...

Sorry to hear this. I don't have any advice beyond what's already been mentioned.

Alicia Morgan said...

Thanks Tengrain!! We have done that - that is what a RESPA request is. We've also filed emergency bankruptcy - this may give us some time to bring all this to light.

It means so much to hear from you. The one positive about these hard times is the gratitude we have for the way both beloved friends and beloved strangers have rallied to our side.

Unknown said...

I think you should do what Tengrain recommended: demand to see the loan papers that prove you owe them. We have a friend who was in your situation when this whole mess started and is still living in his house because the bank could not prove they owned the loan. Good luck!

Mauigirl said...

Alicia, so very sorry to hear this. At least you aren't alone - there are so many folks in similar situations. Hang in there, and I hope you will prevail over the bank. What scum.

Billie Greenwood said...

You've got my support. I hope you can prevail. If anyone can, it's you. Thanks for breaking the silence.

The Cunning Runt said...

Alicia, I have nothing to offer you and your family but prayers and hopes that this situation resolves itself acceptably. Please keep us posted.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

Late to comment but not to spread the word. And I get enough real love from you that linky love is just the cherry on top. Love ya and keep the faith and keep talking to the attorney. My love and good wishes go out to you.

Sue J said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this -- it's despicable the way banks are treating people. I think Tengrain is on to something with the mortgage bundling angle. I have heard of the working in the homeowners favor in other cases as well.

Best of luck, and know you've got a whole family of bloggers out here pulling for you!

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

Rootin' for ya!

Victor said...

I wish I could say something that would help you, or comfort you. I wish I had some money lying around that I could send to help you. But, with my minimum wage job, I don't have anything to spare.
All I can say is that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

c u n d gulag

Sam Hopp said...

It sucks.'s just a house.

You noted yourself the important things that you DO have.

You certainly need a roof over your head...but there are times when you should say enough, no more, and let it go.

In this desperate situation, I know you want to believe you will still be in your house with a lower payment...but the evidence points to a different outcome.

Perhaps the next 15 days could be used to find a different address and getting your life moved from one place to another.

Hope it works out.

Break The Terror said...

I'm a new reader, following the link from Jesus' General, but damn, you're in my thoughts.

This is happening to far too many people.


driftglass said...

In cane no one has mentioned it, there is a tactic that can sometimes be used to delay foreclosure known as "Produce the Note".

Here's a quick YouTube explaining the basics.

I wish you well, and will keep your family in my prayers.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Speaking of videos, have you seen this one? It's by a couple of financial guys (who are as loud as Billy Mays, unfortunately) and they explain why the successors to IndyMac want you to fail.

You see, if they force you out of your house and do a short sale, they can make a profit of $100,000 or so. The profit side of the money comes from a sweetheart deal they finagled from FDIC when they took over the carcass of IndyMac. The skeeving bastards behind it are alumni of Goldvamp Squid, of course. It's another example of how financial industry maggots are using the federal government to line their pockets, while regular citizens like you are getting screwed into the ground. Sadly, the Obama administration is not doing anything to help.

Mel said...

Definitely ask them to produce the note.

Perhaps some of these people will have Cali contacts

Distributorcap said...


i just saw tengrain's note and i cannot tell you how bad i feel. this is a prime example of banks gone wild - and IndyBank - werent they part of a buyout/bailout

do you want me to pass this along to KNBC tv and their consumer dept --- or to Suze Orman at MSNBC?

you can contact me at


David Rice said...

Dear Alicia,
I'm sorry to hear of this tragedy. Don't have any original ideas or know how to help. Not much better off here.

Unknown said...

Hi: OK, same story, different day. I started attempting to work with IndyMac in November 2007, to no avail. Keeping it short:
-Fax IndyMac at 269-353-2432; this is the Correspondence Research Department and you should reference your loan number, and ask for the name of your investor. In my case, it was Deutsche Bank. Eventually I got the name of a contact at Duetsche Bank who advised me my loan was bundled within a MBS (Mortgage Backed Securities) portfolio. The polite (I know, you're not used t hearing that from the IM
Debt Collectors) manager gave me an escalation email address of OneWest Bank, who you know by now is the "middle ware" if you will, for a group of billionaire investors. By the way, in the event you do not know, IndyMac as we know it is nothing more than a "front end" payment processing, service center and debt collector. The OneWest email address you want to send your request for forebearance, remod, etc to is:

Good Luck! It is a crazy journey. Don't give up. Harry

Alicia Morgan said...

Thanks, David - hang in there.

Harry - thank you so much - I will share that with our mortgage broker!

Mel, Bukko, driftglass, BTT, Victor, vastleft, SueJ, CR, border, Mauigirl, Racey, Agi - your kind comments give us more wherewithal to fight on. Thank you for taking the time to drop a line. It means more than you know.