Not resolved

Our journey with Bank of America started way back in '09. Lets start with our home, we purchased it and moved in Nov 26, 2008. It was Dec 16, 2008 I fell ill and on Dec 22, 2008 I had emergency spine surgery to save my life from a staph infection. This had left me with incomplete quadriplegia. It was a total of 13 weeks inpatient with an addt'l spinal surgery that April.

At that time we had all 5 of our children at home. My oldest son is mentally disabled & needs 24 hr care, we had to find a home for him because of what had happened. Thankfully the state was able to expedite his funding and get him placed in a CILA residential home. He ended up 2 hrs away though.

We then had our other 4 kids at home. Our oldest daughter Ashley, twins-April & Luke and Aimee our youngest. Luke as well has Asperger's Syndrome & Severe Anxiety Disorder. So before this happened we already had our plate full. My husband Ken, had to take leave from his job as a driver for John Deere, as well as from his Navy Reserve duty. At the time no one knew what the outcome was going to be so we took it day by day. My husband had to run the household & drive 30 miles each way to be trained in my therapy & needs so he would be able to care for me at home. It was May when my husband found out his job was no longer available so he had to apply for unemployment.

We called BOA and asked about Making Homes Affordable, we were told we could apply but we needed to make our 6th pay't to be eligible. So we went ahead and did all the application process & we were told they had everything they needed and we would hear back after the review in 40 days. We made our final full payt out of our savings that June. We kept in close contact with BOA during this process & every time we called they would ask for all our financial's again even though our file was to be under review at the time. We asked about partial payt's and the woman at the other end says Oh Yes send whatever you can so they can see you are trying. The review went 40 days, then they said 90 days, they said they had been infiltrated with modifications so things were taking longer. We had sent our 3rd partial payt and soon after that it was returned to us saying they would not accept any partial payts.

We were at 5 months and BOA tells us that they cannot help us with the loan because its a VA loan. It took them 5 months to figure out we had a VA loan. They immediately filed for foreclosure. I immediately contacted everyone I could for assistance and that led us to a VA Loan Counselor named Silvia Cardenas out of Houston VA. She immediately took over & stopped the foreclosure proceedings and told us she could help. She also advised us (I have documentation on this) that BOA never contacted the VA before filing, they never asked about what could be done. We were told that there was a 12 month payt stipulation that VA would've waived if BOA just would've gone through the process properly with the VA. Silvia told us she was requesting our file from BOA and then she requested many forms to be filled out and signed. She also told us that BOA was limited on VA loans at that time because they were not able to offer HAMP. After a couple months Silvia came to us and told us VA could offer a 1 to 2% rate, longer term, a balloon payt to bring down our loan to 100K-at this time we were at a $158,000 loan, started at a 145K. She did tell us it would take some time so we continued to wait.

Then in Jan '10 she contacted us stating that BOA had contacted her & said that they were now able to do HAMP for VA loans and they wanted to try to modify our loan for us. So our file returned to BOA. We were not happy, we knew BOA was going to continue to drag this out. So then we received a call from a new person, Scott, at BOA saying he was in charge of trying to get our loan taken care of. We told him about what the VA was going to do to help keep us in our home. We did all the repetitive paperwork, waited some then got the phone call. It was May '10 when this guy from BOA said that he came us with a new pay't of 969 instead of 1292. That was a savings but would not make it possible for us to remain in our home. He said that they were giving us a 2% rate but with all the late pay'ts and interest & costs it drove up our loan amt. They were ONLY offering a lower rate. We asked about all the options VA had mentioned, this guy laughs & says well were not going to do that, he also said that VA couldn't do any better than his offer. We told him we can't go with a pay't that we knew wasn't what we could afford & ultimately we would end up losing our home. We told him we had to go with VA since they were willing to do so much more to help us, he angerily said fine, you are denying my offer, then we will have to foreclose on you.

We then contacted Silvia again, told her what they had done and how they lacked in offering anything like VA could. So we were then in June '10 on another waiting game. It got to August and we received news of another foreclosure so we called Silvia right away. She had said that when she contacted BOA they had told her they had come up with a modification offer. So she thought we had it all taken care of. She immediately contacted the lawyers office , again, and stopped the proceedings stating the VA was taking over the loan. She emailed us on several occasions and had stated that BOA was not cooperating with her, she was waiting for them to get an appraisal done so she could proceed.

Now we are going into 2011. It was Feb '11 when we got a call from someone completely new from the VA stating he was taking over for Silvia Cardenas. His name is Jeff Brown. He asks for all the new paperwork, we fax it immediately. Then he comes back in March and says that since Kens unemployment was coming to an end, they could not offer any kind of modification to us. They said we owed too much now over 34,000 and it made it impossible for anyone to assist. We then a couple weeks later received a letter stating that the VA suggested us to sell our home.

For some time now we have been working with the Teamsters out of Chicago since the summer of 2010. Elizabeth Belcaster had set out on a mission to get a crew together to come out and help fix/finish our necessary wheelchair modifications on our home. Well in March I had to contact her & tell her I was sorry babout all the hard work she had put into setting everything up but we were being told we were losing our home. She was very upset and said that we have to do something, we can't just lose your home. She took it upon herself to contact Senator Durbins office. Maria McElwain called us and said she was there to help. She contacted BOA and then the whole process started all over again. New paperwork & new people.

Carol Fairchild from the Presidents office of BOA was in charge of walking us through this process. We were given a specific rep to work with, Tom Brockington. We also had received a notice saying Kens unemployment had been extended. So now we have the income they thought we didn't and we had Senators office helping & the BOA Presidents office helping. We thought we were FINALLY getting somewhere. Well Tom calls us and tells us we need to have income, because as of 3 months ago BOA changed their guidelines and no longer accept unemployment as income. So here we go again. So much time wasted & still no resolution. Senators Durbins office, Maria McElwain says she is not a mortgage counselor and was only getting us in touch with the right people at BOA, that she could not offer any other assistance. Now we are back with waiting to hear from the VA, to see if there is anything they can do, now over 2 yrs since we first applied for Making Homes Affordable program.

Now my husband had to step down in the Navy after 11 yrs of service. Because he was my sole caregiver he could no longer drill on the weekends and had to sacrifice his retirement & go into IRR status. His job was no longer available because of not being able to be gone from 3:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. or overnight for driving. The ultimate solution would be for my spouse to be paid for being my 24hr nurse/caregiver but NO our state would only pay him if we were divorced. They also state that if he can do it & IS doing it then he doesn't need to be paid. We are also waiting for my husbands VA disability claim to come through for PTSD. He was diagnosed back in '06 when he returned from Iraq. Its been almost 12 months since he applied. I cannot receive SS because I was a stay at home mom and they wont go back past 10 years for me to draw, even though I started working at 16. I was not eligible for SSI because my husband was drawing unemployment.

We have had to do all our own home modifications just to get by-to make it doable. I still use a non-flushing commode as I have for 2 years. We had to tear down walls and headers just to make it possible for me to move around the house without injury in my electric wheelchair. Back when Silvia told us she was waiting for an appraisal we knew we were in trouble because of the economy and our home would be worth less automatically. More so because it was all tore up, so we had to take $ we had set aside and start fixing things up FAST before the appraisal. We also updated doors/light fixtures/water heater/furnace/remodeled a bathroom that was dated from the 70's. Our home was built in 1956 and it showed so we knew we had to do something or our appraisal would hurt us. Then in the long run they never did get the appraisal done-go figure.

We would like to know why this was allowed to take place? Why when we were completely eligible for a program to help us keep our home, that we are still under the threat of losing it. How do companies get away with this?? The delays were not ours, we did not ask for this. Where do they think a family, with a physically disabled mother, kids & a veteran go to when they take their home away, a shelter? Is the shelter going to be completely wheelchair accessible? Why can a family have such hardships thrown upon them & not be able to get any help?? Where do we go from here? Any suggestions???????? Please tell us???

Steichen Family

Rochelle, IL.

Product or Service Mentioned: Bank Of America Loan Modification.

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