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Entries in Home Loan (2)

Friday
Jul062012

Report: Countrywide Gave Discounted Home Loans to Capitol Hill Insiders

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A House committee report on the now-defunct subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corporation shows the company tried to win and influence friends in Washington by arranging discounted home loans for some members of Congress, as well as congressional aides and government officials.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reviewed more than 60,000 pages of documents and discovered Countrywide’s special VIP unit arranged discounted loans for a half-dozen current or former members of Congress, key aides and certain government officials.

Congressional investigators say there was no specific favor sought or granted in exchange for the discounted home loans, but Countywide did gain influence on Capitol Hill.  The report shows many of the recipients of the special mortgages were linked to several financial reform proposals that, had they passed, would have prevented some of the issues that led to the collapse of the housing market.

Former Countywide chief executive Angelo Mozillo was never sent to prison for violating federal law, but he did agree to pay $67 million in penalties and never again be involved in running a publicly-traded company.

While Countrywide was giving politicians and other Washington insiders VIP treatment, it was providing just the opposite to average Americans.  A government study in 2010 found that Countrywide improperly imposed fees on people who were late on mortgage payments and were in default.

In 2011, Bank of America, which had acquired Countrywide three years earlier, agreed to pay $335 million to settle charges that Countrywide discriminated against blacks and Hispanics seeking to buy homes between 2004 and 2008.  The Justice Department said at the time that Countrywide regularly charged minorities higher fees and interest rates while steering borrowers into risky subprime mortgages, a major factor in the collapse of the housing market.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec162011

Georgia Couple Pleads With Bank of America in Music Video

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A frustrated Georgia couple whose closing date for a Bank of America loan has been delayed three times decided to plead their case through song in a homemade music video that quickly caught the bank’s attention.

The couple, Ken and Meredith Williams, has been waiting 79 days to close a loan for a new house. They have been paying fines to the seller for the delays, including $50 a day for the past week.

“Bank of America you’re making me so mad. I want to buy this house, really bad,” Ken Williams sings in the video while playing the guitar. “My credit score is 798. Don’t worry ’cause my payments will never be late.”

Friday is their fourth scheduled closing date and, as of that morning, they had not yet heard from the bank. But it looks like their musical plea was a success. In a statement to ABC News, Bank of America spokeswoman Christina Beyer Toth said the following:

“We apologize for the delay in closing Mr. Williams’ loan. We are on target to close his loan today.  For the inconvenience, we have provided him a credit at closing.”

One of places where Williams sings in the video is in front of a Bank of America in Lawrenceville, while his wife dances around in the background.

Meredith Williams initially had the idea of putting together a timeline of all of the delays and using Twitter to get someone’s attention using Bank of America’s customer service Twitter account, @BofA_help.

“We’re more than qualified. We’re buying a really cheap house and it shouldn’t be really difficult,” Ken Williams told ABC News. “We just felt really powerless like we had no leverage.”

Ken Williams works in marketing and his wife works in development. Both work at large organizations in downtown Atlanta and wanted to move to a smaller house closer to work.

While Meredith Williams was writing the timeline, Ken Williams began writing the song. Meanwhile, their friends were bombarding the Twitter account with messages about the couple. They set up a blog with the timeline, their story and the video.

“We didn’t want to sound unreasonable,” he said. “A lot of people are mad at Bank of America for different reasons and I didn’t want to be another angry voice with profanity, so we thought we’d take a different angle with it.”

The upbeat video is both funny and direct.

“Why can’t a house go fast when a buyer’s got cash, pre-approval and two cats?” he sings. “It takes time, obviously, a month or even two but now we’re looking at three.”

Ken Williams made the video on Saturday and posted it to YouTube on Sunday afternoon. By 10 a.m. on Monday morning, Bank of America called the couple.

“I can certainly tell that a fire has been lit under the people who have been working on our loans,” Ken Williams said. “They’ve become very responsive all of a sudden.”

He said the matter “escalated really fast” and the couple received phone calls from a representative of the bank’s CEO.

Even though Ken Williams has not heard from the bank yet about today’s scheduled closing, he hopes this will be the big day.

“All I want is to have a home, and a front yard for my garden gnome. Bank you’ve got to close this loan!” Williams sings at the end of the song. “We can sign the papers and grab a beer, then you take my money for 30 years. Bank you’ve got to close this loan!”

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio