It was an exhausting 6 months. I finally heard the news that I wanted to hear. My house was closing escrow. I would be the legal owner after all of the shenanigans from the previous homeowners and the neighbor. I couldn't wait to paint the house another color besides cotton candy pink. My daughter hated the foam green carpets and so did I. We could finally replace them. I love the three fireplaces and beamed ceilings. The bright white walls upstairs gave the loft a feeling of cleanliness and serenity.
My children attended secondary school in this house. They returned from college to this house. My daughter returned to this house to give birth to my grandson. I returned from many cross country consulting jobs to this house. I loved to travel abroad, but always relieved to return to this house.
Things changed when Countrywide sold the mortgage. My daughter had developed a chronic illness and I was traveling across country to train teachers under No Child Left Behind. I talked to Bank of America regularly and they informed me about their policies and admitted to errors made on my account. We finally straightened things out when Seterus bought the mortgage in November 2010.
It was a nightmare from the start. Bank of America stopped accepting my automatic payments and Seterus didn't have a loan number for my account. No one seemed certain who owned my loan and I was scared to death. It took 2 months for the transfer to come through and I paid the back mortgage to catch up. I found it odd that I couldn't set up automatic payments because I used a Mac Book Pro instead of a PC. Why should that matter?
I noticed that my mortgage payment kept changing which frightened me. When I called Seterus, they transferred me around the bank and insisted that my insurance payments and taxes had changed. When I looked at my policies and tax statements, I didn't see the changes. My daughter was ill and I needed to work. I traveled a lot and didn't want to miss a payment and return home and find that I was in default. I kept paying.
I talked to the insurance company Travelers in 2011 because I received a notice indicating that my deductible had been changed. We discovered that I had 2 policies for the same property. One policy which I had initiated and one policy from my mortgage company. I cancelled one of the policies and called my insurance policy.
Seterus assured me that they were not collecting for 2 polices. They seemed indignant. I kept paying. I needed to focus on earning money. I felt that it was something that I could straighten out later. During the Christmas season of 2011, I went through all of my records and found the two policies. I called Seterus and Travelers and insisted on canceling. I wrote them both and set my deductible at the previous rate.
Seturus ignored my letter as well as my calls. They insisted on sending Travelers the money for the 2 policies. After 3 letters throughout the year informing them of the error, I insisted on paying my own insurance and taxes.
In December of 2012, I paid my insurance policy and my taxes and wrote Seterus and informed them of such. In January 2013 Seterus paid the policies 3 times out of an escrow account. The money was returned to them because the policy was paid. The property taxes was returned to them. Seterus acknowledged on the phone that the money had been returned by they did not credit my account.
I had never death with such unprofessional people. They would hang up the phone in my face and refuse to answer questions. They threatened to take my house if I didn't pay their demands. I continued paying my principal and interest payments monthly and enlisted the support of my Congressman.
The legislative assistant at the Congressman's office called and they were just as vague with her. She kept asking if I had missed payments and didn't remember. I pulled up my bank statement and show her that each month that I had faithfully made my payments. After two months of working with her and calling them to be kept on the phone all day. She closed my case and referred me to the Consumer Protection Bureau. She felt that I needed to pay them or face losing my house even though I did not owe them the money in question.
I continued to write asking for accurate statements. They kept sending me priority and certified mail indicating that they would add the money that I had already paid for property taxes and insurance to my mortgage and refinance at a higher interest rate.
I finally got an administrator from the insurance company to review the case. They cancelled the extra policy from 2 years before and sent me a refund check. I sent Seturus the refund check and a letter explaining where the money was from. I filed with the Consumer Protection Agency.
The Consumer Protection Agency accepted Seterus statement that they had paid the insurance policy twice and that it was my responsibility to get the refund and they were not going to collect on insurance any longer since the policy was paid. They indicated that they offered to refinance my loan. Consumer Protection Agency closed the account and I appealed.
After the Consumer Protection Agency closed the account. Seterus sent me another letter stating that they didn't have proof on insurance and was going to charge me $1500 for another policy. They were charging me $10 a month for each statement of my payments that they produced and $15 dollars a month for driving by my house to see if I still lived in it.
I continued to make my monthly payment of principal and interest, paid my mortgage insurance for the year as well as my properly taxes. After Consumer Protection closed the account again in February 2014, Seterus sent me a bill demanding $2300 for the current property taxes and insurance which they stated had been paid by them on my behalf. I sent them $830 since I had a receipt which indicated that the property taxes had been paid out of my account as well as the insurance. Once they received my letter, they sent me a bill March 2014 demanding $4000 in back fees or they would foreclose April 15,2015. I sent them 2 payments of $1,089 for a total of $2178 and demanded to know what the $830 was used for as well as the additional monies.
I contacted the HAMP program and Seterus has refused to talk with us. I have received a case number and pursuing an accurate accounting of all charges and a refinance with a lower interest rate. At this point Seterus needs to give an accurate accounting and show that they paid no funds in 2013 for 2014 taxes and insurance and the payment made for taxes and insurance in 2012 for 2013 is a lie as well.
If this wasn't happening to me, I don't know that I would believe it. I feel like a domestic violence victim. Seterus is Seterus IBM. I understand from reviewing the literature that they have the highest fees and the highest foreclosure rate in the country. When the Treasury Department called Seterus IBM initially they stated they couldn't record the call, only Seterus. On a followup call, they indicated that only one person was allowed to discuss my case and that person was not available. They refused to answer questions as to why I was not considered for a HAMP modification due to poor credit when credit was not a factor.
I am not sure where this case will end or even how it will end but I need clarification as to the "interest' charges which Seterus IBM is alleging that I owe. I need to make sure that other homeowners don't have to endure this nightmare.
Darleana McHenry Ed.D.
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