How Bad Is It?
"NEW PORT RICHEY — Seventy-year-old Sharon Bullington may lose her home because she paid her mortgage a week early.
That may not make much sense to the thousands of homeowners who are behind on their mortgages in Florida. But it seems it does to Bank of America, which has filed to foreclose on Bullington and her husband, James, 78, who is terminally ill.
"It's like death to me," Sharon Bullington said, her voice quivering on the phone Friday. "My husband is bedridden. It's almost more than I can bear."
The couple moved to Florida 15 years ago after James Bullington retired from General Motors in Flint, Mich., and moved into the 1,591-square-foot New Port Richey home, which is now valued at $133,464, though they owe about $177,000.
When James became ill, the couple encountered financial difficulties because of high medical bills. The couple asked Bank of America to modify the loan.
There was a catch. The couple would have to first officially default on their $1,400-a-month payment. The couple did that and entered into the modification plan, which reduced their payment to $916.
Sharon Bullington made the January payment on Dec. 23, and the bank accepted the money, according to court records.
The next month, she made the February payment over the phone. Weeks later, the money had not been withdrawn from her bank account. After Bullington asked the bank about it, a representative told her she had punched in the wrong routing number. In March, the bank kicked the couple out of the modification plan.
Bullington pleaded for help in a June letter to Bank of America president Brian Moynihan and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.One of Moynihan's aides, Ana Olivera, told Bullington the foreclosure could not be stopped."
"Olivera told Bullington she could avoid a foreclosure by selling the home in a short sale or by signing it over to the bank. The letter said the bank values Bullington's business and strives to provide exceptional customer service.
"I understand that you may be disappointed with our final resolution and appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter," Olivera wrote. "While this may not be the response you were hoping for, I trust I have addressed your concerns."