KXLH: Tester seeks answers on foreclosure issues

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is asking for answers when it comes to questionable foreclosure practices.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday focused on allegations of banks improperly foreclosing on homes, Tester questioned bank executives about the case of Jim Ahern from Helena. Ahern was never late and never missed a mortgage payment, but he received a letter telling him he was in foreclosure, along with a foreclosure notice that ran in the newspaper.

Ahern was forced to fight the foreclosure for more than year, despite providing proof of a loan modification approved by Bank of America representatives. Ahern also received his foreclosure notice during Bank of America’s self-imposed “pause” in foreclosures.

Tester also brought up the case of a Whitehall resident who was told by a Bank of America representative to not make any mortgage payments while applying for a loan modification, and that doing so would results in a rejected application. Bank of America eventually rejected the application anyway. As a result of the missing payments, the resident was slammed with interest, penalties and badly damaged credit.

“We’ve got a state of 950,000 people and I’ve got staff members that are spending a ton of time on this issue,” Tester told the executives. “I think it’s more than an isolated case. These folks never missed a payment and they’re getting hammered. Can you tell me how a servicer would tell a homeowner not to pay their mortgage?”

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