Did you know you could make your mortgage payments early and still be foreclosed on? That’s exactly what happened to a Florida man who says he not only made his loan payments ahead of time, but even paid more than was required each month, and is still being foreclosed on by Wells Fargo.
According to Orlando station WFTV, Etienne Syldor was offered a loan modification by Wells Fargo last year. The bank told Syldor that as long as he made the payments during a four-month trial period, the modification would become permanent.
Still, despite court records that prove Syldor made his payments early, and even paid more than the amount he needed to, Wells Fargo stopped taking his payments and began the foreclosure process on his home.
The ridiculous reason Wells Fargo gave: because Syldor made his payments early, he didn’t follow the modification guidelines.
Wells Fargo representative Veronica Clemons said in a statement: “For some loans, completing trial payments is a significant step toward a permanent modification; however, in this instance, the loan was part of a mortgage-backed security and in a protected pool, with specific payment guidelines. We are working with Mr. Syldor to explain the guidelines and explore options that may help.”
Bank personnel should be bending over backward to help borrowers who go above and beyond to meet their mortgage payments each month. Instead, they’re “rewarding” him by trying to take his house away.
“When he came in and showed me all of the documents, it was just unbelievable,” LaMya Henry, Syldor’s attorney, told WFTV. “Who gets foreclosed on when they’ve made all payments on time?”
As Think Progress observed, this instance sadly fits into a broader pattern of past “shenanigans” by the big banks, some of which they were supposed to have ended as part of a multibillion dollar foreclosure settlement with the government last year.
Banks have been accused of similar shenanigans in the past, as many have lost track of paperwork, illegally foreclosed on military members, and refused to work with borrowers who scrounge up money on modifications. Major banks have been widely reported to use a process known as “dual tracking” in which they work with a borrower on a modification while also pursuing foreclosure. Some instructed borrowers to stop making payments to help enter the modification process only to foreclose on them anyway.
But banks were ordered to end dual tracking and other abusive practices as part of the $25 billion fraud settlement. They dragged their feet on ending this practice as homeowners continued to face foreclosure. Banks were also ordered to modify mortgages as part of the settlement but some have been slow to dole out the relief.
Frustration about the weak agreement, coupled with the slow trickle of settlement money, sparked a protest at the Department of Justice on Monday, where activists and foreclosed homeowners marched and some were arrested.