A.G. Chancey has been trying to arrange a mortgage workout since August 2008, when she was only two months behind on payments. Today, after dozens of phone calls to her lender, she's made progress. But she's now five months behind.
She has been in the home for 23 years, but family health problems, divorce and economic factors have conspired against her and she's never been able to substantially pay down the loan.
She had a fixed rate loan, but a couple of year ago she refinanced into an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) with Countrywide, now a part of Bank of America. Her payment, on a loan of $157,000 was originally $1,150, then it reset to $1,340 and in December it jumped again to $1,460.
Meanwhile, the economy and high gas prices have reduced the family's income. Her husband assembles office furniture all around the area and is not reimbursed for his auto expenses. During the summer, when gas prices were so high, he was sometimes spending $30 in gas to get to a job that paid $60. That added to the strain on the household finances.
"I've been trying to apply for a mortgage workout," A.G. said. "The first time, I submitted my application over the phone and faxed all the documents they requested. After hearing nothing for a few weeks, I called back and was told they were behind and I should call back in two weeks. I called back and they told me the same thing, again and again."
She was told her application had been turned over to a team but they had no record of it. No one seemed to ever know her status. Finally, in November, she was told to try a new application to the "National Homeownership Retention Program," a mortgage workout program the bank initiated as part of a legal settlement with state attorneys general.
"They said it would defer what I owed and they would be dropping interest rates to give us a fresh start," said Chancey. She would hear back in early December, but the second week in December came and went and she heard nothing, so she called. She was told that there'd be no modification; she'd only be allowed to make up missed payments. In other words, they'd permit her to pay more for a number of months until the missed payments were reimbursed.
"I've been trying diligently for the past five months to apply for a loan modification to no avail," said Chancey. "It's as if Countrywide is purposely trying to avoid me and has no true intention of helping us."
She may get some good news yet. A spokesman for Countrywide told CNNMoney.com "This loan is in the queue for the National Homeownership Retention Program."
"A home retention specialist will be contacting Ms. Chancey to bring her up to date on the status of her modification request and move forward with the review."NEXT: Raul Medina - Moorestown N.J.