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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    North Carolina Focus: Wells Fargo Preys on Mom of Scalded Baby in ICU

    This is a reminder of why Wells Fargo (like Bank of America) is not a bank worth patronizing. This is one of those things that convinces me to boycott a bank forever. Happily, I just refinanced my own mortgage from Wells Fargo to TD Bank on better terms. Now I can be proud to have taken my business as far from Wells Fargo as possible.

    This story was posted on Daily Kos. Seems Wells Fargo is STILL actively participating in predatory lending practices and in this case doing so against a family in the midst of a tragedy. It is an example of the WORST corporate America stoops to. I will extensively quote from the Daily Kos article:

    One year old Ethan Coombs, of my hometown of Sanford, North Carolina, pulled on a tea bag and accidentally scalded himself with a pot of near-boiling water. Ethan spent days in the ICU at UNC, Chapel Hill. To his family it was a harrowing and costly medical emergency.

    To Wells Fargo, it was a business opportunity.

    Wells Fargo sent a letter to the Coombs offering to cut their mortgage payments by more than two thirds in their time of need. Injured Ethan in center of photo. photo by Stephanie Bruce, Fayetteville Oberver

    Linda Coombs was desperate to find a way to pay her bills with her baby in the ICU. She prayed to God for help. She thought God had answered her prayers when she read the letter from Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo wrote that she was pre-qualified for the federal government loan modification program recently passed into law.

    "It sounded like an answer to our prayers when we were at a lowest point in our life," Linda Coombs said.
    The Coombses, who have four children, were a month behind in their mortgage payment, so they jumped at the offer to cut their monthly bill from about $766 to $233.

    Under the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program, eligible borrowers receive trial mortgage modifications in which payments are reduced to 31 percent of their income, according to the Congressional Oversight Panel. After three months of successful payments, participants are told, the modification is converted to "permanent" status for five or more years.

    As instructed by Wells Fargo, Linda Coombs said, she began paying $233 a month in September. That continued for three months, she said, until Wells Fargo sent a notice saying the family owed more than $3,000 in back payments.

    Wells Fargo never apparently never intended to approve the Coombs. They saw an opportunity to collect thousands of dollars of fees. Wells Fargo now says that her husband, a carpenter, doesn't make enough money to be approved. However, they must have known about his income when he applied for the modification. Wells Fargo is threatening foreclosure, requesting payement of the full amount of the mortgage plus thousands of dollars of legal and late payment fees...

    Linda Coombs isn't bitter. She thanks God that her baby is doing well, making a full recovery, but she's fighting to her family from homelessness. She has contacted an attorney who is interested in starting a class action suit in North Carolina.

    The federal government needs to investigate indict and try the executives behind these corporate crimes against average Americans. The mortgage loan modification program has been turned into a marketing opportunity for fraud. Wells Fargo will continue to prey on families of injured babies until their crimes stop paying.

    I have focused a lot on how horrible Bank of America is...and they are. One of the worst. But this it seems Wells Fargo isn't much better. Simply put it is time we stop giving terrible companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc. our money. THEY DO NOT DESERVE IT. Local credit unions, local banks, TD Bank, USAA...these are genuine alternatives that have mostly avoided predatory lending of the kind that Bank of America and Wells Fargo have become so infamous for. And the irony is, the banks that screwed us over with predatory lending are the ones who got taxpayer funded bailouts. Mostly the banks that didn't screw us over with predatory lending didn't get bailout money.

    Time to boycott particularly Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Let them know you don't want to do businesses with scum.


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