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Bank of America faces pressure from faith-based groups over loan modifications

Bank of America faces pressure from faith-based groups over growing number of foreclosures due to poor loan modification record

Leaders of several faith-based community organizations are angry about the bank’s role in the growing number of foreclosures across the country. If their demands are not met, the groups are threatening to encourage people to pull millions of dollars in deposits out of Bank of America.

“We are tired of receiving empty promises from Bank of America,” said Elias Portales, a member of the San Jose chapter of the Pico National Network, the group that organized a meeting with the bank in January. “Our families’ homes are being taken from them even though they qualify for loan modifications,” he told reporters on a conference call.

Pico, which represents more than 1,000 religious congregations with more than one million members from 40 denominations throughout the United States, has met with Bank of America officials on and off since late 2008 to discuss ways to decrease the number of foreclosures.

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The two sides have yet to come to any concrete agreements to alleviate the foreclosure crisis. At present, Pico says, nearly one out of seven mortgages in the United States is in delinquency or in some stage of foreclosure.

Leaders of Pico and other community action groups, along with representatives from the Service Employees International Union, met with nine high-level Bank of America officials, including Michael Drawdy, senior vice president of home retention, and Janet Lamkin, senior vice president of the California market. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Pacific time.

A member of Pico, the Rev. Robert Rien, said his parish had decided to pull its money out of Bank of America for what he said was “their horrific track record for failing to keep families in their homes and for the widespread human suffering that their actions have caused.” About 400 to 500 families, some of whom are facing foreclosure, will be in the next room holding a prayer vigil to support Pico’s efforts.

Some of Pico’s proposals could have a big impact on Bank of America’s bottom line. Among the most controversial of the group’s demands are that Bank of America suspend all auctions and foreclosure proceedings across the country for at least 90 days; that it incorporate principal reductions in the loans, which are allowable under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP, not just interest rate reductions; and that it establish a 45-day maximum time period to respond to loan modification request from bank customers.

Pico leaders say they have singled out Bank of America because the bank has the most loans that are eligible for HAMP but has made the lowest number of modifications by percentage of any other bank. The group contends that Bank of America, as of Nov. 30, had performed just 98 permanent loan modifications out of more than one million eligible homeowners.

Updates on Pico’s progress available at their website.
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Source: http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/a-deal-with-bank-of-america-is-in-their-prayers/

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4 Responses to Bank of America faces pressure from faith-based groups over loan modifications

  1. uberVU - social comments on 02/04/2010 at 12:31

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by LoanModSOS: Bank of America faces pressure from faith-based groups over loan modifications http://bit.ly/922jOy #loanmodification…

  2. John Wright on 17/05/2010 at 22:39

    I made piggybankblog.com for all those that have been abused by Bank of America during the loan modification process. Please feel free to come show your support in comments because I have been told that the CEO of BofA looks at it because I have his email address on my site. I am also a faith based person and it has been great connecting with others in the same situation that are faith based.

    piggybankblog.com

  3. Gregory Lemke on 18/06/2010 at 05:28

    We believe all America should have the right to retain a home and to fight foreclosure without abusive policy from banks like Bank of America. Can you help us get our message out. Checkout our blog at piggybankblog.com

  4. stop bankruptcy on 10/10/2010 at 20:06

    I’m happy that all foreclosures are currently stopped. The process is way too complicated and unpredicatable. With this economy and the hope for homeowners plan, the banks and the homeowners should be able to work something out. However i’m pretty pessimistic based on the actions of these banks to this point.

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