A Texas man recently learned the Bank of America tried to foreclose on his home, a home that no longer exists. The home was destroyed in 2008 when Hurricane Ike swept through his area with 110 mph winds leaving behind dozens of destroyed homes.
Brad Gana, who's house was located in Seabrook, Tex., was working overseas when Hurricane Ike arrived and flattened his home and dozens of others in his town. Despite the destruction caused by the storm, Gana kept up on his monthly mortgage payments.
Dana had set his property to sell and two days before the sale he learned his "empty slab" was foreclosed on reports Houston's KPRC-TV Channel 2.
"I was shocked when they said they were foreclosing on it," Gana told KPRC's investigator Amy Davis.
Upon receiving notice, Gana tried to contact the Bank of America to find out what was happening and why his home, which was lost in the hurricane over three years ago, was being foreclosed on. He said he hadn't missed any payments, not even one.
"It wasn't until about 20 calls that someone said, 'We had a homeowner's policy on your home that you reside in, and your monthly payments have gone up,'" Gana explained to KPRC. "But they never notified me that my monthly payments had gone up."
Gana hired an attorney, who was successful in stopping the foreclosure proceedings, however even after the process was halted, BofA removed his personal possessions from his property, which included collectibles and tools.
Bank of America claims to have sent many notices to Gana to inform him of the new mortgage amount and the added insurance policy, but the notices were returned to sender. Gana says this is because he has no mailbox, as his mailbox was lost in the storm too; he said he had informed the bank that he was currently living overseas and gave BofA an email address and two phone numbers where he could be contacted.
According to BofA, a representative admitted to Channel 2 in an email that the bank "incorrectly placed insurance" on a home which no longer existed. Now Gana's account is up for audit to ensure the bank fixes any discrepancies. BofA said,
"There were a number of factors that contributed to the issues that resulted in the actions that we took on Mr. Gana’s mortgage and property. We continue to research the incidents. We have contacted Mr. Gana and we will work with him directly to address his concerns."
The Dow Jones reported (courtesy of Fox News) yesterday that U.S. bank regulators and the mortgage industry launched a complaint process which will reach out to over 4 million homeowners to "find and compensate any who were harmed in banks' foreclosure operations".
According to the Dow report, "The affected mortgage servicers include the nation's largest banks, such as Bank of America Corp.,Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc."
Reportedly the review could affect 4.5 million foreclosure cases and will involve independent evaluators. Many worry that reviewers may be influenced by big banks, but regulators promise it will be an unbiased review.
"This will be an impartial review, it will be an independent review," said Joe Evers, deputy comptroller for large banks at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
This review process is one of many designed to address the practice of "robo-signers" which came to light over the past year. Robo-signing is a term used to describe when bank employees falsely claim to review individual foreclosure cases.
Consumers wanting a review on their foreclosure cases must submit their information by April 30.
In Mr. Gana's case the bank is admitting they incorrectly took out an insurance policy on his home, and seemingly did not take into consideration their customer was making timely payments before they initiated foreclosure proceedings, knowing he did not receive the notices of the increased payment and didn't try to contact him through alternate methods provided by Gana.
"Bank of America is ruthless in their incompetency," Gana told Channel 2 News.