5 On Your Side

Woman faced foreclosure even after on-time payments

Posted November 13, 2013 7:14 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2013 4:13 p.m. EST

— Like a lot of people, Mary Wolkomir wanted to save some money, so she started the process to lower her mortgage payment.

Bank of America approved her for a trial loan modification, which reduced the payment on her Raleigh home by nearly $200.

After being approved for a permanent modification in April, she got a foreclosure notice in July. Bank of America said she hadn't been paying her entire mortgage.

After spending months trying to get things straightened out on her own, Wolkomir contacted 5 On Your Side, which got in touch with the bank.

The next day, the company sent an email apologizing for the delay in converting the loan. The loan modification was finalized, and Bank of America requested a credit correction to show she was current on all payments.

Bank of America has faced its share of mortgage-related complaints.

It is named in 23,000 complaints filed with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since the agency started taking them nearly two years ago.

Wolkomir is happy her delay is resolved.

Still, many people struggle to make mortgage payments whether from a job loss or illness.

There are two key things to know in that situation.

First, as soon as it's clear you are having trouble making your payments, contact your lender. Don't wait until it is too late.

At the same time, watch out for so-called foreclosure assistance or rescue companies that require payment up front before they "help" you. It's illegal to charge an upfront fee for foreclosure assistance services in North Carolina.

Help is also available through the state. Two resources worth looking into are the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund, where qualified homeowners can get significant interest-free loans to help them pay their mortgage.

The State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project offers free counseling, access to legal services for some and help with your mortgage servicer.