By Cynthia Martinez

AUSTIN, Texas – June 30, 2010 – Fifteen low-income Texans are suing Bank of America for operating a home loan system that forces struggling homeowners into foreclosure by purposefully misleading them, preventing them from modifying their loans, and ignoring agreements for lower monthly payments.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the leading provider of legal aid in Texas, the families allege that they tried to work with Bank of America on loan modifications and foreclosure prevention when tough economic times hit. Instead of providing them with the information necessary to save their homes, Bank of America provided inconsistent information, lost important paperwork, and failed to notify them of the status of their loans.  In cases where forbearance and loan modification agreements were made, Bank of America ignored the arrangements and put homes up for foreclosure even though families made their payments.

“These families were acting responsibly to try to save their homes,” said TRLA attorney Molly Rogers.  “But with every bit of contact, Bank of America put up roadblocks to prevent them from succeeding.”

Among the families named in the lawsuit is Austin resident Donna Batts.  After applying for a loan modification in June 2009, Batts found herself facing foreclosure.  TRLA helped Batts arrange a forbearance agreement to save her home.  But even though she made payments according to that agreement, she received conflicting information as to the status of her loan.  In March Batts’ mortgage payment was rejected and she was told her home was in foreclosure.  Shortly thereafter she received a letter from Bank of America telling her to continue to pay her mortgage or risk losing her home. While Batts still resides in her home, she continues to receive conflicting information as to the status of her loan and the steps necessary to avoid foreclosure.

According to the lawsuit, it is standard practice for Bank of America to ignore agreements made with homeowners in order to force them into foreclosure. In addition, Bank of America intentionally provides homeowners with misleading and inconsistent information about their loans, illegally ignores requests for information, and sets up unreasonable barriers to keep families from saving their homes.

Added Rogers, “No matter what families do, Bank of America is determined to foreclose on these homes. A struggling family doesn’t stand a chance against them.”

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