Her Bank Got Enough Help When It Was in Trouble. She Didn’t

For those who live in the alternate universe that is New York outside of Manhattan, brownstone Brooklyn and assorted upper-income offshoots, Mimi Pierre Johnson’s story is depressingly familiar.

She and her husband bought their four-bedroom home in Elmont, on Long Island, for $413,000 in 2005. Then the recession blew in. Her husband lost his construction job, her real estate work slowed and their boiler wheezed and died. Their once-reasonable mortgage resembled a forbidding mountain.

She dialed her bank, JPMorgan Chase, seeking a lifeline. The bank gave her a temporary modification, but then canceled it. It lost her documents. It did not return her calls. Late fees and lawyer bills piled up. “I’m a Realtor; I know I’m doomed,” Ms. Johnson said. “But I want to say to Chase, ‘Hello!? The government gave you a bailout to help people like me.’ ”

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