The problem was Countrywide

My friend missed one payment on his mortgage – a normal, rational 30 year fixed. This is unusual for him – he normally knows what’s in his account to within $10. He’s that guy. But an ID thief managed to wipe out his account, and he lost a month financially. He’s recovered most of the money, and he’s been caught up with everyone else he has an account with for months now.

Except for Countrywide.

Countrywide told him over the phone that everything was fine – that they understood his circumstance – that they would waive the late fees and and just let him make an extra payment. What they did instead was apply his payments to late fees before applying it to principal, then added more late fees, and then told him again that they were sorry and they would take care of this. This has been going on from last summer – until they foreclosed this week.

So my friend, who has – to my knowledge – sterling credit, is walking away from a mortgage he was comfortably affording, and I spent last Sunday helping him move into a rental.

Could he sue? Sure. It gets better. His Countrywide experience is a long series of un-received faxes, contradictory instructions and obvious lies which I won’t recount here.

Countrywide, apparently, has no institutional ability to receive and retain financial or legal documents via fax machine. That would be counter=productive to their true purpose.

Countrywide exists to suck as much money out of home mortgages before foreclosing as quickly as possible, so they can be purged from the books of Bank of America – which now owns Countrywide.

Countrywide doesn’t even own the note. The actual creditor is some investor. CW simply services the note – a service that does not include receiving financial documents over the fax, or just about any other service one might expect from mortgage professionals. That guy is losing 16 years of interest on a loan that was in good shape. Maybe he’ll sue them.

Do not despair about my friend – he’s unpacking in his rental house now. He is, by my count, at least 8-0 when going to court – even in traffic court – and when his stress symptoms subside, he’ll likely pursue that option.

My friend didn’t walk away from this loan – he was driven away. This is how an unregulated free market drives the economy.

He called some media outlets, and they told him his story, while genuinely troublesome, was nothing compared to stories they have on file. Especially on Countrywide.

That’s what we have come to: this sort of needless stupidity is no longer news.

Now You Know

More late game turnovers [11/11/08]

Both the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Cardinals, while not considered contenders are headed for the playoffs. Both played teams that are, well, not headed for the playoffs. And both teams struggled mightily to prevail in what should have been easy contests at home.

Steve Nash had as many TO’s as assists, contributing to 19 turn-overs as a team. Grizzlies rookie OJ Mayo is For Real, scoring 33 points. BUT it took him 23 shots to get there. In contrast, Suns guard Leandro Barbosa shot 10-13, including the go ahead 3 pointer with seconds left. Then Nash nailed free throws.

The San Francisco 49ers’ traded trunovers and stoopid penalties with the Cards throughout the 4th quarter. Seriously, I think they set a Monday Night Football record for penalties in the second half. Late hits, off-sides, stupid things. In the end though, the Niners made the last mistakes as time ran out, and the Cards squeaked by with a 5 point win.

The true heros were the refs, who worked hard to sort out conflicting penalties on what seemed to be every damn play. In the end, they got almost all of them right. So someone was on top of their game tonight.

A few remaining drops of election knowledge: Outstanding election result cartograms. And 50 things you may not have known about the President Elect.

The Phoenix Mars lander officially ran out of sunlight, and therefore power as the Martian pole drifts into winter.

And some perspective on the national debt.

WordPress will not flag “stoopid” as a mis-spelled word.

And I can unclog my dishwasher with a length of wire and a Shop-vac. Hooray!

Now you know