Monday, August 16, 2010

I will by no means forsake you Hebrews 13:5

I thumbed through a pamphlet left for me by missionaries of another faith and my eyes fell on what is Heavenly Father's message for today:  "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5)

Another translation says, "I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you".

That's a great message for today!

You have to put first things first

I woke up at 5:13 a.m. raring to go.  My mind was cycling through a ton of things I needed to get done to get this show on the road.  It's a lot!

  1. Find my electronic voice recorder. (Done)
  2. Put new batteries in it. (Done - Thank heavens I had some AAA's laying around)
  3. Find the cord to the voice recorder so I can dump what I record to disk.  (Yikes)
  4. Find every last blinking thing from the bank and put it in one place.  (Done - Guess what, I'm just not that organized!)
  5. Find every last blinking thing from the creditor who keeps calling after I've sent them a "Debt Verification - Do not telephone)" letter.
  6. Call PrePaid Legal on #4 and #5 above.
  7. Resurrect my Bankruptcy Chapter 13 folder and put statements into it (They require something like the last three or last six statements from everybody -- utilities, phone, credit cards, personal, everything)
  8. Check all my bank and credit card balances so I know what I'm working with. (Done - it's not much!)
  9. List of utilities, etc. to be paid and sad to say, some are in pre cut off mode (Done)
  10. Pull cash out of one account to put in another so I can pay electric company (I have a cash only account to help me stay organized and to avoid overdraft fees)
  11. Pay the electric company ASAP, today, first thing.
  12. Pay my storage unit today to avoid a fee.
That doesn't even begin to get through my list, like, clean the catboxes, wash the dishes, take out the trash, water the side garden.

But what I really wanted to say is, it's 8 a.m., I have to leave for work soon, I've been up for three hours and I haven't looked at the scriptures that will get me through the day.  So in all this crisis, I have to be sure to put my Heavenly Father first.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On the Seventh Day - I Rested

Today was Sunday.  It's only the fourth day since my loan mod process was cancelled, but since it's Sunday, I rested!

I can't say I didn't think about this whole mess.  It's just that I tried NOT to.  I teach the Gospel Doctrine class for our Sunday School -- that's the class for the adults.  We're studying the Old Testament and today was a lesson on the Wisdom of Solomon and the Proverbs.  That kept my mind occupied all morning.  I'm also the organist, so I kept busy all afternoon.  Now I'm home and it's hard to keep the thoughts from crowding in.

My lesson on Solomon covered this verse from Ecclesiastes 1:18:
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

And also Proverbs 3:11 and Hebrews 12:6:
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord ; neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth , and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

I guess I'm both being chastened and developing wisdom.

An interesting thing happened at church.  I was paying my tithing in cash, putting several $20 bills into the tithing envelope.  Someone I know well noticed and asked why I didn't just write out a check.

You know, I don't have any pride leftl.  I don't tell everything that's going on with me but I tell it like it is.  I told him, honestly.  "I pay cash because I've bounced a tithing check before and I never want to do that again, and my finances are tight enough that I could forget something, so I don't take any chances with my tithing any more.  I usually get a money order but didn't, today, so it's cash.  So there."

He was shocked.  I'm fairly well-known in our church and have been in ward leadership.  He sat down to have a longer chat and I was pretty straight with him. (Although I didn't say a word about this foreclosure stuff). 

I've made mistakes but it's not that I'm not good with my money.  In fact, I have a very nice income and still have my job.  I told him I feel that everything that I'm going through is not only to build my own faith and character but to help me help others.  For instance, a family member was coming to me for help with very expensive (as in, $900 expensive) prescription drugs.  I helped once and immediately searched out how to get them onto drug assistance programs from the pharmaceuticals.  Later, when I was Relief Society president, we used that information to helps lots of people get their meds.  So, see, what I go through helps others.

I told him how my hot water heater broke a couple of years ago.  I wanted so badly to get out of debt and to pay an honest tithing, so I said, I'm not going to get it fixed until I've hit those goals.    For eight months, I went to the gym every day to take a shower.

My washer and dryer broke down while I was Relief Society president.  As busy as I was with my day job and with welfare and Relief Society, I did my laundry at the laundromat.  I know lots of people use the laundromat but you wouldn't expect someone with my employment to do it.  I could have bought appliances on any paycheck, it's just that I wanted the best and I wanted to pay cash and I wanted to do it only after certain financial goals were met.  I saved up and got the washer and dryer of my dreams early last year.

People should know these things.  Sacrifice.  Make do or go without.  Save up.  Buy it on cash, not credit.

With the people in need around me, I figure it helps them to see that if I could go to the gym for showers or go to the laundromat, they can, too.  Quit trying to let everybody think you have all this money when you don't.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Colorado Foreclosure Laws

Here is what I've learned so far about Colorado Foreclosure Laws -- I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice, this is just a place for me to capture what I've learned.

Colorado is a "Deed of Trust (Semi-judicial)" state.  (Don't know what that means  but will find out).
Foreclosure Procedure is a Public Trustee's Sale.

Colorado foreclosures occur through both in-court and out-of-court proceedings. The most common process is managed by a public trustee out of court and takes about six months. 

Pre-foreclosure Period
The public trustee for each county is either appointed by the governor or elected by the public. The out-of-court foreclosure process begins when a lender files the appropriate documents with the public trustee to request a sale of the property. Once the public trustee officially records the foreclosure action, a foreclosure sale can be scheduled.

After the sale is scheduled, the lender still has to obtain a separate court order allowing the sale. The court schedules a hearing to consider the matter, and all affected parties are notified. If no one contests that the borrower is in default, the court allows the sale without a hearing.

If the borrower plans to pay off the default and stop the foreclosure, he or she needs to submit the intention to do this to the public trustee at least 15 days before the sale. If this is done, the borrower can pay off the default and discontinue the foreclosure process up until noon the day before the sale.

Notice of Sale / Auction
The public trustee schedules the sale 110-125 days after the initial foreclosure action was recorded. The notice of sale is published in a local newspaper for 12 weeks. The public trustee also mails a copy of the notice to the borrower.

The public trustee typically conducts the sale at the courthouse. At the sale, the public trustee reads the written bid submitted by the lender, and any party may bid.  If anyone other than the lender is the winning bidder, that person must deliver the bid amount in cash or cashier’s check to the public trustee. The winning bidder is given a certificate of purchase.

There is no longer any redemption period for the previous owner after a forecosure sale in Colorado.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Autodialers to your cell phone number is a $500-$1500 violation

Holy cow.  While googling to see if the bank can put me in their autodialer for mortgage collections, I ran into this little story about a guy who sues his debt collectors over violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

Check this out at the Broken Credit Blog:

In the next four years, Cunningham accused debt collectors of misrepresenting the amount he owed (an FDCPA violation that entitles a consumer to collect up to $1,000). He sued over prerecorded and auto-dialed calls to his cellular phone (a TCPA violation worth up to $1,500 per call). He also filed complaints that agencies failed to investigate his claims that his credit file contains inaccurate information, a breach of the Fair Credit Reporting Act worth up to $1,000 per violation. All told, he filed 15 other lawsuits in federal court without the help of a lawyer, earning himself settlements totaling more than $20,000.

“Most people hear about the abuses that debt collectors do, but you just didn’t hear about the second part of it, where people sue the collectors,” he says.
A very quick google on Telephone Consumer Protection Act confirms that this is true, you can sue.  Here is just one link I found from an Alabama law firm.

More links:

By the way, I still don't know if the bank can do it.  But I have a boat load of recorded messages in my cell phone from another bill collector and I've sent them certified letters twice asking them not to do it.

I think I'm going to put together some documentation this weekend and contact my PrePaid Legal attorney on Monday.

Five autodial calls in 48 hours

In the 48 hours since we ended the loan mod process, I've had FIVE phone calls from the collection department's autodialer.  I'm wondering, do debt collection activities from a mortgage company qualify under the Federal protection acts for consumers?  

Had two autodialer calls on the first day.  I called them back last night, as soon as I got home.  I spoke with Daniel, who confirmed all of my vital statistics and then realized he needed to transfer me to another number.  The number he sent me to said that it was no longer in server and to call another number.

At that new number, I spoke with Vivian, who apologized and stayed on the line while she tried to transfer me.  This time, she came back to report that I needed to speak with the Customer Advocacy Center and they're only open 8-5 Pacific time.

I called this morning and spoke with a young man who was very polite but wanted to know if I could pay $19,158.72.  That's the call where I was on with them for 32 minutes while he transferred me to Adela in Payment Research so they could track down my last two payments.

I received a third autodialer call at 11:36 a.m.  Didn't answer, was working. 

Missed another call at 5:40 p.m.

I picked up the one that came in at 7:17 p.m.  This young lady was polite but she wasn't aware that I'd just this morning spoken with someone.  She looked in the notes and saw it, did not see the payments applied but that will probably be the next business day.  She had no record that my account was flagged for Consumer Advocacy group;  she said it was in a "normal" status. 

At any rate, I told her I couldn't pay and asked her if I could expect to receive these autodialer calls.  She said yes.  Daily?  Probably.

In case you're counting, that's THREE calls in one day that they seem to continue to make if they don't reach me.

Just for funsies, I think I will return their calls every day and just remind them that I've already told them I couldn't pay the $9,000 Freddie Mac offer and I also can't pay the full $16K (it's not 19K) past due.

I"m not going to let it stress me.  I already know I have the Chapter 13 option.

Be very courageous

I asked the Lord to show me what He wants me to know for today, on the second day after the bank initiated Foreclosure activities.  I opened my scriptures at random to Joshua 23:

6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left...
  8 But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
  9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
  10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
  11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.

 It felt like a good reminder to read my scriptures, keep the commandments, and love and honor the Lord.  The promise is that the Lord will fight my battles.

Sounds good to me!

Second guessing

Of course, I'm second guessing myself, now.  Two days ago, when I spoke to the Escalations people about the loan mod, they were working with a total past due of $19,000 and had clearly not applied my last two payments.  They wanted $9,000.  If they had applied my payment, they might have wanted less, maybe $7,000 or $8,000, and of course, I'm kicking myself, wondering if I could have done it over the next few checks.

But, of course, there's really no way.  And it's too late now.

And then I was wondering if I should have just played the game to buy some time.  But I didn't want to mislead.

I suppose this second-guessing is part of the process.

Cakes and Cornbread

Is it possible to sell enough of something to bail myself out without bankruptcy or foreclosure?

ABCNews is running a story on how ordinary people are fighting foreclosure.  I had already heard about the New Jersey woman's apple cakes.  She raised enough to get her house out of trouble. 

But now there is a lovely lady selling cornbread kits on the Internet to repurchase her house;  it was foreclosed on March 2, 2010 by the bank that MY mortgage is with!  This lady is believes in faith and prayer and her story lifted me ENORMOUSLY.  I just donated $50 to her -- I believe in "casting your bread upon the waters".    You can get her kits at 

Makes me wonder what I could do.  My day job definitely pays the bills and needs my attention. I wonder how much time I have?  I wonder if I could pour a ton of money into my 401k, get the 3% match, and at the 11th hour do a hardship withdrawal?  ... not sure I have the time or could pull it off.  If I could save $4000 per month, I might could do it in four months.  That's $2000 per paycheck.  I'd live on no more than $1000 per paycheck and the monthly payment would get further and further behind...

Not sure...

32 Magical Minutes

The day after the Fall from Grace, the autodialer calls started. I returned them as soon as I got home from work, only to find that my records were routed to a special department, "The Customer Advocacy Center", and they are only open 8-5 Pacific time.

I called first thing the next morning and was on the phone with them for 32 magical minutes. I don't know if I got the right group or not. The person I spoke with was definitely Collections oriented. He read a script to tell me that my "Notice of Foreclosure" expires 9-11-2010, told me I owed $19, 158.71, and could I make that payment, please.

I have no idea what else he might have wanted to say or explain because in that amount, I could tell right away that they had not applied my last two payments. You see, I have been making my monthly payments all this year and throughout most of last year. I transfer the payment electronically every month so I can track it. It goes into a holding account and they eventually apply it. They'd clearly gotten all the way through this process without applying about $3000 of payments. You wonder if that would have made any difference to the loan mod process but it's too late, now.

During the time that I was on this call with this "Customer Advocacy Center", and while they were tracking down the "lost" payments, I set up this blog! And got those payments applied! 32 magical minutes!

The Fall from Grace

I was shocked at how quickly I went from being sort of in a "protected" status to receiving the autodialer "pay or die" calls. I spoke to the bank' s Escalation department on Wednesday. They told me they'd work with me if I paid $9,000. I told them I couldn't do it and they said, You realize this will cancel the Loan Mod process? Yes. Send me to foreclosure. The next morning at 8:04 a.m., the autodialer calls from Collections started.

I actually received a loan modification via Fedex on December 31, 2009. I signed it and returned it immediately and made my first payment as agreed on February 1, 2010.

Unfortunately -- for me or the bank, I'm not sure which -- made an error and sent me a loan modification that had not been approved by the investor, Freddie Mac. More unfortunately -- this time for the bank and for a boatload of other homeowners -- the batch that got "approved" included at least some of the 9,000 other people who were in that batch.

I learned this from the Executive Office of the President of the Bank only after a very long and difficult series of phone calls.

It seemed like a good thing, to get the Executive Office of the President involved. I felt like it was divine inspiration that one day, I googled on foreclosure blogs and found the number of how to contact the President of the Bank. They had clearly done something unconscionable, to dangle the prize in front of me and then to yank it away, and they knew it was their mistake. But even they kept dropping the ball, they had no real power to resolve my situation, and they often didn't do what they said they would do. But having someone I thought was "in power" gave me hope for the last six months.

You know, it's possible that the Lord's intent was merely to assure me that every avenue had been covered... and to give me time to get a few more things in order, especially my faith. My faith in the month before this happened grew in monumental ways, helping me to be stronger and better able to deal with this. I also had a miraculous change in a chronic pain condition where I've been almost pain-free for two months. I had time to research my options. Those things all make a difference.

Nevertheless, this stuff is not easy to go through -- Bad things do happen to good people. It was a pretty deep hole I dropped into on Wednesday, when I hung up the phone after talking to the bank. I'd had an abysmal day at the office, anyway, and had spent two hours after work listening to an extremely troubled employee on the team. My spirits were very, very low.

But I'd known this day was possible, even likely, and even though the bank has done inexplicable and immoral things, the fact is, I'm seriously behind on my mortgage and money is the bottom line.

So I went home, got on my knees, and asked the Lord to forgive me and to give me the courage and the strength to bear up under the burden. I went to bed early, slept fitfully, and the next day, put one foot in front of the other and carried on.

Welcome to Faith in the Time of Foreclosure

Hi! My name is Teresa and I live in the beautiful house of my dreams in Colorado. I have been in the painful loan modification journey for 20 months. Yesterday, that journey ended unceremoniously, just via a two minute phone call, and my foreclosure and bankruptcy journey began.

As I searched the Internet looking for "foreclosure blogs" that could tell me, from a real life perspective, what might be ahead, I found a sweet blog called "Love in the Time of Foreclosure". It was real and refreshing and life-giving, so I unabashedly patterned my title after their story.

Only since I am single, this isn't going to be about love! I feel very much that my Father in Heaven cares about me and will be with me, that this journey will build my character and my experiences will help others, so I'm calling my blog, Faith in the Time of Foreclosure.