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Widow May Lose Bay Area Home Because of Mismanagement by Wells Fargo

May 28, 2010

Our Fontana loan modification attorneys were saddened to read yet another article about a homeowner who is in danger of losing her home because of the mortgage holder's gross mismanagement. The San Francisco Chronicle ran its May 25 Bottom Line column with the story of Kathryn Winogura, 49, of Lafayette. Winogura's husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in April of 2008 after suffering a brain aneurysm. He left behind two children, ages 9 and 14, and mortgage payments too big for Winogura to make with only her salary as a volunteer coordinator for a social services organization. She has been trying for the past 17 months to get a loan modification, but Wells Fargo at first delayed, then denied the modification. Now, she says, the family's home is scheduled to be auctioned off on June 10.

Winogura shared with the newspaper an email that she wrote to Wells Fargo & Co. CEO John Stumpf, in which she explained the events. She said she contacted Wells Fargo in November of 2008 to put the loan in her own name and see about a loan modification. Winogura said she has numerous letters telling her she was eligible for a loan modification and instructing her to wait for further instructions. Those instructions never came, but Winogura kept making partial payments as a show of good faith, for a total of $38,000 in 2009. Unfortunately, a Wells Fargo representative told Winogura in April that she was never eligible for a loan modification because the loan was in estate. To apply for the loan workout, she was told to pay off $53,500 in missed payments and late fees, then put the loan in her name. The bank employee admitted that Wells Fargo had been wrong initially about the loan modification, but said there was nothing to do.

The columnist contacted Wells Fargo, and the bank is working on a solution for Winogura's family. We hope this works out -- but as Gardena loan modification lawyers, we wonder how many other Kathryn Winoguras are out there. As this article shows, it takes only one unexpected health problem or accident to throw a family into financial uncertainty. Loan modifications are one way lenders can deal with situations like this -- but only if the lender is willing to take the application seriously. As this article and many others show, lenders have responded poorly to loan modification requests -- dragging their feet, losing paperwork and miscommunicating. Even if Wells Fargo hadn't been confused about Winogura's eligibility, 17 months is such a long delay that Winogura could be forgiven for assuming the bank had forgotten about her.

Howard Law PC offers solutions to homeowners who are frustrated by red tape, mixed messages and general incompetence by lenders. Rather than waiting for a message that never comes, our clients can take control of their mortgage situations with the help of an experienced Aliso Viejo loan modification attorney. In cases like Winogura's, when the lender's failures have led to a foreclosure without warning or a reasonable chance to make a deal, we can stop the foreclosure with litigation. Litigation might also be appropriate if the clients are victims of another form of negligence or predatory lending practices. However, when possible, we prefer to negotiate aggressively outside the courtroom, using our legal knowledge and experience to get our clients a fair deal that lowers their monthly payments for good.

If your lender refuses to give you a clear answer on your loan modification and you need to take action, call Howard Law for help. To set up a free evaluation of your case, please contact us online or call 1-800-872-5925.