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Couple confused about bank's request for deed to home

5:22 PM, Aug 30, 2010   |    comments
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The Thornton man and his wife Marilyn purchased their ranch-style home in 2003, and have meticulously kept the house in working order.

"My wife and I put in the sod," he said. "It took us three weeks to put the sidewalk in."

But Friday, Carpenter said his wife brought a letter from the mailbox from his mortgage lender, Bank of America, that baffled the couple.

"She was crying," he said. "She was upset."

The letter was "deed-in-lieu of a foreclosure" solicitation from Bank of America, saying the family needed to take immediate action to prevent foreclosure.

If the Carpenters would sign over the deed to their home, the letter stated, Bank of America would give the couple $3,000 relocation assistance, and save them from the credit nightmare of a foreclosure.

Carpenter would also lose any equity built up in his home.

"She couldn't understand why we were being singled out like this," Carpenter said.

Carpenter and his wife were approved through a loan modification with Bank of America after her layoff, but he said they paid their mortgage on-time, every month, and sent in all the necessary paperwork the bank required.

"We have paid," he said. "We have done exactly what they wanted."

Monday, no one at Bank of America could explain why Carpenter received the letter.

"An associate has been in contact with Mr. Carpenter to confirm that he is current on his payments and has requested that he send the letter offering a deed-in-lieu so it can be researched further," a statement from the company read.

Bank of America has stepped up its solicitation for "deed-in-lieus" this year, according to its quarterly impact report.

Stephanie Riggi, manager of the Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Hotline, said banks may choose the "deed-in-lieu" option to prevent paying upwards of $60,000 to $80,000 per foreclosure.

The technique allows banks to quickly gain access to a property to then auction it off, instead of waiting for months in foreclosure proceedings, she said.

Carpenter wants nothing to do with a "deed-in-lieu," saying he will fight hard to keep his home.

"I've got proof that I am caught up," he said. "I've just had enough and we're just not going to put up with this."

Riggi encouraged homeowners in trouble with their payments or considering a loan modification to call the Colorado Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 1-877-601-HOPE (4673) or access the website at www.coloradoforeclosurehotline.org.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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