The Wall Street Journal relates the jaw-dropping story of a a Pittsburgh woman whose home was invaded by contractors for Bank of America who cut off her utilities, padlocked the place, and stole her parrot.
Yes. That’s right. They stole her parrot.
Ms. Iannelli, who owns a diner and works part-time as a bartender, said Bank of America representatives weren’t helpful when she called in to protest. They first denied knowing where the parrot was, and later told her she could go to the offices of the contractor, about 80 miles away, to retrieve the bird herself. Ms. Iannelli said bank representatives also told her they were “tired” of hearing from her, hung up on her and advised her to seek help from the police.
The Journal goes on to explain that part of the reason for this seems to be the volume of foreclosures.
A Bank of America spokesman said Wednesday a bank employee erroneously believed the house was vacant and sent the contractor there with instructions to install a new lock and otherwise “secure” the property. The bank spokesman said those instructions were inappropriate because Ms. Iannelli wasn’t in default and the house wasn’t vacant.
Mortgage lenders have struggled in the past three years to hire and train enough people to deal with the biggest wave of foreclosures since the 1930s. Nearly eight million households, or 15% of those with mortgages, are behind on their payments or in the foreclosure process.
Many borrowers complain they get the runaround when they call their lenders for help, receive contradictory information from different employees and are required to repeatedly fax the same documents.
At the same time, suicide threats from distressed borrowers are so common that one lender, OneWest Bank Group in Pasadena, Calif., had to establish procedures for alerting the police.