Before Steven Marks started looking for debt relief on his Reno, Nev. home, he sent a simple request to Bank of America to askÂ who owned his mortgage.Â He also wantedÂ documentation of this.Â What he got in return was an initial decline regardingÂ who owned his loan byÂ Bank of America and a lowering of his credit score.Â This caused his insurance rates to go up also.Â Marks had never been late on his payments, but all he wanted was information.Â Â
Marks asked the bank for this information through a “Where’s the Note?Â website, which was created by the Service Employees International Union and the African American grassroots-advocacy group Color of Change.Â Amid reports of widespread fraud in the foreclosure process, resulting in everything from illegal fees to improper evictions, the site’s stated purpose is to offer borrowers legal leverage to challenge bank wrongdoing.Â More than 100 complaints similar to Marks’ have occurred since the launch of “Where’s the Note?”Â with the overwhelming majorityÂ coming from the activities of Bank of America.Â Currently , it’s not clear whether BofA is intentionally attempting to intimidate borrowers, or whether this is a mistake created by a high-volume business that is not above cutting corners by coding all inquiries as disputes in order to reduce costs.
1.Â Do you think the Bank of America is deploying an automated process to handle the requests?Â Why or why not?Â Use Steven Marks’ template as an example.
2. What does the term “servicing” a note or loan mean?
3. Do you believe this was a retaliatory act against borrowers that exercise rights under consumer protection acts?Â What recent legislation was enacted to combat some of these incidents?Â Do you think more is needed?
4.Â According to your understanding, is the website at fault? Research its disclosures.
Carter, Z. and A. Delaney. (2011). Honey, I Shrunk the Credit Score. Huffington Post.com, January 5 (Retrievable online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/05/honey-i-shrunk-the-credit-score_n_804105.html)