Banks to Homeowners: We’re In Ur Houses, Changin’ Ur Lockz

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Photo: Jed Egan, iStockPhoto

Bank of America might be on edge about what would happen if BrianMoynihanSucks.com gets into the wrong hands, but they're not afraid to look like the bad guy. According to a federal lawsuit, Bank of America not only wrongfully foreclosed on Mimi Ash's ski home, but they also broke in, changed the locks, and threw out all her possessions, including a wooden box inscribed with the words Together Forever that held the ashes of her late husband, Robert. Alan Jaffa, chief executive of a company that inspects foreclosed properties, admits that mistakes can happen, telling the Times, “There is a stigma that we go in, kick the door in and throw grandma out head first and board up the windows." Turns out, it's just grandma's ashes. It's not just Bank of America; Chase Bank has also been named in similar lawsuits. The paper has plenty of examples of the fundamentally flawed foreclosure process, where banks locked homeowners out illegally without proper notification, in some cases where they were up-to-date on their mortgage. Take Alan Schroit’s second home in Galveston, Texas, for example. Court papers allege that even though his mortgage was paid off, Bank of America changed the locks and shut off the power, which caused the 75 pounds of salmon and halibut in his freezer to spoil, spreading "reeking melt water" through the property.

But Reuters's Felix Salmon smells something fishy besides the melt water: "bogus trend." It would be nice, he noted, if the Times, who cited claims from unnamed bank flacks that these situations represent only "a tiny percentage of foreclosures," tried to attach a number to that tiny percent.

In case Auto-Tune the News is reading, may we suggest a "Bed Intruder" remake? They're climbing in your windows, they're changing your locks. So hide your dead husband's ashes, hide your salmon. They're wrongfully foreclosing on errybody out here.

In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks [NYT]
When banks burglarize [Reuters]