A judge has denied ""Bank of America's"":https://www.bankofamerica.com/ motion to dismiss a case involving tens of thousands of homeowners who claim the bank denied them help through the ""Home Affordable Modification Program"":https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/index.jsp (HAMP).[IMAGE]
Homeowners are asking that Bank of America provide permanent loan modifications to eligible borrowers and award damages to homeowners wrongfully denied modification.
Bank of America responded to the ruling saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Bank is pleased that the Court dismissed four of the eight counts in the consolidated complaint, including the nationwide claims.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Under HAMP, Bank of America must provide foreclosure alternatives and permanent loan modifications to eligible homeowners facing financial hardship.[COLUMN_BREAK]
Homeowners become eligible for permanent modification after a successful trial period plan (TPP), but many claim that even after completing the TPP, Bank of America refused to modify their loans.
""The vast majority tell us the same thing: Bank of America claims to have lost their paperwork, failed to return phone calls, made false claims about the status of their loan and even taken actions toward foreclosure without informing homeowners of their options,"" said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the firm representing the homeowners.
While the lawsuit was originally intended to represent all homeowners with loans serviced by Bank of America, Judge Rya Zobel limited the case to those who entered TPPs and were denied permanent HAMP modifications or written notice that their application was not accepted.
The judge also ruled that homeowners in California, Illinois, Arizona, Massachusetts, Oregon, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin may pursue claims in their states, where consumer protections are stronger.
Berman aims to prove that the bank ""intentionally postpones homeowners' requests to modify mortgages, depriving borrowers of federal bailout funds that could save them from foreclosure.""
""The bank ends up reaping the financial benefits provided by taxpayer dollars financing TARP-funds and also collects higher fees and interest rates associated with stressed home loans,"" Berman added.
The federal government recently announced it will halt Bank of America's HAMP payments until the bank makes improvements.