Seattle, WA: Wells Fargo, one of the nation's largest mortgage providers, is the target of a class-action suit claiming the banking giant illegally refused to grant permanent loan modifications it promised homeowners who successfully completed a trial mortgage modification under the tax-payer supported Homeowner Affordable Modification Program ( HAMP.)
The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Wells Fargo committed breaches of contract and violated California consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the terms of the HAMP trial period plans (TPP), designed to be a path toward a permanent mortgage modification.
Under the TPP, Wells Fargo and borrowers agreed to a reduced mortgage payment amount, subject to a three month trial period to let borrowers prove their ability to meet the new obligation. Wells Fargo sent the borrowers letters explaining "make those payments successfully and fulfill all the trial period conditions, we will permanently modify your mortgage loan." The lawsuit alleges that it failed to follow through on that commitment.
The plaintiff in this case, Amira Jackmon of Alameda County, CA, purchased her home at the height of the housing bubble in 2005. With the market downturn, the value of her home plummeted below the value of her mortgage, making a refinance impossible. At the same time, she was laid off from her job. She inquired about the possibility of a modification and after receiving materials from Wells Fargo, signed its standard TPP agreement.
According to the complaint, she made the three monthly payments at a new rate and was instructed to continue making payments for four additional months. In May, 2010, Wells Fargo abruptly told her that her request for a permanent modification was denied. Wells Fargo immediately commenced foreclosure proceedings on her home, which was then sold at a trustee sale on May 27, 2011.
According to the lawsuit, the trial program was a ruse designed to induce consumers into sending payments to Wells Fargo, even when Wells Fargo knew that it had no intention of granting the permanent loan modification it promised.
The lawsuit seeks restitution of the payments made as part of the agreement and to recover all other funds or property lost because of Wells Fargo's alleged illegal activities.