A New Jersey appeals court blasted Bank of America this week, chastising the company for the way it handled the case of a woman the court found to be making a good faith effort to hang on to her foreclosed home.
In upholding a lower court decision, the New Jersey Superior Court's appellate division questioned why the lender had approached Sylvia Ficco in October 2009 with a written offer to modify the mortgage payments on her Morris County home. The lender accepted her checks, and then tried to foreclose on the property, sending her a warning that the mortgage modification offer had been sent in error.
"We confess some puzzlement at why a mortgage company would continue foreclosure proceedings against a debtor who, unlike many, is actually paying her mortgage," the appellate judges wrote in a copy of the decision issued Thursday.
A message left Friday for the plaintiff's attorney, Jeanette J. O'Donnell, was not returned.
Court papers show that Bank of America division BAC Home Loan Servicing L.P., formerly Countrywide Home Loans Inc., had sent Ficco a letter in October 2009, offering her a three- month "loan modification" trial after she defaulted on a nearly $600,000 home loan. The letter said she would be able to join the modification program permanently if she met the requirements and paid on time, according to court papers. She was qualified for the program in March 2010, according to court papers, and started making payments on her $591,913 mortgage.
However, the bank later claimed that the trial offer had been sent in error, and that Ficco wasn't meant to be permanently accepted into the program.
The appeals court chided the company for its practices, questioning why it had sent the offer, accepted Ficco's payments, and then reneged on the deal.
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Court Blasts BofA for Reneging on Homeowner's Mortgage Makeover
For years, Brooklyn took a backseat to its towering neighbor, Manhattan -- but no longer.
Today, Brooklyn is one of the fastest growing cities with a population of about 2.5 million, making it the most populous borough in New York and independently one of the largest cities in the U.S.
This hipster-friendly borough attracts young chefs, artists, entrepreneurs, families and more, who have opened farm-to-table restaurants, cool art galleries and boutiques, and trendy shopping areas like the Brooklyn Flea and Dekalb Market. With amazing cultural venues like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Brooklyn Museum, and the addition of the Barclays Center, NYC’s newest sports and entertainment venue, the area is bound to continue to develop and gentrify.
Seattle picked up momentum back in the ‘90s when Kurt Cobain popularized the grunge trend and a little coffee shop called Starbucks began to gain traction.
Today the city continues to attract young people and was recently ranked the best place for young professionals to thrive, according to mobile events company timeRAZOR, thanks to its high number of bars and restaurants (numbering over 6,000) and its high median income (the average college graduate there earns $53,185 annually).
Seattle was also ranked one of the 10 Cities With the Fastest Growing Wages in America. Home to major corporations Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing, and tech startups like Facebook and Zynga (which recently opened offices there), the city will continue to attract young, creative professionals in the next few decades.
This college town was recently ranked the Next Biggest Boomtown in the U.S. by Forbes.
It’s the third fastest-growing city in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau, with high rates of job creation.
Austin is also a hip, artsy college town that attracts artists, students, intellectuals and creative types. The thriving live music scene and Tex-Mex food add to the allure, ensuring that people will continue to call Austin home.
Boulder is fast becoming the newest tech center with a thriving community of startups, earning it the nickname of Silicon Flatirons.
In fact, there are so many new jobs here, with at least 50 tech companies hiring, that the organizers of Boulder Startup Week paid for people to fly to Boulder to fill these open jobs.
Boulder is widely regarded as one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the U.S., according to Gallup, thanks to the active outdoor lifestyle and the thriving intellectual community that comprises this college town.
According to a recent YPulse survey, more and more millennials are opting to live in small cities like Detroit.
These young idealists are moving back to Detroit, breathing new life into the downtrodden city with their small businesses, many of which are socially and environmentally responsible. The Urban Innovation Exchange showcases Detroit’s growing social innovation movement, promoting small businesses such as Recycle Here! and Food Lab Detroit. This type of optimism and innovation makes Detroit a city to watch.
The low housing prices, affordable lifestyle, and cool arts scene are attracting young people to Philadelphia.
These people are getting involved in the city through organizations like Young Involved Philadelphia and bringing a new sense of dynamism to it, with new restaurants, shops, galleries, and a cool music and arts scene.
The City of Brotherly Love has some of the best public art in the country. It's famous for its murals, which adorn buildings all around the city. The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program coordinates these murals, connecting artists to the community.
Walmart, the second biggest American corporation according to the Fortune 500, is headquartered in this relatively small city in northwest Arkansas.
The Walmart campus and Walton family play a big role in the Bentonville culture. Walmart heir Alice Walton spent $800 million on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and houses her vast personal collection.
As the Waltons continue to invest and Walmart continues to thrive, Bentonville will become a top city.
This laid-back city epitomizes small-town charm, but it’s also emerging as a leader in sustainability.
Most restaurants here serve local organic fare, shops sell local Vermont-made products, and people shop for groceries in community-owned co-ops. Much of the food consumed in town comes from local farms or from the Intervale Center, a nonprofit organization that cultivates 350 acres of land to provide food for the city's residents.
This environmentally-friendly city has turned its focus on sustainability into a form of economic self-reliance -- a model which will become increasingly more important in the years ahead.
With its active healthy lifestyle, its beautiful mountainous surroundings, and its thriving job market, Salt Lake City, recently ranked One of the 10 Best Cities for College Grads, will continue to attract eager young college graduates.
North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom, which could make Williston and the nearby towns one of the largest sources of petroleum in the country -- and that means unprecedented wealth in the years ahead.
The population has exploded as people flock there in droves to seek their fortunes, and although the city is undertaking a building frenzy, it hasn’t been able to keep up with the influx of wannabe oil workers.