Homeowner Wins Twice Against Freddie Mac

Bill Sorem, The Uptake

The nation’s largest mortgage company may finally be bending to public pressure. A St. Paul homeowner has scored a pair of victories against Freddie Mac that have allowed her to stay in her foreclosed home, but only after being misled in a move that’s called “dual tracking.”

Caylin Crawford’s problems began when she had a snowboarding accident and wasn’t able to work for a few months. Without the income, she realized she would have trouble making her monthly mortgage payments. U.S. Bank was the originator of her mortgage and Freddie Mac had purchased it on the secondary market. She called U.S. Bank and explained her situation. A U.S. Bank representative told her she could probably qualify for a HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) loan but she had to stop making payments, which she did.

While negotiations were in progress, U.S. Bank sent a letter on Oct 11, 2011 stating they would not proceed with foreclosure. But eight days later she got a notice saying her home would be sold at a sheriff’s auction.

The practice is called “dual tracking” and has been used against other Twin Cites homeowners by other lenders such as Citibank.

Crawford then began a frustrating process of trying to negotiate with U.S. Bank, where she found the company apparently did not want the negotiation to be on the record. She said the bank refused to reply to her email even though it had done so in the past. When she called U.S. Bank, representatives would ask if the call was being recorded. Crawford says if she would say yes, the bank representative would insist that the recorder be turned off or they would hang up. Crawford said other foreclosed homeowners she has talked to have run into the same problem with U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bank’s Vice President of Media Relations Nicole Garrison-Sprenger says “both of those practices are not policies of U.S. Bank. To say so would be false.”

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