I don’t trust bankers these days. In fact, if you list all the professions and how much people trust them, you come up with some pretty interesting statistics.
Looking back at the 2011 “Honesty and Ethics” Gallup Poll for different professions, it is striking how things change over time. Bankers are down 10% from where they were at the start of the housing crash in 2007.
Frankly, I think they should be a lot further down.
A recent news story gives an example of what banks can drive people to do.
The quick version of this terrible story is that Norman and Oriane Rousseau of Newbury Park, California were scammed into a predatory mortgage. But they made their payments anyway, always paying with a cashier’s check in person at the same branch. Then one day the bank misapplied their payment and said they still owed the money. This started a long, nasty process that led to the bank evicting the Rousseaus from their home.
Here’s the shocker: right at the start the Rousseaus came up with proof that the bank had received the payment and had cashed the check. But the bank continued to claim it had missed the payment, gave the Rousseaus the runaround, started applying fees, and used it as an excuse to foreclose on the house anyway.
The Rousseaus fought back, the bank dragged it out for so long and pulled so many tricks, getting its way every step of the process, until this last Sunday Norman Rousseau finally gave up and shot himself in despair – two days before the scheduled eviction, Tuesday, May 15.
My heart goes out to Oriane Rousseau and everyone else who was closely involved.
I want to be clear: I don’t know everything that went into Norman’s decision, and I certainly don’t agree with what he decided to do. Yes, Wells Fargo acted horribly, but there is a better way to deal with this problem.
Don’t give up. Help is out there. If you need someone to fight on your side, go find someone. Even if the foreclosure goes forward and the bank evicts you, things aren’t bad enough that you can’t keep going.
If you are feeling despair and frustration about mortgage and foreclosure difficulties, PLEASE don’t do what Norman did. Call someone to help. I’ve helped people in worse situations, and plenty of people can help you, too.