Bank of America Attempted To Foreclose On A Widow’s Home, Even Though The Mortgage Was Insured

A California widow nearly lost her home to overzealous Bank of America foreclosure proceedings, even though her late husband had taken out an insurance policy to protect her against that very thing, and even as she dutifully paid the premiums on the insurance policy, The Charlotte Observer is reporting.

When George Mitchell purchased a home in Rialto for himself and his wife, the lender encouraged him to take out an insurance policy against the mortgage. It would protect his widow against losing the home if he were to die, immediately paying $100,000 toward the principal.

And when the former trucking company manager died in 2003, the policy should have been paid out to Bank of America on the spot, according to the widow’s lawyer. Paying $100,000 against a remaining $120,000 balance on the widow’s mortgage would have left her with $20,000 to pay; nothing for a widow with limited income to scoff at, but hardly insurmountable.

Unfortunately, Laura Coleman Biggs didn’t know about the mortgage insurance policy. The insurer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, neglected to pay off on the policy. Bank of America continued to collect the widow’s mortgage payments, according to The Bellingham Herald, even as she continued to make payments on the insurance policy – payments listed as “fees” in the small print buried at the bottom of her monthly mortgage statements.

When the widow fell on hard times in 2011, she fell behind on her mortgage. A third party – Select Portfolio Servicing – began pursuing collection and foreclosure against the widow on behalf of Bank of America. All the while, the insurer continued to collect insurance premiums on a mortgage insurance policy that should have been paid out a decade before.

By Christmas 2013, the widow was in danger of losing her home. That is, until the L.A. law firm of Edward Lopez took her case pro bono. Legal administrator George Bosch began poring over the mountains of paperwork – and one line, listed as miscellaneous “fees,” stood out. He called Bank of America wanting answers.

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