After Lucy Circe became disabled and could no longer work, she applied to Bank of America for a mortgage loan modification on her Vermont home. Over more than two years, starting in 2012, the bank repeatedly requested copies of documents that had already been provided, asked for proof that she was no longer married to a man she did not even know, and made other errors, like asking why Ms. Circe had indicated that she didn’t want to keep her property when she had actually told the bank she did.
None of it made sense. But a disturbing report on the federal government’sHome Affordable Modification Program issued on Wednesday suggests that Ms. Circe’s experience was anything but unique.
Advertised in 2009 as a lifeline for as many as four million troubled borrowers, the program was one of the Obama administration’s signature efforts to help homeowners. But the report, by Christy L. Romero, the government official with authority to monitor the program, shows that six years later, just 887,001 borrowers are participating in loan modifications — deals that reduce the costs of mortgages.
It appears that the program has allowed big banks to run roughshod over borrowers again and again.
Jessica Radbord, her lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid in Burlington, kept battling on her behalf.
Finally, in April, Bank of America agreed to modify Ms. Circe’s loan.