A bank established by President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, once tried to foreclose on a 90-year-old Florida woman over a $0.27 payment mistake, reported Politico Thursday. Critics in the story allege that OneWest, founded by Mnuchin and partners, took advantage of the 2008 housing collapse by buying out risky loans from mortgage lender IndyMac and, in turn, getting help from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to cover the costs.
OneWest has been widely criticized for its aggressive foreclosure tactics, and Politico surfaced an especially troubling example from two years ago that involved 90-year-old Ossie Lofton in Lakeland, Florida. She had apparently take out a reverse mortgage, a loan that allows older homeowners to use to equity they’ve built up in their homes to get cash without a monthly payment plan.
Lofton reportedly owed the bank $423.30 after some confusion insurance coverage. She mistakenly sent a check for only $430. OneWest sent another bill for $0.30 but Lofton sent the bank just $0.03. OneWest, in turn, foreclosed. Florida Rural Legal Services, a non-profit, challenged the foreclosure and requested the local court for a jury trial last month.