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Diane Gallagher

What Bank of America is doing now to correct a wrong

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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 7:33 am

Bank of America is trying to correct a wrong again! BofA will pay $1000, $2000 or even $5000 to mortgage loan applicants who were asked to provide a letter from their doctor to document the income they received from Social Security Disability Insurance. According to the New York Market Watch, applicants who provided more detailed medical information about their income may be paid more than those who asked for a doctor verification of their source of income.

The lawsuit stems from three complaints filed by loan applicants with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD charged Bank of America in February with discriminating against disabled home buyers by asking them for medical information and proof of federal disability income.

It is illegal for lenders to ask about the severity of a disability, under federal law. The bank will hire an administrator to search about 25,000 loan applications involving SSDI income to identify any other victims. The government charged that the bank violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

You might be one of many, who are at the point of being able to purchase a home again. If you did a short sale over 2 years ago, you might be eligible. It is always good to contact a local Realtor or lender who can help answer those questions. The key to being able to purchase again is your FICA Score. Do yourself a favor and find out what is on your credit score that needs to be cleaned up, so when the time is right you will be ready.

The interest rate you receive is determined on if you have a high or low score. If your credit score is low your interest rate will be higher and if you have a high credit score you will get a lower interest rate. Whether high or low this is the time for you to buy. Mostly anything and everything you buy any more is determined on your credit score, so continue to check your score throughout the year to make sure that everything being reported is correct and is yours and not someone else’s. The Los Angeles Times reported that interest rates are at rock bottom levels. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 4% almost every week this year, but one. Two-thirds of Americans pay 5% interest on their mortgage or higher. Unfortunately, several factors keep homeowners from being able to lower their interest rate, bad credit, insufficient income, tighter lending standards, no equity in their homes, and the cost of a refinance.

Economists and policymakers see a big opportunity, arguing that getting borrowers into lower cost loans would be effective and a way of stimulating the economy, also to help free up income for those who are struggling to pay their mortgage even refinancing underwater borrowers. Whatever it might be, there will always be something new to listen to or learn about. This is new to everyone. What a learning curve! Diane is the President of the Lodi Association of Realtors.

Diane Gallagher is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at