Homeowner: Bank admits $2 mortgage modification a mistake

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - Two dollars.

"When I heard that, I literally blew up," Mike Elewski said.

That's how much the Independence homeowner said Wells Fargo offered to reduce his monthly mortgage payment during a mediation meeting Friday.

 "You can't get a gallon of gas for $2," he said.

Now, Elewski has renewed hope of avoiding foreclosure. On Tuesady evening, Elewski said Wells Fargo admitted it make an error when they calculated his income and will make him another modification offer.

"It's been a mess. I mean, working with a family owned and operated business, if we dealt withour clients in that way, we would have been out of business a long time ago," Elewski said.

NewsChannel5 began making calls about Elewski's $2 modification offer Monday.

When the recession began to affect his family's engineering and surveying business in August 2009, Elewski asked Wells Fargo for a reduction in his monthly payments.

Elewski said bank representatives told him Wells Fargo only negotiates with homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. Elewski stopped making his mortgage payments and ended up in foreclosure.

A judge ordered mediation between Wells Fargo and Elewski. After filling out massive amounts of paperwork and spending thousands of dollars for an attorney, Elewski said the bank offered him a $2 reduction in his mortgage payments Friday.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson said the bank could not discuss details of Elewski's situation because his case is still involved in an active mediation.

Wells Fargo Communication Consultant Jim Hines did send us this statement:

"Modifications are complex and it is difficult to validate what was truly said and heard in the many conversations it takes to find a viable option for a customer. That said, we would never advise customers to deliberately miss payments. Regarding Mr. Elewski’s situation, we are continuing to work with him to identify potential options that would allow him to retain homeownership."

Elewski's frustration is not unusual.

The Ohio attorney general's consumer protection unit has received approximately 450 complaints involving mortgages since Jan. 1, 2011.

According to documents obtained by NewsChannel5, most customer complaints involve mortgage servicers and lenders.

Twenty complaints involve Wells Fargo. NewsChannel5 asked the Ohio Attorney General's Office what it is doing to help homeowners.

We received this response from public information officer Dan Tierney:

"The Attorney General's Office is actively involved in a 50-state inquiry into mortgage servicing and foreclosure problems. The Office is working with the largest servicers to address these problems.

The Attorney General's Office has pending lawsuits against four mortgage servicers (GMAC, HomEq, American Home Mortgage Servicing, and Carrington Mortgage Servicers) and is working with them to resolve the issues.

The Attorney General's Office provides assistance and guidance to those in foreclosure by facilitating direct referrals to housing counselors and legal aid through Save the Dream Ohio and by providing information about the foreclosure process and timeline.

The Attorney General's Office is focused on cracking down on and warning Ohioans about foreclosure rescue scams, which target homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure."

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