Citibank Dual Tracks MN Homeowner Into Foreclosure

“I’m really devastated here, I don’t understand how this can happen,” explained Golden Valley Minnesota homeowner Rose McGee.

She’s referring to her California Mission style home on a quiet corner of Duluth Street in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley. Citibank, Rose’s lender foreclosed after months of telling her they were working with her on a plan to save the home. The process is called “dual tracking”. That’s when the lender says they’re working with the borrower to modify their loan, but is pursuing foreclosure.

Rose McGee’s troubles didn’t start with a foreclosure on her house. Her husband passed away in 2000, leaving Rose with only one income to pay all the bills. Then came major repairs due to a series of storms that hit the metro area a few years after that. Then, she lost her job. She was able to negotiate with Citibank to refinance her home and was able to keep up with the payments until 2011 when she lost her job, again.

“I’m thinking, ‘mortgage, how am I going to keep up with my mortgage.’ It’s awful when mortgage is the first thing that comes into your mind,” said Rose.

She immediately called Citibank and explained the situation. A representative said initially there was nothing they could do for her. After some pressing, another said that there were options of paying a percentage of what she owed. Rose agreed and worked with Citibank representatives. She called and called and called. Each time getting a different person on the line. Each time the person at Citibank said they were reviewing her case and they would get back to her. One representative said she should know something soon and call back the following week. Rose heard nothing. Finally, on June 4th, she reached the person who had the answer-just not the one she was expecting.

“They said, ‘Well ma’am are you aware that your house has been sold?’” recalls Rose.

She was stunned.

“You’re telling me my home has been sold on May 18th when during that time I’m calling you and you’re telling me that the underwriters haven’t made a decision,” recalls Rose.

Citibank was asked for comment, but provided none before this story was published

Rose finally got a call from Citibank in July. She had a glimmer of hope that maybe they were going to make an offer to pay a percentage of the past due amount. Instead, she found out her appeal had been turned over to the Peterson, Fromm and Bergman Law Firm. The house was sold back to the lender. According to a 2011 Los Angeles Times article, the lender does this to, “protect their assets.”

Rose has a community of support behind her. At a prayer breakfast held in North Minneapolis, Rose heard from other homeowners also facing foreclosure. She also met David Snyder from Jewish Community Action. Snyder vowed to help her fight Citbank. He says there was a staff shakeup at Citibank. The person they were dealing with moved up and that made it difficult. But that didn’t pause the foreclosure juggernaut.

“My kindest, most sympathetic interpretation of why someone is dual tracked into foreclosure in this state and across the country is that there are a lot of regulations and guidelines they need to follow in order to do a modification,” explained Dave Snyder.

On a recent hot afternoon, a group of activists from Occupy Homes and Jewish Community Action went to one of the few brick and mortar locations of Citibank in Brooklyn Park to deliver a letter to anyone who will see them. The doors were locked tight.

Outside a prayer service was held for Rose to give her strength. She has until the middle of November to vacate her house. A deadline she is fighting.

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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