WAILUKU - Last May, The Maui News told the story of Marcy Koltun-Crilley and her husband, Lawrence Crilley, and their frustration in trying to obtain a modification of the mortgage terms on their South Maui home.
Earlier this month, fed up, they sued lender Bank of America and subsidiary BAC Home Loans Servicing in 2nd Circuit Court, alleging negligence and unfair and deceptive practices. They are asking the court to halt a foreclosure action against them.
Lenders have foreclosed on millions of Americans who found themselves unable to keep up their payments. Many were trapped in houses worth less than the balance on the note.
That was not her case, said Koltun-Crilley last week. Although they were having trouble keeping up monthly payments, they could have sold their house and cleared the debt - except that BAC Home Loans told them not to.
Meanwhile, they waited and waited for an offer on a renegotiation. When it came, Koltun-Crilley was shocked to find that after monthly payments for 22 years, she would still owe the lender $350,000 on a house that was worth at the beginning of the process about a half million dollars.
Her husband, a decorated Maui firefighter, had a heart attack in May, and Koltun-Crilley decided she had had enough. But it took another half-year to get into court.
Her lawyer, James Fosbinder, said changes banks have obtained in legal procedures over the past 20 years make it much harder to sue them. Plus, many borrowers cannot document each interaction they had in their lengthy disputes with lenders or loan servicers, and the courts require that.
Fortunately, Koltun-Crilley kept a record, eventually filling two notebooks with accounts of her dealings with Brian, Ali, Sue and numerous others - seldom adorned with a surname. Most of the complaint, more than 20 pages, recounts Koltun-Crilley's attempts to get someone at BAC to deal with her modification application.
She didn't count, but "over almost two years, it must have been well over 100 (people)," she said.Read on.