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Loan Modification Hell? Not For This Homeowner

Maybe it's the Hollywood in me, but I love a happy ending.

And, when it comes on the heels of a long, drawn out battle over a loan modification, I like it even better.

Marilyn to wrote me on July 31. Like so many others who have shared their stories on my Loan Modification Hell: Join The Club post, she and her husband qualified for a loan modification. They're both employed (her husband is self-employed but his business isn't making any money yet) and they have been living on a very limited income. Their credit scores are over 800.

They went through loan modification counseling with Countrywide, now Bank of America, but ultimately Bank of America refused to give them a loan modification because they were short $250 per month in their budget.

Of course, a budget shortfall was exactly the reason Marilyn and her husband were applying for a loan modification. Bank of America made it so difficult, she was just about ready to give up.

Marilyn asked me two questions:

  1. Do you have to be totally out of cash before you can be eligible for a loan modification?
  2. Should I continue to fight with Bank of America for the loan modification or is it hopeless?
I told Marilyn she should keep fighting. I told her she should write Bank of America's executives at their corporate headquarters and try to get someone to pay attention.

In October, Marilyn wrote to me and asked me to look at a letter she was sending. Frankly, it wasn't quite as clear and concise as I felt it needed to be, so I picked up the phone and called her and we worked through how to structure the letter. And that was that.

Until yesterday, when Marilyn followed up to let me know how things turned out. She wrote:

Thank you so very much for your assistance regarding my loan modification. If you remember, I emailed you back in October about the brick wall I was up against with Bank of America.
You advised me to send a letter to Ken Lewis explaining my situation. Not only did you give me that information, but you personally called me at home to help me simplify the letter to make it more powerful and persuasive.
I sent the letter, and after several months of faxing documents and constant phone calling, I have finally succeeded! I received a phone call yesterday with the approval to modify my loan. It will take another 3 weeks to get the documents in the mail, but at least I can rest knowing that it will happen.
I am really happy that Marilyn and her husband will wind up with a permanent loan modification that will allow them to keep their home. She's happy, and I'm sure the bank is happy. For those who want to get their loans modified, it takes the following:
  • Persistence
  • Patience
  • Unlimited time to fax and email
  • Luck
I'd like nothing better than for 3 million people to get a loan modification. I know in my heart of hearts that won't happen, and we will soon start to see the foreclosure numbers zoom upwards again.

But for today, knowing that Marilyn and her husband are doing okay is enough.

Have a good weekend.

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and the upcoming Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at

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