GRESHAM, Ore. – The roots of Valerie Arthurs' family tree run deep in Gresham.
She said the land around her home is where her aunts and uncles played as kids and where her grandparents liked to take walks.
“I want my kids to still be here,” she said.
But that future was in doubt after Valerie’s husband lost his job in 2008 and their family home went into foreclosure.
She applied for a loan modification eight times - and finally got one. Valerie said her bank told her they lost her paperwork - over and over again. And she said bank representatives gave her conflicting information during the process.
“I didn't want to give up," she said. "I think that's what they wanted me to do, is give up."
Not long after she finally received her loan modification, she said she got a letter from the bank, saying her modification was denied. “My heart just sunk,” she recalled.
“Oh, that was terrible,” she said. “I mean, I just thought "how can they take it away? After we signed everything? I’ve been making my payments, they're always on time.”
The letter turned out to be a misunderstanding, but it was stressful for Valerie and her family.
“There was many, many times I didn't sleep,” she said. “I didn't want to lose my home. I didn't know what we were going to do.”
Now, Valerie is applying for an independent foreclosure review to see if the bank made errors along the way.
Home owners are eligible for a review if their home was in the foreclosure process during 2009 and 2010, and if the lender is participating in the program, and if the house was their primary residence.
Prospective applicants had until July 31 of this year to apply for the review process, but on Thursday, the deadline was extended to September 30.
If reviewers find mistakes by the bank and if they find those mistakes cost Valerie money, she may be able to get a check from the bank.
The office of the Comptroller of the Currency says more than 4 million people got foreclosure modification letters in the mail saying they could apply for reviews. Many people thought they were scams. Only about five percent of people eligible for the program have actually applied.
Some people like Valerie did not think the review letter was legitimate. She said she got several offers from shady companies saying they could save her home after it went into foreclosure.
She said her fight is not about the money, but about her home and her family. She also wants banks held accountable if they did something wrong.
"I’ve always felt that one half of the building doesn't know what the other half of the building is doing,” she said.
You may be eligible for foreclosure review if:
- Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
- Your mortgage load was serviced by a participating mortgage servicer
- The property was your primary residence
For the list of participating servicers and more info, go to the Independent Foreclosure Review website.