The testimony of Julie Cheney, a surviving family member of a OneWest reverse mortgage borrower, about the proposed OneWest and CIT Group merger, is featured in its entirety below. If you were unable to attend the hearing, CRC live-blogged it here and you may also find our CIT Group/OneWest Merger resource page helpful as well. Pictures of the rally against the merger are available here.
TESTIMONY OF JULIE CHENEY
PUBLIC MEETING FEBRUARY 26, 2015, 8 AM to 4 PM
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK, LOS ANGELES BRANCH
My name is Julie Cheney, I live in Simi Valley California and I am a computer programmer.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My testimony is in opposition to the proposed merger of OneWest Bank (OWB) and CIT Financial.
I was a Successor Trustee of my parents Trust when they were sold a Financial Freedom reverse mortgage they didn’t need, while my dad was in the last month of his life, with terminal cancer, on narcotic pain medication, and my mother had Alzheimer’s disease and could not complete a sentence.
A month after dad’s death we found the Financial Freedom loan docs and learned my parents received a lump sum of $80,000 that sat untouched in their bank account.
The nightmare began when we tried to give the money back to OneWest Bank 3 times over the course of a year after dad’s death. OWB refused each time.
OneWest Bank knowingly and wrongfully foreclosed on our property 3 times.
The 1st Notice of Default (NOD) in 2010 falsely claimed mom didn’t occupy the property as her primary residence when OneWest Bank had verified evidence she did. This NOD was rescinded with HUD intervention.
The 2nd NOD in 2012 cited the same 2010 occupancy default letter.
On the 2nd defective NOD we appealed to the court for an injunction and OneWest Bank voluntarily agreed to rescind the 2nd NOD.
The day the 2nd NOD was rescinded a third NOD was recorded concurrently. OneWest Bank cut off all communication with us.
Finally, we received a letter from Gail Balettie Sr. VP of Reverser Mortgage Operations acknowledging our intention to retain the property but demanding certified funds within the 2 business days before the scheduled auction. The payoff included an unverified loan balance, unauthorized legal fees and other foreclosure related fees for OWB’s 3 wrongful foreclosures.
Our property was wrongfully auctioned by OneWest Bank April 2, 2013
Over 8 years from 2005 to 2013 OneWest Bank:
Recorded false documents with the county recorder
Refused to accept annual occupancy certificates because they were not “certified” by a notary
Violated our HUD rights & all attempts to retain the property
Failed to provide a Single point of contact
Inflated an appraisal in order to prevent us from exercising the 95% option
Charged unauthorized legal, service and foreclosure related fees to the loan payoff
Wrongfully auctioned our property
All violations of federal regulations, consumer rights and protections were knowingly directed from the Senior Vice President level or higher.