It’s difficult to imagine foreclosing on a 90 year old over a 27 cent mistake made in a payment.
Trump treasury secretary pick Steven Mnuchin’s bank foreclosed on 90-year-old woman who owed 27 cents
BY Tobias Salinger, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 1, 2016
PMA bank owned by Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary nominee, foreclosed on a 90-year-old Florida woman who owed 27 cents, reports revealed Thursday. The practices of OneWest Bank have received renewed scrutiny since the Republican president-elect announced the onetime Goldman Sachs banker as his pick Wednesday. Over 36,000 foreclosures followed Mnuchin and partners’ purchase of failed bank IndyMac in 2009, according to the California Reinvestment Coalition. “In essence what they did is they bought a foreclosure machine,” Kevin Stein, the housing advocacy group’s deputy director, told National Public Radio.
An 86-year-old California man told the radio station that OneWest refused to modify the home equity loan on him and his wife’s longtime home even though they qualified three times for a government-backed modification. The bank sold their home of 50 years in 2011. Enough Wall Street whiplash Outcry over OneWest’s foreclosures drew over 100 sign-waving and chanting protesters to Mnuchin’s $26 million family mansion in Bel Air that year. He later said he had been subjected to “public ire” in a divorce filing asking that the address be kept completely private.
Trump announced him as his pick to lead the Treasury Department on Wednesday. The Florida woman, Ossie Lofton, found herself facing a foreclosure by OneWest in 2014 after confusion about payments on her reverse mortgage, according to court papers obtained by Politico. Lofton sent a check for $423 in response to a bill for $423.30, the documents showed. The OneWest subsidiary responded by billing the Lakeland resident for $0.30, but Lofton sent a check back for only $0.03.
A nonprofit firm called Florida Rural Legal Services challenged the foreclosure in Polk County Circuit Court in October, Lofton’s lawyers told Politico.“I don’t know that they’re the worst, but I certainly think it’s criminal the way these servicers are treating elderly homeowners,” attorney Lynn Drysdale said. Representatives for Trump’s transition team and the bank that acquired OneWest last year, CIT Bank, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night.
Mnuchin, 53, told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that it was “unfortunate that anyone was foreclosed” but noted that IndyMac had originated the loans before his takeover.“We turned around a huge economic disaster,” he said.Mnuchin and his partners renamed IndyMac to OneWest after buying it from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for around $1.5 billion, according to the Journal. They later sold it to CIT for $3.4 billion, with several hundred million dollars going to Mnuchin, a source told the newspaper.
Mnuchin and his partners ended the mortgage practices that caused IndyMac to fail, but the FDIC picked up the tab for the worst assets left over. The FDIC has forked over $1.2 billion to OneWest since Mnuchin’s takeover deal, according to agency data tracked by Politico. STAND ALONE Homeowners protested IndyMac outside the OneWest Bank Center in Pasadena, Calif. in November 2009. Mnuchin and partners bought the failed bank, reformed its mortgage practices and renamed it OneWest that year. Yet the new bank also foreclosed on tens of thousands of homeowners nationwide in subsequent years. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)“We’re just coming out of a foreclosure crisis and a serious economic downturn,” National Consumer Law Center attorney Alys Cohen told the news outlet. “It’s not the time to appoint someone who sided with corporate America over real people.”Trump’s nominee faces a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee next year and an up-or-down vote by the full Senate. Republican Finance chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah praised Mnuchin as having “a singular and storied pedigree” when word of the pick surfaced.“Steven Mnuchin will be central to helping the Republican-led Congress advance meaningful reforms that will reignite the economy with innovation, investment and job creation,” Hatch said in a statement. Trump Treasury pick Mnuchin vows tax cuts, & regulatory rollbacks. Yet Democratic ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said in his own statement that he wants to “learn much more about Mr. Mnuchin’s views” during the confirmation process.