The recession raked the Paoli’s over the cut-back coals. Laura Paoli said her husband’s job cut back to almost half of his hours and there wasn’t much coming in from her job.
Making the house payment impossible, Laura negotiated a loan modification with her mortgage holder Litton Loan. The bank agreed to lower the mortgage from $170,000 to $120,000.
Then cracks in the ceiling alerted the family to a sinkhole, and Laura went back to Litton Loan for another modification. She informed Litton Loan of the sinkhole and asked if they’d be willing to take $100,000 cash rather than modify the loan.
The lender agreed to take $100,000, according to a letter dated December 22. The offer was only good for 10 days but Laura claims she did not get the notice until January, when she sent Litton Loan an insurance settlement made out to both she and the bank for $214,000.
"I endorsed the check and sent it to them," said Laura who was later told that they would no longer stand by the agreement because they didn’t "realize the check was for so much."
Laura tried to negotiate with them several times and even had an attorney send them a letter. But even if Litton Loan demanded the Paoli’s pay the original mortgage in full, the company would still owe this family $44,000.
Jackie Callaway did some researching and found 229 consumer complaints have been filed against the bank with the office of financial regulation in Tallahassee.
"I was really worried they were going to take the whole check," Laura said.
Jackie asked Litton Loan about the status of Paoli’s check. In an e-mail, a spokesperson told her: "We found that we had verbally made arrangements to accept the settlement beyond the deadline that was originally missed by the customer. In light of this we honored the original settlement offer."
"This was a relief. This was absolutely a relief," Laura said.
Jackie returned to Laura’s house a week later after FedEx hand delivered an envelope.
"And there it is, the check," Laura said, "Thank you. Thank you so much."
$114,500, money Laura never thought she’d see but desperately needed to repair her home.
"I can’t even believe it," Laura said, "this would never have been possible without your help."