Two months after losing her house to foreclosure, Sue Wilson will be moving back home.
“I go back in my house April the first,” Wilson said.
Wilson took out a $54,000 mortgage on her home near Crowder’s Mountain in March 2006.
She fell behind on payments after being involved in a wreck near her home on Jan. 27, 2007, that killed three Bessemer City High School seniors.
Wilson said that Ocwen Loan Servicing deceived her by telling her that things were fine while starting the process to foreclose her home. An Ocwen official said he didn’t know how communication broke down between the company and Wilson, but denied claims that the company wanted to foreclose on her home.
Company representatives said they wanted to see what they could do to help Wilson get back into her home after The Gaston Gazette contacted the company to discuss Wilson’s account.
She called the company after a representative contacted the newspaper.
“He just said ‘Do you want back in your house?’” Wilson said. “And I said, ‘I sure do.’”
Her first $500 monthly payment will start April 1. It’s an amount that Wilson said she can handle.
“They lowered my payments, put me on a fixed interest rate,” Wilson said. “He was extra nice. I couldn’t believe it.”
Having until April also gives her enough time to get ready to move in and to line up her finances to ensure that she can make payments.
Foreclosures in Gaston County jumped in 2002 and have continued to increase each year since. Rising foreclosures have also been occurring across the country with a subprime-mortgage-market meltdown.
Wilson’s mortgage problems started in January 2007, when her vehicle was hit by Zachary Ruffner, who was then a senior at Bessemer City High School. The Highway Patrol estimated that Ruffner was going about 80 mph in the 45-mph curvy stretch of Sparrow Springs Road.
Three teenagers riding with Ruffner died. The impact crushed Wilson’s right arm. She has four pins, a plate and screws in that arm now. She also bruised her heart and her chest.
“I stayed in intensive care four days,” Wilson said.
For three months, she was out of work and drew disability.
Then she went back to her packing job at Ortronics in Dallas. Two months later, the plant shut down.
Wilson took out a $54,000 mortgage in March 2006 to do some home repairs and pay off some medical bills.
Wilson, 69, has owned the brick home since 1957, when family members gave her a parcel of land to build a house after she got married. Her husband died four years ago, and since then, she’s lived alone in her home.
But by August 2007, she’d fallen behind on her mortgage payments.
Wilson contacted Ocwen Loan Servicing when she couldn’t pay her monthly bill.
“I called them and told them my situation, and told them as soon as I got my settlement, I would catch up,” Wilson said. “They said, ‘OK, everything’s fine.’”
Bill Rinehart, the vice president of Ocwen Financial Corp., said he wasn’t sure how clear the communication was between Wilson and Ocwen. If the representative believed that the settlement was eminent, there would be “no need to do anything other than remit the funds to us when she got them.”
On Sept. 28, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Department brought Wilson a letter stating that she needed to be at the courthouse for a special proceeding.
Wilson called Ocwen.
“I said, ‘Should I go to the courthouse?’ and he said ‘No, not if you’re going to send in money,’” she said.
“Is it possible somebody said, ‘Don’t worry about it?’” Rinehart asked. “I don’t know. We instruct our folks pretty clearly. We never give legal advice.”
Wilson’s house was auctioned to HSBC Bank on the courthouse steps on Nov. 21, 2007, for $52,080.
She received a settlement check from Nationwide Insurance of $24,750 - $17,000 after attorney fees - just after Christmas.
Rinehart said that Wilson’s account showed that she made payments through November 2006 then stopped.
On Feb. 26, 2007, Wilson and Ocwen agreed on a forbearance plan, which allows a person to delay or reduce payments for a time. As long as a person makes payments, foreclosure is delayed, Rinehart said.
Wilson then paid $500 a month until August, Rinehart said.
Company records show that Ocwen called Wilson in October and November, Rinehart said. Notes indicate that representatives had specific conversations with Wilson telling her the sale date and that Ocwen needed signed plans and money before Nov. 21 to stop the sale.
“I’m highly confident we delivered that message clearly,” Rinehart said.
Wilson called Ocwen on Dec. 26, according to company records, saying she had received a settlement and wanted to see if Ocwen could rescind the sale.
He isn’t sure what happened between then and Jan. 4. That’s the day that Wilson was evicted.
Investors lose an average of $53,000 on every foreclosure, Rinehart said. Claims that a company makes money on a foreclosure are not true, he said.