Team 12 Investigates: Couple faces foreclosure after mail mix-up
Mr. and Mrs. Wong have lived at the same address on Rugby Road since 1979. Today -- they almost lost that home in an ongoing foreclosure case, regardless of having the money to pay off their previous installments in full.
Mr. Wong, an 81-year-old retired engineer, started showing signs of dementia in 2018. That same year, the bank handling their mortgage, Citibank, changed its mortgage loan service provider to Cenlar, a third-party company.
When that transfer happened, the bank says it sent letters to the Wong home, asking them to sign off on Cenlar's continuation of their autopay plan, but the Wongs never signed the document, assuming the literature was junk mail, and having never heard of Cenlar.
Now, three years later, their mortgage hearing delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. and Mrs. Wong's daughter, Simone Wong, reached out to Team 12 Investigates. She's been fighting for her parents to keep their home for almost three years.
Team 12 Investigates verified that the Wong family does have untouched funds in their bank account, which they've since moved to Santander, to cover all of the mortgage installments they would owe if their automatic payments never stopped. Simone Wong says the banks refused to act in good faith, and to accept the money, which they're willing to pay in full.
Instead, News 12 obtained paper correspondence between the Wong family and their bank, which offers only one alternative to foreclosure -- a new loan of 6.125% percent, for an additional 40 years.
We reached out to both banks, which did not issue comment by our requested deadline. Instead, the Wongs tell News 12 that they reached out to the Wong's private attorney, offering to reinstate their loan and to waive all late fees.
News 12 reached out to Citibank and Cenlar. Cenlar released a statement saying, "At Cenlar, we take seriously any occurrence of homeowner complaints. However, after a thorough exploration of the facts in this case, we do not have any evidence that the allegations made by the homeowners have any merit. We always want to do everything we can to help keep homeowners in their homes – that include educating homeowners about their mortgage loan requirements as well as offering and providing mortgage assistance solutions, which we did in this instance. To that end, we are working diligently with the owner of the mortgage servicing rights and the related investor to approve non-standard options that may assist the homeowners."
This story is ongoing.