After various communication problems and an underwater mortgage have led to the possibility of losing her house, young adult author Francesa Lia Block has taken to the Web to urge readers to express their dissatisfaction with Bank of America, the institution that holds Block's mortgage.
Block told The Los Angeles Times she has never missed a payment, but that the problem lies in the mortgage. Her mortage is interest-only, and the payments she would be required to make in a year would skyrocket.
Block, who is perhaps best known for her "Weetzie Bat" series published in 1989, bought the house with her mother in 2007. Then, when her mother died in 2008, Block says she spoke with a lawyer about the best way to proceed because the loan for the house had been through her mother. The lawyer, according to Block, didn’t think there would be a problem.
“She and I were very open about what was going on,” Block told The Los Angeles Times. “She, more than anything, wanted me and the kids to stay here. But it didn't help.”
The loan wasn’t able to go to Block because the amount of the loan was currently more than the house’s value, Block says the bank told her. The bank then said she’d be required to pay them $150,000 in cash, but Block says that while trying to search for a way to gather that money, she encountered communication problems with the bank and never heard back from them.
Block says she’s been talking to various representatives at the bank since then, some of whom have promised to call her back and haven’t, some of whom have called her back but haven’t been able to give an answer, and others who have provided conflicting suggestions as to what she should do.
Meanwhile, Block is encouraging others to tell Bank of America what they think of the bank’s treatment of her. The writer wrote about what was going on through her Facebook profile and on the site Save Francesa’s Faerie Cottage. On the website there are templates of letters and e-mails to send to Bank of America executives.
A recent post on the site, however, says that e-mail addresses of bank CEOs posted there don’t seem to be working, so visitors are urged instead to sign a petition at www.change.org.
On the website, Block posted the letter which she says she sent to the bank.
“I ask in good faith … that you give this responsible customer the opportunity to assume the loan and then pursue a modification so that we may all avoid the ensuing costs (financial for you, emotional for me and my two children) of foreclosure,” part of the letter reads.
The writer also posted a thank-you letter to visitors on the site.
"I ask that you let as many people as you can about this situation in the hopes that it will help others who have gone through what I am going through and perhaps, in some way, help me save my home for my family," Block wrote.
Block told The Los Angeles Times that she’d spoken to a bank representative who said the company had seen her website and wanted to talk things over with her, but she doesn’t know if anything will come of it.
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.