Dear Pete: Why Did You Sell My Mortgage?
Sorry for the lapse in my long covid updates. The last six weeks have been rough having lost my mother unexpectedly in February due to a massive stroke and dealing with my dad who has dementia and failing health. This is while moving my family out of our home in Denver to live with family for financial measures. This is to "batten down the hatches" to weather the financial storm related to my 26 month battle with Long Covid. Today, I will focus on the financial devastation that many grapple with. I start with a letter to the CEO of my (previous) mortgage company, Universal Lending.
Dear Pete (Lansing:)
First let me introduce myself. I am a married Colorado native with three young adult kids; one still in college. I (used to be) a marathon runner and triathlete who enjoyed racing with my special needs buddy Liam as part of Team Hoyt San Diego.
Like many, we refinanced what I thought was my last home in December, 2020 with your company, Universal Lending headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Re-financing was the start of a number of financial moves we made to adjust to my new world as someone suffering from Long Covid on disability. If that term is not familiar to you, Long Covid is a post viral illness that affects up to 1/3 of the people that get Covid that "attacks" several systems in the body.
After trying to work through a 100 day fever in 2020, I filed for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) then subsequently filed for short-term disability, and then long term disability. After over 100 Dr. appointments, and three trips to Mayo Clinic, I was officially diagnosed with Long Covid. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, neuropathy (that affects my feet, legs, numb fingers, and now chest spasms.) Brain fog is "thick" as I struggle with words at times and trying to remember simple things like what book I'm trying to read, or even the title of the book.
Like many Americans in my position, we took advantage of the CARES Act to put mortgage payments on hold. Your company quickly and graciously approved my forbearance/deferral in December of 2020, but Universal Lending (I can only presume) sold my mortgage to BSI Financial Services which on the surface seems to be a mortgage company but in practice behaves as a debt collection agency.
Within one week of taking over the loan, I received a letter from BSI stating I was in default with the loan with "notice prior to residential foreclosure."
Let me point out that my credit score is in the 800's and I can't think of a single late mortgage payment in over thirty years of owning a home in Colorado. You may ask "why are you bringing this to my attention when we no longer own your loan?" Good question Pete. I will quote your company's mission statement of "People Helping People Achieve Their Dreams." Help me understand how losing a home or homelessness (I don't think it will come to that but have to take the certified letter seriously) is helping achieve my dreams?
Short of Christopher Reeves' Superman flying backwards to change events in time, I can't change the position I'm in financially, medically, or the resulting clinical depression that accompanies my plight. I can respectfully ask you to reconsider the barbaric "selling of paper" to disreputable organizations like BSI that adds a new layer of hell to my world.
My second request is you buy back my loan so I can deal with a reputable organization vs BSI who had a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lawsuit filed in 2019 for improper business practices and who boasts a one star rating out of sixty reviews on Consumer Affairs. It does beg the question of why you have a business relationship with them?
Believe it or not, I don't try and spend my days on disability doing nothing but complaining; I've used my (what used to be a) running blog as a platform for advocacy for awareness, research, and treatment--unfortunately we are still in the "research phase" of this nightmare.
Businesses like Universal Lending can do better by me and many others in my situation. Happy to get on the phone with you or someone on your team to help educate you on my situation and other Coloradoans that likely rely on your company to (stealing your line)"Achieve Their Dreams."
Footnote: There are other financial aspects that people with long covid have to endure. I am actually one of the luckier ones as many suffer loss of employment, homes, income, and careers. My career is on hold and if I'm honest, I don't know I can return to the high performance I had before Covid. Most of the Long Covid people I talk to aren't as fortunate as I am as they are limited to filing for Social Security Disability with many are getting rejected. My disability checks are less than half of what I was making--most people can't maintain or survive with a 50% pay cut and while I have this in place, reviews of my insurance benefits are frequent leading to additional stress not knowing if I will continue to have this "safety net." Compound that with the high cost of COBRA Insurance (mine started at $2,000 a month) makes for a house (pun intended) of cards.