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A large bank has been given hefty fines for handling a foreclosure case improperly. The Bank of America, a popular bank in Florida and across the country, has been fined $45 million for its response to one couple who tried in vain to stop their home from being foreclosed on. The husband and wife attempted to get the bank to lower the mortgage payment that they had to pay each month. When the bank refused, the home ended up in foreclosure.

When the couple first asked the bank to lower the monthly rate, the bank told them that they were not eligible for a loan modification because they were not behind on their payments. They were encouraged to default on the loan so that they could qualify. Against their better judgment, the couple followed the advice and let their payments get behind.

Instead of modifying the loan as agreed, the bank then foreclosed on their home. Although their credit scores were high at the time, this led to them having to file bankruptcy. That should have stopped all foreclosure proceedings, but it did not. According to the ruling, the bank continued to harass the couple, knocking on their doors and windows, ringing their doorbell and staking out their home. The bank was fined for its refusal to follow the law and cease foreclosure proceedings after bankruptcy was filed.

In order to avoid foreclosure, Florida residents may choose to file bankruptcy. With the help of a bankruptcy lawyer, they can be sure to file the proper paperwork to stop foreclosure or harassment from debt collectors. Once someone has filed bankruptcy on a debt, according to the law that creditor is not allowed to continue trying to collect that debt. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can help with these proceedings.

Source: bankrate.com, “Judge slaps $45M fine on Bank of America over improper foreclosure“, Robin Saks Frankel, April 2, 2017