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Hearing Held To Address Mishandled Foreclosures

Congressional hearing held in Chicago over mishandled foreclosures

At a congressional hearing headed by Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley on Oct. 4, 2010, David Sunlin, Senior V.P. at Bank of America, was in the hot seat over mishandled foreclosures. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – First there was GMAC, then JP Morgan Chase, now Bank of America. All three have halted thousands of foreclosures after bank officials admitted the paperwork may have been flawed. On Monday, Chicago was the site of one of the first congressional hearings looking into what happened.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker talked to a Bank of America homeowner now facing foreclosure.

Roberto and Socorrow Rios are scheduled to be evicted from their home of 31 years — in just 25 days. This, after his pay was cut and she lost her job.

“You never imagine you’re going to go through something like this,” said Roberto. “You’ve been working for so many years and you end up with nothing.”

The institution foreclosing on the house where the couple has raised their two daughters is Bank of America.

It’s the third bank to freeze foreclosures after officials admitted some of the paperwork used to kick thousands of people out of their homes may have been mishandled.

“We understand this is a national concern,” said David Sunlin, Senior V.P. at Bank of America.

On Monday, at a congressional hearing headed by Representative Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley, Sunlin was on the hot seat.

“What are you doing differently, now that you’ve learned you have a problem?” asked Rep. Gutierrez.

“We’ve examined the process by which we filed those documents with the courts, to make sure we meet the full standard of the law,” said Sunlin.

Corporate leaders from Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had the same answer: that the problem was under review.

It was an insufficient answer to the city aldermen who represent thousands of homeowners in their wards who are facing foreclosure.

Ald. Dick Mell says he was not satisfied with the answer, “because they don’t know the answer, either.”

The Rios’ don’t know if their foreclosure was among those done incorrectly. They just hope the hearings will result in some kind of relief for them, and others.

“We don’t want to live here for free, we want to pay,” said Rios. “But we want to pay according to what we make now.”

The congressmen say Monday’s hearing was the first of many. Their aim is to get the banks to change the way they process foreclosures, in order to keep more Americans from losing their homes.