Banks' Plan to Avoid Foreclosures?

Published 03/26 2012 06:45PM

Updated 03/26 2012 06:49PM

RANTOUL -- One bank plans to offer a way to bail out many homeowners. Bank of America announced a new "mortgage to lease" program. It would give homeowners the chance to let their mortgages go without being forced to move. But, one Rantoul woman isn't convinced.
    WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield finds out if the program is available locally. Currently, Bank of America is doing a test run on 1,000 homeowners to see how it goes. If it works, many people would get a second chance, but possibly lose a lot in the process.
    Julie Ingold grew up in a trailer. So, for her, buying this house was a milestone.
    "I was 19 years old and proud to buy the house. It was actually a birthday gift for my mom."
    Her mother can't work, and since Julie lost her well-paying job, she's faced foreclosure twice. Even having smaller mortgage payments hasn't helped.
    "I'm living paycheck to paycheck."
    "We try to help each other the best we can, but it's not easy."
    So, you would think she would jump at the idea of taking the mortgage off her hands. But, she's not.
    "It's the American dream to own your own home. And to think about losing your home, all your dreams are out of the window."
    She questions the bank's program to forgive the mortgage and let you pay rent to stay.
    "My question is, are the payments less expensive for the people living in the home?"
    The answer is yes. And you wouldn't pay property tax or insurance. But, there's a catch. You can only rent for three years, and you lose ownership of your home. To Ingold, it's not worth it.
    "If you can't refinance and get your house back, I don't think I would do it. It's a big accomplishment for a 19 year old. I'm 30, I've had it for 10, 11 years. I am almost there. getting it paid off."
    There are certain qualifications for the program like having a Bank of America loan, and being 60-days past due on your mortgage.
    It's still in the development stage, so the structure could change. Payments would be the same or less than the average price of a rental in the homeowner's area, so in most places it would be cheaper.

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