Banks in public eye due to evictions


Banks are in a tough spot when it comes to evictions.

There's no doubt many evictions are legitimate, and some are possibly legitimate but warrant some special attention. Evicting homeowners with terminal cancer falls in the latter category, warranting a look at two recent cases. Consider Cindi Davis of Mount Holly, North Carolina.

"Since 2008, Cindi's life has been about chemotherapy to fight what has turned into terminal breast cancer, and about finding the energy and money to save her home from foreclosure...In August, Wells Fargo told NBC Charlotte that Cindi's home wasn't in active foreclosure and no one had asked her to leave. But then, just two weeks later, a deputy served her with papers from the bank saying her house would be sold at the courthouse just six days before Christmas."

That sparked a public outcry, which prompted the bank to go easy.

"Wells Fargo has backed off," moving a foreclosure hearing "to 2013, allowing all parties more time to find a solution that keeps a dying woman in her home for Christmas," reports a local news outlet.

That seems like a kind move with no real revenue implications. For a different outcome, consider the eviction of Niko Black, who "was alone and ill when deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department arrived to evict her from her Garden Grove home on Shannon Avenue...The 37-year-old Mescalero Apache woman, who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of cancer, refused to open the door, saying that they had no legal right to be there. On the other side was a taped copy of a court order obtained from Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodore C. Albert in late August that she firmly believes should have prevented the OCSD from carrying out the eviction. The deputies acted anyway."

Once inside, one officer put "a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me," Black told local media. "There's no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head."

She started to have a seizure, and neighbors called for an ambulance. As of now, it's unclear who the servicer is. Some media outlets have indicated it is Wells Fargo, but the banks emailed us to say they are in fact not the servicer. We'll try to get more information.

Over time, these sorts of eviction mishaps can really help erode a brand. Not too long ago, recall that Wells Fargo foreclosed on a home and commenced with an eviction, even though the owners didn't even have a mortgage. The bank can't always control its contractors, but that's not really the point. It needs to understand that it is squarely in the media's eye on these issues as the nation's number one mortgage company.   

For more:
- here's the article about the Orange County woman
- here's an article about the North Carolina woman

Related articles:
Another mistaken eviction for Wells Fargo


Filed Under