Home heads for foreclosure after broken promise

The foreclosure rate on prime fixed-rate loans doubled in the last year. (ABC7 Photo)

November 3, 2010 9:19:00 AM PDT
An executive at Chase Bank promised in May the bank would meet with Bay Area housing advocates to discuss ways to slow the tide of foreclosures. Chase CEO James Dimon made that pledge at a bank shareholder meeting in New York.

The promise was made to a distressed Bay Area homeowner after he spoke at that meeting to tell his story. Chase broke its promise to meet, and now the bank is taking the man's home.

Jose Vega and his wife Lucy begin are packing up their belongings. His nearly two year struggle to save his home in Pittsburg from foreclosure is now over.

"Right now it's sad. But there's always that sense of relief that the nightmare will soon be over," he said.

The hardest thing for Jose is the toll the ordeal has taken on his family. He says a year ago, the stress nearly tore his marriage apart and last week when the packing boxes arrived, it hit his 10-year-old son Roberto.

"He just broke down and all his little friends just kind of gathered around him and started hugging him and giving him that support," he said.

Those feelings of stress, fear and uncertainty children feel can be subconsciously passed on by their parents.

"Kids are going to pick up the emotions of their parents. So if you're worried, your kids are likely to be worried. So it's just to be aware of how incredibly contagious emotions are," Christine Carter, Ph.D., from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley said.

Carter says parents she says need to be honest with their children about any anger they feel about the situation.

Jose has been open with his children and has channeled his energy into positive action. He's taken his children to community forums and even on stage with him when he addressed the chief of President Obama's making home affordable program.

7 On Your Side asked him about Chase CEO James Dimon's broken promise to meet with him and the group he volunteers for, the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization.

"There's a point they grew so big, the lost that human touch and right now, we're just numbers, we're just statistics," Jose said.

According to the treasury department, chase has granted 145,000 loan modifications since May of 2009. The industry publication "Inside Mortgage Finance" reports the bank foreclosed on 255,000 properties in just the first six months of this year.

Chase reported third quarter earnings of $4.4 billion and Jose says he holds no grudges and that's something Carter says is important. She stresses the importance of balancing negative feelings with positive ones.

"What is it you're still thankful for? You still have each other, perhaps you still have your health," she said. "Go around the table and say what you feel thankful for, one good thing that happened to you during the day. You're actually cultivating a positive emotion."

Jose is thankful for a new permanent position with the U.S. Census Bureau, but that's now all.

"In the midst of the whole tragedy, there's something real special for us and it is the love that we have for each other and how we're going to come along and we're going to be stronger than ever," he said.

In fact, he recently pledged to renew his wedding vows Lucy.

"We're going through this together and our love for each other is going to make us stronger and better people," Jose said.

Chase says it went ahead with the foreclosure after Jose declined a loan modification offer he considered insignificant and it declined to comment on why the promised meeting never occurred. Jose hopes to work to help other families losing their homes get through the ordeal.


Load Comments