Loan modification saves family from foreclosure


Only last month, a family gathering at one house on Castellina Drive was not going to happen. The Flores-Patino family was facing foreclosure and was expecting to be homeless; so this Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks.

"This is what our home is about, family being together celebrating, celebrating the fact we're going to be able to stay here many, many years and see my children grow up here," says Gabriela Flores.

This is a family that was working hard to live the American dream. Jose Patino owns his own carpet cleaning business. However, the recession caused an 80 percent drop in income. Before long, they were a year behind in house payments.

Last month, they joined more than 5,000 people who showed up one day at a loan modification event at the Cow Palace. A non-profit group called NACA -- Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America -- put distressed homeowners across tables with their lenders to work out a solution.

And for the Flores-Patino family, it led to the break they needed -- a modified loan that lowered their monthly payment significantly.

"The last payment was $7,200, something like that, and the new payment they propose to us is $3,500," says Jose.

The process didn't go quickly or smoothly. Earlier this week, the lender -- Bank of America -- was still asking for paperwork. NACA, the nonprofit group, looked into the situation and got the roadblocks removed.

"It means a lot because I've lived here a long time, and I'm used to being here," says Gabriela Flores, one of the kids in the household.

The modified 3.5 percent loan will save the family at least $100,000 in interest. What that means is one less foreclosure sign, one less homeless family, and one less bank-owned house that will be put up for sale on an already depressed market.

Perhaps most important of all, the loan modification process gives the Flores-Patino family every reason to be thankful as they gather at the table this Thanksgiving.

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