The testimony of Karen Hunziker, a surviving family member about the proposed OneWest and CIT Group merger is featured in its entirety below. If you were unable to attend the hearing, CRC live-blogged it here and you may also find our CIT Group/OneWest Merger resource page helpful as well. Pictures are available here.
TESTIMONY OF KAREN HUNZIKER
PUBLIC MEETING FEBRUARY 26, 2015, 8 AM to 4 PM
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK, LOS ANGELES BRANCH
Name: KAREN HUNZIKER
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My testimony is in opposition to the proposed merger of OneWest Bank (OWB) and CIT Financial.
My name is Karen Hunziker. I am a 19 year homeowner of the home I shared with my husband in Pollock Pines, California. I am an artist craftswoman.
I am considered a Non-Borrowing Spouse. I was 60 and my husband was 65 when the originating salesperson told us to remove my name from title. Although we were both very concerned that I could be giving up my property rights, the salesperson assured us I would be protected until 62 when I was put on title. On my 62nd birthday my husband and I met with our Trust Attorney who informed us the only way I could be on title was to refinance into a new reverse mortgage and bring $60,000 to close the loan. That was impossible because of the first reverse mortgage.
My husband passed away in May 2014 and 10 days later OWB sent me a repayment letter and a PRE-FORECLOSURE letter saying they would initiate foreclosure in 30 days.
OWB has denied all HUD rights and consumer protections.
• OWB claimed I have less rights than other heirs because I am a non-borrowing spouse;
• OWB Made a legal determination to the validity of my legal authority as Successor Trustee;
• OWB demanded my Trust be recorded violating my privacy rights and California Law;
• OWB Refused to communicate with me directly;
• OWB used the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights to Accelerate foreclosure, violate Federal Regulations and my consumer rights
Additionally OWB has failed to provide a Single Point of Contact. This creates a communication maze impossible to navigate for the consumer to get customer support or guidance:
One day, I called 5 times to verify I received the 90 day extension OWB promised in writing. I spoke to 5 different people all with a different story. In part, I was told:
• OWB didn’t receive the documents faxed multiple times,
• The documents needed to be reviewed by their legal department,
• I had to call back in 5 days
• I used up all my extensions.
• I didn’t get the documents in on time,
• The last person told me my property was scheduled for auction in 30 days.
At all times OWB refused to put any phone conversation in writing.
My story illustrates the consistent pattern and practice of OneWest Bank to aggressively foreclose and evict non-borrowing spouses from their homes.
I request an Investigation, audit, and review of OWB Reverse Mortgage Loan Files
• For the servicing violations of Federal Regulations and consumer rights
• To ensure compliance with existing laws and regulations.
Documented evidence of my testimony can be provided upon request.