Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bookmarks: Bank of America and Jeezus

Don't mess with Liz Raci.

When Liz and her family bought their home during the last housing bubble, they got a 5-year fixed, 25-year adjustable rate loan. Their plan was to refinance before the end of those first five years.

(We're entering a new bubble. Don't do this.)

At the time, many people did the same, and what happened to Liz happened to a lot of those people: due to its own error, Bank of America raised the adjustable rate so Liz's monthly payment was three times higher than in the original agreement. Liz knew this was wrong, so she took on the bank.

That, and she didn't tell her family their home was in jeopardy. That's a lot of pressure. Don't do this either.

In the book, Liz leads us through her confrontations with Bank of America as well as Jesus, where she learns things about herself, good and bad, that she never expected to know.

Here are a few things we learn:

When you know you're right, don't give up. Be a nice, sweet, constant pain in the ass.

Take notes. Keep names, dates and phone numbers.

Whatever your faith, there will be times it fails you. Let it fail. Be brave. Demand answers from your god.

Liz tells her story in a clear and funny voice. I helped a little with copy editing. Liz knows how to tell a story, but she knows her limitations. In the acknowledgements she thanks "Petrea Burchard, without whom this book would have no punctuation."

I asked Liz if she wanted to say anything in this post. She sent me two of her favorite quotes from the feedback she's received:

"I too am in loan modification and was going to just walk away, it has been so long and hard. And I thank you, now I am going to fight and stay in my home."

"A friend recommended your book and I do not have any loan issues but it made me feel courageous and gave me a fighting spirit, yes, never give up."

Bank of America and Jeezus is, on the surface, about finding faith. But really it's about three years of incredible persistence and personal power, bolstered at times by faith and at times by humor, and mostly by monumental stubbornness for which BofA was no match.

The ebook is available here.


Notes on other booky stuff:

Today at noon:
Among others, Margaret Finnegan and I will be signing Literary Pasadena: The Fiction Edition at the Prospect Park Books booth (#63) at the LA Times Festival of books. Click on the link to Margaret to win a free copy of Camelot & Vine.


Adele said...

This sounds like a great book. I tend to be a "nice, sweet, constant pain in the ass," as a general way of being, so I think I would like her a lot! Have a great time at the Festival!

dive said...

Inspirational story, Petrea. Hoorah for Liz!
Hey, my copy of LitPas arrived this side of the Pond at last. So good to see you and Maraget there, but utterly delighted to find you right up at the front.
By the way, "Petrea Burchard, without whom this book would have no punctuation" has to be the most awesome tribute I've seen.

Petrea Burchard said...

You'd like each other, Adele, but for different reasons!

Dive, I was thrilled to find my story at the front, too, until I realized it was alphabetical by author. I'm still very happy to have a piece published in the book.

Susan Campisi said...

Sounds inspiring. I love this lesson: "When you know you're right, don't give up. Be a nice, sweet, constant pain in the ass." I'd like to follow Liz's (and Adele's) lead and live by it.

Have a great time at the festival!

Petrea Burchard said...

I have a hard time with the sweet part. I haven't gone up against a Goliath like the one Liz faced. But when I call one of these entities (Providence St. Joseph comes to mind, don't ever ever go there), I find it hard to keep my temper when their answer is "too bad." Liz lost her temper, too, but not her determination.

Bellis said...

I assume Liz won her case? I do hope so. The Goliaths feel they can ignore the Davids, and they usually get away with it. We need more Lizzes to fight the fight. And to teach us how to stay sweet, calm and persistent.

Ms M said...

Good review -- sounds like an insightful book. Yay for Liz for standing her ground!

Hope you have fun at the festival!

Petrea Burchard said...

She did and she didn't, Bellis. She got to keep her home, that's the most important thing. I won't tell you the rest.

Ms. M, I went with our Ms. Finnegan. I don't know about her but I am worn out!

Zebrah Smacks said...

Thank you all, to update. B of A and other banks were forced to pay the government 8.5 billion dollars to help homeowners with loss of their home.....guess how much $ we got? Stand back now, you will be shocked!
$300 - yes, a whopping $300.

woo hoo thanks Gov.

Zebrah Smacks said...

oops Zebrah Smacks my kids not for profit featured in the book-- this is Liz Raci.

TheChieftess said...

I've avoided Bank of America since the 70's!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Try, Chieftess, but you can't escape. We avoided BofA too, but at the beginning of the recession they purchased the company we owed our mortgage to.
We also at one time had a small loan with Chase, and considering the &hitty service I'd rather be with BofA. Not much of a choice.

Liz, I hope you bought yourself something nice with your $300. Like 1% of a loan...