One unemployed older American’s miserable mortgage refinance saga

Jeffrey Koconis of WI, who was laid off after 33 years of service to one company, sent us his email correspondence with the bank that holds his mortgage.

Earlier this year,  Jeffrey tried to refinance his mortgage and lower his payments to make them more affordable, but his request was denied.  He is now depleting his IRA to keep his mortgage current and pay his living expenses.

Jeffrey is extremely frustrated by his bank’s lack of responsiveness and compassion.

Take a look:

I am submitting this email thread to illustrate an example of what is really happening
to us in our 50’s who have been unceremoniously thrown on the trash heap by
corporate America and our Government.  I don’t expect anything to change, my
experience is one of many, but while we may be an aging part of the population,
our voice needs to be heard.

From: Jeffrey Koconis
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 2:10 PM
To: Flynn, Philip
Subject: Customer Concern

Mr. Flynn, my name is Jeffrey Koconis, and I have been an Associated Bank
customer for about 15 years.  I have my checking account, mortgage, IRA, credit
card, and until recently, money market with your company.  I, like many
Americans, lost my job in 2009 after working 33 loyal years for a national
corporation, who determined I was expendable in their cost saving restructuring.

I have worked my whole life, paid taxes, raised a family and never took a dime
from anyone.  My income was slashed dramatically, and now I must survive on
a pension of $1,880 per month.  I have been able to make all my payments with
help from my savings which will be running out in the next few months.  Of course
my life style is now watching every penny.  I believed I could find work to help
me make my payments until I qualify for social security benefits at age 62, which is
about 2.5 years from now, when I would be able to afford all my bills.  I can’t get
companies to even respond, unless it’s an automated rejection response to my applications,
let alone be invited to an interview.  Age discrimination is alive and well.

The reason I’m explaining this to you is I applied for a refinance deal your company
offered which would have significantly reduced my mortgage payment, but of course
I was denied as my debt to income ratio was too high.  The incompetent manager of the
branch I worked with didn’t even know of any other program that I could pursue, I had
to explain to her about federal programs available.  You might want to check on your training
in the field.

I was then approached regarding a possible modification of my loan through Fannie Mae,
who holds the mortgage.  Well, to no surprise by me, I didn’t qualify for that either.  The
only advice I get is to try and sell my home.  That certainly is not what I prefer to do, and
cannot fathom how the system would rather I lose money by selling at a loss instead of
helping me avoid that, or more likely foreclosure.  Why wouldn’t I just foreclose then as I
really don’t care about my credit score at that point, I can’t qualify for any kind of loan now
with an outstanding credit score.

I understand other banks actually do care about their customers and are trying to help them get
through these very real, and tough economic times.  Instead of turning their backs on customers
like me they are indeed helping through individual modifications to avoid foreclosures.  I simply
cannot understand why your position is to just wash your hands of this, we are real people, not
numbers.  If you and your company would look beyond your ‘standard operating procedures’ for once,
and recognize what you are doing to people like me is not only just plain wrong, but unpatriotic as well.

I know you could help me if you really wanted to, at much less risk than what you are now accepting.
I say again, I have no motivation whatsoever to sell my home at a loss, and will likely let it go into
foreclosure.  If you can live with that, good for you, you probably never had to worry about losing your
home or stop doing anything but paying for necessities.

I hope you take my message seriously, I haven’t even spoke about not being able to afford medical
insurance or going to the doctor, when’s the last time you didn’t go to the doctor when you should
have because you couldn’t justify the expense?  I realize I’m likely speaking to deaf ears but needed
you to know what’s going on in the real world of us people who don’t have it so good right now, and nobody
really gives a damn.

Regards, Jeffrey Koconis

On Mar 31, 2011, at 4:04 PM, Flynn, Philip wrote:

Mr.  Koconis,

I will look into your situation when I return to my office tomorrow. I am personally sorry for the situation you are in and will see if the Bank can help.  I would add that I will ignore the personal insults you included in your message.

Phil Flynn

From: Jeffrey Koconis
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2011 5:30 PM
To: Flynn, Philip
Subject: Re: Customer Concern

I apologize of course, please know I am a very frustrated man right now.  I really
did not expect a response to be frank.  Thank you at least for listening.

Mr. Koconis,

No problem. I am having our mortgage people research your situation and we will be back to you early next week.

Phil Flynn

Philip B. Flynn
President & Chief Executive Officer
Associated Banc-Corp
1200 Hansen Road – MS 8000
Green Bay, WI 54304

From: Jeffrey Koconis
Date: April 1, 2011 4:29:04 PM CDT
To: “Flynn, Philip”
Subject: Re: Customer Concern

Thank you, it’s appreciated.

Mr. Koconis,

It’s no help but I’m sorry we don’t have any options to help your situation.

Phil Flynn


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