A young Northern California woman might have saved her parents’ home from going to auction with a vestige of days past — the strongly-worded letter — made more potent by her posting it on Tumblr, the increasingly popular blogging platform. After a handful of reblogs, the author of the letter got word from Bank of America that they were willing to consider a loan modification for her parents, reports the Huffington Post.
Given the bank’s recent history, we must pose the question: is Bank of America only responding to potentially viral pleas for help?
Mary Schmidt, the young woman who wrote the letter, was aiming to save her parents’ Santa Rosa home from a foreclosure auction. Her parents fell behind on payments after her father suffered a stroke and they lost work and benefits — a story all too familiar in the United States these days. She took to Tumblr to pen an emotional plea to Bank of America to work with her parents, who had been living in that home for 23 years (meaning they are likely only a few years from paying down the principal on their loan).
In the letter, she takes BofA on an intimate tour of the home, pointing out all the scars left behind from the tough love a large family will give a home — holes in the walls from slammed doors, smaller holes left behind by hung artwork, etc. She doesn’t hold punches, though.
“You will notice railings on the walls,” she wrote. “Those are a new addition to our house. My brothers built them. They were for my dad, to help him learn to walk again after he suffered a massive stroke last November. You probably remember; it was right around the time when you sent my parents a letter telling them their loan modification had been rejected. We really appreciated that.”
After posting the letter to her blog, Schmidt received words of encouragement from others, and more importantly, contact information for executives at Bank of America, she explained in a follow up post. After contacting the executives and some media outlets, Schmidt received a phone call just two days after her initial blog post, from the office of the CEO. Turns out, they will be mailing an offer to her parents, the details of which are still undisclosed. For now, though, the auction has been delayed. Twenty-three years of home equity won’t slip through their fingers, for now.
Whether you find this story touching or troubling depends on just how cynical you have become. Taken on its own, it is inspiring: from Tumblr’s mouth to Brian Moynihan’s ears! But when one considers that there are plenty of Schmidt families out there without web-savvy daughters with Tumblr accounts, it’s troubling.
Recall that back in December, Bank of America lifted an Atlanta couple out of loan approval limbo only after the couple made a YouTube music video literally pleading with the lender to approve their loan.
Bank of America seems determined not to let a tale of poor customer service or corporate greed gain popularity on the Internet, but how concerned are they about the thousands of customers who likely stick to traditional channels of communication?
Read the HuffPo story here.