KY family struggles to save home from bank

By Shayla Reaves - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new national report suggests foreclosure filings could reach one million this year and the numbers continue to climb across Kentucky.

RealtyTrac Incorporated follows foreclosures and firm officials say such an increase would be "worse than ever recorded."

According to RealtyTrac research, lenders took over an estimated 528,000 homes in the first six months of 2010.

Jefferson County Kentucky's Master Commissioner Edith Halbleib said the county has experienced a 7.5 percent increase in 2010 compared to the same time period in 2009:

January - June 2009 Foreclosure Filings:

January - June 2010 Foreclosure Filings:

Halblieb says government programs have made it possible for some Jefferson County families to avoid their foreclosure proceedings actually reaching a judge. Still, across the state, not everyone has been as fortunate.

"They're going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers and travel time to take our home when they could have spent five minutes on the phone and set up a payment plan," said Jimmy Carter, talking about the foreclosure proceedings started by his family's bank, HSBC.

The Carters are now represented by Attorney Ninamary Buba Maginnis of Maginnis Law Office in Louisville. She says the family made repeated attempts to work with the bank for four months before Maginnis got involved late June.

Carter says the family couldn't get answers over the phone and were sometimes told information was lost. After unsuccessfully trying to keep the issue out of court, the judgment came down in June.

"I think when a homeowner is served with a legal proceeding and the bank is seeking to foreclosure on the property, the homeowner must come to court and file an answer and not just work with the bank on the sidelines," Maginnis said. "The court is not aware of that kind of work and they do not understand that this family wants to keep their home. That's part of the problem with these kinds of cases. Most go to default judgement because the families honestly believe that if they work with the bank they can save their home."

Jimmy's wife, Suzanne, says it's frustrating.

"We were trying to work with them and it moved past where we felt comfortable," Suzanne said.

The couple's children, ages 9 and 11, are also feeling the stress.

"My parents are working hard and we're just suffering," 9-year-old Fred Carter said.

Jimmy says he was laid off in November 2009 and that foreclosure proceedings began in February 2010. He found a new job and returned to work in June, but the situation with his home has made it difficult to even sleep.

"We want it over," Jimmy said. "We want to know whether we've got to go or we can stay."

On July 15 Maginnis filed a 50-page document in Trimble County Court, highlighting her concerns with claims made by HSBC Mortgage Corporation.

We tried to speak with Melissa Whalen who represents HSBC Mortgage Corporation and appeared in court Thursday, but she declined our request for comment, citing the family's privacy.

A hearing was scheduled for July 28, 2010 at 10 a.m. before Judge Karen Conrad in Trimble County.

Copyright 2010 WAVE news. All Rights Reserved.