Judge slaps bank down

Ruling in favor of New York couple who faced foreclosure after failing to pay mortgage bill.

By Kim Peterson Nov 30, 2009 2:24PM
auction © MedioImagesA New York judge is fed up with a California bank called OneWest, calling its aggressive moves to foreclose on customers "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive."

And just to make sure the bank understood him, Judge Jeffrey Spinner has erased the $525,000 in mortgage debt one couple owed to the firm.

OneWest received nearly $815 million in federal bailout money, according to The New York Post. Yet the bank has a record of sending customers into foreclosure when they can't make mortgage payments.

The case in front of spinner involved one Long Island couple, Greg Haroski and Diane Yano-Horoski, who refinanced their home with part of a $292,500 sub-prime loan from Deutsche Bank.

The loan's initial interest rate was 10.375%, and it later went to 12.375%, the Post reports. The couple had trouble making payments because of Haroski's health problems, and the foreclosure was approved last January.

Spinner ruled that the couple doesn't have to pay $291,000 in principal and $235,000 in interest and penalties.

Spinner excoriated OneWest for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the dollar amounts at stake in the case, and for its treatment of the couple over months of hearings. OneWest's conduct was "inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious," Spinner wrote.

The bank is also trying to foreclose on an 89-year-old woman in California, even after two court orders have told it to stop, the Post reports.
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