One of the Tampa Bay area's top banks accused of abusing loan customers is part of a state and federal settlement for more than a half billion dollars.
Because so many Florida borrowers lost their homes after taking a mortgage out through SunTrust, people in our state will get the lion share of the money.
"I call them bullies in the bank. They smile on the front end then growl on the back end."
That's the impression of Pastor William Boss after trying to modify the terms of a SunTrust mortgage on his Greater Faith Christian Church in Lakeland. Boss says members of his congregation have been through even worse.
"Can you image the psychosis behind a child who is being put out of a home because of those persons who are representing banks, because of loss of paperwork, because of insensitivity or some who really don't care?" asked Rev. Boss.
More than 8,000 Florida borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure from 2008 to 2013 will share in a $40 million payout from SunTrust. The individual amount will depend on how many people apply.
The Atlanta-based bank, among the biggest in Florida, was found to have charged unauthorized fees, failed to apply payments accurately, misled borrowers and robo-signed foreclosure documents.
In a prepared statement, Suntrust's Chairman William H. Rogers, Jr. said in part, "We are pleased to have resolved these legacy mortgage matters. Like most major financial institutions, we are addressing issues related to mortgage matters stemming from the financial crisis and recession period."
Boss said SunTrust eventually modified the mortgage on the church, and he's happy to know federal and state pressure forced the bank to now do the right thing.
"I'm not saying all of them are bad, but this is an opportunity and a wake-up call for the nation," said Boss.
Adding up consumer compensation and fines, SunTrust is on the hook for close to a billion dollars nationwide. Regulators say you will be contacted if you qualify for compensation or a loan modification.