Florida Man Almost Loses Home Over 80 Cents

Tom Mudie almost lost his home over underpaying a mortgage by 80 cents.

Jan. 5, 2012 — -- A Florida man who is trying to get a loan modification from Bank of America is worried he may lose his home over an 80 cent mistake.

Tom Mudie, 56, arranged a three-month trial period that would allow him to obtain a loan modification for his home in Largo, Fla. But a slip of the finger on a telephone payment system and he accidentally underpaid one of the trial payments by 80 cents, putting his house in jeopardy of being foreclosed.

"It was unbelievable that with a simple mistake of 80 cents you could lose your home," he said. "It kind of ruined my Christmas. It has been stressful that I could come home and find a padlock on my door."

Mudie lost his job as a workforce manager to a downsizing in 2010. Unemployed for nine months, he couldn't afford his payments on the home he had owned since 1986 and faced foreclosure.

Before being accepted into a permanent loan modification program, Mudie was told by Bank of America that he had to make three monthly payments on time during the trial period.

After intentionally overpaying his first payment by $200 in late August, Mudie felt confident when making the second payment for October of $615.82 via telephone. By then he had been working as a supervisor at a call center since March 2011, though he was making less money than before.

But for the second payment, he mistakenly hit the "0" on his telephone keypad instead of "8," causing him to unknowingly underpay by 80 cents, the Tampa Tribune reported.

"I wish the phone system had a prompt that asked, 'Are you sure this is the amount you want to pay?'" Mudie said. "But it didn't."

Mudie said the payment was taken from his checking account but he called a Bank of America representative to make sure the trial period was going smoothly. That's when he learned his second payment was short by 80 cents and he could be ineligible for the modification program.

He said he was advised to send a check for 80 cents to try to resolve the issue, but both that check and his second payment were returned to him in the mail.

A few days before Christmas, he said he received a letter that read: "Your loan is not eligible for the Fannie Mae modification program because you did not make all the required trial period plan payments by the end of the trial period."

Mudie said he was alarmed that the letter said loan modification was not an option anymore and the only option was a short sale.

Bank of America, he said, advised him to continue making his third payment and that the letter was automatically generated after the short payment.

Mudie contacted a local television station who called Bank of America on his behalf. A bank spokeswoman on Monday said Mudie's problem would be cleared up.

Rick Simon, spokesman for Bank of America, told ABC News the company is in the process of converting his trial modification into a permanent one.

"We apologize for this system error and hope that the permanent modification will be completed shortly," he said in a statement.

Mudie was relieved to hear Bank of America was in the process of approving his loan modification but is eager for closure.

"Until I see something in print about a new mortgage payment, I am still not sure if I could lose my home," he said.