At the home where Brandie and Edwin Hannon once lived, a rotating shift of security guards stands by 24 hours a day to keep the couple from moving back in. Now staying with family, the Hannons were forcibly removed from their former North County home on Sept. 7, bringing an end to a 14-month battle with Wells Fargo Bank to stave off foreclosure.
If Wells Fargo had only been willing to wait a year, Brandie Hannon says, a cash-option payment from her husband’s $2 million share of a 1996 lottery win would have brought them current on the $714,000 mortgage and enabled them to keep their Royal Oaks house. But a combination of bad timing and life-threatening health issues sent them over the precipice of ruin.
“We had it going on,” Brandie says. “We had good, stable credit history.”
At the end of 2008, the couple’s once-stable finances fell to the downturn in the economy. Brandie’s interior design business slowed, and Ed was forced to stop working as a self-employed mechanic due to kidney failure brought on by diabetes, a worsening condition that also has led to medical bills piling up.
The Hannons contacted Wells Fargo to look at options for modifying their loan as part of the president’s Making Home Affordable program. Brandie says bank consultants told the couple they needed to be behind in payments – something the bank disputes happened – before being reviewed for modification. Brandie says while she missed two payments, an attempt to catch up was rebuffed in 2009 and she’s been fighting to keep her home since.
Brandie asked Wells Fargo for reduced payments through September 2013, when the next lottery payment of $234,000 comes. Since 2008, most of their income has gone toward Ed’s health care, with dialysis costing $1,900 per session, three times a week. He began receiving Medicare two years ago, which covers two-thirds of the treatment costs.
In a series of incomplete paperwork cycles, Brandie Hannon says they had to reapply many times, each time providing new documents.
“They could have wallpapered their kitchen in our tax returns,” Brandie says.
The Hannons started to call Wells Fargo’s Office of Executive Complaints. “I felt we had done everything right,” Brandie says.
But Wells Fargo says there is no way for the couple to get their home of 14 years back.
“We have gone through every option after working with them for more than two years, even postponing eviction three times,” Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda says.
In early 2012, Wells Fargo tried to alleviate the Hannons’ money problems with $3,000 in relocation assistance. The family refused, and the bank has made no offers since.
“I’m not going to give up the fight,” Brandie says, but adds bank representatives have told the Hannons that Wells Fargo will no longer take their calls.
Now, Brandie’s biggest concern is her husband. Since Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies ordered the couple from the home, he has barely eaten and has lost a lot of weight. They are staying temporarily with family members in Aptos.
“They just broke what spirit he had left,” she says. “His health has taken such a sharp decline. He just wants to sleep in his own home.”