Mortgage company slow to release money, rebuilding at standstill
UPDATE: On Dec. 1 James Keener told 2 On Your Side he had received two checks in the mail from Union Pacific Financial totaling $27,414.53, which is the amount Keener had been requesting to move forward with his construction.
BATON ROUGE - A man says he can't move forward with rebuilding his house because his mortgage company is making him run around in circles.
James Keener lives along Dickens Drive in Baton Rouge. He says he's done everything he can think of to help the situation that's going nowhere.
When 2 On Your Side met Keener at his property Tuesday, we immediately hopped on the phone with Union Pacific Financial. By the time we had hung up, 45 minutes had passed and Keener made no progress.
"They just giving me the runaround, giving me the runaround, giving me the runaround," he said.
The phone conversation ended with a manager telling Keener she'd be reviewing the file and get back to him by the end of business day.
A few months ago, Keener opted to tear down his flood-damaged home and elevate in order to bring his property into compliance. With the insurance money he has been allotted by his mortgage company and with an additional $30,000 out of his pocket, he's built tall piers to build his new house on. He's also purchased a few supplies, including house siding.
He tells 2 On Your Side he's submitted all the necessary paperwork that's been asked of him, including multiple renditions of his revised contractor assessment. He's asking for $26,000 to buy materials to move on with his building, but he's having a difficult time getting his mortgage company on the same page.
"I've sent them everything that they've wanted," said Keener. "We've sent them pictures, we've sent them progress pictures of everything."
He has December and January to figure this out, after that he'll be paying a $1,150 mortgage and $825 rent on his FEMA issued Manufactured Housing Unit.
"They have all the power right now, they have the money," he said. "There's really nothing you can do."
Keener, who only lived in the home a year before the flood washed it away, says he's never had any intention of leaving. He wants to stay and rebuild his family's home but says at this rate it's awfully difficult to move forward.
"We're just hoping and wishing one day we'll have our house back," he said.
Union Pacific did call Keener back. A manager told him they're waiting to hear back from upper management about what's next.