Tennessee woman nearly lost house after mortgage company ruled her dead

(Courtesy: WJHL)

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Minnie Fish nearly lost her home all because the company that holds her reverse mortgage spent the last six months thinking she was dead.

Champion Mortgage first started sending statements to Fish’s estate this summer, saying the 88-year-old’s loan was due because of her death. It became so serious that last month the company actually alerted her estate that her loan was being referred for foreclosure processing.

“Do I look dead to you?” Fish said Friday. “I’ll be 89 in January. I’m alive I think. Some people think I’m not, but I’m sitting here talking.”

Fish signed up for the reverse mortgage years ago after her husband’s death. It allowed her to secure a loan to pay her bills using her home as collateral. The deal stipulated when she eventually dies the company would get to sell her property.

“I’d hate to lose (my house) while I’m still living,” Fish said.

Not only did she worry she was going to lose her house, but she says she also no longer had access to her loan, so she couldn’t pay her bills or taxes.

“It’s infuriating that my mom or any other person would have to go through this kind of ordeal,” her daughter Dot Sexton said. “It may sound trivial to some people, but it is not.”

Champion’s parent company Nationstar Mortgage says Fish no longer has anything to worry about. The company chalked up the situation to an incorrect death report.

“We have been working with Ms. Fish over the last few months to resolve this issue, and as of Nov. 30 we received the final documentation required to correct her file,” the company said in an email. “We certainly feel for Ms. Fish in this unfortunate circumstance, and now that we have received the final required documentation as of Nov. 30 her file has been moved back to active.”

Fish says the company never told her the situation was resolved.

“I didn’t hear from them last Monday,” she said today. “We gave them all the information we asked for and they never really worked with us with anything.”

Instead, a week later, we were the ones to share the good news.

“Just thank God it’s over,” she said. “That’s lifted off of me.”

Fish welcomed the reverse mortgage reversal with her regular humor.

“They’re going to bring me back to life,” she joked. “Reincarnation. In my home for Christmas and New Years and hopefully several years after that.”