Elderly man has loan reneged and then given back

July 28, 2010 4:51:06 PM PDT
A Long Island man whose wife died will get to keep his home loan.

The bank had refused to refinance the man's home after his wife died but when he took on the bank they changed their mind.

He's seen a lot in his 80 years, but George Baumann still can't believe the bank mistake.

"If I don't get this loan and reconsolidate my debt, I'm gonna have to sell the house," he said.

With the economy tanking and debts piling up, Baumann found himself skimping on air conditioning and dental care.

So in May, he applied to New Hyde Park based Hanover Community Bank for a $271,000 loan to refinance the Baldwin house he shared with his wife Florence.

The loan was approved and they closed the deal.

But Florence died days later and that's when the bank changed its mind.

"We found out during the funeral. That's when we found out this was going on, we couldn't believe it," said Diane Baumann, George's daughter.

Open for just two years, Hanover Community calls itself a boutique bank, catering to people who can't get loans elsewhere.

Bank president Sangeeta Kishore told Eyewitness News, their internal communication failed.

"It's very tragic that Mrs. Baumann passed away, we felt very bad about it too, the matter of the fact is that we are honoring our commitment and we are going to fund the loan," she said.

She says poor communication led bank officers to believe the deal had not been closed and now, she says George Baumann will get his money, in a matter of days. But he's still quite dubious.

"When they do it than I'll believe it. They haven't done it yet," he said.

Assuming the bank does come through with the loan, George will be able to live out his days in the home he loves, where he's lived for half a century. But he still doesn't really understand why the bank pulled the cash, in the first place.