When Lou Cordova purchased his Baker County home, the self-employed machinist didn't expect the economy to sour on his business and he didn't expect his wife to lose her job.
"We were spiraling down. Sometimes it was feast or famine, and we fell behind," he said.
The Cordovas got behind on their Wells Fargo mortgage, but when they tried to get caught up, the bank refused to accept the payment. A new workshop run by the bank, the Wells Fargo Home Preservation Event, seemed like it could be the answer.
"I don't know what happened with the bank. I ended up going into foreclosure; the payments were there. They couldn't do it," said Cordova. "I ran out of time."
His attempts at a loan modification were going nowhere. His wife saw a First Coast News broadcast about the Wells Fargo event.
"My wife said, 'Ken said it is happening, We need to go,'" he said.
They attended the event without high hopes. "My expectation was we were not going to have enough paperwork or they're just telling me, 'thanks, but no thanks' and 'we're taking your house today'," said Cordova.
But after three hours they left with a new lease on life and a modified mortgage. The bank cut the mortgage interest rate from 8 percent to 2 percent reducing their monthly payment about $400.
On Friday, the Cordovas received a FedEx confirmation from the bank.
Cordova said in nine years his mortgage interest rate will return to 4.5 percent and will remain at that level for the remainder of the loan. "When we left, three hours later at 7:20 we were floating. We were floating, unbelievable," he said.
Cordova learned that only 300 out of the 5,000 people identified as struggling homeowners attended the event and now believes they may have missed an opportunity to keep their homes. He's glad he went.
The Cordovas biggest challenge was making sure they had all of the paperwork. When they first arrived, the couple had to leave and come back with what was necessary. Once they had the needed information, it took a few hours for approval.
Wells Fargo said any homeowner who is struggling and missed the event, can still call for help. The number is 1-800-678-7986.