Banks held up aid for Arizona homeowners until the Republic took action

Deborah Torzone stands in front of her Tempe house on April 8, 2022. Months after applying for mortgage assistance and discovering her bank was hindering the process, she finally received $20,000 in aid.

When Deborah Torzone saw the Arizona Department of Housing was launching a mortgage assistance program late last year, she thought she finally had found reprieve from her pandemic employment struggles.

Torzone applied for about $20,000 in mortgage assistance on Nov. 5, days after the application portal opened. Months passed with no assistance. 

Meanwhile, her mortgage lender, Chase Bank, told her it would move to foreclose on her home unless she entered into a 40-year loan modification.

She was only five years away from paying off her loan before the pandemic hit. 

The Arizona Department of Housing said Chase Bank actually was responsible for the holdup in disbursing funds to Torzone. A spokesperson for the agency said it had tried to contact the bank since September to sign an agreement to participate in the program.