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She had seen the advertisements for the new government program offering relief. She had heard President Obama promise that help was on the way for homeowners like her, people who had lost jobs and could no longer make their mortgage payments.

But when Eileen Ulery called her mortgage company — Countrywide, now part of Bank of America — the bank did not offer to alter her mortgage. Rather, the bank tried to sell her a new loan with a slightly lower monthly payment while asking her to pay $13,000 toward the principal and a fresh $5,000 in fees.

Her problem was that she did not yet present a big enough problem to merit aid.

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