CHARLESTON -- A couple is suing CitiFinancial for predatory lending practices.

Walter Buckland and Sherry Buckland built their home in 1981 on land passed down from Mr. Buckland's father, according to a complaint filed May 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In 2000, the Bucklands spoke with CitiFinancial regarding the possibility of consolidating their debts, according to the suit.

The Bucklands claim the defendant told them it would make the loan if their house was worth more than $60,000, and originated a loan with a 14.42 percent rate of interest. They claim the loan's principal was $56,891.64, which was significantly in excess of the actual market value of the home.

In June 2002, the defendant contacted the Bucklands and suggested that they let it "redo the loan," according to the suit. At the time, the principal balance for the first loan had apparently increased to $57,386.26.

On July 26, 2002, the defendant flipped the Bucklands in another loan for $60,756.81 with a 14.1468 percent interest rate that accrued daily, according to the suit.

The Bucklands claim the defendant suppressed that the interest would accrue daily on the loan by failing to inform them of the loan term and providing them with a copy of the contract that cut off the portion that provided an explanation of the loan term.

The Bucklands are seeking actual damages and civil penalties. They are being represented by Jennifer S. Wagner and Daniel F. Hedges.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-949

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