Paid In Full
If you live long enough you will experience the elated joys of life along with the harsh reality of bewilderment and rejection. Praying helps or so I was told. My wife advises me of such. But I’m hardheaded and not a strong believer in the power of prayer.
I had a job they paid extremely well for almost ten years. But the recession of 2009 did a number on me.
“Sir! Sir! All we’re doing is talking now.” I couldn’t believe this Wells Fargo representative was brushing me – ever so professionally – but a brush off, nonetheless. After almost an hour of asking this well-trained mortgage associate to pull up my account and tell me the balance of my loan for the house. I got nothing. He claimed he couldn’t locate any account associated with my name or lot number. Impossible.
Back in 2002, I took out a twelve-year mortgage and all in the world was good. My initial goal was to pay it off in seven to eight years. No prob. Then in 2006, I was offered a refinance opportunity which would drop both my interest rate and monthly payment. Quick math tells me this is a no brainer. Long math also told me I could take the monthly savings and place that into the other investments.
All was good until 2009. I lost that wonderful job and now resorting to living off my wife’s Teaching salary. I was able to earn a living, sparsely at best – but I did alright. There were times where I made ten thousand dollars for 30 days’ worth of consultation and other times where I made zero for six months. I gathered that since I didn’t lose any weight, I wasn’t starving. So, we were good. It wasn’t easy, but we made do with what we had.
Sometime in 2011, my wife and I decided to see if we qualified for the Wells Fargo mortgage modification plan. As anyone who has ever been through this – or any other financial request – it’s a huge endeavor timewise. Collecting the necessary documents, scanning them, confirming receipt of said documents on top completing the actual hard copy application is a stressful situation.
Luckily, or least we thought – Wells Fargo provided a modification coach to ‘ease the strain” on the overwhelming process. I must admit, our coach was extremely helpful and accessible. He returned our calls quickly and provided pertinent details to ensure we would not only be processed quickly, but more importantly, approved.
I’d like to say this process started in mid-November 2011. Our monthly mortgage payment was due the 12th of each month. However, per our dear couch, once you’re in the qualification process, your payments are suspended. Then when the December payment crept up, again we were advised to not worry.
Since the Christmas holidays were approaching, we were making plans to visit our respective relatives in the Greater New York City area and return after the new year.
When we returned from a beautiful holiday with family, that feeling of prosperity and the newness of the New Year was immediately doused. You see there was a letter in mail – quite official looking. Anytime you open something up and your name and address in a BOLD and it read NOTICE in red ink, it’s not going to end well.
This notice advised that our house was being put up for sale via a tax lien. You see, if you miss a payment for three consecutive months, your loan is in immediate default. True, we didn’t pay the October. However, our dear couch advised us to place that in an escrow account and all of the other payments will be suspended until approval is granted.
After sorting through the rest of the mail, there was a non-distinct envelope that had Wells Fargo on the flap of the envelop. We checked answering machine while we were away – no call or follow up from our coach. We expected that he too was on holiday like the rest of world.
Again, opening envelopes where your name and address are in BOLD usually turn our lousy. This official notice indicated that our modification application was denied. Denied! Per our coach, ‘we were a lock’. We immediately started our multiple calls to our so-called couch. This time around, he’s not only hard to catch up with, but he also doesn’t return our calls for two stressful days.
My instinct was to prevent the sale of the house. Our home would be sold to the highest bidder if we didn’t act fast. So, I contacted the office which held our deed and paid the fee along with some BS junk fees. I didn’t have time to argue, and they had leverage at the time. Sale of our home is now officially off the books.
My focus is now back on Wells Fargo. When my spineless couch does make contact, his bravado is noticeably missing. He had nothing to offer as to why we were denied. Even if I could stomach that, why was my house put up on auction so damn fast. According to my low esteemed coach, once the denial process is logged, the process backdates to the October payment.
Had we not had our mortgage payments queued up, we would have been kick out. Wells Fargo still had some explaining to do as far as I was concerned. So, I asked our sorry %*% couch for his management structure and all the Head of Departments in the Modification department. If our couch was anything, he was so inclined to provide any contact that would redirect me from calling him going forward.
Even though it took a few days to draft my strategic complaint – it was worth it in my opinion. I submitted visual timelines inclusive of payments made and withheld. Insertions of conversations from our couch. My response also, included my utter disapproval of our home being place on the auction block without any human contact whatsoever. Six copies of this complaint were certified mailed to various Wells Fargo corporate officers along with those precious loan modification officers.
I was called within hours of receipt of my complaint. That was the good part. The bad part... that all they said was that someone would be contacting me in forty-eight hours to discuss in more detail. Fine. It was Wednesday late afternoon. I’ll wait.
Friday came and went. Nothing, not a call nor email from Wells Fargo. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. No one really works on a Friday anymore, especially on a Friday evening. Monday will be another day.
So, my wife, daughter and young cousin decided to get in the car and head out to get something to eat before it gets too late. While at a red light, my cell phone rings. It’s a California NPA, I can only assume it’s Wells Fargo. Once I said hello the voice on the other side of the phone gave no indication that I was speaking with someone of authority. In all actuality, he sounded like he didn’t want to make this call either. He merely stated his name and said, “there’s nothing else that can be done on your case”. At this point, I had to pull over and try to understand what’s taking place. My expectations were that someone “of regard” would call me and explain what transpired and why. Better yet, and what Wells Fargo was going to do to make it right.
I could almost envision this poor fellow on the other phone. Stuck with calling a potential irate rejected homeowner without any authority. I asked him if there was anyone else, I could speak to. He calmly indicated they all left and told me to call you. I was deflated. All hope had passed from my grasp. My options had run out.
So, I waited for my monthly coupon book to reestablish my payment schedule. Wells Fargo was so nice as to send me a letter indicating that even if I don’t receive a coupon book prior to the 12th of the month, to still send in the payment. I made the next payment per their instructions. I kept those payments up until we hit another financial hardship. So, we missed a payment. In the past, the collections department would start calling on the 15th of the month like clockwork. Nothing but crickets this time. That was odd. My wife and I were contemplating moving to a more affordable apartment. If they were going to kick us out, might as well save the mortgage payments for our future rent – why not.
After about three months without a word from Wells Fargo nor a word from anyone pertaining to us not paying the monthly note, we were puzzled. Three months turned into years – NOTHING.
In early 2017 when we decided to sell the house, the assumption was that the error would be caught, and Wells Fargo would wonder how they missed this grave error. No big deal, they will just collect their fees off the proceeds off the sale and leave us nothing. So be it. Here’s the kicker, Wells Fargo books indicated our mortgage was paid in full. WTF!!! That’s impossible. We haven’t made a payment in so long, I can’t remember. However, now you say we own the house. I made many attempts to various representatives to no avail. I was involved in one long conversation, where all the rep could say “Sir! Sir! All we’re doing is talking now.”
It took a while to process this. My wife indicated she prayed over this dilemma for years. Sometimes she told me she’s always praying that this will be resolved. Other times she kept it to herself. Thinking, I didn’t want to hear it. I should have knelt alongside my wife as she prayed for the cloud to pass over us. I was more focused on the tactical and strategic approach to dealing with Wells Fargo. My wife just gave it up to God in Prayer.
- Submitted by NS
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.