Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where do we go from here?

One of the lessons I learned too late was the idea that in many situations, let's say most situations, when there's some kind of problem, or concern, or whatever situation, that we think is about us, it's maybe equally or even moreso about someone else. Whatever it is. It's not always about you! None of us are that important or irreplaceable.

Let me say that as of yesterday, I am now totally convinced that our mortgage servicer is definitely not irreplaceable, and that whatever the issue is between us and them, it's definitely not us-it's them!

Last October, the loan on our house was sold to one of the country's largest mortage holders. They are huge. HUGE! And ever since they purchased the loan, the servicing has been A JOKE! A HUGE JOKE! But it's not funny anymore. In fact, it's gotten so unfunny that yesterday I placed a call to the Consumer Affairs Department of Attorney General Jay Nixon's office.

You know what they told me? They get these kinds of calls all the time! Apparently, lousy servicing of mortgages is a growing problem for consumers. And we're trying to make our payments! Imagine if you're facing foreclosure? We're getting the runaround - trying to make our payments made. If you're struggling to make your payments, then what?

With all the trouble in the mortgage and credit industries these days, we need to be more aware than ever about the importance of good loan servicing, and how to find help when we need it.

Our problems started with ___________ (insert massive financial institution name with huge disfunctional call center system here) when we tried to get our payments set up to make online. You would think this would be a pretty simple process. But no!

I'm not much of a tech person. I've never bought anything online and I don't do any online bill paying. This blog is about it when it comes to my techie powers. My wife, Kerri, she's the tech-goddess of our household. She's does everything online. And before our loan was sold, we made our payments electronically every month, like clockwork.

So when it came to setting up our new loan online, we figured it would be no big deal. We figured wrong. It has been impossible. The Company apparently models its internal operation like a Keystone Cop brigade. When it comes to incomptence, they are amazing. The runaround has gotten so bad, it's become like a bad nightclub routine. On my last call to them I said to the nice lady on the phone, "Ma'am, you're making me feel like a comedian, and you guys are giving me LOTS of material!" Not funny.

And problems with mortgage companies are no laughing matter. They can wreak havoc on the national level as well as do damage at the local level. Today's news reports that Citigroup lost $20,000,000,000 through their mortgage portfolio (that's twenty billion dollars) over the last year with their stock price falling nearly 50%.

If you're facing concerns with your home loan, do not wait for help to find you. Take action! Engage the mortgage company as soon as you feel there may be a problem. Locally, Beyond Housing has teamed up with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation to provide assistance to homeowners facing possible foreclosure. They have set up a toll free number to call for assistance. For more information, dial 888-995-HOPE.

The earlier you contact the mortgage holder, the better. Lenders are motivated to avoid foreclosure, and the earlier you contact them, the more options you have to work out a plan to protect your home. Bringing in an expert advocate to assist you through this process can help you work out a solution together with the lender.

As for us, we're still trying to get set up to make our payments online. Maybe next month?


GMichaud said...

I don't know, but American capitalism seems to be failing. My internet connection went down yesterday and I called ATT to try to resolve it. Their techs couldn't do it, then I was referred to an advanced tech support where I had to pay $139 to receive service. I told them it was extortion, similar to a mafia tactic. Finally I gave up with ATT and managed to finally get it going.
It just stopped by itself, as it seems to do every few months.
I also find it interesting they are predicting a recession, saying that consumers are not spending enough. But government and corporations have been sticking it to the general public for years with outsourcing of jobs, with laws written to favor corporate managers, tax breaks for the wealthy and on and on.
So how do they expect consumers to have the money to bail out the economy when they have been busy making sure consumers have less and less money to spend?
Greed blinds these people to the extent they have no idea what they are doing, as a result there are too many bad mortgage companies, bad monopoly phone, electric and gas companies and other marginal enterprises supported by government rule making and largesse.

Beth said...

Rick, I had an excruciating similar problem when a huge mortgage company bought my loan from another company, which had bought my loan from my original servicer. This transaction occurred in August, and it wasn't until last month that all the mess with it was sorted out. It took at call to the BBB for me to get their attention enough to get a single, competent individual to work with me one on one until my problems were resolved. Of course, there still remains a huge problem, which is the fact that I still have to contend with this company going forward. News comes this week that this company has now been purchased by another, more reputable company, so I am hopeful the new servicer will do a better job.