We have mortgage account with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage on our house which we purchased in Sept of 2008. I am self-employed in the luxury watch industry and my income has been decreased by roughly 70% since 2007. My wife is in payroll/HR in the resort industry and has taken a pay cut of about 10% during that same time. I am writing in regards to the treatment of us by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage while attempting to participate in the Home Affordable Modification Program.
In March of 2009, my income took a nosedive. We were current on our mortgage and had savings to keep us afloat for a few months. I saw trouble in the future if my income did not improve dramatically and I wanted to make WFHM aware of that. I called them to see if there were any programs I could get on for assistance, and they promptly placed us on the Home Saver Forbearance Program which was a 6 month forbearance that cut our mortgage payments in half. During that time, there were to be no late fees levied against our acct and no credit reporting. The Home Saver Forbearance stated that the unpaid amount of our mortgage was to be owed/paid at the end of the 6 month period as a balloon payment, unless we were placed on the HAMP Program after that 6 month period. After the 6 months were up, we had saved enough money to pay the balloon payment ($7200) plus the full month payment due on the 7th month ($2400). During the 6 month period, I made weekly calls (all call were recorded by me for my reference) to WFHM on the status of our modification process, and sent in updated financial information every month. The vast majority of these calls gave conflicting information regarding the Home Saver program and the HAMP program. Some of the Reps told me that I needed to be behind on my mortgage to get help, while others told me to send in reduced payments, while others told me they couldn't even tell me anything until the Home Saver program had run its course. Again, we were not delinquent on our mortgage until we were placed onto the Home Saver Forbearance Program.
In October, we were sent a package of documents telling us that we had been placed on the 3 month trail period for the HAMP program, and that financial data, hardship letter, bank statements, copies of paycheck stubs and tax data were all needed as well as a check for $2208, each month for the 3 month trail period (that check amount was, per WFHM Rep and paperwork, going to be what our estimated HAMP payment was to be after the modification). We were also told that a requirement of the HAMP Program was for us to allow WFHM to set up an escrow account to handle our property tax and insurance. Up to that point, we were paying those liabilities as they came in. We agreed to the escrow as it was a "requirement" of the HAMP program. The escrow account effectively raised our mortgage payment to $2919 from $2400 a month. The 3 month trail period (Oct-Dec) had us paying $2208 a month which again, was our "estimated" payment we would be making after the modification.
In mid October, I was contacted by a WFHM Rep who was trying to get me to "set up my November and December confirmation numbers". He opened up the conversation by saying, "I see right here, that we have you set up for a modification, and you've made your October payment already, and what we're trying to do here is reduce that interest rate from 7.0% to 2.2%, take that past due balance of $7393 and put that on the back end of your loan." (I have all of this recorded). He also said he could "almost guarantee" that we were going to save $1400 to $1500 on our mortgage if I let him "set up my November and December confirmation numbers". The rep never stated his intent. I understood that he was trying to get me to authorize an auto draft from my bank account for the 3 month trail period payments of $2208, even though he never actually said that was the purpose of his call. I had already signed the documentation that was an agreement to me sending a check for the trial period amount by the 1st of each month in the trail period, so what was the point of authorizing an auto draft? I tried over and over to get him to state his intent, and he kept saying things like, "just give me the go-ahead on this, and I'll make sure that your son has a safe place to lay his head at night, in case you forget to send in your trial payment check." And, "I'm gonna keep it real with you. I'm not trying to stress you out, but this is the move you're gonna have to make to keep your property, your lifestyle and your kids safe, in the same school and the same neighborhood…bbq's…the whole thing. I have your banking information already. All you have to say right now is OK, I give you your 2 confirmation numbers and it's done." This call was completely laughable. It sounded to me like this guy had been offered a bonus program by WFHM that paid him if he was able to get anyone already signed up in the 3 month trial program, to secure auto drafts from their bank accounts. After over 20 minutes on the phone with him and him never actually asking me if I would authorize him to auto draft my bank account, I said, "Ohhh, you want me to allow you to auto draft my next 2 payments? Why didn't you just say so? You never said anything about an auto draft!" At that point, he put me on hold immediately, came back in about 30 seconds and thanked me for my time and ended the phone call. This is very unethical behavior by WFHM. Again, I have all of this recorded.
By the end of December, we still (after repeated phone calls, all recorded by me for my reference) had no word on the status of our loan modification, and had again supplied updated financial information (3 times). The WFHM Reps kept telling us they were "behind" and were working on our modification and for us to continue to pay the $2208 "trial period payment" until further notice. Around this time we were also given an underwriter that was in contact with us to request even more information. This time, they said they needed a profit and loss statement from my company, which I supplied to them under the constraining time window in which they needed it. After that info was sent to the underwriter, I called her to ask the status of our HAMP application and she informed me that she had sent the info back to WFHM for review and that she was no longer our underwriter/contact after the info left her office/desk, and that she did see that "no one at WFHM had picked up the case yet". So I immediately call WFHM to see what was going on. I am informed by a WFHM Rep (another nameless, faceless call center person completely unfamiliar with our case, who wont even give a name or extension for future contact with, just like every other Rep I have spoken with and recorded for 10 months) that I have in fact "Failed" the HAMP Program. I asked her what tour grounds for failure was and she could not tell me anything. She mentioned that the financial data I provided needed to be updated every 30 days (the first time in 10 months I had ever heard that). She then gave me a number to call for assistance. It was the SAME number as my underwriter, who told me not 10 minutes earlier that she was no longer handling my case. When I called the underwriter back, she said she had no idea what was going on, but that she didn't see that I had "Failed" the program. At this point, I start a rabid research regimen online to find any one in WFHM I can speak with to help make sense out of all this. I find a number for the Executive Office of the President and call the office of Cara Heiden, who transfers me to Jessica Scott, who tells me that I have in fact failed the HAMP program, and must now start over to see if I am eligible for a WFHM "In House" modification. Of course, she tells me that she will need a new financial worksheet, hardship letter, 3 months of bank statements, copies of paycheck stubs, tax data, and new month-by-month profit and loss statements for my company, copies of all bills listed on the financial worksheet and that I have 5 DAYS to get this to her. So today, I have FedEx'ed that data to her. We'll see.
As of Jan 18th, the statements I receive from Wells Fargo say I owe them $14,700+ in back/late mortgage payments and late fees, along with a note saying that the foreclosure process has been started on our home.
When I started this in April 2009, we were current with all payments. I have fallen behind at the REQUEST of WFHM, have had my actual mortgage payment amount INCREASED by $500 a month (from the escrow account) by a "requirement" of a Federal Program that I "failed", yet still have to pay every month. I was told by WFHM to pay the "3 month trial period payments" of $2208, thereby underpaying the actual mortgage ($2919) by $711 a month, and then getting LATE FEES levied onto my account for that underpayment, as well as the 6 months of half payments from the Home Saver Forbearance Program. I have not even received any kind of written notice from WFHM that I have "failed" the HAMP program other than the call I initiated to a WFHM Rep (which cannot be trusted, as every rep says something different, and my underwriter couldn't even see where I had failed the program). How long would Wells Fargo allow me to pay the 3 month trial period (under)payments without letting me know I had been rejected from the program while continuing to levy late/non-payment fees to my account? 2 months? 4 Months? A year?
We got all of the horrible, worst case scenarios that people get who neglect their bills, lie to get their loans, walk away from houses, have $0 down payments and create terrible credit scores for themselves, yet we have good credit, pay all of our bills on time, make sound fiscal decisions and have chosen the "high road" throughout this entire process and are now being punished for it.
Product or Service Mentioned: Wells Fargo Banking Service.