Wells Fargo All About Serving Customers? Not So Much, Mr. Stumpf.

“People are surprised when I say this: Our number-one goal when we get up in the morning is not about making money. It’s about serving customers.”
~John Stumpf, Wells Fargo

If you’ve done business with Wells Fargo in the past 10 years or so – especially if you’ve had a mortgage or other loan “serviced” by WF – you know what a huge line of BS John Stumpf is feeding CNBC’s infotainment “investment analyst” Jim Cramer in this clip.

The former Wall Street hedge fund manager has to be particularly blind and deaf if he believes that Wells Fargo hasn’t taken part in the same list of ethically-reprehensible activities designed to defraud customers and make money for the bank: robosigning, forging foreclosure documents, predatory mortgage lending in minority communities, manipulating debit card transaction to generate overdrafts, and forcing mortgage borrowers into price-gouging home insurance.

The company even gets complaints for its handling of student loans and paid to settle a lawsuit regarding its debt-collection processes by harassing consumers, who are generally protected by specific debt-collection law. How Cramer can appear to be such a cheerleader for Stumpf & Co. in light of all this is beyond me, but he certainly seems to take everything the CEO says as absolute truth.

Certainly Stumpf wasn’t being entirely truthful when he told Cramer that the good and noble Wells Fargo wasn’t making all those dubious “liar loans” like other mortgage banks. Apparently they lost so much money resisting the temptation to create all sorts of mortgages people were unlikely to ever pay back that when the economy went bust they could buy out another bank of roughly equal size. Hmmm.

“So there was times between 2000 and 2008 where other mortgage lenders,
as an example, were making loans with nothing down, no verification – the so-called liar loans. And we didn’t participate in most of that.
So we gave up billions of originations, hundreds of millions of profibut then when everything came apart, we were able to use out capital to buy out Wachovia.”
~John Stumpf, Wells Fargo

wellsubprimeActual facts fail to support the image of Stumpf on a white steed, riding above the greed-fest that was the mortgage business in the years before the crash. Statistics compiled by the Center for Responsible Lending in a 2004 report show subprime lending going gangbusters at Wells Fargo by 2003. Between 2005 and 2007, the bank made the subprime producers’ top 10 list.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau certainly knows Wells Fargo is no angel when it comes to treatment of customers. Its September monthly complaint reports places WF in the top three banks consumers across the country have issues with regarding both mortgages and the top two regarding debt collection.

And here’s a list of consumer complaint websites, where you can pretty much plug in “Wells Fargo” with whatever topic you like to find people the bank has jerked around.

So, pretty sure that Stumpf the Sanctimonious and his faithful sidekick Cramer the Credulous are telling a blatantly fictional tale about the all-powerful but beautifully benevolant Wells Fargo Bank. Do yourself a big favor and don’t listen to either one of these guys. And, by all means, do not do business with or invest in this lying, cheating bank.

Fighting the Good Fight

As admin of this blog and WellsFargoMortgageMod.com, I’m beyond happy that information I posted on the web as a therapeutic exercise during my loan mod nightmare is helping other foreclosure fighters seek justice.

I couldn’t be more proud to have my site quoted in a lawsuit against Wells Fargo filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday.

miramontesp1Miramontes v. Wells Fargo N.A., Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and others specifies 13 counts including wrongful foreclosure, violation of the Rosenthal Act (known to many of us as the Fair Debt Collection Act), negligence, conspiracy and my personal favorite based on my experiences with the bank: breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The suit, brought by Pavone & Fonner, LLP, alleges that the bank stole Everardo and Mirna Miramontes’ brand new custom-built home in a rigged foreclosure sale after assuring the couple repeatedly that they would not lose their home and a loan modification was in the works.

The complaint details how Wells Fargo allegedly strung the Miramontes along with a “special forbearance agreement,” then denied their loan mod and sold the property just three days later. To make matters worse, the trustee is alleged to have sold the property at less than market value to a straw buyer after telling another potential bidder willing to pay more that the sale had been postponed.

The stinking rats. Oh yeah. I am rooting for the Miramontes and will be extremely proud of my little part in the case when they (hopefully) prevail.

Still Not Safe From Bank Robbers

It’s 2015 and Wells Fargo & Friends are still robbing homeowners every way they can. So much about the way these banks treat mortgage borrowers has not changed since I started writing about the topic back in 2009 as the foreclosure feeding frenzy was starting to get out of control.

Seems I can just dust off blog posts from several years ago, update the links and re-run them as relevant to what’s still happening.

warningdoor2I wrote a tongue-in-cheek Warning to Wells Fargo’s Burglars in early 2011 when I was still had hope my diligence would win me a mortgage loan modification. But six months later, fully understanding the banksters were rampaging unchecked and honestly fearing to leave my home unattended to go out of town even overnight, I took a more serious tone. “Bank Robbers” Takes on New Meaning

Nothing is sacred to these people, either the bank executives or the companies they hire to “trash out” foreclosed (or not) homes. Consider this case, which is just hitting the courts nearly three years after the incident:

When the Bank Robs You: Wells Fargo Contractors Allegedly Stole Family Heirlooms Rescued From Nazis

Big surprise. The bank robbers are still sending in their minions to steal from people.

March 2015: Bank ‘breaks into man’s home,’ won’t say why

A former Chicago police officer, Mike Tomasovich, filed a lawsuit claiming that his own mortgage bank, Fifth Third Bank, sent contractors to break into his Estero, Florida, home via a drill through the door lock.

The two intruders then posted a note on the front window that could be read from the outside that warned the residence had been “found to be unsecure or vacant,” the Fort Myers News-Press reported.

Tomasovich, who splits his time between Chicago and Estero, said he’s kept up with payments and has never been in foreclosure. Lee County public records confirm that, the newspaper reported.

“There was food in the refrigerator, a car in the garage,” he told the paper. “Every room is furnished. The electricity was on, the pool was crystal clear.”

And when it becomes clear to them that they’ve made a colossal mistake and screwed up the life of some completely innocent person, do they apologize abjectly and work tirelessly to right their wrong? Not exactly.

Bank Issues Statement About Home It Wrongfully Foreclosed Upon, Balks At Paying Up

But the bank has balked at paying the $18,000 Barnett is asking for.

“(They) demanded that I had receipts for all my stuff that they threw away,” Barnett said. “And I said, ‘Well, you know first of all, I don’t have receipts for all of my stuff. I wasn’t expecting a bank to come and to accidentally repossess my house and throw it all away. And second, if I did, where do you think it would be? In my house with all my belongings?’”

She said that everything from clothes to patio furniture to pool supplies was disposed of.

“This is the basketball hoop. They actually gave it to one of our neighbors, and the neighbors ended up giving it back to us. That is the only thing we’ve gotten back.

stumpyrobberI actually ran across several references to banks trashing out the wrong house and then demanding devastated homeowners produce receipts in order to have their belongings replaced. Any normal human being working at a bank would think, “Wait, that’s not logical. I don’t keep the receipts for every single thing I buy. That would be CRAZY.”

But the poor bankster-brainwashed automatons in the phone queues certainly aren’t paid to think (but they are paid to provide an impenetrable firewall between the great unwashed public and the exalted executives.) They’re just paid to do their master’s bidding. Like the people who are still still stealing from homeowners at the behest of Wells Fargo and its bank-robber buddies.

Wells Fargo Executives Embarrassed by Employee Incompetence?

Poor Wells Fargo. It must be really distressing to CEO John Stumpf that his mortgage division is being called on the carpet yet again.

Big Banks’ Mortgage Units — Still Failing Customers — Face New Restrictions
On Wednesday, the OCC announced that six banks that manage home loans — EverBank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — haven’t implemented all the reforms they promised to make as part of the 2011 deals.

As punishment, the regulator has imposed new restrictions on the banks’ mortgage departments, limiting their ability to acquire residential servicing rights in some circumstances, and forcing them to seek OCC approval before hiring senior officers in their mortgage servicing and compliance departments.

The restrictions vary, with Wells Fargo and HSBC strictly prohibited from certain types of new business acquisition, while the other banks must first seek OCC approval.

Let’s face it, things must be very obviously bad if the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has finally taken its head out of the sand and noticed something was wrong with the way Wells and the other big financial institutions deal with consumer requests for mortgage loan modifications in the wake of a past “enforcement action” and a so-called punitive settlement that set servicing guidelines for the banks.

One of the many issues cited when the OCC sanctioned Wells and others last week was the ongoing inability of the bank to assign each loan mod review to a single, knowledgeable employee tasked with, among other things, keeping the consumer informed throughout the process.

Wells Fargo, the OCC said in a new consent order, “continues to engage in unsafe and unsound practices.” Among the bank’s points of “noncompliance,” the regulator said in regulator-speak, is its failure to ensure “effective communication with borrowers, both oral and written.”

According to the OCC, Wells Fargo still has yet to ensure that each borrower is matched with a single customer service representative at the bank to handle their modification request or foreclosure — a basic first step to ending the cycle of confusion, lost paperwork and endless hours on the phone that many homeowners have endured while speaking with a succession of uninformed bank employees.

Mike Heid, the president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, said in a statement that the bank has “implemented significant changes to our mortgage servicing operations and achieved compliance with major elements of the original Consent Order.”

I would imagine Stumpf and Heid must just be beside themselves with shame and distress because none of the many hundreds of company executives is intelligent enough to set up a system to assign cases to the employees trained and empowered to manage them. You’d think the nation’s largest mortgage bank and second-largest mortgage servicer could afford to hire somebody to help with that.

How embarrassing for Heid and other WFHM executives who have been telling no less an auspicious audience than the U.S. Congress since April 2010 that the company is diligently working on creating what has become known as a “single point of contact” system. How distressing that the no-doubt earnest testimony of those well-paid men was made into lies by the base incompetence of those idiot employees who, after years and years of being paid salaries still can’t manage to create a database and develop a protocol for working with consumers.

More than five years later, they have to hang their heads in shame that they can’t manage to do what countless private and government organizations do every day – assign clients, patients, students, etc., to a contact person they can count on to help them through a bureaucratic process.

Back when I worked in a tiny academic advising office at a small university, we somehow managed to create and administer a system that could divvy up the students among trained advisors, maintain an electronic database to record  every communication we had with those students, and track their academic progress and choice of major. Little did I know back then that we lowly functionaries were geniuses compared to the high-dollar executives at the nation’s fourth-largest bank.

While I was trying to work with Wells Fargo to restructure my loan, I experienced the terrible incompetence of its system firsthand. Over two and a half years, I was assigned no fewer than 17 people who were supposed to help get my case reviewed. Oddly enough, most of them weren’t very helpful at all. Some of them even seemed to completely lack such basic skills as how to read a bank statement, how to add simple numbers and how to return phone calls.

One wonders how the very same company has managed to keep the paperwork straight and organize all the steps required to facilitate the hundreds of thousands of foreclosures it has committed over the past few years. Of course, we now know there was a special manual created to help Wells Fargo employees fabricate the reams of documents necessary to achieve this profitable outcome.

Perhaps Stumpf and Heid could hire the same people who wrote the Foreclosure Manual to create a Loan Mod Manual. Wouldn’t that be helpful? I wonder why none of their expensive executives thought of that?

Wells Fargo’s Fraud Handbook

“When they did the bailout, they bailed out the banks … but they never bailed out the homeowners. The homeowners took the biggest hit.”

None of this comes as a surprise to any of us who have been dealing with the systemic idiocy of Wells Fargo’s mortgage loan modification review “process” over the past seven years or so. Nor, for that matter, anyone who has tried to re-structure a mortgage serviced by any of the “too big to fail” banks.

Falsified paperwork. “Lost” paperwork.Electronic “paperwork.” Paperwork that didn’t count because you didn’t sign it in the lower left-hand corner upside down with your own blood.

“What people don’t understand is this: 49 attorney generals went after
almost every major bank including Wells Fargo.
There was a $25 billion settlement for these kinds of fraudulent practices,but nothing to help the homeowners. That’s what is so crazy.”

Wells Fargo: Still Lying, Cheating & Stealing in 2015

I guess you have to give Wells Fargo points for consistency. After all, they’ve been publicly, openly and brazenly screwing over homeowners for about seven years now. (Pretty sure they were doing it before, too, but not as openly.)

In spite of the (fake) government “foreclosure prevention” programs and the (phony) million-dollar settlements and the thousands and thousands of Americans who have publicly told stories about being lied to, strung along and then cheated out of their homes, Wells Fargo is still stealing houses.

Here’s Martha who just started the modification process in early 2015 and is already facing the delay-and-deny game and being lied to by Wells Fargo’s servicers: “In total, I’ve talked to six different people and each time I have to almost start the conversation over. There doesn’t seem to be any system for keeping notes on a file on their computer system.”

Gosh, imagine that. After several years Wells Fargo doesn’t employ anyone competent enough to design a system for reviewing loan mod applications professionally and in a timely manner? Right. Bullshit.

Bruce was lured into the loan mod morass by Wells Fargo with a sneaky little story about being pre-approved for a very favorable sounding loan restructuring. What he has since found out is that he was lied to in a scheme to basically churn “servicing” fees from the investor. He, like any rational human being, thought his bank 1) worked for him and 2) would act in a fiscally rational manner. Like the rest of us, he found out otherwise.

“At first I thought that this couldn’t be true, that there was no reason they would want to take a good loan and lead it into foreclosure,” he writes. “Over time I came to understand that in order to bolster profit in the down economy, they adopted a policy of double tracking foreclosures and modifications, simultaneously making administrative fees on both. It’s critical to understand that the administrative fees are paid by the purchaser of the bundled loan, usually a public pension plan trust, and that such investors also bear the risk of loss on foreclosure.”

Exactly. And judging from the comments of other readers, they’re still double-tracking and playing the delay-and-deny game despite supposedly being slapped on the wrist and told not to.

Kama has been fighting for her home for five years and, like any law-abiding person can’t understand why Wells Fargo is allowed to lie, cheat and steal from people with no real recourse. It’s simple – big business has bought all the power.

Until Americans wake up and stop being manipulated into voting against their best interests and sitting back while corporations buy up all the power in this country, it’s only going to get worse. Don’t vote for candidates at any level who are funded by big business or rich ideologues like the Koch Brothers.

Tell your story about being manipulated and lied to and cheated by your bank to everyone who will listen – family, friends, your hairdresser and the mailman and the guy behind the counter at the dry cleaners. Encourage them to take their money out of the big banks and to look beyond polarizing sound-bites to demand fairness and justice from their elected officials.

Lisa in New Jersey is fighting back: “No one at Wells Fargo cares about us and unless we band together, there will be a neighborhood full of vacant empty homes in every neighborhood across America with a big sign WELLS FARGO SCREWED ME.”

Give ’em hell, Lisa, and everyone else who is and has been fighting the banksters.

Wells Fargo Still Scamming Loan Mod Seekers

Do any of the individuals or agencies that supposedly forced the banks to clean up their mortgage loan modification processes care that the banks HAVE NOT DONE WHAT THEY PROMISED TO DO?

Yeah, I didn’t really think so. The banksters had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they promised things like timely reviews and single contact people and actual, you know, modifications of these loans.

Yes, there were Presidential promises and Treasury scoldings and chest thumping by THE AG and all the assorted lesser A’sG. (Seriously, does anyone even know if Eric Schneidermann is still alive? He and his Financial Fraud Task Force certainly disappeared into the black hole of Washington’s do-nothing committees on studying the study of the alleged wrongoing by some unnamed alleged doer of wrong.)

Yes, there were well-publicized settlements for amounts that seemed gigantic to the average human but look relatively small when viewed in the context of the mega-salaries of Stumpf and Dimon and cronies.

But nothing has really changed in how the banks deal with beleaguered homeowners trying to hold their finances and their homes together. How do I know? From the people who visit my blog and leave comments like the recent one from TR. She reports the same kinds of nonsense I faced during my fight with the loan-mod-fraud crowd at Wells Fargo starting back in 2010.

TR writes: “When we tried to contact our “home preservation specialist”, our calls were never returned. I believe that they could care less about their customers and the needs of their customers. We want to save our home, but they are making it impossible when they will NOT return calls and hang up on you every time you call.”

TR has come to the same conclusion I and millions of others did, namely that the system is so stacked against us that we can’t win no matter how hard we try or how sensible it would be for the bank to re-structure our loans and keep us in our homes.

“I am frustrated beyond words and have had many sleepless nights, days full of anger and tears,” she writes. “I am now ready to walk away from the only home my children have known and begin anew. I have no choice but to walk away knowing WE tried every avenue only to have the doors slammed in our face.

Yeah, been there. You jump through all their hoops foreward, backward and sideways and still there are more lies and no positive end in sight.

So, just in case the President or Congress or the Comptroller of the Currency or the new Treasury secretary or any entity in the entire nation with legal power cares, the banks are STILL SCREWING OVER HOMEOWNERS AND STEALING HOUSES.

Need more examples? Here are just a few of the web search phrases that have brought people to my blog in the past 30 days:

  • keep getting shut down for mortgage modification from wells fargo
  • unapplied funds mortgage wells fargo loan mod
  • wells fargo bait and switch tactics 2014
  • wells fargo why are they not doing modifications
  • why the hell does wells fargo keep sending someone by my house
  • does wells fargo try to trick defendant of foreclosure before trial
  • wells fargo is terrible at home loan modifications why?
  • wells fargo trial mortage payment rip off
  • wells fargo home loan modification scams
  • how can a 3 month trial mod go to 4 months
  • is wells fargo still screwing people
  • if wells fargo got paid and still trying to foreclose
  • hamp and trial loan modification was scam
  • wells fargo mortgage specialist abuse

The Mortgage Modification Scam Still Alive and Well at Wells Fargo

Lest you harbor hopeful thoughts that a series of much-publicized no-wrongdoing-admitted settlements with the banksters means they’ve stopped cheating on mortgage loan modifications and other foreclosure-related transactions, consider the following. (They’re still cheating.)

These search phrases that brought readers to my blog tell me that people are still being jerked around by Wells Fargo. That in defiance of requirements specified in the National Mortgage Settlement, Wells Fargo is still dual-tracking and screwing around with short sales. Oh, and probably still employing overzealous lockout/trashout tactics. (Yeah, and how much would you bet that robo-signing is still going on in deep, dark basements somewhere?)

Yes, these examples focus on Wells Fargo, but given recent history, do you really believe the other big banks aren’t still doing exactly the same?

Here’s a sampling of searches from just the past 30 days:

  • i qualify so why wont wells fargo give me a home modification hamp
  • scams through wells fargo loan modification program
  • wells fargo ignores short sale request
  • has anyone been forclosed on while working with the bank on a modification with wells fargo
  • wells fargo is the most inflexible and dishonest mortgage holder
  • wells fargo cheated me
  • i was denied modification from wells fargo
  • loan modification wells fargo fraud
  • wells fargo fraudlent mortgage modifications
  • wells fargo scared my tenants into moving
  • wells fargo changing locks illegally
  • i got no home modification from wells fargo
  • wells fargo mortgage sold my loan before forbearance

Not that different from the web searches homeowners have been doing for the past six years as the banks have stolen millions of houses and screwed with the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

I expect this will go on and on as long as 1) people continue to do business with the big banks, thinking government and fake regulatory agencies will keep them safe and 2) big corporate banks own the federal and state politicians who should be protecting the American people from financial ruin.

How can you protect yourself and beat the banksters’ scams? Pretty simple.

  • Take all your money out of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, Ally, Chase and any other bank that’s focused more on making money than serving customers and instead do business with small regional/local banks and credit unions. Keep your money working in your community with a simple commercial bank, the kind that exists to provide services such as checking and savings accounts. You don’t want to risk being the cash cow for the greed-fueled traders at one of the “too-big-to-fail” investment banks.
  • Never, ever take out a loan with an institution that has the contractual right to sell your loan to another party or to sell the servicing rights to another party. You want to decide which financial institutions will get your business, not be a pawn in some bank executive’s greed-fueled frenzy to get a six-figure bonus.

My Fondest Wish: Wells Fargo’s Lies Exposed & Its Doors Closed

Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

“Bank of America [ed: Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, Ally] employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.”

This headline and the revelations of wrongdoing that follow it came as no surprise to the hundreds of thousands of people who tried in good faith to re-negotiate their mortgage contracts with BofA.

I can’t help wondering when the the courts or the Justice Department or Congress will wise up and realize that 1) all the big banks did exactly the same thing (some coincidence, huh?) and that 2) it happened on their watch with their complicity and every one of us who went through it knows that and will never forget.

I couldn’t be happier that Bank of America is getting its dirty laundry aired, no matter how token any “punishment” is likely to be. I have to say, thought that personally, I’m looking forward to the following headline, the fact of which I know to be totally and completely true:

Wells Fargo Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

or, maybe, to be more current and absolutely factual:

Wells Fargo Is Still Lying to Homeowners and Rewarding Foreclosures, Former and Current Employees Say

Because, of course, in spite of the tens of thousands of complaints filed and letters sent to attorneys general and elected officials and “regulators” and miles of published accounts by news outlets from small to global, the banksters are still hard at work pretending they can’t possibly figure out how to modify a mortgage loan.

How do I know? I still hear from people every week who are being jerked around by banks still playing the ridiculous delay-and-deny games. It’s sickening and heartbreaking. This sort of corporate arrogance and government complicity is a recipe for the downfall of not only the U.S. economy, but indeed of the nation itself.

I only hope that in my lifetime I get to see the headline I really crave:

Wells Fargo Has Screwed Its Last Customer; Corrupt Corporation Closes Its Doors Forever 

What headlines would you like to read?

Wells Fargo: Sucking Since 2008 … and Beyond

How sad is it that a blog post from May 2008 is still getting comments in May 2014 from people who have been screwed over by Wells Fargo?

10 Reasons Wells Fargo Sucks – A warning to new customers

If you peruse the information readers have shared over the past six years about this bank’s abysmal customer service and consuming greed, you’ll find every kind of slimy business practice.

Playing games with checking deposits to rack up overdraft fees. Jerking homeowners around, promising to modify mortgage loans after a qualifying period, taking their money during that period and then denying the loan mod. Holding insurance checks for an illogical amount of time when disaster victims need funds for basics like shelter, food and clothing. And so on and so on …

If you’re thinking of doing business of any kind with Wells Fargo, do yourself a favor and read this blog entry and at least a sampling of the comments. Then take the sensible course of action: run far, far away from Wells Fargo and the other big banks (Chase, Citi, B of A)  to your local credit union or local/regional bank. You’ll save time, frustration and money.

Need more reason NEVER, EVER to bank with Wells Fargo? How about 990 reasons?

Top 990 Consumer Complaints and Reviews about Wells Fargo

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Wells Fargo Sucks.