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.

The Only People Banks Abuse More Than Their Customers Are Their Employees

A company in the service industry that browbeats employees to using high-pressure tactics to sell things customers don’t need or want. Does this sound like the kind of company you want to do business with? No way!

“Wells Fargo & Co. is the nation’s leader in selling add-on services to its customers. The giant San Francisco bank brags in earnings reports of its prowess in “cross-selling” financial products such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages and wealth management. In addition to generating fees and profits, those services keep customers tied to the bank and less likely to jump to competitors.

“But that success has come at a cost. The relentless pressure to sell has battered employee morale and led to ethical breaches, customer complaints and labor lawsuits, a Times investigation has found.

“To meet quotas, employees have opened unneeded accounts for customers, ordered credit cards without customers’ permission and forged client signatures on paperwork. Some employees begged family members to open ghost accounts.

“These conclusions emerge from a review of internal bank documents and court records, and from interviews with 28 former and seven current Wells Fargo employees who worked at bank branches in nine states, including California.”
~ Wells Fargo’s pressure-cooker sales culture comes at a cost, an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times

Don’t imagine the very same things go on at Chase, Bank of America, Citi and the rest. Why support companies that abuse both clients and employees to feed executives hunger for big bonuses? Keep your money in your community by support local or regional banks and responsible credit unions. It’s that simple. Don’t give the big banks your money and eventually they’ll shrivel up and die a death of their own making.

Good News for Homeowners Cheated by Wells Fargo With Bogus Trial Loan Mods

Yippee! All the homeowners Wells Fargo blatantly cheated with their bait-and-switch trial mortgage modifications finally have a legal leg to stand on.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decision is law in several  western states hard hit by foreclosure, such as California, Arizona and Nevada) said “Wells Fargo was required under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program to offer loan modifications to borrowers who demonstrated their eligibility during a trial period.”(Reuters article)

Nice that some part of the legal system has called out the bank on its the obvious game playing, requiring people to complete a trial modification plan to show ability to pay the lesser loan amount and then making up some fake reason to deny the permanent mod. The banks have raked in millions of dollars with this strategy, never intending to re-structure the loan but still giving people hope and getting them to pay money that was never credited toward their mortgage loans.

Way to call a fraud a fraud, 9th Circuit! And bravo to homeowners Phillip Corvello and Jeffrey and Karen Lucia Phillip Corvello whose lawsuit led to the ruling. From Reuters again:

Both the unsigned majority opinion and a concurring opinion by Circuit Judge John T. Noonan faulted Wells Fargo’s drafting of the trial period plan, saying that to rule in the bank’s favor would render the benefits for borrowers illusory.

“No purpose was served by the document Wells Fargo prepared except the fraudulent purpose of inducing Corvello to make the payments while the bank retained the option of modifying the loan or stiffing him,” Noonan wrote. “‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ is a fraudulent coin toss.”

If you completed a trial mortgage modification and then were denied a permanent mod, you can sue the b@$t@rd$!!

(Oh, and by the way. Guessing Wells Fargo wasn’t the only one gaming the HAMP program in this way. The other big banks seem to have coincidentally jerked mortgage holders around in exactly the same ways.)

Someone Notices Wells Fargo is Still Cheating Homeowners

Wells Fargo and Bank of America are in the news for failing to comply with the provisions of last February’s National Mortgage Settlement and maybe someone is finally going to stand up for homeowners.

For anyone still out there fighting to keep the foreclosure-frenzied loan servicers from taking a house, it comes as no surprise that these two banks have not been following the guidelines detailed in their agreement with 49 of the 50 state attorneys general.

It’s not as if anyone is still expecting to get any of the $26 billion that was supposed to provide direct help to wrongfully foreclosed homeowners. Most of that was stolen appropriated to plug holes in the states’ budgets.

But the settlement emphasized a number of servicing standards that should have been very helpful to homeowners seeking loan modifications to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. Among those was a requirement that loan mod applications be reviewed in 30 days, a specific mandate that borrowers be assigned a single knowledgeable contact person to work with them through the review process and provisions that limit the process known as “dual-tracking” whereby banks race to complete foreclosures whilst dragging out loan mod reviews.

(Never mind that HAMP and at least one of the big pretender-lenders, Freddie Mac, included most if not all of these items in their guidelines for loan mods starting as early as 2009 and the banks have summarily ignored them in favor of protracted delaying tactics.)

What may seem surprising is that the two banks only failed to comply with one or two of the requirements as measured by the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, which is supposed to be keeping track of the banks’ progress at finally implementing systems to deal with loan mod reviews in a timely and professional manner.

Or, maybe not so surprising. If the OMSO is anything like the other faux oversight agencies, the banks “self-report” their level of compliance and this self-serving data is taken as accurate. Right. Because no bank would ever lie about its treatment homeowners, most of whom it discarded as customers the second their mortgage loans were sold to “investors,” who then became clients of the banks’ “mortgage servicing” tentacles.

The OMSO website mentions a number of “metrics,” or tests, but doesn’t tell us from whence the data to fuel them comes. The agency’s FAQ page is pretty vague on the subject. “Specifically, the Monitor will receive and review periodic reports from the banks, and will then make his own determinations and findings as to the banks’ compliance with the settlement.”

Despite this blatant cheerleading by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, it sounds to me like this is another of those idiotic “self-policing” programs in which the banks assert they are doing everything they can to help homeowners while in reality they’re stringing people along with ridiculous delaying tactics.

I think New York AG Eric Schneiderman has a better idea of the scope of the problem, but even his citation of more than 200 violations of the settlement standards sounds low to me, notwithstanding that the settlement excluded a vast majority of borrowers in the first place by excluding loans “owned” by the big government-supported entities Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

But at least the NY AG is pursuing some course of punitive action. Maybe. Let’s hope this isn’t just another psuedo-investigation for show to be followed by another toothless “no admission of wrongdoing” settlement that somehow fails to provide meaningful restitution to those the banks have cheated.

Time will tell whether the efforts of Monitor Smith or AG Schneiderman will have any effect at all in reining in the banksters’ foreclosure free-for-all.

Update June 28, 2013: How disappointing. Turns out Schneiderman has rolled over for the banksters.
BofA, Wells Fargo Won’t Face Mortgage Deal Enforcement Case

 

Did AG Settlement Help Homeowners? Not So Much.

One year after the attorneys general of 49 states negotiated what became known as the “National Mortgage Settlement,” are loan servicer banks more responsive to homeowners seeking to have their mortgage loans re-structured?

The settlement included a number of servicing standards that should have been very helpful to homeowners seeking loan modifications to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. Among those was a requirement that loan mod applications be reviewed in 30 days, a specific mandate that borrowers be assigned a single knowledgeable contact person to work with them through the review process and provisions that limit the process known as “dual-tracking” whereby banks race to complete foreclosures whilst dragging out loan mod reviews.

Here’s what the settlement promised, according to the official website.

“The banks have agreed to major reforms in how they service mortgage loans. These new servicing standards require lenders and servicers to adhere to a long list of rights for those facing foreclosure.  For example, borrowers will have the right to see all of their loan documents to make sure any potential foreclosure is legal; they will be given every opportunity to first modify their loan before facing foreclosure; lenders and servicers will be required to have an appropriate number of well-trained staff members to promptly respond to the needs of distressed borrowers; and finally, borrowers will have the right to deal with a reliable, single point of contact so they have access to a person from whom to obtain information throughout the process.  This is very important because, throughout the foreclosure crisis, borrowers have lodged widespread complaints about their frustrations in trying to work with their lenders.” (FAQ)

So, have the banks complied? Judging from the comments on this blog, the answer is a resounding “NO!”

Despite including a “very robust enforcement mechanism,” the settlement doesn’t seem to have significantly changed the way the big banks are working with homeowners. People seeking loan mods are still being strung along for months or years sending paperwork over and over or stuck in bogus trial modification plans that trash their credit while the money disappears. The whole “single point of contact” thing doesn’t seem to be working too well, either.

Oh, and then there are the states that stuffed their settlement $$ into the general fund so homeowners got absolutely nothing after losing their homes to lies and fraud. (Yes, the AGs were complicit in that, at least in my state.)

So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who lost your home to a questionable foreclosure over the past few years, you might want to send your state’s attorney general a big thank-you for all his or her help in bringing to justice the perpetrators and preventing the same nonsense from going on and on.

Send me a copy of your letter and I’ll post it on the blog for our fellow foreclosed homeowners to see.

Update 4/12/13: Banks Continue to Violate Nationwide Servicer Settlement
Update 6/11/13: Well, at least Florida AG Pam Bondi has noticed: Bondi gives Wells Fargo a Wednesday deadline to respond to settlement concerns

Big Banks Still Too Big to Jail?

Justice for the millions of people who lost their pensions to the financial crisis? Or the millions who lost their homes to schemes and lies perpetrated by the banks? Nope. Jobs gone, communities devastated, people strung along and then dumped by their financial institutions. And, of course, nobody held accountable because in this country, money buys power and influence.

These two videos do a pretty good job of telling the story of how the financial services industry is getting away with years of lies and fraud.



The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

Is There Anyone Wells Fargo Won’t Cheat or Lie To?

As you may have noticed by now, I really don’t like Wells Fargo. It may have something to do with the way they strung me along for more than two years as I tried to restructure the mortgage loan WF originated and then sold to somebody-or-other, keeping only the servicing rights.

It could be the fact that the first bogus review of my loan for modification took more than seven months, during which time I sent the same documents 11 times. Or the lies about things like not being eligible for a loan mod until I was default by 90 days – coincidentally the magic number that triggers the foreclosure process. Blah, blah, blah. Same story as millions of other people at all the big fraud-factory banks.

Thanks to the internet, though, I know I’m not alone in despising Stumpy & Co. for the unprofessional, idiotic and crazy-making way they chose to treat their customers and borrowers.

Take, for example, this guy who found out that in addition to providing piss-poor customer service, Wells Fargo can’t (won’t?) do math. That’s right, nobody in the bizillion-dollar mega-bankster-lair can figure out how to compound interest.

One of my personal favorites is the “you refused to send the documents we never asked for” gambit. They pulled it on me several times.

It’s not just mortgage-holders that Wells Fargo messes with and the problems didn’t just pop up post-bank-induced-economic-meltdown, either. Imagine the frustration of these business owners who were made to fill out forms three times because the bank employee setting up their account couldn’t type their names correctly even when he had their drivers’ licenses in front of him.

What other ridiculous and dishonest deeds did I find Wells Fargo getting up to?

  • Playing the “we didn’t get the paperwork” game with a real estate agent trying to complete a short sale and
  • with a student regarding his student loan.
  • Screwing an account holder on the exchange rate for an international wire transfer.
  • Giving a borrower the run-around when all he wanted was to make a double payment to bring his auto loan current.

Still thinking of banking with this awful institution? Read the Jan. 24, 2012 saga of poor Anit who went round and round just trying to find out whether his account had indeed been frozen for security concerns or whether he was the victim of phishing (pishing?!).

And we could all read for days and days at the very active Wells Fargo Sucks! site. Amazing stories of the crap WF tries to pull on its customers. Not too great to be an employee there, either, according to Kevin, who writes in Entry #2482 about the pressure employees are under to sell people services they don’t want or need. (Interesting employee perspective in the comment to this post, too.)

Save yourself lots of time, energy and frustration and don’t bank at Wells Fargo. Or any of the other too-big-to-serve banks. Find a friendly local or regional bank or credit union that will treat you like a human being and won’t try to cheat you at every opportunity.

Even Bankers Don’t Trust Banks

Those in power didn’t learn anything from the financial crisis we’re still riding out. The banksters have so much power over government and regulators that they keep growing in both size and risk.

The Atlantic reporters Jesse Eisinger and Frank Partnoy dug into Wells Fargo’s annual report and what they found scared them and should scare you, too. These bloated power-hungry entities are truly too big to manage and destined to fail and bring the U.S. economy down with them.

Read What’s Inside America’s Banks?

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