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.

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