The Games Wells Fargo Plays: Send the Paperwork Again

If you’re been working with (against?) your bank to secure a mortgage modification, you know all about the paperwork game. You send everything they ask for and they ask for more. You send that and they ask for more. You send exactly what they ask for again and they drop your review because you didn’t send the right paperwork. And on. And on.

No, it’s not incompetence. No multi-billion-dollar company has that many imbeciles on the payroll. No, they’re not “overwhelmed.”  That might have been plausible when the government first started publicizing its Home Affordable Modification Program, but that was more than two years ago. No, the Post Office didn’t lose your mailing and it wasn’t swallowed up by the telephone line that connects your fax machine to the bank’s.

The paperwork game is one of many very intentional ways the big mortgage servicers frustrate people into giving up their search for help to avoid foreclosure. They know the odds are that most people will fold, walk away from their houses outright or just fail to fight the bank’s foreclosure process.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which services my mortgage loan allegedly owned by Freddie Mac, has been playing this game with me for 18 months now. Their stock line is to blame the “investor” for the nonsense, but I pretty much have down chapter and verse of Freddie Mac’s servicing guidelines and there’s not one single word there about paperwork needing to be submitted on any specific timeline.

The stock line in WFHM’s verbal and written communication regarding documents required for mortgage mod reviews is some version of “the investor requires certain documents be resubmitted every 30 days.” Or maybe it’s 60 days. Or any other timeframe that suits the speaker’s/writer’s need to justify yet another delay in reviewing the loan for modification.

I don’t know about the other banks, but WFHM just can’t quite get its story straight on what exactly its investor actually requires:

April 15, 2010 – Customer Service queue representative Eric told me that documents such as the hardship letter must be updated every 30 days to meet the requirements of “the investor.” The first time I was given any kind of timeline guidance.
August 9, 2010 – In email to Mark Tinsley, I asked, “Also, as it is coming up on time to “refresh” the dates on the standard forms, the hardship letter, financial worksheet and my profit-and-loss statements, should I go ahead and submit newly signed/dated copies of those.” His answer: “no need to refresh.”
September 23, 2010 – Customer service queue representative Chelsea told me I should continue to send in my hardship letter, financial worksheet and proof of income every 60 days instead of every 30 days – a new requirement.
October 4, 2010 – Kathleen Wengert Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote “Please be aware, the investors require documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
October 25, 2010 – Wanita Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote “Please be aware, the investors require documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
November 17, 2010 – Loan Servicing (Collections) customer service representative Latoya reminded me to continue to update my documentation every 30 days.
November 23, 2010 – Loan Servicing (Collections) customer service representative Rachel told me the standard modification documents only have to be updated every 60 days now. The previous 30-day rule has changed.
December 13, 2010 – Wanita Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote to an Arizona Attorney General’s representative, copied to me, “Please be aware, the investors requite [sic] documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
January 6, 2011 – I asked Angela Cook, from the WFHM president’s office for clarification on the 30-day rule for submitting the core documents. She said there has been difficulty and confusion because the process has changed numerous times. Now, she said, the investor has “gone out to 50 days” but WFHM still typically requests documents every 30 days to keep it all “fresh.”
January 18, 2011 – Angela Cook, from the WFHM president’s office wrote to an Arizona Attorney General’s representative, copied to me, “The investor does request that financials be updated within a timely manner. This timeframe has been updated to require updates within 50 days for most documents. Proof of income is requested to be updated within 30 days.
January 26, 2011 – Kathleen Halifax, underwriter in Loss Mitigation, mentioned that she always tries to review files within 60 days, so that is her requirement for document submission.

Both the HAMP program guidelines and Wells Fargo’s servicing agreement with my loan’s “investor,” Freddie Mac, set a much more liberal document submission requirement. Wells Fargo’s ever-changing “requirement” is more justification for the ongoing game of “send the documents” that WFHM and all the other large banks seem to be playing with their customers who are seeking mortgage modifications. And yet another way Wells Fargo is completely ignoring both the HAMP program guidelines and Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide, which the abovementioned Ms. Nelson confirmed to me was used by WFHM.

“A borrower’s income documentation may not be more than 90 days old as of the date that such documentation is received by the servicer in connection with evaluating a mortgage loan for HAMP.”

Supplemental Directive 09-07
Home Affordable Modification Program –
Streamlined Borrower Evaluation Process
October 8, 2009

“For purposes of HAMP, a Borrower’s income must be supported by documentation that is not more than 90 days old as of the date that the Initial Package is received by the Servicer in connection with evaluating a Mortgage for HAMP.”

Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide, Volume 2
Chs. 64-69: Servicing Nonperforming Mortgages
Chapter C65: Home Affordable Modification Program
C65.5.1: Acknowledgement of Initial Package and verification of eligibility
(b)3. Verification of Income
(11/01/10)

(Excerpted from the list of Wells Fargo lies detailed on my Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire pages.)

27 thoughts on “The Games Wells Fargo Plays: Send the Paperwork Again

  1. I just left wells where I was a loan mod underwriter. It is a scam that tricks people to take the loan mod. No one should ever take a loan mod. The reason why your interest rate drops to two percent sounds good not really we also calculate your payment on whY your home is worth sound good not really here is the kicker. You owe 400,000 your home is worth 200,000 we give you two percent for three years then it goes to par say four we calculate your payment on whY your home is worth 200,000 now it gets bad we also extend your term to 40 years you will pay for 40 years you have probably been paying already for 3 to 5 after 40 years you do own your home remember your payment is based off 200,000 what it is worth however you owe 400,000 after 40 years you still owe the 200,000 so get it you have been paying for five years your mod is for forty years even after forty years you still do own your home. Typing on my cell phone is hard to do. Thank-you for along the loan mod you just took a forty year mortgage out on a home worth 200,000 nut you still owe 400,000 of course you are getting two percent for three years on that forty year mortgage. Do not forget after you pay for forty years you still so not own your home.

  2. I hate spell check here we go after forty years you do not own your home you currently owe 400,000 your mod payment is based off what your home is worth 200,000 but you still owe 400,000 so after paying for forty years you do not own your home. You still owe 200,000 after forty years

  3. File bk buy your home in three years fha loan buy it for 150,000 do a fifteen year mortgage own it in fifteen years instead of paying for forty then still owing

  4. Loan loss are scams why pay for forty years file bk own in fifteen for less money loan mods are to trick you two percent is only for three years don’t pay for forty hampered requires forty years most of time

  5. Thanks for the info, wells loan mod underwriter. Spellcheck’s imposed “corrections” make it a bit hard to understand. When you have a chance, can you let me know what “whY” is supposed to be? I’m also not entirely clear about your point that at the end of the loan the entire loan balance wouldn’t be paid off. Hope you’ll check back in and clear that up, perhaps when you’re not fighting to type on your phone.

    Hope you find a better place to work next. I often think it must be very hard to go to work every day knowing your primary task is going to be lying to people.

  6. Hamp government program tries to get a borrowers housing ratio to 31% gross monthly income is 1000 then we try to get your whole payment pitia to 310 we do this by three ways first extend term to 40 years then set aside a set aside is you owe 300,000 home is worth 200,000 we make your new payment based upon 200,000 and we lower your rate for three years to 2% your new mod is approved 40 year term at 200,000 at 2% for three years then your rate goes up remember you still owe 300,000 for 40 years you only pay toward the 200,000 so after 40 years you still owe 100,000 pay on your home for 40 years and still owe a 100,000 that is not good. If you are elderly take the mod it lowers your payment cheaper than rent if your younger file bk. Also wells really screwed and is screwing black people for instance a black person files bk in Detroit we actually will not foreclose on the home it would cost more to take back and fix up so the borrowers loan is wiped off the books but the borrower still stays on title currently Detroit people low income areas are being notified by the city three year after they file bk we need to demolish your vacant home people say I do not own of I filed bk city says bank never foreclosed here is a bill for 50,000 to demolish the bank never went on title and now people are screwed

  7. The worst part is wells Fargo is not operating the loan mods ready for this it is not the bank it is the people from wells Fargo financial not nice bankers but the financial people who were closed wells Fargo financial closed remember they got hit with a 85 million dollar fine for bad loans ripping people off they transferred from financial to the bank they the 85 million fine stammer are in charge a side note 11% of wells loan are bad if 3% go bad the bank collapses Obama and he banks are in this together tax payers would nail out all the banks can’t have banks failing I vote republican but Obama is brilliant he and the banks are tricking people to take 40 year mortgages then after 40 years they still owe I did not vote for him but you are rigt it is a scam only to protect banks no one understands that who would pay for 40 years and still owe only. an idiot

    • underwriter what about the losing of paper work and moving files out of review and te of course drum roll please………telling current homeowners not to pay…..ta/……da

  8. Pingback: Just in Case You Think the Banks Will Ever Start Dealing Fairly With Mortgage Mods … | Is Mortgage Modification a Scam?

  9. Pingback: Big Banks are Too Big to Serve Their Purpose. Move Your Money. | Is Mortgage Modification a Scam?

  10. Best to contact a HUD Approved Housing Counselor to get help getting a modification. http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
    The mortgage company should handle your request seriously after that. Once approved make each trial payment early or on time. Speak with your mortgage company weekly or every couple of weeks. Don’t be discouraged if you receive foreclosure type docs from attorneys or letters that sound like you aren’t in modification during this time. Just call them and they will confirm that you are in modification and help clarify why you got the letter. Continue to make your modification payments early or on time NO MATTER WHAT. Any overdue payments are added onto the mortgage and repayment could be for 40 years. But it is better than getting a rental which may cost even more than your home. Be sure to read all information from your mortgage company.

    • Sheila, thanks for your suggestion. But I have to say I found the HUD housing counselors to be a complete waste of time. The three different agencies I contacted for help with my mortgage mod were useless. One, which was suggested by my mortgage insurance carrier, never let me get beyond leaving multiple messages with a receptionist. I never got a return call from an actual counselor. Another was part of the Save Our Home AZ program, one of the many false programs set up to pretend to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

      Another HUD-approved agency that I contacted on my own was staffed by very nice people who clearly wanted to be helpful. But the counselor told me outright that her organization (and other similar agencies) had no better access to the people actually doing the loan mod reviews than the average public. She and her fellow housing counselors had to wait in the same customer-service phone queues as the rest of us. And they were just as likely to be told paperwork they faxed to a loan servicer hadn’t been received. She wanted me to send her all the same paperwork I would have sent the bank, plus some additional forms for the agency, and wait while she submitted to the bank. I couldn’t see the point in adding another layer of bureaucracy when there wasn’t any clear advantage. It would just have slowed down the process further.

      And, maybe rents are high wherever you live, but here in AZ I could have rented several nice houses for about 2/3 what I was paying in mortgage. That sure seemed to me a much better choice than being trapped in a hugely-overpriced 40-year mortgage with a company that had lied to and cheated me repeatedly.

  11. this forum has been helpful. I’m going through a modification for a second time with well fargo. I’m just not sure what they want from me. I have a foreclosure date coming up next month and am fighting hard to keep my home.. Does anyone know about foreclosure delay services? Is it worth the investment? What about securing an attorney? Also, does anyone know what the DTI needs to be to be approved? Is there a specific surplus needed?

    • Hi Lynette, Glad you’ve found good info. here. I think you’re saying what we all find most frustrating in the loan mod process – that there is no clear info. on what it takes to qualify for a permanent mod. Of course, the banks say that’s because all the different “investors” have different requirements. But such a huge majority of mortgage loans were bundled and securitized through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – who show up as the “owner” or “investor” – that they could surely at least clearly disclose what the requirements of those entities are. In reality, the banks keep this information secret so they can play the delay game so long that you’re so far in default that a modification can’t help you. In the absence of any government, court or regulatory agency riding herd on the banks and forcing them to deal in good faith, they can make up any “guideline” they want at any time to pretend to justify denying your mod. The deck is massively stacked against you unless you make enough noise to get some help from the media or, maybe, one of the few members of Congress who hasn’t sold out to the big banks.

      As for the “foreclosure delay” services, I believe those are just scammers. Anyone who tells you he/she has special access to any bank’s “loss mitigation” people or who “guarantees” he/she can delay or beat a foreclosure is just plain lying. The consumer division of your state attorney general’s office might have some guidance for you on this issue. If you can find an attorney who is experienced at fighting foreclosure you might be able to get some help, but they don’t have any special access either.

      I worked with a legal aid attorney who was helpful at answering my questions about the law (which was amazingly useless, favored the banks pretty blatantly) but didn’t get much traction with Wells Fargo. She did tell me that many of the “investors” want you to have a surplus of at least $200 after your monthly expenses (including the mortgage) are met. But in my case, Wells Fargo just made up numbers in two of my mod attempts to justify denying.

      I ended up, basically by default, turning the delaying game back on WF until I could make an exit that suited me. I fought for 2.5 years and then walked away on my terms because I could see there was no way I was going to win. If I were still in the game now, I would definitely string the bank along until after the election. If Obama gets elected he might defy his bankster cronies and create some real help for homeowners. After all, he won’t need campaign $$ again. If Romney wins, I’m pretty sure all of us who aren’t millionaires are going to be thrown under the bus, so that won’t help. If you want help figuring out how to turn the tables on WF and play the delay game with them, check out http://www.loansafe.org/ and read about the “HAMPster Wheel.”

      I wish I had more hopeful info., but I applaud you for fighting and wish you the very best of luck!

  12. Admin, thank you so much for your response. I really appeciate the time you took to provide helpful information. I will review the website today for more insight. Thanks!

  13. We were in a mod program with Wells in June/July. Mountains of paperwork sent and resent. Things went bad when they made a ‘mistake’ and messed up the numbers on our monthly payment thus putting us in a 3 month default. Understand, we called in a payment, they took the payment gave us a confirmation number then 2 days latter they returned our payment because they said it was late and we were in default.

    We sent a letter disputing the claim we were late and in default in June (it took them until mid Sept. to reply). In the mean time we were told our loan mod would go through. End of July we are told because we are in default our file had been passed to the lawyers for foreclosure. We were still in the mod program so we were being dual tracked.

    Second week in Aug. we are told Fri. our mod will be approved ‘have a good weekend and relax’ then on Tues next week we get a Fed Ex stating the mod has been denied and a foreclosure date is being set (in Virginia they only need to give 2 weeks notice of foreclosure). We panic, we have young kids in school and we dont want to end up on the street. We start looking for rentals in our kids school district (so they dont have to change schools) – gut wrenching.

    Within 3 weeks of the notice of denial of the mod we have 1. Applied for the short sale program; 2. listed our home and received a contract; 3. Submitted all the forms for HAFTA short sale. On Sept 14th we get a letter from WF stating we were indeed put in default by THEIR error and they have taken us out of foreclosure (this was a response to our letter in July). We are screwed.

    We have signed a lease for 2 years on a home, we are now further behind on payments because WF would not take our mortgage payments. Icing on the cake is they claim that our short sale documents were sent electronically and needed to be submitted by FAX so we are not eligible for HAFTA short sale benefits.

    So now we wait for them to approve our short sale and to move into our now rented empty new home. Our lawyer says there really is not much we can do unless we want to take on the 4th largest bank in the country. Its all just sad.

    • Wow Losinghome,
      Wells Fargo screwed you and your family at least three ways here. That’s beyond sad; it’s an outrage.

      In addition to being completely intentional tactics to defraud homeowners, the big banks’ delay-and-deny games are just plain cruel. They work very hard to keep people off balance enough that they don’t even know which way to try to fight all the lies and misdirection.

      Millions of lives are being disrupted completely needlessly to line the pockets of a few bank executives. That’s just plain mean.

      And someone please tell me how it is legal for a company to refuse a payment, then call the borrower in default and start foreclosure proceedings. That’s ridiculous, and yet Congress (in exchange for campaign $$$) has watered down regulation so much that nothing the banks do seems actionable anymore.

      And the legal system has managed to sell out, too, for the most part. There’s something definitely wrong when lawyers armed with evidence of banks’ deviousness won’t file suits because they know the judicial system is too corrupt to function. (Think Florida rocket docket.)

      I have so much sympathy for you and your family. I wish you the very best luck with the short sale and as you settle into your new home without Wells Fargo breathing down your neck.

      I hope you will continue to tell your story to everyone you can so people know the banks are still jerking people around even after the so-called “servicer settlement.” Be sure to send a description of your situation to your state attorney general, if only to have it added to their already-thick file of homeowners abused by their mortgage servicers. And file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      If people keep telling their stories, I just hope eventually there will come a tipping point and someone will stand up and say to these foreclosure-happy banks “Enough!”

      Good luck and thanks for telling your story here!

  14. You aren’t working with the right attorneys. You need attorneys that have successfully fought the banks and have won. Let me know if you want help

  15. The Wells Fargo Home Preservation thing is TOTAL BS! As many have said on this blog, the resubmission of documents goes on and on and on. We have been going through this for months on end, and there appears to be no end in sight. Even when we looked on the website: http://wellsfargo.com/modification, it appeared that all of our paperwork was in order, again they say more has to be submitted. They supposedly lost the entire package my wife mailed the first time. It is making me sick.

    • Hi Daniel,
      So sorry to hear you’re having problems with Wells Fargo. The whole paperwork game is such juvenile nonsense. I did find they stopped pretending to “lose” my paperwork after I started sending it certified so it had to be signed for and I could go on the USPS website and see exactly when it arrived. I always referenced the date/time/signer when I inquired about paperwork and they stopped saying they hadn’t gotten it.
      Of course, that didn’t stop them from playing another version of the game, giving all kinds of conflicting info. about the “investor” requiring that paperwork be updated every 30 days or other increments. They ended up with a total of nine copies of one of my tax returns – because we all know that the numbers on already-submitted tax forms are prone to change at any time.
      After I started working with a lawyer, I generally only had to submit paperwork once for each review. But that was when they started falsifying the numbers, randomly adding in expenses and reducing income until the result showed I was ineligible for HAMP.
      That’s why I say without reservation that mortgage modification is a total scam. You may be able to turn the tables on the delay-and-deny game to buy yourself time living in your home without paying your mortgage so you can strategize an exit that works better for you.
      I wish you the very best of luck in your fight!

  16. We tried to do a mod with wf back in 2009 when my Husband returned from Iraq. We had a really good case because we had a serious reduction in income and could justify a mod. Well, after collating all of the numbers and stringing us along for several months AND with the help of an Army lawyer, they offered to reduce our monthly payment by a mere $200. They said take it or leave it. Wouldn’t help us one bit. So we stopped paying and I found NACA. Anybody heard of them? Google them. Anyway, we didn’t pay for an entire year and we never heard a peep. The bills kept accruing and nobody said a word. When I got hooked up with NACA , I got really hopeful because they seem to specialize in helping to achieve a workable solution. Also, a friend advised me to contact our local Senator. (Mary Bono Mack). Her office worked pretty hard to cut a path thru the bs and got us to the paperwork gauntlet. From Jan til Dec we danced the mod dance. Then they finally gave us an offer and they said this is what you can afford and take it or leave it. Its the best and final offer. No hardships, no congressional support, didn’t matter which hand we tried to play. We started making payments on time and killing ourselves to do the trial payments. That’s about what the mod payments would be. It moved really slow from mod to foreclosure. It took 2 weeks for our paperwork to go from modification to shortsale. We got a realtor and requested a shortsale. Around and around with the yes you got your shortsale then no, denied and to foreclosure because it was too close to the auction date. We had a cash offer with $25K more than asking price and wf still wouldn’t budge. They asked for a piece of info from the buyer and only gave 3 hours to get it over Christmas week! We got it in within 3 hours and 20 minutes and said shortsale denied due to untimely paper submission. Anyway, my banker said that it didn’t look good and not to expect our shortsale. I spoke to a real estate atty and he said in California new dual track legislation AB278 and tell them to threaten to file bk to put a monkey wrench into wf plans. Atty said in reality just walk away if wf won’t play ball. Buy another house in 2-3 years, no problem. So, I called and left vm for my wf banker threatening the two things and the song completely changed…in 24 hours!! We are moving forward with our shortsale (which could change at any time of course) and are hopeful to get some HAFA money. It’s been very gut wrenching and stressful beyond belief. I am really hoping everything moves forward now without a hitch and we can be done with wf. They are a terrible company and I hate Hate HATE them! Thanks for letting us all vent and know that we’re not the only ones getting the circle jerk paperwork dance. I wish everyone peace and rest to move on!

    • Hi holistic_nurse,
      Thanks for sharing your story. Amazing that the govt.-created and promoted loan mod programs can’t even help people who have served their country.

      And that after a few highly publicized settlements that were supposed to reform and improve the mod process, the banks are still doing the same ridiculous tap dance all over the backs of good honest people just trying to cope with the fallout of a financial meltdown none of us caused.

      The most frustrating part for me was the obviously made-up-in-the-moment rules they conjured up to excuse all their nonsense. “Untimely paperwork submission” my backside.

      I hope you’re telling your story to anyone who will listen and urging them to take their money away from these awful big banks.

      Here’s hoping your short sale goes ahead smoothly, the HAFA dollars come through and you and your husband move on to a positive new future without Wells Fargo.

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  18. My mother past away in 2011, we notified WFHM that she had past and we were the owners by Beneficiary deed. We were making the payments till March, 2012 when they denied our payment because we weren’t on the loan. They started foreclosure, we filed for Chapter 13. Due to problems, we have tried 3 times to go through bankruptcy. My husband’s health has forced him to get disability. Was told we have to either just move out or try to get a loan. We really don’t have any rights. We live and have lived on this property with my parents. Took care of them till they past. We live in Missouri and the area has gone down hill by salvage yards by us and drug dealers living close by. If we leave here we will be homeless. Don’t know what we can and should do. No Lawyers will help us.

  19. My mother past away in 2011, we notified WFHM that she had past and we were the owners by Beneficiary deed. We were making the payments till March, 2012 when they denied our payment because we weren’t on the loan. They started foreclosure, we filed for Chapter 13. Due to problems, we have tried 3 times to go through bankruptcy. My husband’s health has forced him to get disability. Was told we have to either just move out or try to get a loan. We really don’t have any rights. We live and have lived on this property with my parents. Took care of them till they past. We live in Missouri and the area has gone down hill by salvage yards by us and drug dealers living close by. If we leave here we will be homeless. Don’t know what we can and should do. No Lawyers will help us. We just want to keep our home.

  20. Need advice. Won hoa foreclouse paid lots of money to help friend out. Now wells Fargo says there’s a balance of 144,000 They never offer loan modication all fees and intrest are BS Now they want to foreclouse on 6/5 2017 Any advice?

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