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.

Arizona’s Koch Addicts

Anybody else out there shaking your head today, wondering how so many of our fellow Arizonans once again let themselves be goaded into casting votes that mire our state in the ongoing political morass and make us a national punchline.

It’s true. We’ve been Koched.

How else could we elect another Republican legislature full of wingnuts who who will lead the state into costly lawsuits fighting for patently ridiculous laws? Case in point: narrowly passed Prop. 122, the so-called sovereignty bill.

First, do we really want those same legislators, who voters deemed unworthy of a raise, pretending to be legal scholars and pushing ballot issues questioning what is and isn’t constitutional? Seriously?

And second, it doesn’t take a legal scholar to guess that 122 will never stand up to legal scrutiny. The whims of a state’s majority don’t trump the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. The only question is will our new Republican governor and the new Republican attorney general waste millions defending this nonsense like the past (R) pair did for SB1070?

We have a governor who touts his record as a “job creator” in spite of serious complaints from his investors and a Secretary of State (the top election official) decrying the very political “dark money” that got her elected. Oh, and an AG who is a former lobbyist with ties to the private prison biz and a Corporation Commission skewed against increasing use of solar energy. (I remind you, this is Arizona, we’re talking about.)

Plus we seem to be on the verge of electing a state schools superintendent with no education experience, but lots of “conservative” dogma. Look for a Jeffco Colorado type of assault on school curricula in the entire state. (Hey, we’re already selectively defacing textbooks to support conservative ideology; why not just re-write them, instead?)

How did this happen, you ask? Two words: “Koch Brothers”. Or how about “Dark Money“? Yep, all that lovely right-wing conservative takeover money creating TV attack ads and filling your mailbox with reams of mailers worthy only of the recycle bin.

How long before the entire country is re-designed according to the grand design of two billionaire old white guys destined in their own minds to rule the world by buying up one vote at a time.

Who’s a “Koch Ho” in Arizona?

Collaborative Regulators Set Up the Next Financial Crisis

Too big to fail and regulators aiming for lucrative jobs with the financial firms they’re supposed to oversee are setting up the next economic crisis.

“I’ve so given up on the idea that regulators will regulate the financial industry.”

“It feels like the relationship between the financial sector and the government regulators is essentially a collaborative one rather than an oversight one.”
~
Financial Journalist Michael Lewis

How Far Have We Come Since The Financial Crisis?

 

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?

Congress Does Nothing Again; Pissed When President Does Something

 So, if Congress is busy playing its little power games and chasing corporate money, who exactly is doing the business of running the country? Seems the President is trying to get a few useful things done before the next multi-billion-dollar-fiasco formerly known as an election.

So, of course, a bunch of under-achieving Republican legislators say he’s overreaching, giving himself imperial powers like a king. And Speaker Boehner is going to take time from his busy tanning schedule to sue the President for, you know, governing and doing stuff the American people might be interested in like making sure we have roads to drive on.

Oh, and by the by, if you’re still trying to get out of foreclosure with your shirt, well, Congress didn’t exactly help you there. In fact, by their inaction (their favorite pasttime) they may very well have given your shirt, your right arm and your first-born to — you guessed it — the bank. By failing to extend the Mortgage Debt Foregiveness Act, Congress left who-knows-how-many folks in foreclosure or negotiating short sales up the creek with a leaky canoe. Your tax dollars and your vote at work (not).

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.

Timmy G’s Version of Recent History

If you’re a big fan of revisionist history and want to read more government spin on the financial crisis that triggered a multi-billion-dollar foreclosure frenzy, ex-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new book is just the thing for you. Here are some excerpts as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

On a silver-bullet for the foreclosure crisis:
“Housing was an impossibly complex issue that didn’t lend itself to simple solutions, and the limitations of our housing programs were a lot 
easier to identify than they were to fix. We were under intense pressure to improve these programs—not only from our many critics, but from the President, who was deeply unsatisfied with our early results, and constantly pushed us to do better… We were dissatisfied and frustrated, too. Some of our programs were stumbling out of the gate. Others weren’t ambitious enough. We would keep looking for ways to expand their power, reach, and effectiveness throughout the president’s first term.

“If there had been a game-changing housing plan that could have provided much more relief, we would have embraced it. We had some of the nation’s best progressive talent working on housing. We also had powerful incentives to throw everything we had at the problem; the press was killing us and so were our political allies… We tried to do what we could within the constraints we faced. It wasn’t enough. But it was more than most people realized.”

On the shortcomings of the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, the administration’s primary mortgage-relief campaign:
“We ended up requiring a mountain of paperwork for permanent relief, in part to appease critics such as [Neil] Barofsky, [the special inspector general for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program] who warned that the limited safeguards in our initial proposal were an invitation to fraud; we decided that in this case he had a point. But Larry [Summers, the director of the White House National Economic Council] warned that we were so worried about “false positives,” providing aid to the underserving, that we would allow too many “false negatives,” denying aid to the deserving. He had a point as well….

“By [late 2009], it was clear that HAMP’s reliance on the broken infrastructure of the mortgage servicing industry was a serious problem. This was probably unavoidable; we didn’t have the authority to start up a new government agency or hire thousands of loan specialists ourselves, and even if we’d been able to get the authority from Congress, it would have been a long and messy process. But the servicers, many of them owned by the banks, had little experience modifying loans, and nowhere near the capacity or the resources they would need to modify millions of loans. They had been completely unprepared for the housing crisis, and had laid off staff in droves after the bubble popped.

Now we were asking them to conduct a challenging and time-consuming form of triage, and they were terrible at it—slow to hire, slow to figure out how to provide relief, just slow. In fairness, many of the borrowers they were supposed to track down were hard to find and harder to engage; homeowners also struggled to find every required document. But many times incompetent servicers found ways to lose those documents multiple times….”
_________________________________________________________

What a load of crap former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is spewing in his newly released book. No surprise he’s trying to re-write history: millions of Americans lost their homes completely unnecessarily because of his inability (unwillingness?) to make his Wall Street cronies at the big banks follow the very specific guidelines for modifying mortgages that were supposed to drive the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP).

HAMP wasn’t a perfect program by any means, but if it had been implemented in any meaningful way a whole lot of people would have kept their homes. All Geithner’s department and the other agencies tasked with oversight had to do was bring the banks to heel and get them to comply with the guidelines of the program, something that should have been within his power (for all he protested it was not). The “carrot” built in to the federal program was miniscule – small amounts of money offered for banks who followed the guidelines and completed what should have been fairly straightforward re-structuring of mortgage loans. (Lower the payments by decreasing the interest rate for a few years, extend the term of the loan and add a balloon payment on the end. Pretty standard stuff.) But the “stick” should have been huge: comply with the guidelines or don’t get bailed out. Fail. Simple as that.

But over and over Geithner and the other regulators failed to act in the interest of the American people and instead caved and waffled and,
eventually after years of blatant lies and fraud, negotiated some anemic and highly ineffective “punitive” settlements.

It’s not as if Geithner didn’t know the banks were running a big scam in the name of HAMP. How many letters do you suppose the Treasury Department got from homeowners detailing the now-familiar story of people trying for months and, eventually, years just to get the banks to
acknowledge that the proper paperwork had been submitted for review. I played the paperwork game with Wells Fargo for two years, sending the same forms over and over and waiting nearly eight months for one of the modification reviews to be complete (even though the HAMP guidelines specified the review take no longer than 30 days.)

I didn’t write to the Treasury Department, but a letter I wrote to President Obama in November 2010 got routed there in July 2011, presumably because Treasury was supposed to be overseeing HAMP. This referred me to a division of Fannie Mae (then tasked with administering the modification program) called the HAMP Solution Center, which resulted in a fake “investigation” of my allegations against loan services Wells Fargo and “investor” Freddie Mac. The staff of the Solution Center asked me no questions and gathered no data or facts other than my initial letter. I’m quite convinced that all they did was ask Freddie Mac whether Wells Fargo had done what it was supposed to in my case. (Or at least they said they asked; I got copies of no such correspondence.) Big surprise, Wells Fargo reported that it had complied in every way with the program and said the delays were all my fault because I just kept failing to send them paperwork on time (Big LIE!) and I didn’t qualify for HAMP (LIE!). The Solution Center took that as read and blew me off, as subsequently did the Treasury Department. The message to my bank: just keep on lying and cheating and we’ll just go on looking the other way.

Bankster apologist Geithner talks about the “broken infrastructure” of the mortgage servicing industry as if the poor banks just didn’t have the
resources to process all those re-structuring requests. But the same banks managed to originate all those mortgages – even at the height of the home-buying frenzy – without whining about being overwhelmed and under-staffed. Re-structuring those existing loans shouldn’t have required nearly as complicated a system as the origination. (If you’ve ever bought property, you know all the paperwork and logistics involved.) To modify a mortgage per the HAMP program guidelines all they really had to do was verify income eligibility, something institutions tasked with loaning money have been doing as long as there have been such institutions.

Create a system, teach the system to staffers assigned to the task, publicize the exact steps applicants need to follow and get on with
business. That’s assuming, of course, that you honestly intend to re-structure these loans. However, I know for certain that the big banks
never, ever intended to comply with HAMP. How do I know this? Simple. The banks never designed nor shared such a system. You could scour the websites of these big banks for weeks and still not find anything as simple as a checklist for what documents needed to be submitted before a HAMP review could commence and what the timeline for said review would be. And if you called your loan-servicer bank and spoke with one of the (mostly) polite but completely useless customer service people to whom your call was routed, they couldn’t tell you this information, either. (Nor were they allowed to tell you who was doing the review or how to contact that person or pretty much anything else of substance that a company engaged in honest business would openly provide.)

What the banks did instead was develop a system to string along their borrowers, to generate who-knows-how-many millions in “servicing”
fees while also extorting more money out of homeowners with a scam known as a “trial modification.” And in a grand stroke of coincidence, each and every one of the big banks seemed to come up with many of the exact same strategies for this, the best known of which was (and still is) the endless paperwork game. Send the same paperwork over and over and over and be told it’s lost or wrong or, my personal favorite, “stale.” On sites like HissingKitty and RipoffReport you can read thousands of accounts from homeowners seeking loan mods from Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, Citi and all the little subsidiaries and the stories pretty much follow the same line. Loan mod scam with concurrent foreclosure process (the deadly “dual track“) proceeding with the force of a freight train and nothing – not logic, not the law, not ethics or morals or compassion or even the fact that the person being persecuted didn’t hold a mortgage – could stop the engine.

Pure chance or do you think the banks got together and conspired to create a system to thwart the mortgage loan re-structuring program and defraud millions of homeowners out of their property? I for one believe they gleefully shared their stalling strategies as they developed, including that extremely expedient forgery system that became known as “robo-signing.”

And all of this happened on Geithner’s watch and with Geithner’s full knowledge. Anyone with a brain realizes this. To the banksters that
makes him a hero, part of the mechanism that yielded them six-figure bonus checks while the average American was struggling to stay above
water. To those of us who were lied to and jerked around by those banksters, he’s one of the evil conspirators, someone who could have
stopped the foreclosure feeding frenzy and did not.

I’m not saying it was his decision to chose inaction over doing anything substantial to turn the tide of foreclosures. I firmly believe the fault for
that lies with the Obama administration, which either implicitly or explicity blocked every agency that could have prevented the big fee-crazy
mortgage servicers from raping and pillaging millions of homeowners. But with his close relationship to the Wall Street fat cats, it’s easy to imagine his natural inclination led to favoring the corporate cash grab over the little guys defending their homes.

So of course he’s out there hawking his revisionist history and disparaging anyone still calling for justice for the millions Americans who had the rug pulled out from under them by a financial crisis not of their making and who lost homes not because there wasn’t a “silver bullet” to stop
foreclosures but because men like Timothy Geithner conspired against them with the very people who did cause the crisis and who were
getting rich off its fallout.

   

Are You Buying What AG Holder is Selling This Week?

So, did you hear the big news this week? US Attorney General Eric Holder has finally noticed that maybe some big banks did bad stuff and screwed up the economy and things and maybe he should, you know, do something about that. (Seeing as how he is the nation’s top official in charge of enforcing laws and such.)

Too bad nobody told him before that these bank execs were running roughshod over their investors and their customers. But now that he figured out it was his job to address the illegal behavior, he got all ambitious and posted a video in which he calls out those big, bad banks:

“I intend to reaffirm the principle that no individual or entity that does harm to our economy is ever above the law,” Holder said in the video. “There is no such thing as ‘too big to jail.'”

Yep, heads will roll, I tell you. Heads will roll. (Uh huh. Sure they will.)

Pretty sure I’m not the only one who has some serious doubts whether anything will come of Holder’s newfound dedication to justice for the little guy. (The phrase “too little, too late” comes to mind, right after “bullshit!”)

If, however you believe the Justice Department has finally waked up and smelled the bank fraud, well, then maybe you’d like to consider doing a little real estate transaction with me.

“I’ve got some ocean-front property in Arizona. From my front porch you can see the sea …”

Update 7/14: Lest you still believe that AG Holder might actually do something useful to bring justice to all of us screwed over by the banksters, read this:
Insight: Top Justice officials connected to mortgage banks