My Mortgage Modification Nightmare
I realized in March 2010 that I was keeping current on my mortgage loan payments only by dipping into my very limited savings every month. My savings account was dwindling fast and I had no expectation that my business would experience a substantial upturn, so I knew this depletion was not sustainable. In addition, my business experiences seasonal downturns in summer, so I had reasonable expectation of experiencing decreased incomes in July and August 2010. Therefore, I determined the best course of action would be to contact my lender, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, to request a modification of my loan under the federal program designed for that. My initial information package was logged into the WF system on March 23, 2010. More than six months later my request is still “in review,” I have received no assistance under the HAMP program or any other plan and, as I predicted, I am now delinquent on my mortgage loan. This timeline details the process.
Some weeks I got calls from customer service representatives working from the “autodialer” four or five times, and I didn’t log every one of these. If I had talked to someone from WF the previous day or two, I didn’t always call right back because it seemed they didn’t have anything new to ask or tell. For brevity, I summarize here a number of things that happened nearly every time I spoke to someone from the Wells Fargo Customer Service queue:
- I explained that I did not have pay stubs. Throughout the process I supplied multiple copies of my 2008 and 2009 personal and business tax returns, my 2008 and 2009 W-2 forms, my business profit-and-loss statements in two formats, a simple year-to-date form and a monthly breakdown. Add to that three months of bank statements for my personal and business accounts and there were plenty of ways to determine my income.
- I was asked to verbally answer questions that are in the top section of the multiple copies of the RMA form that I provided, including the following:
Did I live at the property? Yes.
Did I intend to keep the property? Yes.
Was the property on the market? No.
Do I pay homeowner’s association fees? No.
Do I pay the property taxes and insurance or are they included in the loan? In the loan.
- I was asked to verbally tell why I found the need for mortgage assistance, providing the same information that was in the various forms of “hardship letter” I sent.
- I was asked multiple times whether I expected my financial situation to greatly change in the next three months. I explained that mine is a seasonal business, with the hot summer months being the slowest period. Hence, I contacted the lender for assistance in March planning to have secured assistance before the likely income drop in July and August.
- I was asked to fax materials to Wells Fargo. I explained verbally and in every letter I sent that I do not have a fax machine in my home office, so documents would be sent by regular mail. Many times the documents sent by regular first-class mail reportedly did not show up in the system into which they were to have been logged and scanned. However, after I began sending the documents via certified mail, for which someone had to sign and which allowed me to track delivery, all my documents seemed to be logged and scanned.
DATE: March 16, 2010
ACTION: Sent by first class mail documents intended to start process of requesting mortgage modification
SUMMARY: On this date, after considerable internet research to determine what documents to send, I mailed to Wells Fargo the following items with the request that I be considered for a mortgage modification. (Note: at that time I could find nowhere on the Wells Fargo site any checklist of forms to send nor any samples or pdf files of such forms. The only guidance I could find was on the website MakingHomeAffordable.gov, so the forms either originate on that site or were referenced on a checklist on that site.)
1) Completed Making Home Affordable Program Request for Modification and Affadavit (RMA) form with attached Hardship Affidavit Explanation document as specified on page 1 of the document. As no form was specified for this explanatory document, I structured it in the form of a memorandum, to whom it may concern.
2) Completed IRS form 4506T-EZ Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript
3) Copies of IRS 2009 1040 plus schedule E as designated as verification of income for borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments.
DATE: March 23, 2010
ACTION: Documents logged into Wells Fargo system
SUMMARY: My request for a mortgage modification was initiated in the Wells Fargo system.