Wells Fargo Mortgage Modification is a Scam



As the six-month mark approached, I decided there was no way the review of my request for a mortgage modification was ever going to be decided unless I got proactive and started to make some noise. I suggest others don't wait that long. As I did my online research trying to find out the things that the banks seem to want to keep secret - what are the modification programs, what are the review timelines, are there any guidelines the banks have to follow when dealing with customers requesting modifications - I kept a running list of contact names and info. I opted to send hard copy letters instead of email. Not sure which is more likely to be read, but I felt it was more likely email would get lost in the volume of correspondence these people receive.

For my initial mailing I chose 12 people to whom to tell my story - three attornies general, several people in upper management at Wells Fargo and several legislators. Because I just hate form letters, I took the time to do a little online research so I could personalize the letters. And yes, I think the letters were too long; however, I just couldn't figure out how to make my case with less, so I took a chance that at least some of it would be read. I also enclosed the complete chronology of the review process to date, when then was 24 pages.

As you can see, the response rate was dismal. I was quite surprised that one of the AGs didn't bother to reply and very disappointed in the legislators. I've never "written my congressman" before and I guess I won't bother to ever again, either. I did get a response from the Office of the President staff acting on their receipt of the letter I sent to John Stumpf.

(Apologies to anyone who didn't actually receive the letter due to postal mishap. I acknowledge that as a possibility for non-response and if you're on the list below and didn't get the letter, let me know.)

Wells Fargo Management

John Stumpf, chairman, president and CEO, Wells Fargo
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response: Contacted by two people in the WFHM presidents' office, Kathleen Wengert, who asked me to send her a whole lot of documentation (most of it repeats, a total of 52 pages!), refused to return any of my subsequent phone calls and then passed me off to Wanita Nelson, who passed me off to someone else and someone else and someone else. It appears that the function of these "executive mortgage specialists" is to try to spin the delay-and-deny strategy so it looks like it was my fault it took nearly seven months to complete the initial review of my mortgage loan for modification.

Cara Heiden, co-president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
My Letter of 9/23/2010
Her Response: None

It seems the stuff about her being an advocate for consumers and working tirelessly in the best interest of WF customers is just marketing fluff. Too bad.

Mike Heid, co-president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response: None

He makes WF sound like such a positive, ethical company in his statements. More marketing speak that doesn't carry through to actions, I guess.

Mark C. Oman, senior executive vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response: None


Sen. John McCain ("my" senator)
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response: None

Because Arizona Democrats couldn't find anyone with any chance to beat him, McCain is not in a hotly contested race to hold his seat so he's not as busy as some of the other legislators who didn't bother to reply. Based on his completely ignoring my letter, I will no longer be voting for him in the November election.
UPDATE: McCain received a $2,500 campaign contribution from the Wells Fargo employee PAC, to which CEO John Stumpf contributed more than $7,000. Guess that has something to do with the reason my senator completely blew me off.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ("my" congresswoman)
My Letter of 9/23/2010
Her Response:
I was contacted by Rep. Giffords' office in mid-November with a request to send a Privacy Act Consent Form. I sent that and more information in November, then got a follow-up call in mid-December asking whether I was going to submit the form. Guess my first mailing went astray, so I re-sent that info. and added some more. It seems like she is quite involved in this issue.

Rep. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response:
Rep. Frank got re-elected and is now ranking minority member on this committee. The new chairman is Spencer Bachus.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response:
Update: Sen. Dodd did not run for re-election in 2011. The new committee chairman is Sen. Tim Johnson.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response: None
Update: Sen. Shelby remains the ranking member on this committee

Attornies General

Terry Goddard, Arizona Attorney General (now former AG)
My Letter of 9/23/2010
His Response of 9/29/2010

Standard form response from the consumer complaints division is fine. I knew I'd get a reply from this very capable and professional AG. I have continued to correspond with two people from the AG's consumer information & complaints staff. Glad they're continuing to investigate; not sure our new AG is so interested in this issue.

Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General
My Letter of 9/23/2010
Her Response 10/1/2010

Most of the WFHM loss mitigation people I have spoken to, and all my intital mailings of forms, were in Eagen, Minnesota, a subarb of Minneapolis. I knew it was a bit of a stretch to expect much from this AG, but I was being thorough and appreciate getting a response from her office.

Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General
My Letter of 9/23/2010

His Response: None
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is based in Des Moines, Iowa, so I thought the conduct of the company should be of interest to that state's attorney general. Guess not. Brief bit of hope that he atually was going to put people in jail. Guess not.

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