California Reinvestment Coalition Report Re: Bank Violations Hurt Hardest Hit Communities April 2013

CHASM BETWEEN WORDS AND DEEDS: WELLS FARGO IS LISTED AS THE WORST SERVICER, MORE THAN ANY OTHER SERVICER

by Barry Fagan
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A new survey of housing counselors in California reveals that banks are violating several consumer protections that were mandated by the $26 billion National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) and the California Homeowners Bill of Rights.

Worst Servicer

Counselors were asked, “For all servicers, in your experience, which servicer is the worst at keeping people in their homes where that should be possible? Why?”

• Fifty-six counselors responded to this question.

• Wells Fargo was listed 29 times by counselors as the worst servicer, more than any other servicer.

• Bank of America came in a close second, having been mentioned 22 times.

• JPMorgan Chase was a distance third, with 7 mentions.

When asked which servicer was most difficult to work with, most counselors named Wells Fargo, with Bank of America coming in a close second.

KEY FINDINGS

1. Single Points of Contact (SPOCS) are not working.Even where a SPOC was assigned, they were often not helpful.• Over 70% of counselors reported that each of the banks provided SPOCs that were “sometimes,”“rarely,” or “never” accessible, consistent or knowledgeable about relevant program rules.2. Dual track violations persistWhen asked, “which servicers are the biggest dual track offenders?” counselors listed:

1. Bank of America- 19 times

2. Wells Fargo- 18 times

3. JPMorgan Chase- 9 times

4. Servicers are flouting the timelines established by the NMS Lost Documents. It is hard to imagine that servicers have not fixed this problem, but counselors continueto report that servicers lose documents, as well as take too long to act on loan modification applications and then need to request the same documents over and over again.Over 60% of counselors reported that Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo lose documents at least “sometimes.” Ally fared better with “only” 49% saying Ally loses documents at least “sometimes”.• Over a third of responding counselors said Bank of America lost documents “always” or “almost always.”• Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were cited by over 30% of responding counselors as “always” or “almost always” failing to provide understandable reasons for loan modification denials.

Counselors Respond: Worst Servicer

“It has been my unfortunate experience to witness Wells Fargo foreclose senior after senior.

Wells refuses to work with seniors to try to keep them in their homes. If the senior hires an attorney to try and stop the foreclosure, Wells Fargo hires high priced law firms to try and crush the senior homeowner with unnecessary motions and discovery. The law firms hired by Wells rack up their fees by hundreds of thousands of dollars and then tack that amount onto the senior’s loan. Wells targeted seniors to refinance their loans and pull out their equity and now they are targeting seniors to remove them from their homes.

It has been my experience that senior homeowners fear Wells Fargo more than they fear cancer or liver failure. I guess you can treat cancer and liver failure but a Wells Fargo foreclosure is always terminal.”

“BofA, unfortunately. They used to be the best, now they are the worst. They seem more focused on dumping their Countrywide portfolio rather than helping the people currently in their pipeline. Their follow through is abysmal compared to what it used to be, especially for clients working with them directly. Once we get involved, they pick up the pace somewhat but that should not have to happen. Our contacts within BOA have been very supportive, but again, why should the consumer have to suffer through the lack of communication and follow through if they choose to go to the servicer first?”

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Barry Fagan
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