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Sep 22

Home Loan Services Lack Customer Service

Home loan services is an oxymoronic joke, in which the laughable punch line is “service.” It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, so let me fill you in on what’s been taking up all my time. I refinanced my house this week. And when I say “this week” I mean I started this process back in early June and just finally signed papers LAST THURSDAY.

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Typical homeowner during a refi

Yes, you heard that right. It took a bank three months to decide if I make enough money to lower my monthly payment by one third for a house I’ve been living in for 17 years. Because obviously, the wealthier I am THE LOWER my house payment should be. If it had turned out that I didn’t make enough to qualify for the smaller house payment, then by all means I should be forced to live with my currently bloated 6% interest rate, which results in higher payments.

Because we all know that when money’s tight you deserve higher house payments. It only makes sense.

To an imbecile, that is.

What’s Up With Home Loan Services?

I understand why we need a vetting process when providing home loan services. For cryin’ out loud, it used to be if you had a pulse, banks would happily hand you half a mil, and then prance off to the next warm body. Which is how the U.S. ended up with a Standard & Poor credit rating that resembles Tiger Woods’ golf score. However, when average, law-abiding citizens use home loan services to find a new loan so they can stay in houses they already live in, common sense should prevail.

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Dang, I have it all except the main ingredient

As I said, I’ve lived in this house for 17 years, never missed a payment, never even been late, and have owned other properties previous to this one. I have a credit score well into the 700s, never defaulted on a loan, and my house has almost been paid for TWICE.

Yet, I’m self-employed, so thanks to upright pillars of society such as Bernie Madoff, the big wigs at Goldman Sachs, Alan Greenspan, and just about any bank executive on Wall Street, being self-employed now automatically makes me a criminal when seeking the help of home loan services. This means in addition to submitting my W-2s and last three years tax returns to qualify for a new home loan, I also have to hand over a stool sample, one of my offspring, and give up my left big toe. I told them to hell with that. I’m keeping all my toes.

Home Loan Services Go All Jabberwocky

Okay, maybe it wasn’t QUITE that bad, but consider this. When I gave the lender my tax returns AND signed a paper that says the lender can verify my returns with the IRS… AND gave the lender my state corporate ID number (I’m an s-corp)… AND gave the lender a copy of my corporate license… AND gave the lender copies of all my bank statements for the last four months, the lender STILL wanted proof that I was self-employed.

Like what?” I asked. Ben Bernake’s fingerprints and the secret combination to the Federal Reserve’s home loan services safe?”
“A letter from your CPA that confirms you’re self-employed,” the lender replied.
“I don’t have a CPA. I do my own taxes.” I countered.
“We need confirmation from a reliable source that you really are self-employed.”
Now I was really confused. “A reliable source like…the IRS?”
“Besides the IRS.”
“You don’t trust the IRS?”
Good golly, talk about the definition of irony.
“It’s too easy to dupe the IRS.”
“Oh. So instead you’ll trust a letter from someone you’ve never heard of who claims to be a CPA that knows my business?”
“Yes. Can you get that to us?”
“Uh…sure. Just give a moment to do a Google search…”
“Sounds good. Fax that over when you can.”

Yes, these new and improved home loan services are much better (she said, sarcastically). And will definitely ensure that people don’t defraud innocent mortgage companies. It reminds me of when The Red Queen says to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

In the end, I got my house refinanced (in spite of home loan services standing in my way), but only because I had a GREAT mortgage broker who really went to bat for me—several times—even when it looked like all hope was lost. Honestly, I haven’t seen that kind of tenacious financial chutzpah since Donald Trump convinced NBC to bankroll The Apprentice.

So if you live anywhere in Utah, and you’re looking to refinance your home (or buy a new one), I strongly suggest you call Eileen Kintner at Cornerstone Home Mortgage in Park City, UT, for ALL your home loan services. Unless you’re trying to refinance from prison, I’m fairly certain she can find a loan you qualify for AND cut through all the bureaucratic red tape on your behalf so you can secure that loan. At the very least she’ll run interference between you and the Red Queen. Trust me, with the economic kerfuffle our country is currently in there are several “Red Queens” running around out there. And unfortunately, they all seem to trickle down to our level when it comes to financing a home.

Not the kind of trickle down effect I was hoping for.

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Stacy Dymalski is an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

10 comments

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  1. Drangedinaz.worpress.com

    You sound like the perfect candidate to me but then I didn’t go into banking! What doesnt make sense to me was the banks’ refusal to help struggling families refinance. Instead they would rather go thru the hassle of letting people go into foreclosure. I got into financial trouble but was still current on my mortgage. I called B of A up and said can we talk, just talk about what my options are because in a few months I wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage. They said no and they wouldn’t even talk to me until I was three months delinquent. So instead of heading the whole crises off and working with me, they basically told me that until I defaulted they wouldn’t do anything. So I didn’t pay the next three months and I called them up…..they said they were just going to foreclose if i didnt get current. They could have negotiated with me and everyone, including the community itself (because that’s a loss of taxes on that property and it decreases the value of the surrounding homes) would have been better off. But no, easier and cheaper for them to let it foreclose or short sale because they can write off their losses. That year B of A made billions in profit and paid very little, if any, in taxes while millions of people like me lost their homes. It’s not just stupid, it’s evil. Corporations aren’t people. If they were they’d be sociopaths and we’d have to lock them up or they would go all Ted Bundy on everyone. In a way they already are living off us for their own benefit with little regard for the economy and the country as a whole.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Wow, I’m so sorry to hear what happened with you and your house. And you’re absolutely right, it doesn’t make any sense for a bank to force a customer into foreclosure, because in that case EVERYBODY, from your neighbors, to city government, to local schools, to the bank, loses.

      I had a similar (but not nearly as traumatic, because it wasn’t my home) situation happen with my small business right after the 2008 meltdown. I had a business line of credit with Wells Fargo that I wanted to restructure because it had a ridiculously high interest rate. When I came to them asking if they’d lower the rate, not only did they say “no”, they called in the loan! For no good reason. Again, I was never late, nothing. But the fact that I came to them asking for help made them think I was struggling, so they wanted me off the books. In the end I had to cash in retirement money (and pay a 10% tax fee on that money) to pay off the balance.

      I like your analogy that if corporations are people, they are sociopaths.

  2. Phillip

    I am glad that you got your loan. Now I must shut my mouth or else I will go off. Phillip

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Phillip. But by all means, go off! If you have a story to tell, I’d love to hear it!

  3. Annette

    Stacy-
    You simply don’t understand the fundamentals of American Banking (aka Satan). Let me help you understand.

    If you need money, that means you don’t have money. All banks want is money, so if you don’t have it they must look elsewhere. Following the age-old, infallible rule of “It takes one to know one”, they look for customers whose business practices are similar to theirs so they don’t have to learn anything new – something that is uncomfortable for anyone. So, if you were honest on your loan application that is an indication that you were probably honest on your income taxes too. This is such a foreign concept for any corporation, but especially a banking corporation, that it simply is not recognizable to them. That is why they couldn’t recognize any of the documentation you offered them about being self employed – they needed a completely fictitious document similar to all of their accounting documents so it would fit into their particular system. It’s kinda like that “when in Rome” thing. You have to start out lying so you speak the same language as the people you want to borrow money from, who will lie to you in return by telling you there’s a possibility of you becoming debt-free if you just keep making your payments every month.

    Simple really, once you understand.

  4. Stacy Dymalski

    Thanks for the clarification, Annette. I guess it’s like speaking a foreign language. If you don’t speak that language and someone tries to communicate to you in that language, then it just sounds like gibberish to you. At any rate, your explanation still doesn’t make sense to me, so maybe I’ll never understand the concepts of banking. That’s because I have heart and a conscience.

  5. Dee Macaluso

    I just don’t get the world. I think I’m in the wrong place.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I know what you mean, Dee. Sometimes I feel like an alien myself! But don’t tell anyone. Because I hear they’re now deporting aliens like crazy! I guess we’re slowly losing those “…certain inalienable rights.”

  6. Missy

    You poor thing. That kind of stuff drives me f’ing batty to the point where I relive the argument, out loud, often times in my car. The good news is that now that there’s blue tooth, people think I’m talking on the phone.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I know what you mean, Missy. I’m my own best audience when it comes to rehashing problems. Some might call me obsessive. I prefer to think of it as “thorough.” ;-)

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