Wells Fargo, You Can Run but You Can’t Hide: A Homeowner’s Testimony

Truthout:

Lainey Hashorva: Please tell me a bit about your work background, and what brought you to apply for assistance through the HAMP or HARP programs with Wells Fargo?

Therese Crowley: I was a Series 7 (securities industry) employee registered in the 1980s, and have been a managing real estate broker for more than 20 years in Illinois. After two back to back surgeries in 2008-9 — with 800 FICO scores and 62 percent LTV on my home — I was inundated with large medical bills coupled with the collapse of the real estate market. Current on my mortgage, I proactively reached out to Wells Fargo for a home loan modification in an effort to reduce my expenses. What I encountered was nothing short of a nightmare that is ongoing today as I mark seven years in this fight for my home. I stepped into the very carefully laid trap of Wells Fargo — which led me into a now my sixth year of litigation.

On all four of my applications for a loan modification over the course of 12 months (in 2009-10), Wells Fargo personnel, up to and including the executive office of John Stumpf, repeatedly used false data entry in the loan software, made misleading and fraudulent representations to me, and when identified, Wells employees refused to correct it and simply continued with ongoing delays. According to their own employees, I would have certainly been cleared for a modification had they used the correct data and followed the guidelines. Yet Wells continued to issue denial letters, falsified data in appraisals stating I had $120,000 in equity, delays and requests for more documents. They said I “failed to meet investor guidelines,” and that in fact was fraud and a misrepresentation. My “investor” is Fannie Mae. With each application, it got worse. Wells said, in writing, that my home was below the mortgage amount, when Wells had multiple appraisals reflecting a minimum of a 68 percent loan amount to actual value (LTV.)

Wells Fargo added monthly credit card debt into their calculations of my income and expenses. I had no credit cards! Wells used incorrect property tax data, more than 2.5 times the amount. When they had the current county tax bill, they used incorrect income numbers even though they had all my bank statements and income information that I had submitted per their request. In March 2010, the bank notified Fannie Mae that they were foreclosing on my home as of April 1, thought I was current on the mortgage! This was against the law in Illinois, not to mention unconscionable theft. I learned that based on the false statements the bank made to Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo was able to collect on the default insurance of nearly $115,000.00, all under false representations to the government, as my mortgage was not in default.

I was told by Wells Fargo that I was denied a modification by Fannie Mae, though months later I discovered that I had in fact been approved twice through the Chicago office of Fannie Mae. I have the documents that verify the approvals, tho the false statements by Wells Fargo — both to me and the government entity, Fannie Mae — reflect the opposite. While my applications were under review by Wells Fargo, and unbeknownst to me, Wells had conducted four or more hard credit checks which brought my 800 credit score down below 660.

When your credit is harmed and diminished, it puts you in a tight box. I was unable to obtain alternative mortgage options as I was in this trap carefully constructed by Wells Fargo. I was livid! It was so overwhelming. When I confronted Wells Fargo, they tried to coerce me into signing an in-house “proprietary modification” which included an additional $15,000, though there was no accounting or justification for that, and it made no sense.

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