DOER ALERT: Wells Fargo this is Unnecessary, Unreasonable and Unthinkable
Look, Wells Fargo… we have to talk. And frankly, I’d appreciate it if you’d jot down a few notes as we go because I really don’t want to have to repeat myself on this subject… and dear Lord, trust me when I say that you don’t want me to have to repeat myself either.
Here’s the deal…
When you’re dealing with a family that has lived in their home and been a part of their community for 15 years… who have raised four children in that home… and has contacted you because the father in that family who works for the school district has been seriously injured in a work-related auto accident and placed on workers comp… right after his wife lost her SECOND JOB (that’s right, she works two jobs), and they have a special needs child, a beautiful daughter who is autistic… you KNOW you are dealing with VERY RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE, right?
Because the parents I just described are the embodiment of the word “responsible,” you do see that, right?
So, when you say to them, “Let’s get you qualified for a loan modification.” you’re doing the right thing. And when they immediately send you all of their information and documentation, including updated paystubs and bank statements every 30 days for six months, you shouldn’t be all that surprised.
Even so, their Wells Fargo representative was quite surprised, so much so that he actually expressed to them how surprised he was, saying that they had done an outstanding job getting together everything he asked for, right on time, and exactly as he had instructed. Jeneane, the wife, explained that she used to be an escrow officer so she was quite familiar with preparing and submitting such paperwork.
Not that doing everything right and on time mattered all that much, because Wells still filed an NOD and now has scheduled a sale date for February 3, 2012.
Of course, Grant… their Wells Fargo representative, was very comforting when he explained that they should not worry about that pesky little sale date, because if a decision wasn’t made by the underwriting department, he would simply request that the sale be postponed. Well, that certainly must have been a relief for these parents to hear, I’m sure.
A little more than a week before the sale date Jeneane called again to check on how things were going but wouldn’t you know it, her Wells Fargo specialist, Grant, was just transferred to a different department. A department without phones, apparently.
She was told that she would have to wait to speak with her newly assigned specialist until he or she was assigned. (That’s what your people said, Wells Fargo. I’m not responsible for that sentence.)
So, Jeneane called back again yesterday and was told that someone had been assigned but, darn the luck, they weren’t available, so she asked the person who answered the phone if her home’s sale date had been postponed or if there had been an answer on their loan modification.
Now, stay with me here because this is the sort of thing that you read… and it makes your hair hurt.
The Wells Fargo woman said that it appeared that they needed some additional documentation. Jeneane is quite adamant that this was not true, because she had just sent Grant 36 pages last week. He had said that everything was there and he even told her that he had scheduled the postponement while they were on the phone.
Are you getting confused? Yeah, well aren’t we all.
(I have to tell you, when it comes to paperwork being together, I believe Jeneane 100 percent. This woman knows her paperwork. She’s a paperwork Queen, you might even say.)
Nonetheless, Jeneane asked what Wells needed and was told she needed to send in her 2010 tax return. Jeneane replied that she had just sent in her 2010 Tax Return last week and was quite sure that it was there. The woman placed her on hold for 10 minutes (kind of a long time to be on hold, don’t you think) and when the woman returned she said: “”Yes, I have it,” which by the way is not the proper response in that situation.
Just so you know… in that situation you’re supposed to say, “Oh, I’m sorry… you were right… we do have it.” Or something to that effect. I’m not trying to be picky here, in fact my expectations of Wells people have been lowered to such a degree that if they don’t spit or throw up in the middle of a conversation, I consider it pleasant.
The Wells woman then explained that the delay is because… are you ready for this: How does the bank know that Mr. Stover will EVER return to work full-time? Can you even imagine? Jeneane pointed out that he is back to work half time, and everyone certainly hopes he ultimately recovers 100%. They think he will… they’re prayers are… OMG. Would someone like to explain to me how in the world Wells Fargo would go about answering that question. Do they have a direct line to the Almighty… I mean, Lloyd Blankfein? I mean… rude much?
Since the tax return thing didn’t stick… and the obnoxious unanswerable question didn’t seem to help… the next thing the Wells woman thought of to say was: They won’t approve a postponement unless there was approval of the loan modification.
Come again? Say what? Ex-screws me? Wells Fargo won’t approve a postponement of a sale… unless there’s approval of a loan modification? Go over that sentence again for me… real slow. Wells you are starting to make my hair hurt. Does that make sense to ANYONE? So, noodle me this:
If there was approval of a loan modification, why would there be a sale date to postpone?
Jeneane then asked if there were any notes in her file from last week when good old Grant said that he had requested the postponement. She said no… and I have no trouble believing that. In fact, at this point I wouldn’t have any trouble believing that there wasn’t even a file in which to potentially put notes.
Then the woman said, “You can’t even request a postponement until one day prior to the sale date.”
I’m getting dizzy… is it hot in here?
Then the woman told her to contact the trustee… Jeneane had never heard of a trustee before, but she figured you guys needed the extra hands so she made the call. Can you guess what happened next?
The trustee said they hadn’t received anything about a postponement from Wells Fargo, but that it could be with Wells’ liaison, whatever that means, and that “sometimes you can’t find out if a sale is being postponed until the day before the sale.”
That’s when in her email to me, Jeneane said: “Somebody is playing a game with me!”
A game? I’m not sure about that. I don’t think I’d call it a “game.”
So, here we are at the end of the day on January 27th… it’s a Friday, by the way… so Saturday is the 28th, Sunday is the 29th, Monday the 30th, Tuesday the 1st, Wednesday the 2nd… and voila’… Wednesday the 3rd will be upon us.
And still… no call from Wells Fargo.
I know you guys must be wicked busy over there but can’t you feel what these parents must be feeling as they watch the clock tick-tock into the weekend. They’re looking at a weekend in HELL because it’s going to be spent knowing that when it ends there will be only two days to do anything about losing your home. And you’re dealing with an organization that can take two days just to receive a fax.
Memo to Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf…
You and I have been around this sort of issue before, and not very long ago. And the last time, you were very gracious and attentive to the problem at hand, so I’m going to make the assumption… and I want very much to believe… that this is just another unfortunate slipped through the cracks sort of thing.
So, I’m going to assume that you’ll read this and feel the absolute unfairness of what Jeneane and her husband Tom are being forced to endure at the hands of Wells Fargo’s personnel and systems.
Because I just can’t believe that anyone would intentionally do this to the parents of an autistic 12 year-old girl… invite them to apply for a loan modification, and then after six months, leave them over a weekend with the uncertainty of losing the only home they’ve known for 15 years… in a matter of days… the home in which they have raised four children… all because the husband was injured while while working for the school district… and the wife lost her second job… it’s simply unthinkable.
Who will call first… underwriting to say they’ve been saved… or the investor that just bought their home? It’s positively surreal, Mr. Stumpf. It is very definitely a form of torture. How can a consumer brand like Wells Fargo not feel less secure about its future every time something like this happens? Short memories? I think not.
And here’s the thing… I’ve looked at this couple’s numbers. Their mortgage is around $320,000, and their income is right where it should be to qualify for a loan modification relative to that amount. And not only that, but their home is 50% UNDERWATER, so not only do I believe they qualify, but I would bet you dinner at the Cliff House that they pass any NPV test you’ve got going at Wells.
Wells Fargo Beats Expectations…
By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that your earnings showed the bank’s income was, “boosted by a release of $600 million from reserves.” I’ll tell you what… that is some mighty flowery language considering what you really seem to be saying is that income was “padded by the recapture of a prior expense.”
So, I’m curious how was it done? Was it booked as a negative expense provision, or just some kind of a reverse of an expense taken in a prior period? Six of one half dozen of another, I suppose, but it’s still kind of cutting off the end of the blanket and sewing it onto the other end to make the blanket longer, right? I don’t suppose we should we be expecting you to shift that amount back over during the next quarter or two, should we?
The only reason I ask is that Bloomberg said the following…
Slowing economic growth, low interest rates and volatile capital markets have sapped revenue at the largest U.S. banks, leading them to seek other sources and cut expenses. Stumpf, 58, reduced his staff by 3 percent to 264,200 and reaffirmed plans to trim $1.5 billion in quarterly costs by the end of this year.
I realize that I’m kind of the ultimate cynic about these things, especially when they happen in the fourth quarter… you know… bonus season. So, what was it that led you to conclude that you wouldn’t need the $600 million in reserves for future losses in light of the fact that you reduced staff by three percent and pledged $6 billion in cuts by the end of 2012? That sounds like you’re expecting the economy to contract this coming year, and that would seem to mean the potential for losses.
Never mind, it’s none of my business anyway. Besides, net income up 20 percent to $4.11 billion… you beat earnings estimates by a penny a share, and best of all you made Jamie Dimon over at JPM Chase look like a piker.
Okay, back to the issue at hand…
So, Jeneane’s new Wells’ specialist is Albert at Ext. 60613. I won’t print his last name here. He’s the one who was just too busy to make a call before taking off for the weekend. So, is it that he just has to many people in the same position as Jeneane and Tom, so there’s not enough time to call all of them, and so what the heck… time to go? Or if this couple’s situation is at least somewhat unique, and I sure do hope it is… then what kind of person is too busy to make a call in such a situation? I’d have taken the number home with me… called over weekend.
But, I don’t blame Albert at Ext. 60613… well, or maybe I do… I don’t even know… honestly, the whole thing has me dumbfounded… flummoxed… you might even say that I’m completely STUMPFED? I just do not know what else to DO…
Lucky for me, I know some people who DO know what to DO…
Tom Stover & Jeneane Traynor-Stover
8216 Seeno Ave.
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Loan Number #0150299733
And look what I found… a whole list of email addresses for Wells Fargo execs, but let’s start with letting Mr. John Stumpf know how littler we think of this situation his bank has created. Let’s let him know we’re here and we’re paying attention… and that there are quite a few of us.
Chairman of the Board, President, CEO: John.G.Stumpf@wellsfargo.com
John Stumpf (415) 396-7018
CEO: John G. Stumpf
420 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94163