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!@#%!#$^%!# Wells Fargo

Stagecoach RobberyI will never again get a loan through Wells Fargo (at least not until all the other banks have similarly pissed me off and I have nowhere else to go).

When my wife divorced her ex-husband, she got full ownership of the house. The divorce papers stated so. She and her ex-husband signed a Special Warranty Deed, stating in detail that the house was hers, along with the loan, and all other monies (escrows, deposits) associated with the house. The deed was signed by a notary, and filed at the county courthouse. Everything was nice and official and legal.

Because of the fees that Wells Fargo would have charged to change the loan to her name, and because her ex-husband was renting and having the loan in his name wasn't doing him any harm, my wife didn't make it a top priority to get the loan in her name. However, when we decided to move last summer and put the house up on the market, we decided that we ought to get it done so that there weren't any problems when it came time to close on the house. Well, my wife talked to one of the loan officers at Wells Fargo, showed him the Special Warranty Deed, and he told her not to worry about it. He said the deed was official enough, and there was no reason to pay the fees since we were just going to to be selling the house, anyway. We thought we were in good shape, and figured everything would go smoothly when we finally sold the house. We were wrong.

Last month we finally did sell the house (to our relief, what with the housing market the way it is, and having to pay two mortgages), so my wife called Wells Fargo to make sure everything was okay. The loan officer she'd talked to before was gone - up and moved to a different state. Now, every time she tried to talk to somebody about the loan, she was told that since her name wasn't on it, they couldn't talk to her about it. They said we needed to get a Power of Attorney for the loan from her ex-husband. Well, we tried that, but he wasn't exactly very cooperative. My wife tried to tell them about the Special Warranty Deed. She offered to fax it to our local office, but the lady there told her that she wasn't even going to read it, that it would be a waste of their time since it wasn't the power of attorney letter. She even told my wife that maybe this was something she should have taken care of before trying to close on the house (remember - the previous Wells Fargo loan officer we talked to was the one that told us not to worry about changing the name on the loan).

My wife tried calling the national office, and didn't have much better luck there. Finally, after several calls with nobody wanting to even give my wife the time of day, at the end of the week we faxed them the Special Warranty Deed, along with a letter explaining why it should have been all they needed. The next week, when my wife called to check on the loan, they had no record of receiving the deed. But luckily, she had gotten someone helpful that time. He said he wasn't in the right department to look over legal paperwork, but to go ahead and fax it to him personally, and he'd hand deliver it to the legal department to make sure it got there. We were supposed to give the legal department 4 days to look it over. Well, this guy did get the document to the legal department like he'd said he would. But by this point, my wife had been going back and forth with the bank for a few weeks, and that fourth day we were supposed to give the legal department was also the day we were supposed to sign the paperwork to sell the house.

So, every day my wife called customer service to see if the legal department had looked it over, yet. I mean, it's pretty cut and dried, not much interpretation to do on it. Every day they told her the legal department had x many days left. So, finally, on the fourth day, the day we were supposed to close on the house, the legal department still hadn't looked it over. After a half an hour of "discussing," the guy she was talking to said he'd go grab the fax and look at it himself. When he got back on the phone, he said something to the effect of, "You know what, this document gives you full control over the loan. I'll go ahead and put your name on it." Nearly a month of arguing with customer service people until that moment. Argh.

At least we got it taken care of in time, we sold the house without a hitch, and all the tax/escrow checks got made out to my wife. Still, I was anything but impressed with the customer service at Wells Fargo. We did get two useful people, but the majority were incompetent, and one was just downright rude.

Well, once we started telling people our Wells Fargo story, they began telling us their horror stories, too. So, I'll add them here just to pile it on.

One lady recently lost her husband to cancer. The mortgage was in both of their names, so she called Wells Fargo to get the loan changed into her name only. They told her she needed a power of attorney letter from him. She said, "He's dead! What do you want me to do, go dig him up?" They also told her that now that the conditions of the loan had changed and he was no longer going to be on it, they could call the loan in. Assholes. Telling a grieving widow that on top of everything else she was going through, she might have to refinance her house, too. And just to put it in perspective, he was retired, and his pension would continue to give her the same payments she'd been receiving every month. Plus, she worked. Her income wasn't being changed at all.

The same month her husband died, this woman made a small mistake in the check for her mortgage payment. She'd made the exact same mortgage payment for years, a little higher than the minimum payment to get a little more of the principal paid off, and rounded off to an even number. This month, she wrote it down correctly in the part where you spell out the amount, but forgot the last few zeros in the part where you just write the numbers - it was 100 times less than it should have been. Well, instead of noticing the discrepancy between this check and all her other checks, or even noticing the discrepancy on the check itself between two different amounts specified, they cashed it for the smaller amount, didn't tell her anything, and charged her a penalty for not paying enough. When she noticed it the next month and called about it, they said they go by what's written in the numeral section, not the handwritten section. They didn't even refund the penalty.

Another person we know faced a similar threat when she got divorced. The loan was getting changed to her name only, and Wells Fargo threatened with calling in the loan on her, too, since the household monthly income was being changed. She also had a problem with one of her payments. Her grandmother was helping her out, and went by the bank to pay that month for her. The bank refused to take the payment from the grandmother since the check wasn't in our friend's name.

Just one note - I've never had any problems with the tellers at the branch I go to. They're all very friendly, and have been helpful in the past. It's their loan department in particular that has been such a pain.

Anyway, after our hassle with Wells Fargo, and hearing the hassles they've put our friends through, I very nearly refinanced the mortgage on our current house with another bank, but I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. As much as I hate to keep on giving them interest payments, I'm not ready to pay a few thousand out of pocket to refinance with someone else. I'll just have to content myself with venting about it here, and vowing to never get another loan with them.

Small Update 2008-03-28: I replaced the original image of a Wells Fargo Stagecoach with an old photo of a stagecoach robbery. Yes, I'm still that bitter.

Comments

WF has a bad reputation in San Diego. We just went through the escrow from Hell on a WF forclosed property. Rumor has it that they use Discount Escrow firms. Closed 1/23 and they still have errors to correct. It is taking massive hours to get funds that are due us. Love the
purchase HATE Wells Fargo.
And yes, their special person assigned to our case
had the same reply.
"WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
I told her and the CEO/
President of Wells Fargo.
Still waiting for progress.

After seeing what you posted on your blog, I totally agreed with you about Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. My husband and I are purchasing a Below Market Rate house in San Francisco and the seller designated Wells Fargo to our lender. I am too, having a horrible experience with them. The agents are extremely rude and never pick up his phone to answer calls. Never returned my emails. Because buying a BMR requires different channels of approval, so it takes a lot more time processing the loan. The stupid agent never contacted us to give us any updates on our loan process, but instead I am the one who has to constantly call or email him to get an update. Plus, their interest rate is higher than most banks. I swear I will refinance ASAP after I've done dealing with them.

Jeff,
I am having problems with Wells Fargo, too. I purchased my house in 2002 and the loan was sold and assigned to Wells Fargo. One year later I refinanced and Wells Fargo sent me letters to acknowledge that I paid off the 2002 loan. Apparently they never filed a SAT/Discharge of Mortgage on the 2002 loan and now I can't close on the sale of my home. I got bounced around customer service and they tried to tell me there was no need for a SAT. I have faxed them my title report and all documentation (even Wells Fargo's own letters) showing they should have filed a SAT with my county clerk. Can you tell me which legal dept you dealt with or who your contact was? I am a practicing attorney myself and I am ready to file a complaint with every banking dept from NY to CA and sue them for damages. This is a disgrace that I may lose a deal in the worst market because my loan was sold the worst bank ever. Let me know who you dealt with or atleast what state they were in (I have a list of 5 different legal depts for Wells Fargo). Thanks.

I am a real estate attorney in New York and every deal I have seen involving Wells Fargo in the past year or two has been an unmitigated
disaster. The deals tend to take 4+ months rather than 4+ weeks if they ever close at all and no one seems to know what they are doing. I have warned my clients not to deal with Wells Fargo at least for the present time and I have warned my sellers not to sell to someone who thinks that they are getting a mortgage from Wells Fargo.

They must have lost all their experienced and knowledable employees and they are trying to run a mortgage department with voodoo.

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