from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Dispatch from the Department of "...huh"?

If these stories were not true, they would likely be pretty amusing. This one is true. Not at all funny.

My client wants to sell his home. The Buyer's loan is approved. The Seller has moved out. Just need one last piece of paper: a payoff statement from the mortgage holder so that we can repay the loan and so the bank will release its lien against the property. (Yes, my client and I are dealing with one of the national lenders). Most often, asking for a payoff letter a simple enough proposition. Call the bank's super-computer; key in some identification information and a fax number; voila: a computer generated payoff statement arrives in my fax in-box. Not so here.

The property is in foreclosure. Things go a bit differently. Gotta go through the foreclosure attorneys (which we have). Gotta send in a written request (which we have). Gotta have the borrowers written authorization (we have). The process takes a bit longer. Started two weeks ago for goodness sake.

Understand, we can pay the loan off IN FULL. We are able to pay the loan in full. I dare say we want to pay the loan off in full.


Ask yourself this quick question:

If you were the bank, what would make you bank happier? A borrower's repayment of the loan, including foreclosure costs, legal fees and interest? or, an order of foreclosure, adding the property into the REO inventory and hoping to sell it off some time in the future at a below-market price, all the while incurring costs associated with owning the property?

Now ask yourself whether do you think the Bank would agree with you? (hint: you are wrong.)

All we need is a pay-off letter. Show us in writing what we owe. We are going to give it to you. Now. We're ready. Have been for two weeks.

I've called the bank. I've called the attorneys handling the foreclosure. I've faxed the bank. I've faxed the attorneys. I've sent them both my client's signed authorization more than once. My client has called the bank as well. No nothing. Don't they want their money back?

The bank just cannot or will not tell us what we owe. Their lawyers cannot tell us what we owe because the bank will not tell them.... or even explain the reason for delay.

two weeks into the process, the bank finally tells me that they have sent an email to their lawyers with the preliminary payoff figures. (the lawyers need to add in their costs and fees, then the bank has to approve those numbers before they become available to us).

GET THIS: the bank uses an email system with its venders called "venderscape." e-mail messages sent via vender-scape take 3-5 business days to be delivered. email that takes 3-5 days?