Bank of America Mortgage Mistakes, Part 5


A New Jersey man has finally gotten resolution from Bank of America, which 'lost' the man's mortgage payment, causing creditors to harass him and very likely trashing his credit rating. All this, despite the fact that the man had records of his cancelled check being cashed by BofA! First the bank nabbed a parrot in a Pittsburgh foreclosure gone awry, now this.... At this rate, BofA won't have any customers left!

Here's the latest tale of woe, courtesy of the New Jersey Star Ledger. Matthew Shaw of Montville, N.J., was being bombarded by collection calls after Bank of America sold Shaw's loan to Chase soon after writing it. The problem stemmed from Shaw's first mortgage payment, which Chase said it never received. Well, that's because Shaw sent it to BofA, which promptly cashed it but never gave him credit for it. The screw up will not come as much of a surprise to HousingWatch readers, given their lengthy comments about BofA on our "Sue Your Lender" story and others. Bank of America not only lost Shaw's cashed check once, but twice.

Here's the story: Shaw took out a Bank of America mortgage for a July home purchase and made his first payment to Bank of America on September 1, as indicated on his payment stub. Bank of America cashed the September check, even though it had sold the mortgage loan to Chase in August. No one immediately notified Shaw because the lenders were sending notices to the wrong address (more on that later). Even if Shaw didn't receive the change-of-lender notice, why would Bank of America cash a check for a mortgage it no longer owned? That's part of the mystery of Bank of America.

When Chase's collection department caught up with Shaw by phone, they told him that he was delinquent on his payments even though Shaw showed the new lender his cancelled check along with a lot of other paper work. Tough luck, Chase said for the first couple of months; its hands were tied (well, loosely tied). Chase did manage to get its fingers on subsequent checks from Shaw and it cashed those. The first payment, however, still couldn't be verified.

Calls to Bank of America didn't help, either. BofA couldn't find record of the payment despite the cancelled check, bank officials told Shaw. After the Star Ledger got involved, Bank of America magically located the payment, and mailed a check to Shaw, who says he still hasn't received it.

But rewind. It mailed the check to Shaw? We're not sure why the bank didn't just mail proof of the cash-checking directly to Chase -- if it had, maybe they would have gotten the address right. That's right. Bank of America had forgotten where Shaw lives. Turns out Bank of America mailed to the check to Shaw's previous address in another town, where Shaw lived before he took out the mortgage with Bank of America. No wonder it hasn't received it.

''I would have expected them to use the address on the property for which they loaned me more than $400,000 back in July,'' Shaw told the Star Ledger. ''You couldn't make this stuff up."

But before we point all of the fingers at BofA, Chase takes some of the blame too for causing this man emotional anguish. Shaw received nine collection calls from the mortgage lender in one day, starting its harassing as early as 7:30 a.m., another article in the paper reported.

And instead of contacting Bank of America and helping Shaw fix the problem, Chase told him that they were going to report him to the credit bureaus as being in default.

''It's just not right that a big bank like Chase gets to bully and harass a good customer like me instead of trying to figure out their own mistake," said Shaw.

Chase did eventually repair its image and do the right thing: ''The customer's account has been credited while we wait to receive the original funds (from Bank of America),'' said Chase spokesman Michael Fusco. ''We will update the customer's credit information and waive any late charges.''

But what about Bank of America? Well, we guess the check is still somewhere in the mail.

See homes for sale in Monville, N.J.

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