Major Lenders Underwhelm in Customer Service

On two recent listings, I have been dismayed at the customer service of two major lenders that were obtaining financing on behalf of the buyer, the tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber of residential lending, Wells Fargo and Chase.

On the Wells Fargo transaction, the buyer requested a 45 day escrow which was agreed to by the seller.  The buyer was about to take the bar exam and was on contract to start at a law firm in October, pass or fail.   I asked the buyer’s agent whether it would be possible for the buyers to obtain a loan to close in August with the husband, who would be earning the majority of the family’s income, not beginning work until October.  The buyer’s agent was told by the loan officer who issued the preapproval letter, “no problem,” as long as he has a contract and we can get a copy of that, we would be good to go.

Moving forward about 2 weeks after acceptance with the seller already sufficiently “pregnant” with this offer, we get a request to extend escrow 3 1/2 weeks because the lender discovered that the first mortgage payment must be due AFTER the buyer’s first paycheck is received.  The seller graciously extended the escrow for free, but per my suggestion put a per diem penalty of total daily carrying costs on the extension if any further delays were to occur.   Now with almost 2 months until expected close, one would think the lender would be prepared to close on time.  NO, they delay the closing another 9 days through pure laziness and non-prioritization of the loan costing the buyer over $1,300 and the seller large amounts of stress and continued liability associated with carrying a vacant property.

The Chase loan was not quite so drawn out and only closed 5 days late, but the manner in which things were handled was infuriating and indicative of an arrogant company that does not care about their reputation.   I’ll admit they took responsibility for their delays and admitted to not prioritizing the loan, however in an effort to get my seller clients reimbursed for the extra carrying costs caused solely by the lack of concern for deadlines by the bankers at Chase, the Chase loan officer and manager ignored me.  Not until the Demand to Close escrow was delivered and there was treat of cancellation, did they act with a sense of urgency.

When I finally got the manager on the phone and confronted him about how this was not the right thing to do and for a pittance in terms of money to them, they could make their poor service issue disappear and show a smidge of class, he told me there was no per diem required in the contract to this point and since the seller was not their client (the buyer was) they didn’t need to give a credit.  It was a good strategy for them since they got away with not having to provide a credit to a young family who they cost over $600 in extra carrying costs.   However, for a company that takes taxpayer bailout funds and earlier this year had a $2 trillion dollar plus trading loss and still will probably be one of the top ten most profitable companies in America this year, it is very penny wise and pound foolish to not compensate for their mistake and pay back a couple of taxpayers who probably helped put the company in a financial position it is currently in.  This type of behavior makes it easy to see why the financial services sector is so unpopular.

These are not the only examples of poor service from these lenders or other lenders, however in the current competitive environment, it is important to have a lender on your side that does quality transactions consistently and stands behind their work.  I have referrals to several great lenders with who I trust my personal transactions and who will prioritize my clients loans.