Someone At BofA Needs To Read This...Matt Vernon, Are You Out There?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Summit Home Consultants

Someone At BofA Needs To Read This...Matt Vernon, Are You Out There?

Today, I was asked to participate in the Channel 12 News Loan Mod-A-Thon here in Phoenix, AZ.  Channel 12 (the local NBC Affiliate, particularly reporter Melissa Blasius) should be given an award for the coverage they've given the local real estate crisis in AZ.

In a nutshell, Channel 12 took it upon themselves to conduct an 18 hour "call center" today.  From 4:30 am-10:30 am, real estate and bankruptcy attorneys were available to take calls.  From 10:30 am to 4:30 pm short sale real estate agents and housing counselors were there to take calls.  From 4:30-10:30 pm representatives from banks were taking calls.

Needless to say, I was there for the 10:30-4:30 shift.  I was amazed at the call volume.  There were 12 of us taking calls, and as soon as I hung up the phone, it was ringing immediately.  My brain was fried after 6 hours of non-stop action.  That being said, I left totally amazed by the calls I had received.  While I was happy to help, I was also totally dismayed by the stories I heard.  The one bank that kept coming up over and over again was BofA.

The biggest heart-breaker...  A 75 year-old man that took out a HELOC in order to pay for his wife's cancer treatment in 2006 and his young grandson's cancer treatment as well (he lost both of them in 2008).  While he knew he would be ultimately responsible for his debt by signing on the dotted line, he NEVER expected the market to tank as it has.  He has tried for almost two years to get a loan modification through HAMP/BofA, only to be given the same song-and-dance that we hear of everyday.  He didn't have enough income (with his social security checks) to support a loan modification.  He tried to explain that he had spent all of his savings, 401(k), and retirement savings up to this point to make his house payments.  It didn't matter.  He didn't have an income to support it.  He is now faced with either short-selling his home, or walking away, and renting a home.  This, from a Vietnam vet and retiree, after 45 years with his company.  He can't stomach the thought of not owning a home.

At 75 years old, how is he going to "make it back"?  What a terrible way to spend the remaining years of his life.

This is what scares me... I would say that 50% of the calls I took today were from people over the age of 60, in danger of losing their homes.  In most cases, they borrowed against their homes in order to pay for catastrophic events in their lives, AND THEY ARE ALL SCARED TO DEATH.  They know that time is running out, and they are deathly afraid of the "legacy" they are going to leave for their descendants.

At the end of my "shift" today, we were asked to hand off our phones to the "bank representatives" from all of the major lenders (BofA, Wells, Chase, etc.).  The last call I took was from a lady that has been struggling with a HAMP modification for almost 18 months with BofA.  I told her, "You are in luck.  I'm going to hand you over to a BofA representative who can help you out".  She was relieved.

I put her on hold, gave the BofA representative all of her details, and sat back and watched to see that he followed through.  I wasn't going to leave until he picked up the phone.  15 MINUTES LATER, after screwing around with his computer, laughing it up with his other BofA cronies, etc., he finally made it around to picking up the phone and talking to her (this from a woman who had been trying to call in and finally got through after almost 12 hours of trying).

I left the building, sickened (but not surprised) with what I saw.  After 6 hours of hearing the frustrations of the non-chalant attitude of lenders (particularly BofA), I saw it first-hand, with my own eyes.  I've spent countless hours on the phone with people like this from BofA, but to actually see it first-hand really made an impact.

Folks, THEY JUST DON'T CARE.  Sad to say, but it's true.  

I've seen Matt Vernon speak of how BofA is changing directions.  Based on what I saw tonight, IT AIN'T HAPPENING. 

After seeing this, I pulled up the website for the Channel 12 News Loan Mod-A-Thon, and a viewer comment caught my attention:

Finally got through and talked to the Bank of America rep. Seems they hold all the power and don't want to work with the American public. Funny how they can keep saying that even though you were offered a trail modification that it can take up to 2 years for it to complete. Federal law states once approved and you make the 3 payments it becomes final. Guess I am gonna lose my house since I can not go out back to the money tree and pluck $11,000 off it. And I am upside down now $100,000. Thanks Bank of America you sure are helping us Americans out during this difficult time.

Matt Vernon, I hope you're reading this.  This is reality.  This is how your employees are treating homeowners.  I watched you speak at the CDPE Convention in April, and you said you were here to change things.  You also said that you take the time to read blogs about your company's performance.  Time to stand up or shut up.  It's now six months later, and it's like watching a damned re-run.

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Bob Hertzog

Summit Home Consultants

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Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2010 *Someone At BofA Needs To Read This...Matt Vernon, Are You Out There?*





Re-Blogged 12 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Pamela Seley 11/08/2010 07:34 PM
  2. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 11/08/2010 11:29 PM
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  4. Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group 11/09/2010 12:08 AM
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  6. Highland Beach Condos David Serle 11/09/2010 12:27 AM
  7. Jackie Connelly-Fornuff 11/09/2010 10:11 AM
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  9. Donald Bradbury 11/09/2010 12:48 PM
  10. Uzi Husain 11/09/2010 01:45 PM
  11. Joe and Molly Murphy 11/09/2010 02:14 PM
  12. Shari Weber 11/09/2010 03:11 PM
  13. Tom Brannigan 11/10/2010 02:18 AM
  14. Daniel J. Hunter 11/13/2010 08:46 AM
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Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Lodi
The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Lodi - Lodi, CA
The Nines Team in Lodi


This is what I never wanted to see:

Folks, THEY JUST DON'T CARE.  Sad to say, but it's true.


But I guess we mostly know that ... it's true ... they don't.  The other thing to remember, that bank employee is on a salary ... not commission .. it really makes no difference to them what happens .... either way, they have a paycheck!

Nov 09, 2010 02:25 PM #33
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Advantage Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Bob, excellent post! Great job by Channel 12 & I think they should do MORE of this across the country & wake up the non-caring call center people and get to the heart of helping America get through AND beyond this crisis!

Nov 09, 2010 03:24 PM #34
Kathy Kenney
Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ - Robbinsville, NJ
Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale

I said it before and I'll say it again, BofA = Bunch of #!$@@^% A$$holes.  They are a pathetic group of sub-humans.

Nov 09, 2010 03:42 PM #35
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

I learned the most amazing tool today. Not sure it will help in all cases but we all have bofa horror stories. I learned today that if you tweet bofa_help and your issue you will get a response imediately. (yes I used immediately and bofa in same sentence) Today at 1:00 I tweeted bofa_help Agent needs help with Short Sale. I recieved a tweet back within 30 minutes, a phone call in 1 1/2 hours and a second call in 30 more minutes. They will expedite my file to a sss and they will make sure i get a resolution. I was amazed.

Nov 09, 2010 03:47 PM #36
Donna Rattee
Coco, Early & Associates - Portsmouth, NH
Turning Dreams Into Reality

Bob, I have been working with many homeowners for the past 2 years with loan modifications and I have spent at least 40 hours a month on the phone with Wells Fargo on behalf of "1" homeowner that has been in this process for over 20 months now....They have had "trial payments" made on time to be denied and the process started over.  Foreclosure sale date over and over.....the stress of trying to work and keep their home while in constant fear of losing it.  I contacted Jean Shaheen's office in NH trying to get help for this homeowner.  They have a "contact person" at Wells Fargo....Kevin Kriese in the Presidents Office at Wells Fargo left a message on this homeowners phone, the homeowner and myself have left several messages on his voice mail over the past 6 weeks with no return calls.  The homeowner did however receive a letter stating several erroneous facts regarding his loan modification.........That is just "1" homeowner...and the others...........same story.....different lenders. 


Nov 09, 2010 10:34 PM #37
Neal Bloom
eXp Realty - Weston, FL
Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate

Yeah right...NOT!

Nov 09, 2010 11:42 PM #38
Keith Lawrence
RE/MAX Properties - Mahwah, NJ
ABR, CDPE, SFR, 203K Specialist

That was a sad story.  I am working with clients right now that are retired, cannot do a HAMP and have no where to go.  We just all have to work together to help.

Nov 09, 2010 11:45 PM #39
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

If Bank of America solved all of its problems, it probably would not need Matt Vernon. He's only one guy, though, and capable of doing only so much. If you're looking for Superman, I think you're out of luck. I've had both good and bad experiences at Bank of America. Not every employee is going to exhibit superior customer service skills, and when they do not, they should be called on it. Striving for excellence is a worthy goal, but I don't think any bank is capable of delivering it.

Nov 10, 2010 01:27 AM #40
Tom Brannigan
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Wheaton, MD

Bob, thanks for the great post.  And thanks for your work trying to help homeowners.  All I can say is talk is cheap and it don't come cheaper than BofA.


Nov 10, 2010 02:09 AM #41
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Millions of Americans are hurting, no fault of their own. The financial tsunami is too massive to outrun. Yet, many valiantly attempt to do the right thing by applying for a loan modification or short sale.

Bank of America in return combines callousness and inefficiency to prolong the process. Their processing delays cause BOA and their investors to lose tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of avoidable ADDITIONAL losses, per house!

While BOA tinkers with the file, the property continues to deteriorate, buyers back out, and the market declines. Sellers and Realtors nationwide are trying to help BOA mitigate their losses, but BOA seems content with the extra losses. Thereby many conspiracy theories have spawned that banks profit more from processing loans at the expense of the investors they represent.

Nov 10, 2010 02:10 AM #42
Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc.
Heart Realty Group, Inc.. - Oswego, IL
Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients!

Since BOA is a servicer they keep using the excuse that their "service agreement" will not allow them to do "this" or do "that".  Since the public has no way to find out if this is really true we are stuck with whatever decision a low level, untrained agent gives us.  Using equator to escalate is like dropping something in a "blackhole".  They get upset when we get upset with their lack of action. 

The higher levels talk a good game but it has not reached the lower level worker bees.  I was lucky enough to close on a short sale with them last month but it was pure hell working with them and convincing them that it was for the investors good with over 70 active listings in the subdivision and some closing at lower prices then our current offer...sending them market reports over and over and describing the "local" market stats.  To me it was obvious that they should take the deal but I had to escalate to finally get them to approve after the seller kicked in some money to end their pain.

I have other listings with them as a servicer and I am not looking forward to the negotiations but I refuse to let them walk over me...I escalate and I take it to the president's office if they don't listen.  Squeeky wheel is the only way to deal with them.

I have my own mortgage serviced with them and have finally gotten a modification of sorts from them...but am still trying to get the 2nd lien modified after over 1 year! 

If we as Realtors, continue to expose them eventually someone will listen...send to your state and federal officials and don't give up!

Love your passion and encourage other Realtors to do the same!

Nov 10, 2010 03:46 AM #43
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

The American Public has a long memory.  The Bank of America name is now just about worthless.  I will never bank with them again.

Nov 10, 2010 04:51 AM #44
David M. Dwares
Title Professionals Corp. - Fort Lauderdale, FL

I wonder how many of the BofA calls were originally Countrywide loans.  I bet BofA regrets making that purchase.

Nov 10, 2010 05:14 AM #45
Kathy Judy
Tri-Cities Real Estate retired - Ontario, OR

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE!   B of A can run all the "feel-good" type ads it wants to but I can't see them ever fulfilling their original mission again. Remember how they started - an expansion of families pooling money to help family members.  They have surely gone the other way.  We in real estate have a lot of power over what companies get the loan business.  We need to use that power. 

Nov 10, 2010 11:11 AM #46
Timothy George
Arizona Mortgage Rates - FHA Mortgage Loans in Arizona - Glendale, AZ
Arizona Mortgage (602) 492-6847

The title says it all!  Thanks for the blog.



Nov 11, 2010 09:01 AM #47
Timothy George
Arizona Mortgage Rates - FHA Mortgage Loans in Arizona - Glendale, AZ
Arizona Mortgage (602) 492-6847

The title says it all!  Thanks for the blog.



Nov 11, 2010 09:01 AM #48
Brian Bean
The Dream Big Team at Realty ONE Group Champions - Riverside, CA
Homeowner Advocate, Dream Big Real Estate, S.Calif

FYI: Matt Vernon isn't heading up the short sale dept any longer. He's in another position (promotion, I think). Patrick Youssef is in his position temporarily, and Alan Seelenbinder is a front-runner to get the job permanently.

Nov 11, 2010 09:03 AM #49
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Ugh!  Our tax dollars at work! 

Nov 13, 2010 12:51 PM #50
Jason Whaley
WestUSA Realty Revelation - Chandler, AZ

Bob, I applaud you taking your time to post this. I think a lot of these people at B of A are just pencil pushers making $10.00/hour and don't own a home themselves, or they would be trying to help more people out. They probably just sit back and laugh at all of these people. Great job BOB!!

Nov 15, 2010 05:04 AM #51
Jack O'Neal
Conway Real Estate - Gilbert, AZ

Sad, give them millions to keep them open and we do not need to help them. THE BANKS AND THE INSURANCE COMPANIES RUN AMERICA

Apr 28, 2011 04:17 AM #52
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