BofA Now Sharing Borrower Financial Information With Re/Max & Keller Williams Agents...Are They Nuts?
Yes, you heard that correctly. BofA and DTS (Dignified Transition Solutions) have begun sending out the names/contact information of borrowers that are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure (30/60/90 days late) to Re/Max and Keller Williams "short sale experts". These agents are asked to follow up with these "leads" to go over the short sale process with them. The program is called the "Short Sale Alternative Right Party Contact Program", and is coming to a city near you (if it hasn't already). I wrote a blog post titled, "Short Sale Consumer Alert-BofA & Re/Max Are Now Short Sale "Partners" almost two months ago. In the post, I talked about the potential problems for a borrower that is being represented by an agent that is being fed leads from their lender. Rather than go into the details, you can read the post for yourself and come up with your own conclusions.
Please let me make one thing clear. I have Zero hard feelings towards Re/Max & Keller Williams agents. Kudos to these companies for convincing BofA that this is a good program for them, and shame on BofA for not thinking this through (as if they haven't had enough bad press lately).
For today's post, I wanted to focus on the legal ramifications facing BofA for sharing the current financial condition/health of their borrowers with, of all people, REAL ESTATE AGENTS! Are they on drugs? I'm not an attorney (nor do I play one in real-life or on tv), but doesn't everyone think it's just a little "odd" to share this information with real estate agents without the borrower giving them permission to do it? Could BofA be this stupid, or am I completely missing something here?
Add the fact that, according to their website, DTS's leadership consists of 4 individuals, and all 4 of them are former BofA loss mitigation executives. As an FYI, from what I can tell, DTS is the "middle-man" who actually processes the short sale on behalf of BofA. The goal is to "streamline the process" (i.e. do what's best for BofA). Gee, I wonder if the borrower has a fighting chance in this game? Hmmm, let's see...The borrower is "represented" by an agent who was referred by their lender (BofA). According to the Short Sale Party Right Contact Program, and I quote, "An agent's past performance may affect future allocations". Yep, I'm sure that ALL agents will be looking out for their clients. Who needs those stupid referrals anyway? Right? NOT!
Come on BofA, are you serious? Do you really think that sharing this personal financial information with total strangers is a good idea? Did your legal team actually review this program before you launched it?
More importantly, I ask an important question of the borrower...Are you ok with having an agent represent you in a short sale that has been deemed a "short sale expert" by the same lender that is planning on taking your home back through foreclosure, and is counting on future leads (like you) to increase their business? Do you really think that all agents will be willing to bite the hand that feeds them in order to look out for your best interests?
My hope is that BofA borrowers that are in danger of losing their home to foreclosure ask themselves these very important questions before moving forward with an agent who was referred by the very people that are threatening to foreclose on them. And, more importantly, I hope that when they do get a call from one of these "short sale experts", they quickly pick up the phone and call BofA to find out what gives them the right to share their financial situation with total strangers.
Am I missing something? If so, please share with the rest of the class!
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Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2011 *BofA Now Sharing Borrower Financial Information With Re/Max & Keller Williams Agents...Are They Nuts?*