Strangely unreliable customer service at Countrywide

Two years ago we ran into a Countrywide loan officer who didn’t have both oars in the water. We refer to this loan officer as Mrs. Glib because she made reassuring statements that were not supported by facts. I wrote about our adventure with Mrs. Glib on this weblog and thought we has seen the last of this kind of unreliable service from Countrywide.

Recently, we were encouraged to make a new mortgage agreement with Countrywide and we dealt with a loan consultant who seemed to be quite knowledgeable and sincere as well. He was quite thorough and took pains to explain every aspect of the financial transaction we were interested in.

At the end of our conversation, he repeated the essential facts to us so that we would all be on the same page. He even rechecked the spelling of our names. His final words were that we would receive a loan package through Fedex to review and sign and return and that a "loan processor" would help us answer any questions that we had with the package.

We commented afterwards, how refreshing it was to deal with someone who knows what he is doing.

Little did we know…

The loan package arrived and it looked as though it had been prepared for two other people! My name was misspelled throughout 20 30 pages of documents and the financial data we had provided had been altered repeatedly and differently on different documents.

We thought, what the hell, we will just call the name of the loan processor who was supposed to help us with any questions. This "loan processor" woman blithely chattered away and skillfully avoided answering any questions we had. In twenty minutes, she provided not one factual answer.

When Gretchen pressed her for specifics, she brightly said that these were preliminary documents and it didn’t really matter if there were errors on them. Gretchen called her on that and said, "We cannot sign these documents! They are full of outright falsehoods. You have changed the data that we provided and the loan payments bear no relation to the numbers that were given us by the loan officer."

The loan processor started speaking faster and faster as if she could baffle us with BS. Gretchen tried to get her to slow down with no results. Gretchen finally cut her off gently and said, "We may not have a deal here. We are going back to the loan officer and see what is going on."

The loan processor continued to chatter until Gretchen finally hung up.

Gretchen sent the original loan officer an email. We received a conciliatory email back.

He was saddened to hear of our difficulty.

Interesting choice of words. I thought it was significant that that he was saddened, but not surprised. I wonder if he is one of the few competent people working there. What an environment to work in!

Is Countrywide coming apart at the seams? This was more like dealing with a used car dealer than with a financial institution. I felt we were experiencing a new kind of bait and switch operation. If it was just incompetence, I will feel strangely relieved.

Has anyone else been dealing with Countrywide lately? How was your experience?

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Possibly Helpful Advice, Shooting yourself in the foot and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Strangely unreliable customer service at Countrywide

  1. Is Countrywide coming apart at the seams?

    Perhaps you haven’t been watching the news in the past few months. 🙂 Countrywide is way past coming apart at the seams—it barely exists at this point. Honestly, I’m a little surprised you were able to get somebody on the phone.

  2. Hi Waldo,

    You make a good point! We have been using Countrywide for several years and I never really thought about the potential effect of their scandals and financial troubles on loans at our level.

    Perhaps it is time for exploring other avenues.

  3. Brad says:

    I live in a small town like you and having been in the real estate business for a while I always recommend that folks choose one of the local bank for their mortgage needs. The mortgage will probably be sold, but some of the money anyway will stay in your community. For me the biggest advantage of doing this is that you get to sit face to face with the person you are dealing with.

  4. so says:

    You could also try Chase. We re-fi’ed several years ago using a mortgage broker. Before the first payment, the mortgage had been sold to Chase. I was very concerned since a friend had a bad experience with Chase. However, we have had no problems. As a result, two years ago we obtained a HELOC from them as well. Though I work in technology, I know of pitfalls and was nervous about doing the majority of the HELOC work over the phone. But, it turned out well too.

  5. Gene says:

    YEs, I have seen this behavior from Countryside, unfortunately it is not just this one company.

  6. What is even more disconcerting is that we cannot get anyone on the phones these last few days.

    The closing of the IndyMac Bank last Friday by federal regulators seems to have had repercussions at Countrywide, and probably elsewhere.

    All of our Countrywide contacts seem to be in meetings.

    We hope that Monday will bring better news and a return to business as usual.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

32 − twenty six =