Dealing with an unreliable loan officer

Earlier this week we drove 350 miles in one day to close on a new mortgage with Countrywide Financial and they didn’t have the paperwork ready.

This was after Gretchen, my highly organized wife, had repeatedly called our contact at Countrywide Financial to make sure that all was in order so we would be able to execute the closing without any problems.

She had been assured that "everything had been handled" even though our contact couldn’t give us the loan amount, the interest rate, or the monthly payments.This particular contact, let’s call her Ms. Glib, never seemed to have both oars in the water so we were quite apprehensive about this closing.

The whole loan episode was like an extended Ditech commercial, because Ms. Glib changed her story every time we asked her about something. She had a compulsion to make reassuring statements which were unsupported by facts. When we would catch her in another inconsistency she would say, "I’ll call you back in an hour!"

She never did, and this behavior never changed all through the months we dealt with her. We tried to change contacts but she was the only one who handled this particular type of home loan.

You may well ask why we bothered to stay with Countrywide at all if our only contact was an unreliable airhead. We asked ourselves the same question more than once, but we had excellent service from this same Countrywide office less than four years ago and they had organized a construction loan for us last year with only minor glitches.

The saving grace in all of this mess was another woman in Ms. Glib’s office. Barbara was a conscientious and sensible person who went the extra distance repeatedly to make sure we got the information we needed. We wanted to deal with Barbara, but Ms. Glib would have none of it. She was in charge, by golly, and was going to run the show right into the ground without anyone else’s help.

When we realized we were in deep gumbo, we tried to contact Steve, our old loan officer at Countrywide, but he had been promoted and was busy on other matters. Efforts to reach him were futile.

We were not all sweetness and light when we arrived at the title office for our closing and found that our paperwork was being held up because of questions that should have been resolved weeks earlier.

I got on the phone and ended up talking with a girl named Judy who managed to clear away the obstacles. She was a breath of sanity in an otherwise insane situation. She promised to get us our paperwork in a few hours.

We needed time to decompress, so I took Gretchen to lunch at Rhett’s River Grill and Raw Bar which is a great place to collect your thoughts. After a leisurely lunch, we went shopping at Sam’s Club and Whole Foods. By the time we filled the back end of the Subaru with provisions, the mortgage loan paperwork was ready and the closing took place without further incident.

The takeaway from this is that no matter what company you are dealing with, you have to stay alert to situations where your contact is not of sound mind. When you repeatedly get non-sequiter answers to important questions or your contact fails to follow through on promises, GET YOURSELF ANOTHER CONTACT TO DEAL WITH!

If you are reasonable, as we were, you will end up at the receiving end of a bad situation you helped create. We knew months ago that Ms. Glib was unreliable, but figured we could keep her straight if we just worked with her closely enough. We were wrong and it finally came back to bite us. Fortunately, there were enough good people at Countrywide to help us out when we needed it.

If we had raised the issue of bad customer service earlier in the game, we might have gotten better service or we might have had to go to a different mortgage company. Either way, we would have been more in charge of our destiny.

Hoping that things will "work out somehow" is the riskiest thing you can do. You will kick yourself later.

How many of you have run into someone like Ms. Glib?

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Possibly Helpful Advice. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Dealing with an unreliable loan officer

  1. Jim Brodhead says:

    David, I have been a casualty insurance agent for 33 years and the worst…absolute worst service I have seen from any business is the overall level of service I have seen from mortgage brokers in the last few years with the flood of re-financing since interest rates bottomed out. We deal with them on a daily basis. I have had as many as seven changes in the insurance mortgage clause on one policy in a two day period.

    Once you have signed with them, you are yesterday’s news. Your broker disappears and shortly you’re dealing with the closers assistant.

    They know that very few borrowers will pull the plug at the last minute and start all over and they treat the homeowner accordingly. There are exceptions of course but it feels as if everyone with a fax machine and a computer decides they are mortgage brokers. My advice to borrowers is take nothing for granted with any of them and stick to them like white on rice.

  2. Jeff Lacoste says:

    David, sharing and writing really is threrapeutic. My home was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, so I contacted Countrywide to work out a solution so that I would not have to pay a mortgage on a slab. They must concentrate their corporate training on reassuring and delaying rather than teaching customer service. We made a deal in October, I spent several thousand dollars to comply with their wishes and just found out last week, after many,many assurances, that there is no deal and that I owe for all the months they put off payment to enact our deal! I took your advice early and contacted customer service, and after five calls, I am still waiting. Oh well, so many companies have a culture of “no service”, now that I often think back to my Dad being irritated waiting 10 minutes for service at a Sears in 1964. Sorry if I vented too much, but it seemed to help, I did not pound the keys on the last sentence.

  3. Ashley says:

    My husband and I are right in the middle of dealing with a bad loan officer. Thank you for this article – it pushed us over the edge to make the decision to either insist on a new loan officer or take our business elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

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

− three = four