Q: I have a problem with a Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Company loan.
I got the letter from Taylor Bean & Whitaker about the sale of my loan to Cenlar. There was an ACH form that accompanied the letter that I was supposed to fill out so the company could automatically deduct the monthly payment from my checking account.
The letter said to mail a voided check to Cenlar and fill out the ACH draft form and the company would contact me about what month the draft would start.
This was August 25th. On September 1st, Cenlar deposited the check for $1,735 and drafted my account for $1,735. I have tried endlessly to get someone from Cenlar on the phone and or to contact them by email to talk to me about this issue but they will not respond.
I have a good relationship with my bank, so I went in to see the branch manager. They issued a fraud alert and got my $1,735 electronic reversed in about 5 days. This could have been a mess for me!
Now, I just got another letter from Cenlar telling me that they will not draft me again until I fill out another letter along with another canceled check and send that back along with another check for $1,735.
I’m just not going through this again, and I have still not heard from Cenlar to talk about this. I’ve found all sorts of phone number for the company, but all I get is a recording. Emails are not being answered.
Please help us. My wife and I have perfect credit and do not want to mess it up.
A: Since Taylor Bean & Whitaker was effectively shut off from doing loans with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA, and since the FDIC came in and closed Colonial BancGroup the following week, I have been hearing from hundreds of confused borrowers who don’t know what is going on with their loans.
Some people don’t know where to send their payments. Some borrowers don’t know if their refinancings closed. These problems are system wide and include all types of borrowers: experienced mortgage borrowers and first time home buyers. Others wonder, as you do, why Cenlar or other loan servicers who have acquired a piece of the Taylor Bean & Whitaker portfolio are asking you to pay by check and are taking additional payments by ACH.
Even title agents have contacted us asking where they should send the recorded deeds and recorded mortgages for their loan closings.
The information coming out of the FDIC and state banking regulators has been very limited. My staff and I have had a hard time getting anyone to really discuss the issue at the FDIC.
According to Sandra Sheley, from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, each state is negotiating with Taylor Bean & Whitaker separately – which makes for a lot of conference calls every day. I get it – the folks trying to sort out this mess are busy.
According to our reporting, Bank of America took over about 180,000 government-backed loans. The other loans were split between several other mortgage servicing companies, including Cenlar.
When a mortgage company or a bank goes out of business, it can take up to 60 days for loans and accounts to get parceled out and for the situation to settle down. Taylor Bean & Whitaker effectively shut its doors on August 5, 2009, so as this column went to press, it has only been about 7 weeks.
And, there were some initial problems with assigning loans to new servicers. Some Taylor Bean & Whitaker borrowers received welcome letters from two different servicing companies, causing a lot of confusion.
I don’t know what state you live in, but you should contact the state’s department of banking and finance and file a complaint. If you don’t know which servicing company has been assigned your loan, you should be able to find out at your state department of banking and finance. In your case, you know Cenlar is servicing your loan but doesn’t seem to have a good handle in managing your loan. You should report that to your state banking and mortgage company regulator.
I’m sure that there are dozens of loans that have slipped through the cracks, or are oddly set up (perhaps with a mortgage accelerator program) that is causing some of the problem. And, there are probably mistakes being made that are caused by computers rather than people.
Your mistake could be one of those. You might want to continue paying by check monthly until the servicer is able to catch up with all the paperwork and is better able to handle the Taylor Bean & Whitaker loans they have added to their portfolio.
Bank of America has stated that through the October payment period, if you’ve been trying to make a payment via check or through an automatic withdrawal, you’ll be considered current while checks and currency catch up with the reporting. They will not report anyone as late to the credit reporting bureaus.
While some former Taylor Bean & Whitaker borrowers have complained to me that they have been contacted by Bank of America’s collections department, that shouldn’t be happening. Contact the Bank of America Home Loan Servicing toll-free number to correct the situation.