I saw a news article that the bankruptcy court ordered all loans to be transferred to other servicers by Oct. 31, 2009. Is this true?

Yes. Any former Taylor Bean & Whitaker customers should have received a notice from their new loan servicer — some even received more than one. Before much else can happen, the bankruptcy judge has ordered that negotiating what servicers would take what accounts must be completed by that Oct. 31 deadline.

I received a notice that I’m now behind on my mortgage payments, but I haven’t missed one. What can I do?

Make your payments as normal. With all of the shuffling around, there is a pretty big backlog of mortgage payments that don’t seem to have a home until those end-of-the-month negotiations are reached. Keep all of your paperwork to show that you’ve continued to make the payments. Once some order is reached among the new services for TB&W customers, those payments should catch up, says Sandra Sheley, director of mortgage supervision for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. For now, continue with your normal payments until the case moves forward.

Will these “missed” payments affect my credit?

Many of the new servicers have acknowledged that these payments aren’t promptly being posted to customer accounts. Sheley says that her department has been ensured by TB&W and several new servicers that these payments are not being reported as delinquent.

However, as a safeguard, Sheley recommends checking your credit report in early November to ensure no derogatory information has been reported. If there was, be sure to dispute it quickly with the credit reporting agency and with the reporting server. Again, this is why it’s important to keep all your records handy in case you need to prove your case.

For Cenlar customers: Cenlar recognizes on its Web site that some payments have been delayed due to the transition between servicers and ensures that previous TB&W payments will be applied to the account as they’ve been made. The site says late charges will NOT be assessed for these “missed” payments. In addition, Cenlar says that if the payment is not properly applied to your mortgage, the company pledges to work with any customer to resolve issues, and adjust payments and credit records if needed.

What should I do now? Should I stop payment on my check? Should I send you a new check?

Please don’t do anything right now. We are working to resolve this issue and still hope to be able to process your check in the normal course. As we mentioned above, you will not be assessed a late fee as a result of any delay in payment processing during this transition period.

What do I do if a check for my mortgage hasn’t even hit my account?

Keep those funds in your account for when the payments catch up. As far as we know right now, they will slowly go through, and you won’t want be stuck with insufficient funds when it does.

There are still automatic payments being withdrawn from my account, but they aren’t being applied to my mortgage. How can I stop these payments?

The first step is to call whoever is debiting those payments from your account (for many customers, this is Equity Accelerator, or even the new servicer) and stop the automatic payments. Once you’ve done that, make the payments on your own until you’re comfortable re-enrolling in automatic payments.

If you’re unable to stop the payments that way, contact your deposit bank (where the payments are coming out of) to see how you can stop it that way. Then continue to make payments manually.

Can I just stop paying my mortgage until they sort this out?

Sheley says NO. Obviously, it is a bit frightening to send off a large payment without know where it’s going, but Sheley insists that customers must continue paying someone, preferably your new loan servicer, to avoid any trouble in the future. Keep all of your paperwork and records so you can show that you’ve maintained your end of the bargain throughout the confusion.

I’m getting the run-around from my new loan servicer. Can I choose a different one?

No, consumers do not get to chose their servicer, Sheley says. It is up to the owner of the mortgage, FHA in this case, to chose the servicer. It also might be a good idea to wait until the negotiations are complete so you can get a real picture of what being a customer of the new loan servicer is like.

The good news, at least for Georgia consumers, is that servicers have to either be licensed by the Department of Banking and Finance or are exempt because they are regulated by a federal banking agency. Sheley adds that both Bank of America and Cenlar are regulated by federal bank regulators who have consumer complaint division.

Bank of America is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and consumers can direct complaints here: http://occ.gov/customer.htm

Cenlar, FSB, is regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision:


Read more about the Taylor Bean and Whitaker situation on ThinkGlink.com