How to find old mortgage loan records? This homeowner wants to find proof of old mortgage payments made before they refinanced and modified their loan.

Q: I purchased my home back in 2004 and got a mortgage with a lender that has since been purchased by one of the huge banks. I made all of my payments owed to the original lender and then also made extra payments on the loan.

In 2005, I lost my job, filed for bankruptcy and refinanced my loan with the original lender. They refinanced us with an adjustable rate loan that was then sold off to the bank that wound up buying them. Several years later, I was finally able to get a loan modification. 

Our mortgage is now serviced by a different loan servicer. This servicer only has records going back to 2005 and not 2004. How would I prove the payments I made against the loan back in 2004? I was told by the banks that I should shred all old documents as they are no longer valid. I did that. So, what are my options now? 

What to Do When Mortgage Loan Records Are Lost

A: The issues of what happens when records are lost is an important one. Let’s start with the questions on keeping old records. We’ve frequently told our readers that they can toss out their financial records after seven years. Even so, there are some records you should keep forever, including certain financial documents, deeds to property, stock certificates, and others.  

So, don’t just toss all boxes dated from the year 2011 or before. Instead, go through the box and see if there’s anything important in there. Given today’s technology, you can easily scan any documents and keep an electronic copy. Again, original stock certificates, original title documents to cars and boats and items like that should be kept forever.

Calculating Mortgage Loan Payments, Prepayments and Credits When Refinancing

Onto your loan: It appears that when you refinanced your loan in 2005, the outstanding principal balance of your loan was set at that time. Before you signed the documents, the lender should have tallied your payments, prepayments and any other credits to your account at that time. You should have checked those numbers and made sure they reflected the reality of your payments. That way, when you refinanced, the amount of the refinance was the principal balance amount you actually owed. If a mistake was made prior to the refinance, it would be almost impossible to prove now. 

When you received your loan modification several years later, that loan modification would have stated the principal amount that you owed on the loan as of the day of the loan modification. We think that when you signed the loan modification documents, you agreed to the terms of the loan modification and to the amount that the bank set in the documents as the loan amount outstanding. Again, if that number didn’t jive with what you knew to be true, you should have called it to the lender’s attention then.

Now, 15 years later, you want to check to see if you were given credit for payments and pre-payments you made on the original loans. Really? What have you been doing for the past 15 years? 

Can You Find Mortgage Loan Records From 15 Years Ago?

We don’t think you’re going to get anywhere. Even if you have all of your payments and records, it’s possible that the refinancing and loan modification would supersede those records as you agreed to those amounts at that time. We wonder whether you could even prove that the lenders committed fraud against you (which is what we suspect you’re thinking) and whether you waited too long to make that claim.

It’s true that during the Great Recession, some of the biggest lenders didn’t always do the right thing by their borrowers. Some made grave errors and put homes into foreclosure when the owners had made every payment on time. 

And yet, we’re not hearing you accuse them of failing to properly credit your account each time you refinanced or modified your loan. We have to assume their computer systems did credit your loan account appropriately and that the amount of the refinancing and loan modification was right. 

Confirm All Mortgage Payments Are Credited Before Refinancing or Modifying Your Loan

If you suspected something was amiss, the time to complain would have been before you refinanced or modified your loan. Without having the records in hand, you’ll have a heck of a time trying to calculate the numbers and frankly, can’t ever imagine how you’d figure out if you were credited the right amount 15 years ago. 

You’d probably have to spend money to see if your bank has records going back that far and then pay someone to help reconstruct your payment history. And for what? It’s unlikely that you’ll find thousands of dollars weren’t applied correctly. 

At the end of the day, this feels like a wild goose chase. But, if you decide to continue, please let us know what happens. Good luck!

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