One Complaint To CFPB Fixes Mortgage Snafu That 9 Months Of Dealing With The Bank Couldn’t

As Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray pointed out in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee this morning, more than 130,000 American consumers have used the agency’s numerous complaint portals to help resolve their problems with financial institutions. Consumerist reader Charles is just one of those people who still has a house because the CFPB was able to accomplish in a few days what no one else could in almost a year.

Last May, Charles and his wife purchased a co-op. What should have been a happy time of enjoying their new home together instead became a nightmare of unaccountability and ineptitude.

“The previous owner had a mortgage with Citibank. However, when she took out her loan Citi’s third-party counsel filed a lien for the wrong bank, listing Wells Fargo as the lender instead of Citi,” explains Charles. “Needless to say, this was a huge headache. Citi (correctly) didn’t feel they could release a lien belonging to another bank. The idiotic law firm who made the error had destroyed their records and refused the rectify the mistake.”

He says that even though the seller had provided an affidavit swearing she’d never had a Wells Fargo mortgage, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage had furnished a letter declaring it had never serviced a mortgage for the seller, the bank still refused to release the lien.

“After nine months of ignored letters and legal threats, I filed an online complaint with the CFPB,” writes Charles, referring to the agency’s mortgage complaint portal, which requires lenders and servicers to respond to each complaint within a given time frame. “I heard from Wells Fargo’s executive customer service office within 48 hours. Within three weeks, the lien was released. This saved us the trouble of filing a lawsuit, which would have been enormously costly and exhausting.”

Charles is sharing his story with Consumerist readers specifically because some members of the Senate have promised to block Cordray’s re-appointment as CFPB director unless there are significant changes made to the agency, changes that would hamstring its ability to make decisions and regulate financial institutions.

“People should know what a great resource they already are,” he says of the CFPB. “They’ve handled 130,000 complaints to date. If even a fraction of them have had resolutions like mine, that’s a lot of consumers in a better place.”