If Wells Fargo Calls To Offer You An Equity Loan On Your Car… Say No.

Over on the Credit Slips blog, Elizabeth Warren posted an email from a bankruptcy lawyer who was stunned at the horrible deal one of her clients got from Wells Fargo on an equity loan on a car.

Here’s the story:

Today I was interviewing one of my clients and she said that one of the loans she that she had should have been illegal. I asked her what she meant and she said that the loan she received should never have been permissible. Turns out she had a car loan with Volkswagen with an interest rate of about 3% and a loan balance of approximately $23,000.00 Because she had her home mortgage with Wells Fargo (or at least that is what she thinks is the reason) she received an offer from Wells Fargo for an equity loan on her car! (i.e. just like a home equity loan except the collateral is a car instead of a house) I had never heard of such a thing before. In any event, she agreed to do the deal with Wells Fargo (she needed to money to pay her bills and was much too embarrassed to go to family and friends) so she agreed to the refi and at closing she received $4850 in cash, Wells Fargo received $1300 in fees and the total amount of the debt went from $23,649 (the amount owed VW on the original car financing) to, hold on to your seats, $48,852! The interest rate on the new loan was a mere 16.24% (remember the old rate with VW was approximately 3%). Of course she defaulted and Wells Fargo repossessed the car and is now seeking its deficiency balance. Amazing to see an equity loan on a rapidly depreciating asset but when she received the loan Wells Fargo told her that she had paid down her car loan so quickly she had accumulated equity and they had a way to get the equity now.

The Wells Fargo loan was made in 2006 – the cost of the new financing was $17,900 – almost as much as the balance (i.e. $23,649) then due on the original note with VW. Also, the term of the new loan with Wells Fargo – 72 months, on a 2005 VW Passat!

Just say “no” to that loan!

Why Is This Legal? [Credit Slips]
(Photo: spidra webster )