Countrywide To Fixed Rate Customer: Your Mortgage Is About To Adjust!

Countrywide either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care that reader Graham has a fixed rate mortgage, because they keep sending him “notices” that his mortgage is about to “adjust.”

Graham says:

Our mortgage is with Countrywide. They keep sending us notices with bold type that say:

Of course … we have always had a fixed rate and they know that. There isn’t anything that could possibly adjust.

They know we don’t have a variable rate. It has always been a fixed rate and never been refinanced. It strikes me as fear based tactics to get you to shoulder an expensive refi.

The text reads:
“As a valued Countrywide customer, you shouldn’t have to worry about rising monthly payments.”

Except … It would never have crossed my mind to worry about my Fixed Rate Mortgage payments rising if I hadn’t received this mailer from them.

Oh, but Graham, didn’t you realize that “If you have available home equity, you may be able to access it to pay off bills or take care of unexpected expenses.” Don’t you know that your house isn’t really a house? It’s an ATM! Isn’t that nifty? It must be true, too, because it says “official” up there at the top.

We thought Bank of America was going to try to clean up Countrywide’s image, but apparently not.




Edit Your Comment

  1. nataku8_e30 says:

    Make sure you have your mortgage paperwork readily available. I have heard of brokers selling variable rate mortgages and telling the client purchasing the mortgage that it is a fixed rate. The client doesn’t review the paperwork and then gets a nasty surprise a few years down the road when the mortgage adjusts.

    • ryatziv says:

      @nataku83: That’s sick.

    • HarcourtArmstrong says:

      @nataku83: I had to sign 4 pieces of paper with the terms of the mortgage clearly stated at the top to get my mortgage. This is required BY LAW! No way can that happen.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @HarcourtArmstrong: Your state regulations / title company / mortgage issuer may be different than others. I purchased a home in April, and while I was assured many times that I was getting a fixed rate mortgage (and I did not use a broker, I went directly to the bank), the title officer could not point out a single place in the closing paperwork where it actually stated that my interest rate was fixed. On my bank’s website, my mortgage is listed as fixed and I trust them as they are a major national bank, but I could easily see how someone could be deceived. If there is a national law requiring that all terms be spelled out such as you claim, I would very much like to see it.

        • TCTH says:

          @nataku83: You trust them because they’re a major national bank? My experiences must be totally opposite your own, because to me that’s a major reason NOT to trust them.

      • mythago says:

        @HarcourtArmstrong: Yes, it can happen. The current meltdown makes it pretty clear that IT’S THE LAW didn’t faze a lot of people. Also, you’d be surprised at how much people shoving official documents at you really, really don’t want you to take the time to read them.

    • Jenng says:

      @nataku83: Totally can happen when we bought our house we told them 30 yr fixed or nothing. The night we went in to sign our paperwork to close we read the paperwork instead of just signing and they had drafted it as an ARM that would adjust after 10 years. I made them redraft everything and take the cost out of their commission. So yes it can happen and I bet it happened to a lot of folks who trusted their brokers and didn’t read before they signed their life away.

  2. nuttish says:

    Send a Qualified Written Request under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. You’ll find all kinds of info on doing that if you google it. Make sure to look at your mortgage papers for the correct address to send it to or they’ll ignore it, as they’re entitled to do. Make sure to include a copy of the note (showing you have a fixed rate note) and enough clear detail in your explanation for a person with an 85 IQ to understand what’s going on.

    Also, is it possible it’s your second mortgage that’s adjusting? Crappy brokers sometimes put people in fixed firsts and adjustable seconds…

  3. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    This is Countrywide Spam. His account number is not on there. They got an excel spreadsheet of customer names, they accidentally pulled fixed mortgages from that list, and sent everyone.

    Nothing is wrong with his mortgage. They just sent a mass mail to the wrong people. It happens.

    • levenhopper says:

      @BuddyGuyMontag: How are you so sure?

      • jnews says:

        @levenhopper: Except perhaps for comcast, I cannot think of a company I’ve done business with that so cruelly and maliciously spams and inappropriately cross-sells you for so much as blinking in their direction. Once ensnared in their marketing web, they will suck you dry and ignore your pleas for mercy. It’s like being put on a thousand scammer’s “sucker” lists.

        Never ever give countrywide your email address and/or sign up for their online accounts. Unless you like never getting any important legal documents in the mail again, but never any abatement to the spam!

  4. OggJoshua says:

    It sounds so foreboding when you use an transitive verb intransitively.

  5. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    If you read the text of the letter, it gives no indication of his mortgage amount, how much he pays a month, or what his current rate is.

    it’s marketing scare tactics for him to call to discuss re-financing.

    He should just call customer service and opt-out of their marketing.

  6. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    They know we don’t have a variable rate.

    Do they?

    Never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence. Make sure someone didn’t screw something up in your account with Countrywide. Don’t wait until they’re demanding a larger mortgage payment because the computer says you do have a variable mortgage.

    • floraposte says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: He’s not attributing it to conspiracy, he’s attributing it to spam. As a Countrywide customer, I get Countrywide spam ads a few times a month–they’ve probably dried up to once a month since the takeover. This is even in Countrywide Spam font, and I bet it had spam bulk postage. He’s wrong about them knowing he has a fixed rate because it was sent by people who had no idea what kind of rate he had–all they knew is his postal address and his possession of a Countrywide mortgage, and that’s all they cared about.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        He’s not attributing it to conspiracy, he’s attributing it to spam.

        @floraposte: I probably should have put that line in quotes. (It’s something my mom likes to say) I wasn’t trying to say that the OP literally thought it was a conspiracy just that he thought it was on purpose. If that’s what their junk mail looks like then it was on purpose but I don’t trust companies enough not to think they might have done something wrong when I get something from them that says something that isn’t true.

    • vastrightwing says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: My dad & I have are having this very exact discussion. I just have a very difficult time thinking that so many coincidences is simple incompetence.

      “I’m sorry sir, that was my incompetence causing you all that grief.” Every month I have to call one of my vendors and correct a mistake. Yes, sometimes it is incompetence, but part of me thinks it’s really companies trying to pull off a scam hoping that most people don’t care, don’t know, too busy or afraid to complain.

  7. DarianAlcestis says:

    BofA has done zippo regarding Countrywide – um, except allow an employee to STEAL identity information off of thousands of mortgagors. Yep, and they say not to worry – said employee is in jail – but who did he SELL the info to, huh?

    As if I chose Countrywide. I was freakin sold to them. Refinancing doesn’t guarantee I won’t be sold back, so… I’m scraping together all my funds to pay this 30yr. fixed off (and I’m only in year 2). Be done with them and they lose the interest.

  8. Trencher93 says:

    My theory is the only reason banks ever bought any mortgages is to build a sucker list to upsell their other products. They don’t want the mortgage, they want people to legally upsell things to.

  9. chiieddy says:

    I don’t think there’s much of a question as to what type of loan he has. I think it has more to do with him getting on the wrong mailing list. I don’t recall seeing any notices and I have a 30 year fixed, myself.

    You can always check your terms at []

    Log into your account, select Home Loans, then loan details. It’s spelled out there.

    • chiieddy says:

      @chiieddy: Addendum – mine says “30 Years Conv w/PMI” Translation – 30 years conventional (fixed)

      I used to have to pay PMI on the loan but that was dismissed years ago.

    • Mollyg says:

      @chiieddy: Another way to check your loan terms is to look at the actual documents you signed. Given the real possibilities of data entry errors and possible fraud by Countrywide, I would only trust the original documents.

  10. spazztastic says:

    This looks more like an advertisement, rather than an official letter. I get them all the time, from various banks, all offering me ‘better’ mortgage deals. Al of the info on my property is public record, and I get a number of ‘You need a copy of your recorded deed!’ $500 scam letters as well.

  11. TheWraithL98 says:

    is it possible they mean escrow adjustment?

    every year i get a letter from my mortgage holder with either a bill or a check for the difference in my escrow amounts, as well as a new mortgage amount for the coming year based on escrow adjustments. it’s been up and down in a +/- $25 a month range for years, based on differences in tax amounts, homeowners insurance, etc.

    the time of year makes sense – i just got my check and adjustment amount information in the last week’s time myself.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @TheWraithL98: I doubt it. If this was an escrow payment adjustment, refinancing wouldn’t do anything to change that. On the other hand, it would be a typical slime-ball marketing tactic to take the escrow adjustment and use it as a scare tactic to market a re-fi.

  12. Nytmare says:

    This looks like those generic “Your vehicle warranty is about to expire” or “Your domain name registration is up for renewal” or “your magazine subscription is about to run out” spam ads, from third parties who have your info but don’t care when or whether it actually runs out.

  13. frodo_35 says:

    If you are worried take the time to check it out. Ease your mind.

  14. junip says:

    bank of america is so disjointed that their bank accounts aren’t even linked from state to state. It doesn’t surprise me that they would be sending notices out to people they don’t apply to. I opened an acct in MA and moved to CA and they told me I’d have to close my old account and open a new one in CA. If I didn’t they said my checks would take twice as long to clear and I couldn’t order a new checkbook with my CA address. LAME. That along with many other mistakes they’d made with my account, I was encouraged enough to finally switch banks.

  15. Corbin123 says:

    Your online savings account rate is now 2.5%!!!
    (adjusted down from 3%)
    Your mortgage rate is about to adjust!!!
    (upwards sadly)
    We just killed your entire family and took all the money out of your bank account!!!!

    I hate it when companies add exclamation points to things that aren’t awesome.

  16. Guard says:

    Countrywide sends out letters like this all the time. I’ve had a loan with them for 1 year 2 months now, that could re-adjust after 5 years (I’ll refinance before then, and hopefully have a lot of it paid off).

    However, ever since 1 month after getting the loan, I’ve gotten letters 2+ times a month stating:
    #1: I need to get mortgage insurance, increasing my payments by another $100 a month incase I die.
    #2: I need to refinance right away (I had just gotten the loan?) and I’ll get a quarter of a discount point if I call within the next few days!

    I’ll definitely be moving away from Countrywide when i refinance. I get so much junk mail from them.

  17. VeeKaChu says:

    FUCK don’t frighten me like that. My last fixed-rate refi was bought by CuntryWide, and they’ve serviced it just fine for over two year. I thought this article was going to be about CW trying to pull some of that rapacious shit like the CC companiess do, wherein they arbitrarily change/raise rates on folks (and yes, there’s a rational part of me that knows mt terms are immutable).

    To add to my panic, there’s a ‘letter’- as opposed to a ‘statement’- from CW on the bureau downstairs, which I also instinctively know is another wasted pitch. Hell, might be this very same stupid one!

    All this prattle about the freaking economy is boring. Needs more receipt-checking goodness!

  18. kwsventures says:

    I have heard enough morons complain they “didn’t know I had an adjustable rate mortgage.” Sir, did you read your 4 page mortgage note? You didn’t? You, sir, are one dumb fool.

  19. yagisencho says:

    I’ve received bi-monthly refinancing spam from Countrywide from the day we financed our fixed-rate mortgage with them (nearly six years ago). Three years ago, ARMs were all the rage. Last year it was fixed-rate. Now they want to help with debt consolidation (debt that I don’t have).

  20. arl84 says:

    Bank of America IS trying to clean up Countrywide’s image, they’re just waiting until it isn’t Countrywide anymore. Why would they want good publicity going to some other name?

    Of course I’m really just guessing. I could be totally off base. B of A is starting a program to help troubled mortgage lenders though…

    • arl84 says:

      @arl84: Haha, i forgot to express my disgust at this notice. I wonder if this is residual, like, they just haven’t fired all the bad eggs yet, or if they’re still actively making decisions to do things like this, now and in the future.

      This goes along the lines of predatory lending and this is why we got into this mortgage meltdown in the first place. Shame on them.

  21. chrylis says:

    And the Google ads on the left are trying to sell me a Countrywide mortgage…

  22. Corporate-Shill says:

    I don’t have a mortgage, have not had a mortgage in way more than a decade and I receive similar crapola.

  23. rick_in_texas says:

    Easy way to solve all of this. Pay off your mortgage.