Wells Fargo Pushes Pause On Foreclosure As Petition Nears 150,000 Signatures

Yesterday, we told you about the California woman who was trying to save the house she’d inherited when her mother passed away, but who claims she is facing foreclosure because the bank refuses to deal with anyone other than her late mom. Since then, more than 120,000 additional people have signed the daughter’s petition and the attention has moved Wells Fargo to put things on hold for a moment.

A rep for Wells Fargo tells Consumerist:

“We look forward to speaking with Ms. Leeks, and have reached out to her and her attorney today to discuss the situation involving her mother’s home. In the meantime, the foreclosure sale has been placed on hold.”

The daughter says she can pay the mortgage and claims that her attempts to do so have been rebuffed by the bank. She says that she has repeatedly provided the bank with documents proving that she is the executor of her late mother’s estate and the new owner of the house, but no one at the bank recognizes her authority — or will even tell her how much is owed on the mortgage.

As of right now, the daughter’s Change.org petition has around 145,000 signatures from people who hope to see this situation resolved.

If/when there are any updates, we’ll be sure to let you know.


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Who cares who owns the home. Someone wants to pay you MONEY. Just fucking let them.

    • Costner says:

      In theory I might agree – but if this was BOA six months from now we would be hearing a story about how someone was paying their mortgage for six months and BOA was applying it to someone else’s principle all because of a mix-up with two digits on the account number.

      I think it makes sense for banks to ensure the right people are making the payments, and I wonder if in this case there was some issue with the estate itself. Can a bank take money from an estate prior to everything being sorted out legally? What happens if someone claims they are executor but it hasn’t been through the courts yet and later it is found there was an issue… is the bank on the hook for the money?

      I’m not sure of all the details, but when it comes to mortgages there are very, very specific processes to follow. The banks all got in hot water for not following procedures when it came to robo-signings etc., thus I suspect they are probably a little gun-shy at this point. I wish we knew both sides of this one because it could probably be a fantastic learning opportunity.

      • msbaskx2 says:

        “I think it makes sense for banks to ensure the right people are making the payments”

        I don’t really understand this. If I have a mortgage, and my mother sends in the payments for it, are you suggesting that the bank shouldn’t accept them?

        • Costner says:

          They should if they know you approve of the arrangement, and if they confirm your mother knows what she is doing, but what if someone else’s mother starts sending in checks to your mortgage because she screwed up the account number? Then three months later the bank has to try to pull money back out of your mortgage and refund it back to the other person.

          In some cases you would probably have people claiming the money put in was a gift and shouldn’t be taken back – in other cases someone might become disgruntled at a boyfriend/girlfriend/child/parent or whatever and claim they didn’t mean to pay their mortgage and it was a mistake and then they demand a refund which results in late fees and penalties to the mortgage holder – what a nightmare.

          I can see why they don’t allow just anyone to send in money.

          • Robert Nagel says:

            Actually, I think the previous poster means that the bank should make sure the depositor is paying for the mortgage they mean to pay for. Anybody can pay your mortgage, but they don’t need the grief from someone mistakenly paying for the wrong mortgage.

      • hornet says:

        It’s nice to see some folks can still put some thought into a post and think beyond the print.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Then you have someone buying the house out from under you… Better make sure that person has the legal right to buy the house.

  2. Costner says:

    I think we all know the petition had little to do with it… it was the publicity surrounding it. When you add the terms “foreclosure” next to “dead mother” in the same paragraph as “bank” it tends to earn some sympathy points and makes for some great headlines.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The publicity came from the petition : – )

    • bluline says:

      She should take a member of the media with her when she speaks personally with the bank reps. Or at least record the entire meeting on video so she can use it with the media later if need be..

  3. dragonfire81 says:

    It says something about society when it takes THAT MUCH of a brouhaha just to make a bank be reasonable about something.

    • lyontaymer30 says:

      First of all, you’re assuming she went through the right process. And companies can’t just give out mortgage information even if you are family member. That’s illegal and then if a company did that, you’d be one of the people on this site screaming for them to get a harsh punishment.

      I’m convince either she didn’t send in the correct information or she was just trying to take a short cut. Since we won’t be able to see the actual information, no one will know but her and the company.

      • msbaskx2 says:

        It’s possible. Maybe she’s not the executor of the estate? Or hasn’t provided the bank proof that she is?

        Maybe the publicity and the pause button will make both sides do what they should.

        • Robert Nagel says:

          Been there, done that. You give whoever a copy of the executor papers and a copy of the death certificate and they are happy as a clam. That’s all they need to cover their ass.

          • newfenoix says:

            Yeah but some folks like BofA don’t consider an original of the death certificate as a valid, legal document.

      • Bladerunner says:

        And you’re convinced of this because of the banking industry’s stellar record of competence?

        • Costner says:

          Well if you base it from the numbers…. tens of millions of mortgages and a few hundred massive screwups or a few thousand – or even tens of thousands with minor screwups…. what percentage of transactions are completed as they should be?

          I bet if you had the real numbers the percentage that result in massive screw-ups is less than one half of one percent. Probably even less than a tenth of a percent. So is that good enough to be considered a stellar record of competence?

          I know it is human nature to focus on the negative, and this website wouldn’t be very fun to read if they posted a story about every time someone’s home purchase, transfer, or payment was completed without any issues…. but the reality is most mortgage transactions go off without any issues.

          • amylynn1022 says:

            Yes, there may be “less than one percent” of massive screw-ups. However, we are talking about people’s homes, where the stakes in these screw-ups is very high. We are also talking about an industry that has a history of unethical and even outright illegal behavior that, you know, crashed the economy. So no, the bank deserves all the bad publicity they receive for these screw-ups and then some.

            The issue here, as in most of the cases I’ve followed, is not the initial screw-up. I could see an under-trained, under-resourced customer service rep following the rules too closely. But the ongoing rude, incompetent and unresponsive behavior once the issue was escalated is inexcusable. The first time this issue was escalated an apology should have been issue and arrangements should have been made to keep the mortgage in good standing while the estate was resolved and arrangements made for Ms. Leeks to file to take over the mortgage or at least close up her mother’s estate in a dignified fashion.

            In response to the comment that Ms Leeks must have not submitted the right document or followed the right procedure, keep in mind that the bank should have procedures in place to deal with a situation that they must deal with frequently and the first part of that procedure should be to remind their employees not to be jerks. Ms Leeks doesn’t deal with mortgages or estates everyday; the bank does. They have both the experience and expertise and the power in the situation–they should be called out if they abuse it.

        • lyontaymer30 says:

          You say that like consumers are so competent lol. If there’s two incompetent groups, how can I realistically chose one, without bias, without any facts? And it’s not like 50% of mortgages get messed up. If you actually look at the numbers I’d bet money that it’s under 1 %. So if you have 99% correct completion rate, what industry wouldn’t take that?

      • hornet says:

        A process is not a law. It always amazes me how folks just accept there is only one way to do something. This kinda of thinking is exactly why companies have customer service problems. There has to be a process for everything, and anything that the reps consider remotely not applicable gets tossed to the side. It makes it worse as the corps have conditioned the consumers that this is the only way things can get done. Mostly this is so they can hire under qualified reps for dirt cheap.

        I worked as a support rep in a NOC for a medium sized ISP. We were pretty free from processes, and they were mostly frowned upon. They hired qualified techs who could think on there feet and most importantly were empowered the techs do what it takes to make the customer happy short of refunds or SLA payouts (which this company pro actively does).

        We were known for and have won awards for the execellent customer service. Daily accolades were common and were badges to brag about.

        lyontaymer30, Free your mind.
        Do not try and follow the process. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth. There is no process. Then you’ll see, that it is not the process that broken, it is only yourself. ;)

  4. msbaskx2 says:

    You might be able to inherit a house, but can you inherit a mortgage? Shouldn’t she have to get a NEW mortgage in her own name to take over the house?

    (I’m not in any way saying that they shouldn’t tell the executor of the estate, presumably her, how much is owed on the mortgage.)

    • lyontaymer30 says:

      Depends on your state laws. Some states you have to have it in the will for it to be binding or you have to go to probate which can take as long as several months to clear up. And even after that it’s not guaranteed. I have seen people able to assume the loan and get it put in their name, but they would have to go through the same process as getting a loan with the lender and investor. But usually as long as you have the right paperwork, the company can put you as an authorized party to where you can release information and make changes.

  5. sparc says:

    she must have one of the worst lawyers out there. really too bad.

  6. 180CS says:

    Damn, they’re actually thinking about rectifying this? That honestly sucks for her, because the money she could have gotten for the lawsuit would have probably made all this worth it.