So this morning my partner is on the phone with Chase Bank, attempting to negotiate the terms of a loan modification. Our client has a high enough income to qualify for a loan modification, but Chase was acting horribly evasive.
The initial phone call to Chase went nowhere. Finally, we ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. The response is something I expect from JiffyLube, not from a major financial institution – “uhhh, there are no managers in the office right now.”
No managers, huh? At 10:30 am on a Tuesday, you’re telling me there isn’t a single supervisor anywhere in the office? Forgive me, but I just don’t believe you. What’s more, everything else you tell me is suspect because I know you are a liar.
The battle with Chase continued to escalate for the next hour. The one thing I kept thinking was how difficult this must be for an ordinary homeowner. As lawyers, Avi and I are used to dealing with psychotic guerilla-tactics from banks and other institutions. This is really no big deal because it’s our job. But, pushing through a loan modification appears to be an insurmountable task for an unrepresented individual. Yes, some banks do it right, but some do not.
Today was not a case of us trying to get something for nothing from Chase. We kept hammering home our very simple principle point, which is that our client can afford a loan modification and wants to modify so she can stay in her home. When something like a person’s home is at stake, how can Chase continue to use underhanded methods when dealing with even the attorneys? Tactics like sending you to the “manager’s voicemail” that also happens to be full so you can’t leave a message. Another cute tactic is when they tell you that your file is in “review” and therefore cannot be discussed at that time. Whatever the heck that means.
We eventually got through. And yes, our client is staying at home right where she is. We were happy to do our jobs today, but I fear that our success is the exception.