If you’re already working on a loan modification with your lender, chances are – you’re feeling stressed.
When you call the lender to get an update, it can feel like the representative you’re talking to doesn’t know what’s going on and the representative you need to talk to is never available to take your call.
I can’t tell you how many people I speak to on a regular basis who tell me that they just don’t feel confident that they’re getting accurate information about their file.
Sometimes, they can’t even put their finger on exactly what the problem is but they don’t trust the information they’re being given.
The bank would like you to believe that there is one magic person who has all the answers to your file AND that specific person you need is just out of reach at the moment you called.
The 5 most common communication challenges you will face when working on a loan modification with your lender
- The person who answers the phone tells you that “the representative who can help you is not available”: No matter what time of day you call, you’re told that the person you need to speak with is not available.
- You get transferred to a voicemail with no advanced notice: The person who answers the phone for the lender puts you immediately on hold and then transfers the call to a Voicemail box without telling you that’s going to happen.
- Nobody returns your voicemails: You’ve left several Voicemails and have been assured that someone would call you back – nobody calls you back
- They put you on hold forever, with no end in sight, hoping you eventually hang up: You may reach a helpful representative who sounds like they’re going to help you but the hold time you’re experiencing goes on for so long, you may become doubtful that
- You have made an appointment with either a “customer relationship manager” or a “single point of contact” for them to call you back but they didn’t call you: Someone from the lender will tell you that you have to make an appointment for a call-back in order to get an update. You follow the procedure, make your appointment and nobody calls you back.
It can be scary to not be able to get an update you can trust on your file because it will start to feel like nothing is happening.
If nothing is happening, you could be moving closer and closer to a foreclosure auction date which can make you feel helpless and like the process is spiraling out of control.
The lenders will tell you this person is your personal “relationship manager” or a “single point of contact” and that they will be able to “provide you a full update.”
Here is the main thing to understand about lender communication:
- There is no one magic person at the lender who can help you
- Even your assigned relationship managers or single point of contacts don’t know everything you need to know
- Banks have systems in place to purposely block you from getting an update from an informed party
Waiting for someone to call you back from the bank or leaving a Voicemail is a bad strategy that will cause more stress over time.
To get a clear update on what’s going on with your modification, you either have to:
- Get help from a knowledgeable attorney who works with loss mitigation applications frequently so they can take over the communication with the bank OR
- Learn what questions to ask so you can force whomever answers the phone at the lender to give you the information you need so you can advocate for yourself
10 questions to ask ANY bank representative so you can get a meaningful update on your modification
- Is my file open and active in loss mitigation? Loss mitigation is the department your file is worked in if you’re applying for a loan modification. “Active loss mitigation” is how the bank refers to an open loan modification that is being worked. Ask this question every time to ensure your file hasn’t been closed and is in the right department.
- Is there any foreclosure activity showing on the account? This is how you can stay ahead of any upcoming foreclosure activity. As some states allow banks to review modifications AND move forward with foreclosure, ask this every time you call for an update.
- Is there a foreclosure attorney’s office assigned to the account? A foreclosure attorney’s office will be assigned to the account early on the foreclosure timeline. This information will help you know where the bank is on the foreclosure timeline so you can get ahead of foreclosure activity.
- Can you please tell me the date the most recent note was made on my file? Most front-end representatives (even if they’re not in the loss mitigation department at the bank) will have access to the notes attached to your loan. They should be able to confirm the date your file was touched by someone at the lender. If they can’t confirm a recent, reasonable date – this is a red flag that should incentivize you to reach out for some help as your file may just be sitting there not moving.
- Can you please read me the most recent note made on my file? This will help you get information from the underwriters or document processors about what they’re doing and what they need. Have the representative you’re talking to read the notes exactly as written to you. Avoid letting them summarize as you may miss information.
- Is my file being worked by an underwriter or a document processor? This will help you identify which phase of review your file is in so you can determine how close you are to receiving a decision.
- When was the last time someone touched this file, who was it and what did they do? This will show the representative that you’re serious about receiving an update and that you’re keeping track of who is working your file. This will encourage them to provide you accurate information because you’ve indicated that you’re paying attention and taking notes.
- Are there any documents missing or anything showing as needed from me notated on the account? Ask this question every time you call as documents can pop up as needed throughout the entire process (even if the lender has previously told you that your file is complete).
- Has the file been submitted to the investor for a decision yet? At a certain point, the underwriter who works for your bank will reach out to the investor on your loan to get their approval on the decision they’re recommending. This is called being “submitted for approval” and will help you understand how close you are to receiving a decision on the modification.
- Has any decision been issued on the file yet? This seems like an obvious question to ask but sometimes, representatives have to switch computer screens in their system to see if a decision has been issued. If you don’t ask this directly, they may not take the action they need to take to verify whether a decision has been given yet.
Big servicers are not in the interest of communicating effectively with you, especially when you’re trying to navigate the loan modification process by yourself.
If you’re feeling like you don’t know what’s happening with your file or you’re not able to get the information you need to feel confident that your file is going well, you should probably consider getting some help.
If you’re in Washington struggling to get an update on your loan modification file, please call me at: (425) 654-1674.
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