The Bank Howard Lindzon Refers to as Shiti Bank, and Why

by francine Hardaway on January 12, 2010

Now I get to start the mortgage modification for my second loan, or Home Equity Line of Credit, with Citibank.  In case you are not addicted to this soap opera yet, may I remind you that I bought a home five years ago in Half Moon Bay for $769,000 and it is now worth $515,000? You can see this on Zillow. The loan was due to re-set in 2012, and I feared I'd have no equity and lose the house because I wouldn't be eligible for a re-fi, so I tried to head it off.

After a year of effort, I got a commitment to modify from Aurora Loan Services, the first lender. But that's useless if I still have to pay the adjustable second loan. I wanted Citibank to make a modification similar to what Aurora was doing, so I started making phone calls. I called five different numbers before I got a person. That person was getting ready to transfer me and give me another number (supposedly for someone who could actually help), but first I had been selected for a random customer service survey. On a scale of 1-10 how was my service, the representative asked? Because she was a human and not a phone tree, I told her it was an 8. She then carefully explained to me that 1-8 was considered a failure for her, and that I would have to give her a 9 or a ten so she could pass.

I responded that she hadn't "helped" me, and that she shouldn't get a 9 or a 10 for giving me another phone number.  This wasn't the "help" I was looking for. She testily said to me, "well I wasn't rude to you, was I?" All this time I was burning valuable time without getting transferred to the "right" person. She held me hostage on the phone until I agreed to give her a passing grade. Of course I gave up, and she transferred me to a young man who asked me to answer a series of questions to enter the modification process.

I was missing one piece of information, and I asked him to go on to the next question while I tried to find the information he needed.  But the system wouldn't let him, so he had to wait while I scrounged for a piece of paper with the number of my first loan on it, and finally was able to get it for him by logging into Aurora's web pages. 

At the end of the interview, which he had warned me would take forty minutes — on top of the forty minutes it took me to get to the right number, he told me the system had indicated they would have to get a confirmation of my property value. (which, I remind you, can be found on Zillow).  What should I do?

Call back in 21 days. That's what his "system" told him to advise me. That's a "system" ????????  It's not worthy of the name.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nilandmortimer January 13, 2010 at 12:22 am

Please, please read Frank Rich's Op-Ed article from yesterday's Times.

hardaway January 13, 2010 at 6:55 am

Already read it and put it on twitter. I agree,

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