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Homeowners complain about how Philly banks deal with mortgages

Trying to re-negotiate the terms of a mortgage can be a difficult and often financially punitive process. According to a recently released study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency of the federal government, an unpleasant experience dealing with a bank about the terms of an existing or new mortgage is the number one complaint about Philadelphia banks as judged by their customers.

The complexity of even a relatively simple residential mortgage can be fertile ground for a number of real estate disputes. The CFPB study said that about 22 percent of disputes between banks and their mortgage borrowers are related to mortgages. The most common issues concern disagreements with property appraisers used by the bank to value a home, disagreements about the terms of a replacement loan and miscellaneous arguments about the terms of a mortgage.

Specific complaints mentioned in the study included using erroneous measurements to determine square footage, unexplained delays in loan processing and missing documents. A lawyer who studies the mortgage industry attributed some of the dissatisfaction to the fact that mortgage servicing departments at many banks are understaffed and underfinanced. These deficiencies adversely affect the bank's record-keeping and its ability to answer customers' questions about their mortgages. Another common complaint was harassing phone calls if a mortgage payment is just a few days past due.

Anyone who is thinking about approaching a bank to re-finance a mortgage or raise defenses to a threatened foreclosure or seek other relief may benefit from consulting an attorney who practices real estate law. Such a consultation can provide a helpful review of the law and facts of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a satisfactory outcome.

Source: Newsworks, "Mortgage issues spur Philly consumers' financial complaints," Bobby Allyn, Dec. 27, 2016

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