NEWPORT, NORTH CAROLINA -- This is an admonition to anyone shopping for a Reverse Mortgage Loan (RML) lender to think twice before using Wells Fargo bank’s mortgage services. My current experience with them is bringing back unpleasant memories of an earlier experience with Financial Freedom, which was the arm of Indy Mac bank that specialized in RMLs.
On November 4, 2008 I sat down with the Wells Fargo’s Reverse Mortgage Loan (RML) agent at my home in eastern North Carolina and initiated a new RML. This new RML was to refinance a RML that I had gotten over one year earler through Financial Freedom. Since closing delays had made the experience with Financial Freedom very frustrating (12 weeks and one day), I specifically asked the Wells Fargo agent what I could expect the elapsed time to be for their closing date, and was proudly told that Wells Fargo had a policy of closing in 30 days or less.
Forty-four days have elapsed as of today (12/18/2008), and I have not been able to get Wells Fargo to even set a closing date. I call their regional representative, she says she will check on the status of my closing and call me back, but she usually does not call back. When she does call back, it is to tell me that they are understaffed and overworked (who isn’t?), and that a supervisor will call “later today”. She has stated that all the documentation is in place, but that the processing hasn’t been completed.
Since Christmas is only eight days away I am growing increasingly frustrated, and I am expecting Wells Fargo to use the holidays as an excuse to set the closing for the last week of this year or the first week of 2009. If so, my experience with Wells Fargo’s closing will far exceed their assurance of “30 days or less”, and may end up being very much like my experience with Indy-Mac/Financial-Freedom.
My RML with Indy-Mac/Financial-Freedom finally closed on May 31, 2007, and the FDIC took over Indy Mac less than two months later in July. The agent that took my recent RML application said several times that Wells Fargo was financially sound, but the guy with Indy-Mac/Financial-Freedom said much the same thing. Now I am wondering if an inordinate delay in setting a closing date is a sign that a bank is short on funding and about to fail.
Does anyone have any inside information on this? Should I cut my losses with Wells Fargo and go with another lender? If anyone knows anything, please clue me in.
UPDATE: Wells-Fargo finally set the closing for the afternoon of Christmas Eve, seven weeks after the RML was initiated. Receipt of the proceeds was also delayed (by the Christmas holidays) but was completed on New Year's Eve, making the entire process span eight weeks and one day.