Getting a mortgage today is difficult enough without your bank stabbing you in the back.
The couple had excellent credit ratings until their bank, Citizens Financial Group, made several errors starting in December 2011.
The couple knew how important it is to pay your bills on time so Lee Hunt had signed up to have Citizens automatically deduct from their checking account the monthly payments on his home line of credit on his condo.
Their saga begins in December, 2011 when Citizens improperly credited their account by $1,100.41. As the result, there was no withdrawal from their checking account in January.
Lee Hunt saw the payments to his account and knew he didn¹t make them. He also saw that Citizens did not deduct a payment from their checking account.
Confused, Hunt call Citizens and talked with several employees about the status of his account. He was told not to worry that everything was fine.
“I never received a valid explanation for the above payments to my account and was repeatedly informed that my account was current and no further action was required,” Hunt said last month.
However, in March last year the bank realized that it had made an error by applying two payments from someone else to Hunt¹s account.
The two payments were removed and Hunt¹s account showed that he was 90 days late in making his January payment.
When notified, Hunt immediately made the payment and inquired whether the bank would file a negative report with credit agencies.
He was again told not to worry since it was Citizens¹ errors that caused the problem there would not be a negative report filed with credit agencies.
Soon after the Hunts started house hunting and after finding a home in Middletown applied for a mortgage.
They were rejected because there was one blemish on their credit report – a 90 day past due payment to Citizens.
Hunt again contacted Citizens and he was promised that the negative report would be withdrawn.
Fed up, Hunt threatened to file a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Banking. It did not do any good. Personnel at the mortgage division then refused to further talk to him.
Hunt¹s next step was to contact the office of Citizens Chairman Ellen Alemany. He called on April 4 and was supposed to receive a call back from Meghan Arnold.
After waiting 11 days for a phone call that never came, Hunt escalated his complaint and on April 15 wrote a letter to Alemany detailing his complaint.
Two weeks later – still no reply - the couple wrote to CtWatchdog asking for my help.
I contacted Citizens but before the bank could respond to me, Hunt received a letter from Arnold.
She confirmed that the bank had erroneously misapplied someone else¹s payment to Hunt¹s account, and had failed to withdraw the January payment from his account.
“Please accept my formal apologies for this inadvertent error that had occurred, and for any delay in getting this matter resolved for you,” Arnold wrote.
Thankfully the owners of the house that the Hunts want to buy are still interested in selling it to the couple.
But the apology from Citizens does not go far enough considering all the mistakes the bank made. I think at the minimum the bank should buy the couple an expensive dinner.
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