The 19There’s not enough room here to fully describe all the machinations that I went through to Secure a REFI at Wells Fargo.

 It was quite clear after several weeks had a lapsed that the process was not going well. The first thing I noticed was being asked for the same things again and again such as a tax return that I eventually sent in the same one on four different occasions for two different years. It was also apparent their IT systems were archaic in the extreme. Something they called a loan tracker never seemed to be tracking anything very accurately. I was asked on numerous occasions for all sorts of details but often in a very confusing and unclear way and if I did send back something that was not perfect I had to redo the submission.  Wells Fargo demand perfection and rarely exhibit themselves.

Any time I questioned anything it was all put down to banking, legal requirements or money laundering requirement and delays were excused due to Covid19. To be fair Covid19 did not help and I had tremendous sympathy for one young lady who work very hard on my case. I could hear her young children in the background I could only imagine how hard it was to do her job. Deep into the process two weeks pause with no news so I emailed her and got back a robotic response that says she was away for an indefinite amount of time. No one at Wells Fargo bothered to have informed me of this situation and I was deeply concerned for her well-being. It took the best part of two for the weeks for someone to pick up where she left off and we missed yet had another deadline.

What was sadly apparent was that Wells Fargo were having a veritable “feeding frenzy” taking on a vast amount of new business during a pandemic with inadequately trained and too few staff.  How much of this business was highly profitable at uncompetitive rates?  I can only speculate but the section on lending may throw some light on that.  How much stress did Wells Fargo put on the first line staff like that young mother only they know.  Did Wells Fargo pay them a bonus for their valiant efforts?  My complaint was never about these great people but about many of the managers above them seemingly aloof to their issues and failing to backing them. 

As the weeks and months past I routinely asked to have my situation escalated and I managed to get maybe two levels above my initial contact. None of these more senior managers ever offered any help at all. However, somewhere in all of this someone decided I was unhappy and without reference to me it led to what was called an executive escalation and a woman called me out of the blue to inform me of this situation. I thought, now finally, skilled experienced people were on my case and we are going to break through the morass of bureaucracy that was tying everyone in knots. I gave her chapter and verse on everything that was going on and I asked if I could email her with any updates. She said she had no email address but that I could call her.

All she seem to do was call some of the people I was working with to confirm how awful everything was and a week or so later I noticed an email exchange with her email address, the one she didn’t have. I emailed her to call me and she never did. What I got by FedEx overnight mail was a three-page letter that took some of my complaints and basically spoke very highly of how Wells Fargo was operating and took no responsibility whatsoever for anything that occurred. No escalation of my issue took place and I was left exactly where I was before which was nowhere.

Four months into this process and having missed yet another deadline and facing a rerun of all the bureaucracy I decided to look at the tracker that people of told me to ignore because they all agreed it was useless. However, the tracker contained all the details of my refinance and they were all wrong.  They had been wrong for months so all the paperwork demanded from me was to support another loan. The interest rate the points the principal everything even the number of years for the refinance. No one was ever able to explain this nonsense and here I was back to square one.

Sometime around this moment another person from the executive escalation group calls me. He seemed very professional and knowledgeable and listened attentively to the details of my situation. This was on a Thursday and I was facing a mountain of paperwork to perform through the weekend for a deadline on the following Monday and I was dead set against doing this.  We discussed how to put an end to this nonsense and literally escalate to find out what the heck was going on. He seem quite prepared to do this and even asked me for more information which I emailed all through that Thursday. If I was to avoid losing half my weekend working for Wells Fargo things needed to happen that Friday and he knew this. I sent him another email half way through that Friday and got back an auto responder saying he was on vacation until Tuesday! In that email he had an alternative contact that I later learned was his manager but that email was incorrectly spelled.

When this man came back and I spoke to him on the Wednesday and questioned what was he thinking taking on board my situation with no possibility of being able to help me. Suddenly the line went dead. I called him back several times and can conclude he hung up on me and I hope he was too embarrassed to talk to me. I did speak to his boss who spent the whole time being defensive and unhelpful and again no offer to escalate or help.  This is no escalation group.

With no help in sight and the prospect of a never ending cycle of repeated work I decided to look on LinkedIn to find a suitable executive to try and contact. What better person than the lady who signed the executive complaint letter I got several months earlier. This woman actually responded and said she would help and eventually an executive called me. He was five levels below CEO but what a difference this guy made.  His name is Ignacio. He immediately cut through almost all the requests for documentation and focused on a couple he said had to be done and I worked with him all through a Friday now in January this year (we started in August 2020 and my initial contact was July) and he stayed long after 5 PM his time. He called me later that evening very upset that he had failed and another deadline based passed. Somehow I took this better than I would’ve done without his incredible assistance knowing now I was in safe hands. An hour later he called again jubilant that what he thought had failed had not and all he had all he needed was to get someone back in the office to complete the transaction. He had asked someone to come back who was at home and do this. That’s what executives can do. That’s what escalations are for but that escalation group never do the things like this.  The Wells Fargo escalation group are simply part of the call center with a fancy name designed to make customers feel looked after.  It’s an act.