BofA's "New" Short Sale and REO Executive-Matt Vernon...Is He "The Real Deal" Or Just Another Great BofA PR Guy?
Last Friday, I attended the CDPE Momentum Conference in Tempe, AZ. I'm proud to call myself a member of such a great organization. Alex and his group have done a great job of educating not only me, but several thousand other Realtors across the country on how to help homeowners avoid foreclosure through the short sale process. He cares about his membership, and it definitely showed at the conference.
When deciding whether to attend the conference, the "tipping point" for me was the fact that Matt Vernon from BofA would be there to share his thoughts/goals for leading the future of BofA short sales in the future. Mr. Vernon has been recently appointed as the "Short Sale and REO Executive" of BofA. Because BofA historically handles over 1/3 of the short sales I am involved in, I felt it was worth my time/money to attend the conference.
After hearing Mr. Vernon's speech, my thoughts are twofold...
I was very impressed with his speaking style, his supposed willingness to help change an obviously "broken" system, and his vision for the future. That being said, I left the speech saying, "OK, I've heard this before. Now prove it".
Mr. Vernon claims that he wants to change things. He even told the 1,000+ crowd of CDPE's that he reads various blogs/articles to see how BofA is doing in the short sale arena, and has set out to change things.
To prove this, he had 3-4 "upper-level" negotiators in the audience, ready to help those agents in need of help. Before he finished speaking, I walked to the back of the room, and spoke with one of his negotiators (I didn't want to wait until he was finished and wait in line). I spoke with a very professional young lady, who listened to my horror story, and asked me for my business card. In my particular case (like so many others), I told her that I had input my short sale into Equator 45+ days ago, and could not get anyone to respond, despite numerous efforts. She told me she would look into it, and I would hear from her by Monday, at the latest. Lo-and-behold, I received an email response from her on Monday, approving my short sale. Great news, right?!
As you can imagine, I was very happy with the quick response. Only one problem... My client's 2nd mortgage (also with BofA, formerly Countrywide)... Yep, that's right, I know what you're saying..."Those BofA/Countrywide bastards in North Carolina"... My thoughts exactly...
You see, we've faxed (BofA/Countrywide doesn't do Equator) our package to them 3 times now, and each time they've either lost the package, or claim that it is "incomplete"(without an explanation as to what was missing). Today, the Customer Service Rep told me that this particular negotiator was out of the office, but when she gets back tomorrow (if she decides to come to work), she has put in her notes that she "is only working on files that are closing this month". When I asked him why our Short Sale Package was neglected for the 3rd time, he said it was for "misc" reasons. He could not give me any specific details. So, my next question was, "What do we need to do to make the package acceptable"? His response... "I'm not sure, she didn't put it in the notes". To make things worse, when I tried to explain our dire situation, and that we had approval from the first (BofA) he actually had the audacity to laugh and say "There ain't nothing I can do for you. You just have to wait until your negotiator comes back, and see what she can do (these are his actual words, as recorded). Trying to stay calm, cool, and collected, I asked "Is there a supervisor I can speak to?" His response... "No sir, we don't have supervisors here". And yes, he actually laughed...Again...
Well, today I contacted my new "favorite" upper-level management negotiator at BofA (the same one that helped me on the 1st mortgage). As expected, she told me that the 2nd's are "handled by a totally different department. I would suggest you have the homeowner call them. There is nothing I can do for you".
Just as I thought...One of my favorite quotes.... "Screw me once, shame on you, screw me twice, shame on me....
What was I thinking? Sure, Mr. Vernon is a great speaker, but he is like so many others in our society that garnish attention..."All hat, and no cowboy". Mr. Vernon, if you're reading this blog, please understand that we are officially sick of the BS you are putting out to all of us. It's time to quit talking, and start acting. This sense of entitlement that many in our country is feeling right now has obviously spread to the banking industry, and it needs to be stopped. Tell your employees to start acting like professionals, and stop acting like they are owed something. Your bank has been given billions through TARP, and your "too big to fail" attitude has made it's way down to the frontline customer service employees.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but, once again, I felt it necessary to share my experiences with my fellow AR members, as well as the rest of the general public who follow my blog..
Maybe (just maybe) if our government decides to quit writing checks to BofA to bail them out, they will actually be faced with the prospect of failing, like so many others in our country. This sense of entitlement needs to stop, and it needs to start the those that control our money. Just my 2 cents.
Designated Broker-Summit Home Consultants