My Experience With Chase For A HARP 2.0 Refinance

I recently closed on the refinance of my condo. It has been a long time coming, considering the fact that I tried to do a mortgage modification back in September of 2009, and after almost a full year of submitting (and re-submitting every quarter) all the requested paperwork, I was ultimately told that I didn’t prove that I met the hardship requirement.

So, when the Obama Administration announced the HARP 2.0 initiative, I was kind of skeptical yet fairly excited since the “hardship” requirement was gone.

I made a call to Chase, who held the original mortgage to find out the exact details of the program as it pertained to their participation, and waited for the word to come along of when it was to take effect. The problem was, and I should have known, that in most instances nothing is ever as easy or smooth as it is made out to be.

mortgage refinance application

They really should tell you that, as involved as the application itself is, it is also usually the easiest part of the refinance process

 

From my very first conversation with the Chase mortgage representative in Arizona (you will see why this little fact is important soon enough), all of my questions were addressed completely and satisfactorily.

Not only that, but the rep sent periodic emails when more information was made available to them so that I, along with anyone else with whom he was working, would be kept in the loop.

Ultimately, it was announced that February 6, 2012 would be the day the program went live. 

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I’m not one who likes to be late to the party when it comes to the chance to save some significant coin, or very much else for that matter, so I made a point to call my rep the minute I got home from work on that very evening.

It was great, he answered right away, and we got the ball rolling right then and there. He took all of my information to make sure it was as they have it recorded in their files.

I gave him all of the information as it relates to income and housing situation, even offering to provide proof of income and residence (as opposed to this being an investment property which would eliminate me from the program), but he said it wouldn’t be necessary.

 He sent me the authorizations to sign for him to run my credit and obtain copies of my tax returns, and within minutes of receiving it, the document was signed and in his inbox.

We got everything squared away and moved onto the numbers.

I told him how I wanted to roll all of the costs back into the loan, and how everything else should stay the same as far as my taxes being escrowed, but the insurance remaining separate from the escrow account, and being solely my responsibility.

The numbers ended up being quite favorable for me. I got to knock off 2.125% from my interest rate for a savings of over $300 per month! We were plowing forward at breakneck speed. I couldn’t believe how smooth and effortless this was compared to my last attempt to obtain some relief from the dumb luck I ran into by buying at the top of the market cycle right before the subsequent crash.

Boy, was I premature in my celebration. Here is a timeline of the chain of events that followed:

 

February 10–I schedule the appraiser to come out the following morning.

February 11–The appraiser is a no show, and not as much as a phone call.

February 13–I receive an email from the processor in Ohio (told you the reason for giving the location would become apparent) stating that the loan went to underwriting and a determination should be expected in 7-10 business days, with his goal of wrapping up the entire process within 45 days.

February 14–The appraiser, from a different company I presume, comes and inspects the property.

February 17–The refinance is approved, but they ask for a letter of explanation regarding the ownership percentage of my business. That was easy enough to take care of.

February 18-March 14–No communication from the processing representative in Ohio, so I call my Arizona guy to let him know that I haven’t heard a single word.

March 15–I receive an email from the Ohio processor informing me that the new loan is in underwriting for final approval. he states that he hopes to have it completed by the end of the month (March)

March 20–Another email from Ohio telling me that it is still in underwriting.

March 27–I receive an email from Ohio asking me to verify income and liabilities. The numbers he sent for verification are correct on the liability side, but he is only reporting half of my monthly income. That pisses me off. I call my guy in Arizona to tell him what’s going on and he gets pissed since, with this program, none of that stuff even matters.

April 2–I finally get a response from Ohio on the income/liability verification issue, 5 days later, apologizing for the delay and telling me that proof is not needed but verification is. This is totally the opposite of what I was told, and in fact ends up not being necessary in any form. And, he totally ignored my response to the first inquiry correcting his figure! I also ask that he push it along, since we were approaching 2 calendar months with this already, and past his target of the end of March. His response is that he will do that and “it should be clear to close by the end of this week” (week ending April 6).

Of course the end of the week comes and goes with no word on the closing. Big shock there!

April 12–I get an email from Chase saying that my welcome package is available for viewing. This is the same email I received that included all of the papers to start the process. Needless to say I freaked out. I emailed and called the guy in Ohio, but of course got no response. So, I got on the phone to Arizona and my guy out there got everything all cleared. Apparently the Ohio processor filed the papers incorrectly which caused the email to go out.

April 13–Ohio guy emails to say that we are clear to close, and set up a time on April 16 for the notary from the title company to come process everything. Of course, that just happens to mark the 45th business day of the process since his declaration that it would be done in 45 days. He also tells me that I will have the final HUD statement to review before the closing.

April 16–I never receive the final HUD. The title rep shows up, and we start going through the paperwork. Lo and behold, the information is incorrect. They are expecting me to pay $2,500 to close, plus the insurance is included in the escrow. We each get on the phone to clear it up. As it turns out, no one is around to take care of it, so I leave a message for the Arizona rep.

April 17–The guy in Arizona calls me in the morning and he isn’t very happy with the situation either and tells me he will make some calls. A little later I get a message from the Ohio processor apologizing (once again) because he went home ill before lunch and never got to send me the final HUD. Plus he didn’t see the errors I pointed out, if he even looked at it to begin with. The loan had to go back to underwriting for re-approval since I had a payment in transit, and it hit the account before anything got settled. Then they had to rework all of the intermittent figures like taxes and interest.

April 18–Another email from Ohio stating that everything was fixed on the HUD, and asking if closing can be set for the coming Friday (April 20th), to which I say “yes!” He then asks (like he always does at the end of his messages) if there is anything else he can do for me.

April 19–I rant about not understanding why my insurance has to be escrowed since it was never done that way on the previous loan. He goes on about them needing to have a years of insurance paid into the escrow account and blah blah blah (I stopped paying attention because this guy does nothing but piss me off with his delays, mistakes and apologies) until I see him tell me that I have to pay additional points to have the insurance non-escrowed. That put me into a rage. Again, I call out to Arizona and vent to the rep out there, who, once again, calls Ohio and sets this guy straight on what does and doesn’t need to be done with this loan.

April 20–Day of closing (again). I get a final HUD, and it has me paying no money at the closing. However it still shows my insurance as part of escrow. I send it back telling the Ohio processor to fix it and get me a new copy before the end of the day so I don’t waste any more time with another failed closing. I hear nothing until 4:37 PM, 23 minutes before the processing department goes home for the weekend, when the new HUD finally arrives. I’m fuming, because if anything was wrong, there was no way it would be corrected in time to close. I finally closed later that evening.

May 15–I received the refund check for the additional interest charged as a result of the Ohio processor’s screw-ups leading to the additional delay in closing.

 

I have to say, although it was much easier to to the refinance than it was to try with the modification, there were way too many bumps in the road for my liking. For something so straightforward and simple, there were a ton of mistakes and the guy processing the new loan sure showed a pretty high level of ineptitude.

I had to give a huge amount of thanks to my rep out of the Arizona office. Without him, I would have stopped the process after the first failed closing and gone elsewhere. He did an amazing job of putting out the fires caused by the guy in the Ohio office.

In fact I emailed the whole thing to the Arizona supervisor and talked to him on the phone about it, telling him how lucky he was to have the guy who was working with me in his department.

At the end of the day, I have to say that the HARP 2.0 program did do what it was supposed to do for someone in my position, who ended up getting screwed by others while continuing to hold up his end of the bargain.

 

Have any of you tried to do a refinance under the HARP2.0 program? Are you considering it? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments!

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  • http://www.moneybeagle.com/ Money Beagle

    I re-financed last year and went through similar issues.  I didn’t close until 7pm because I made them fix some stuff that they had promised to fix earlier in the week, but it did end up happening on the scheduled close date.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I was understanding about the time that was spent in underwriting, but the processor just seemed to fumble the ball every time it was handed to him.  One or two little things I could understand, but this guy seemed like a complete noob to the business.

  • YourFinancesSimplified

    Hmm.. Seems like you got the run around like I expected many people would get.  Fortunately for you, it worked out.  I expect many people will get fleeced or give up with such a cumbersome, mistake prone process.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      It was like a tale of 2 companies.  The department in Arizona was complete on top of everything and took care of everything that needed fixing.  The Ohio guy was simply inept at anything except for making excuses.  The funny thing was that this was a straight refi–just without any terms needing to be met.

  • http://marriedwithdebt.com/ John @MarriedWithDebt

    Wow, this sounds brutal. It’s almost like it’s intentionally designed this way to get you to give up. Glad you didn’t, because ultimately you prevailed.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      To be honest John, there was a point where I was ready to simply walk away and find another company to service the loan. It seemed to me like it was just a matter of an employee who possibly didn’t quite know what he was doing.

  • Marissa @Thirty Six Months

    Wow, thats horrible. I thought Canadian banks sucked.

  • John N.

    I am currently going through a similar process with a HARP 2.0 refinance through Chase. May I ask what you did to get Chase to agree to refund the additional interest you had to pay? I would like to make a similar request, because I’ve done everything I can possibly do on my end to expedite this process. After my file sat on the underwriter’s desk untouched for about a month, he or she is now challenging the appraisal as too high. I have never heard of such a thing before, but apparently the higher-than-expected appraisal would mean that I would end up with money in my pocket at closing. If I had it to do over again, I would try to refinance with another lender.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Hey John

      To be honest, I didn’t have to do anything to get the interest refunded. Since the failed closing, and therefore the additional time to incur interest, wasn’t my fault by any means I simply made it clear that they would be giving me back that money at their own expense.

      What you can do is contact the supervisor in the underwriting or even the sales department and explain to them that you made every effort to comply with their requests, and supply them with all the information necessary.

      It would also help if you had some sort of documentation of all communication. In my case, I did a lot via email and still have copies saved in case of anything going forward. Best of luck to you!

  • sw

    I hate Chase.  I started the process back in March and it’s still not done! In fact, today they told me, my credit report had expired so it’s going back to underwriting!!! They didn’t even explain what this meant but I assume I gotta start all over again??? I’m pretty ticked off…

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      When you reach 14 months, then let me know! That’s how much time I spent back in 2009-2010 trying to do a simple modification with Chase.  Every few months I would have to re-submit the documents as they were only good for 3 months at a time.  Combine that with the fact that every time I called to see what the status was, it would be in someone else’s hands.  Needless to say it was a pretty frustrating experience.  This was a total breeze in comparison!

  • Hollysimpson524

    My husband and I have been working towards this refinance with chase for over 90 days now and have not once spoken to a processor. They tell us time and time again that the loan is going in for its final underwriting and we should close by the end of next week. Well the end of next week has come and gone 3+ times now. I am fed up with this crap!
     

  • Whattheblip

    I actually suffered the same thing during the home loan modification program of Chase until they said that I didn’t qualify for the modification because I had not missed a payment and did not show hardship. I cannot refinance because like half the country, the value of my property has dropped severely. Then I was given the forms for the forbearance program and even though I was approved with new payment amounts told to me and everything, nothing changed. I am still paying a 5.8% on my 30 year mortgage and now I got a call saying that I qualify for the HARP program and that I need to do nothing but simply give some form of income. I don’t what to do. I hate Chase, honestly they have the worst customer service and they do everything in their power to not help. I can’t keep paying such high interest rate knowing everyone else is not, but I don’t know what options I have. Any clues to get my interest rate down?

    • JeffS

      When I went through the HARP program it was easy and the Chase reps I worked with in Arizona were fantastic.  Don’t hold a grudge against Chase if it’s going to cost you money.  I’m in the same position with owing more that the house is worth and not missing a payment, but from all the looking I did, HARP is the only thing that helped.

  • Rnrnibclc

    it would be great to get the phone number of the guy in Arizona that helped you!  

  • JeffS

    I refinanced through HARP with Chase about 8 months ago.  My rep was also in Arizona and was great.  There were a couple bumps in the road.  I’d been married since my original loan.  I told them they could include my wife’s name or not, to just do whatever was easiest.  Turns out they included her on some documents and not on others so that had to all be reworked.  But otherwise, it was all pretty pain-free and I didn’t really have any major hassles.  It saved my around $270 a month so it was well worth it.

  • Bcyoung

    I tried a Harp 2.0. I did all the paper work, my credit was run then I was told my LTV was to high and no lenders would touch it. So much for helping those that have not walked away.

    • richard

      there no longer is a LTV CAP THEY HAVE APPROVED PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY HAD ABOUT 200,000
      IN EQUITY LOOK UP THE LATEST GUDELINES FOR HARP 2.0 AND DONT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER DO YOUR RESEARCH THEN SLAP THEM IN THE FACE WITH IT CAUSE ITS THE LAW THEY HAVE TO OBIDE BUY THE PROGRAM…ITS ALSO ELECTION TIME SO THAT MAY PLAY A ROLL IN SO MANY DELAYS SINCE OBAMA STARTED THIS PROGRAM ROMNIE MAY END IT …ITS POSSIBLE

  • richard

    i am going through the exact same thing ,i was locked in at 3.78 the first rep. keeps screwing up the numbers its been 3 weeks and my loan processer hasnt even been able to send my paper work to underwriting they keep aploigizing from arizona,but a loan processer in california is helping me (so she says ) to get the ball rolling im about to give up

  • richard

    Is anyone familier with just wick from arizona (senior loan processor)

  • normajeane

    I started my HARP 2.0 loan going from 5.78% to 4% in April…it is now October and still no papers to sign.  I more than met all the requirements.  I also went through 3 ‘FINAL’ approvals…still no documents and closing.  Promise of closing this month is now starting to look like November….jeez..7 months for a Refi!.  I also had to pay for an appraisal when none is required.  Talk about stress…

    • jrsuperstar

      Try now rates are less than 4%

  • Mike929

     I called Chase and it was a no go.  I don’t have an account with Chase.  I was told i would need an account with 15000k in savings.  I was told this my David National Mortgage broker number 927715.  He said the best thing to do is contact a mortgage broker so they can find out what banks I can use…or at least what banks will accept me.

    I’m finding that the lenders on the knowingyouroptions site that say they work with the HARP 2.0 program do not. Unless your loan is already with them.  

  • Frustrated

    I am trying the Harp loan with Chase and still waiting. I applied August which we are moving into the 5th month. My credit is good and not payments missed. Last thing I heard was waiting for the title company and we will get a response in a week. That of course was a month ago. Now when I ask there is just no response what so ever. It is really sad that this was put in place to help people but the banks one more time is not letting go. Maybe that should have been the ploy with the bailout.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      That would certainly frustrate me to no end. I actually went through something similar when I tried to get a modification. You may want to call and speak to the department supervisor and see if there is something that is internal to Chase or if the title company is dragging its feet. It may just be one individual who is dropping the ball and getting someone else involved may solve everything. Good luck!

  • Shannon

    I am in the process of refinancing using the Harp 2.0 program. My loan servicing company is Greentree Services, and they contracted Quicken Loans to work with their customers that they believed qualified for the refinance. Quicken Loans contacted me and explained the process on December 11 2012. They have done all of the process to move the paperwork through quickly, and I will be closing on Monday, Jan 7 2013. Everything has been efficient, understandable, and fast. My interest rate will drop from 6.75% to 3.75%. Our LTV is in the tank, and does not even matter – there was no appraisal, credit scores did not matter, nor did income. We qualified by having made payments on time for the past 12 months, it was a Fannie Mae loan, we had never refinanced, and we did not have a 2nd mortgage, no bankruptcy, and our employment was verified. Easy process that will save us $600 a month on our mortgage payment, and $150,000 over the life of the loan. Use Quicken Loans – they know what they are doing…..

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Quicken Loans has a pretty good reputation, and they do have some really good rates. glad to hear you had a successful and satisfactory experience with this program!

  • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

    I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have any issues paying my mortgage to begin with, I just wanted to get my interest rate lowered. So in that regard, they certainly did good by me in accomplishing that.

    As for who is protecting the citizens…I say they should try opening their eyes and using their heads. Not everything should be handed to people on a silver platter. The banks shouldn’t have to call each borrower who has a loan with them and ask if they know whether the property is underwater or not. Chase makes this information pretty available if you take more than a second to look at its site. There is a link that clearly says “Help for Homeowners” in the resources section 2/3 of the way down the page. And, if you go through the logical progression of the product menus to the mortgage section, the link is there also–in the menu, you don’t have to do any clicking or digging.

    Yes, Chase makes you pay for an appraisal up front, but they also tell you that you will be credited for that fee upon closing, and if you don’t qualify it will be refunded. But you also have to take responsibility for yourself and actively seek out information otherwise you’ll always be behind.

  • theartistformerlyknownashandle

    Ok, I got the overnight fedex packet offer, and I initiated the Harp 2.0 process last year with Chase, and after I provided them with everything they needed, and was told it was off to the underwriters, I waited… and waited… and waited. Then I decide to call them and was informed the process was halted due to “lack of response” on my part. Apparently, they couldn’t send an email or leave a voice mail after they tried to call once (maybe) and I didn’t pick up (I assume). I ask for the supervisor, and I get the dude who I was dealing with all along. He says we have to start the whole process over now, and he will fedex me another offer. He never did.
    Flash forward ten months, my wife, whose name is on the original Chase mortgage right next to mine, gets an overnight fedex packet from Chase…. hmmmmmm…
    *strokes chin with evil grin on face*

  • Aeromeba

    They should have told you all of your options and it most certainly does not cost $400 to get this free information. From your writing, I suspect that English may not be your first language. These big banks are notorious for keeping information from minorities. It makes me sick.