Commenter WIll Allen makes an interesting point:
Although this a weird one, given the homeowners never had a relationship with B of A, and it turned out well for the wronged party, it is a reminder of the pitfalls of having an ongoing business relationship with an entity which has much greater resources than yourself. If you don't have a high level of trust, and you don't need to have the relationship, you might wish to pursue other avenues of business, because an unethical gaping orifice with seemingly bottomelss legal capacity is an absolute nightmare to have in your life.
There was such a person who, now thankfully departed, who was a partner in many ventures with people I also did business with. Even after it became clear that any partnership with him came with a high likelihood of litigation that went on, and on, and on, people just couldn't turn down the chance at seemingly easy access to capital, by teaming up with a famously wealthy businessman. I began to suspect that this was part of the tycoon's business strategy; converting an interest in a good business to a controlling interest, or an outsized payoff, by waging litigation war upon overmatched opponents who had been conned into thinking they were partners.
You frequently hear Dave Ramsey urge his listeners not to deal with big banks--not because they're malicious, but because they step over their own feet. They're so big that everything is controlled by bureaucratic rules; finding someone who can make a decision, no matter how sensible, is almost impossible. Big institutions are like battleships. They have a lot of inertia. Which often enables them to roll over a lot of people who do business with them. Or, in the case of the previous post,
people who don't.
We got our mortgage through Navy Federal Credit Union even though their process was unbelievably convoluted and niggling (they almost refused to allow me to use cash we'd gotten for the wedding as part of the downpayment, and demanded an affidavit certifying not only that they were gifts, but also that they were not from parents or siblings). I believe they securitized the mortgage, but they're still the servicer, and unlike a normal bank, they're incredibly helpful.
On my previous car loan, I somehow screwed up the paperwork and the lien on the title wasn't properly recorded; I didn't get notice because I'd moved, and they simply converted it to a personal loan with a higher interest rate, which (since I automatically sent a check from a different bank), I underpaid for months. They didn't put the underpayment on my credit report or turn it over to collections; they just called me. I ran in with funds. They even waived the late fees and penalties, and then walked me through the process of registering the lien properly. Our mortgage-paying experience has been similarly stress free.
I could have gotten a cheaper rate by shopping mortgage brokers. But it's worth $15 a month to deal with a bank which thinks it has a mission to help you. I differ with many of my readers about what should (or can) be done to big banks. But that doesn't mean I trust them. There are advantages to a big bank in scale and reach. But there are also disadvantages. I'll deposit funds at Citibank, because freelance and speaking fees mean that I deposit checks frequently enough for branch availability to matter. But as a borrower, I prefer to deal with institutions on a slightly more human scale.
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is a columnist at Bloomberg View
and a former senior editor at The Atlantic.
Her new book is The Up Side of Down