Wells Fargo: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Wells Fargo Streamline Mortgage?

When I first started researching my recent refinance, the first thing I did was call my existing mortgage holder, Wells Fargo, to ask about the “streamline” refinance option they mention on their website. I was told on the phone (by a guy who seemed awfully annoyed to be fielding my questions) that the streamline loan wasn’t possible for me because I had an FHA loan, and I was interested in converting to a conventional loan. Despite having the equity to fulfill the 80% LTV requirement of a conventional loan, I was immediately shut down. Instead, I received a halfhearted sales pitch offering me a traditional refinance with all of the usual paperwork requirements, appraisal, & closing costs of $4,000+.

I happily gave up on the idea of an easy refinance through Wells Fargo Mortgage, and instead pursued one of the cheap and easy loans I found at Box Home Loans. I have no idea if there is a hard and fast rule that says it’s impossible to do an easy “document light” refinance on an FHA loan, but in my opinion Wells Fargo missed a good opportunity to retain an existing customer, and they “lost” me by quoting me ridiculous traditional refinance terms & fees. Their immediate denial of requests like mine seem to be a symptom of a bigger problem: the home mortgage industry in the U.S. still sucks, and probably always will. As a customer without much knowledge on how it all works, it generally seems like a confusing, annoying, bureaucratic  and sleazy industry, and I hate playing their games (even if I am good at it).

The hilarious storybook ending to my refinance story is the phone call I received this week informing me that the company who purchased my new loan on the secondary loan market was *drum roll*… Wells Fargo! Derrrrr. This backwards winding path leading to the same company I started with illustrates my point perfectly – instead of helping prevent the waste of time, money, and resources that were pored into my new loan by working with me on a “streamline” deal, Wells Fargo would rather spend the resources and money to close my old loan, and then re-buy my business from a broker who is more savvy than they are in (probably) every way. I wish good luck to them in the future adapting to the new world that they don’t realize they’re living in, but I predict they’ll have some major growing pains in the near future – they certainly haven’t won my business back by choice.

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