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545 customers go into foreclosure after “calculation error”
Hundreds of people seeking loan adjustments lost their homes due to a computer glitch at Wells Fargo, CBS News reports.
The bank admitted in a filing last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that requests from 870 customers for loan modifications were incorrectly denied. Among those declined, roughly 60 percent, or 545 customers, went into foreclosure as a result.
Wells Fargo says the issue, caused by a “calculation error,” was prevalent for more than eight years.
Speaking with CBS News, New York resident Jose Aguilar, one of the hundreds affected by the glitch, detailed how the incident ultimately led to both the loss of his home as well as the break up of his family.
After falling several months behind on his mortgage while attempting to a fix a mold problem at his residence, Aguilar says he and his ex-wife asked their lender to modify their loan in order to lower their monthly payment.
“At first they told me, ‘OK, you know, you might be able to qualify for a loan modification,'” Aguilar said.
The couple eventually fell a year behind on payments after the wait for a loan modification stretched out from weeks to months.
“Then the whole process just started all over again,” Aguilar said. “And then it got to the point we were a year behind.”
When Wells Fargo finally responded to Aguilar, he was incorrectly told that he was ineligible.
Aguilar says his home went into foreclosure, damaging his credit to the point where he was unable to find a place to rent.
After he and his wife separated, Aguilar found himself living in a friend’s basement for the next three months.
“We had a couch and my son had a bed,” Aguilar said. “I felt worthless. I felt like I had let my family down.”
Aguilar says he then received a letter from Wells Fargo last September, almost three years after he lost his home, informing him that a “faulty calculation” was to blame for the loan modification denial.
“It’s just like, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding me?'” Aguilar said. “Like they destroyed my kids’ life and my life, and now you want me to – ‘We’re sorry?'”
Wells Fargo attempted to remedy the issue by giving Aguilar a check for $25,000. But Aguilar’s lawyer, Marc Dann, argues the amount doesn’t even begin to cover the costs.
Dann is now seeking to learn how the bank came up with that amount. Numerous non-profit groups and legislators, CBS News adds, are also seeking answers on what exactly went wrong.
“I want Wells Fargo to know that there’s people out there with feelings and families that try hard to pay their bills and survive,” Aguilar said. “We’re real people, we’re not just money.”
H/T CBS News
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.