Woman may lose home after bank says she's behind on mortgage

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman was about to lose her home to the bank and it wasn't even her fault.

So, she contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

This was a small glitch in the bank's system, but that glitch has caused this woman a lot of stress. She couldn't sleep at night. She was constantly crying and thinking about this problem -- a problem she didn't even cause.

"Keeping my home for my children has meant everything to me," Jennifer Rankin said.

Rankin loves her home, but now, due to no fault of her own, she may lose what she has worked so hard to keep.

"I've just tried to stand on my own," she said. "My home means that I've stood on my own."

Back in April 2007, Rankin says she ran into some financial trouble and knew she wouldn't be able to make April's mortgage payment.

So trying to be proactive, Rankin talked to her mortgage holder, Wells Fargo, to see what options she had and they found a plan, something called a forbearance plan.

"You have to fall behind a month to get on it," she said.

Here's how the plan was supposed to work. Rankin would be able to skip her $1,000 mortgage payment for April. In return, she could spread that missed payment over the next 12 months until she was caught up.

In other words, by skipping one month, her new monthly mortgage payment would be $1,100 until she was caught up.

"In skipping April 2007's payment, I was going to be repaying it over May of '07 'til May of '08," Rankin said.

The repayment plan was perfect, Rankin said, and she repaid everything.

Then, 12 months later, she received a disturbing phone call from Wells Fargo.

"They're telling me I owe September and that I have late fees accruing now and it's affecting my credit," she said.

According to Wells Fargo, not only was Rankin behind on a payment, but she now owed late fees and if she didn't pay up, she might lose her home.

So, Rankin contacted 3 on your side.

"I need help," she said. "I can't come up with another month's mortgage because they applied it incorrectly."

We contacted Wells Fargo, which apologized and immediately looked into Rankin's situation. The next day they realized that Rankin had repaid everything and was not behind at all.

Rankin says it's a relief, saying she's been trying to tell Wells Fargo she was current, but claims no one would ever listen until 3 On Your Side stepped in.

"I feel such relief right now, a lot less stress and no more nightmares!" Rankin said.

Wells Fargo fixed this problem in about one day after we brought it to their attention.

Like everything else, Wells Fargo is not a perfect institution, but I have to say they are very good at fixing problems when I get involved.