Stay away from Citizens Bank

Disclaimer: If this writing gets a little confusing at times, please forgive me. You'll see why in a few minutes.

My family has been living in our home since 2004. We have been paying our mortgage through Citizens Bank since around 2006 or so. Up until this year, we never paid much attention to our was life as usual. Back in late March we decided to try to take advantage of the lower mortgage rates and refinance our house. We weren't asking for extra money, just what we owe so we can pay a little less per month and try to any family would like to do.

First contact with a Citizens Bank representative was on April 3rd. It is now September and I'm sitting here writing this blog. Why? Because Citizens Bank has some serious communication problems going on for starters. We had locked in a rate about almost 2 points lower than our current rate to save us a small amount of money per month. We were happy with that. We weren't going to break the bank but it would definitely help our situation. From April 3rd, we still do not have this resolved. There have been numerous delays, mainly on Citizens Bank's part (but they're doing everything to not admit that).

I just have never seen or experienced anything like this in my 42 years on this planet (yeah I'm old). For something that should have been SO SIMPLE, this just keeps dragging on at the time of this writing. From asking our accountants for the SAME FORM 4 times (and being sent those requested forms 4 TIMES), to our 2nd bank denying their initial request to subordinate (because terms weren't made clear to them), to telling me that they have everything they need now and this would be pushed through, then 3 days later requesting more info that they already received (see accountants), then finally saying "we are all set, we have everything we need" only to have someone else call us later in the week to tell us that the deadline passed on our locked in rate and would we like to "start the process over", I'm getting angry just typing this.

About a month ago I requested a manager's contact info, received it, called and left a voicemail and still have not received a call back. It took me going on Citizens Bank's Facebook page to complain that someone from the office of the chairman finally called me. That's where we are right now...sitting and waiting, like we've been doing since April 3rd.

Update: 8/27/13

I've been talking to a woman from the office of the chairman at Citizens Bank for over a week now and there has been no progress made. Basically this is what happens...
She calls me and I tell her my timeline of events and what actually happened. I have dated emails and dates from my 2nd bank and my accountants on their correspondance with Citizens. She takes that and relays it to the loans/processing departments (or as I like to call them "the lack of communication" departments). I will then get a call back from her in a day or 2 telling me what they told her from their timeline. Obviously most of it doesn't match up with what I have. This just keeps going over and over like a broken record. Finally today, she mentioned that she was going to get her manager involved so we will see what happens next.

Here's a quick breakdown: we started on April 3rd, 2013. On July 23rd, our application was apparently closed because our 2nd bank declined the subordination. However, we were away on vacation (which we told them) and did not receive notice of this. When we returned on July 25/26, we contacted them to see what the status was. We weren't told of the rejection or closure. Instead, on August 9th, I spoke with a woman in processing who told me about the rejection. I called the 2nd bank, got it straightened out and got the approval. I was then told that it looked like the application was withdrawn on August 2nd but it hadn't processed yet and we were good and moving forward. If anything, it would need to be a new application but all the info that Citizens needed was there and they would just copy everything over. NOT ONCE DID SHE TELL ME THAT OUR LOCKED IN RATE WOULD CHANGE. So obviously thinking that we would still save the same amount, if we had to redo the application, that was ok as long as it got done. All we lost was a little time (months).

Fast forward to August 16th, I receive a call from the gentleman who started the whole process with us back in April. He tells me that the subordination was approved (which I had known a week earlier) but unfortunately the application had already withdrawn (on August 2nd?) and now the rate was different. It went up almost 2 points since April. Are you getting angry reading this? Think about how I feel and multiply that by infinity. I had it out on the phone with this guy and he became more smug and arrogant as the conversation got heated. He finally left it at "let us know if you want to redo it at the new rate." Another thing that really has me livid with this guy is him telling me that he's called and left numerous messages with us, both on cell and home, and we never get back to him. First of all, we have iPhones. Know what that means? I can go back into call logs and also message logs to see all calls and messages. Guess what? No messages from anyone at Citizens Bank! I also work from home so I know for a fact that he didn't leave messages there either. Want to know how I know this? Because on August 16th when I finally spoke to him, I only picked up the phone because he started leaving a voicemail. When I don't recognize a phone number on caller ID, I don't answer because it's usually a telemarketer. I always figure that if it is someone or something important, they will leave a message. Now...the number he called from when he finally left a message had called the previous week 2 times but I didn't answer and he didn't bother to leave any messages either. But it's my fault for not getting back to an imaginary message? As a business, if you really need to hear back from a client/customer, shouldn't you keep trying if you don't? If he had done that, we may have eventually picked up a call from this unknown number at some point because of the aggravation.

Does any of this make any sense to anyone that doesn't work for Citizens Bank? Are they that clueless and arrogant that they feel they can treat their customers this way? Customers that have been paying a mortgage to them since around 2006 without ever missing a payment? Everyone I have told about this cannot believe what we are going through and my goal now is to make as many people aware of what Citizens is capable of as I can. There's a reason so many people deal with credit unions nowadays. I'm providing exhibit A for you in this blog.

Update: 8/28/13

This morning I learned that my 2nd bank didn't receive the subordination papers from Citizens Bank until July 15th...more than 4 months after we started the process!! To make matters worse, it was only a week before our locked in rate would expire. I'm starting to see what is happening here. Citizens likely wanted this to fail, what other reason could there be? Why wait until a week before the expiration to send this important make it or break it document when if one thing goes wrong (and it did), the chance of recovery is slim at best?

I also was asked to forward all email correspondance between us and the Citizens Bank loan department to the office of the chairman. After sifting through the emails I re-confirmed what I knew all along. The people working there don't communicate, have a penchant for losing or "not receiving" info and are very disorganized.

I also learned that the person we had been dealing with along the way took a vacation when our accountants first sent over the requested forms from earlier in this writing. The girl who took her place, couldn't find them. The original girl comes back from vacation and guess what? Can't find them either! Our accountants keep track of this stuff...that's what they do with financial documents. It even says it in their title...they ACCOUNT for things!

Update: 8/30/13

Received a call from the office of the chairman with what seems to be a little progress. All of the emails I sent over the other day were forwarded to the Loan department manager. After going through everything, this person said it seems like there was some "misunderstanding". Understatement! Right now, as far as I know, the Loan manager is taking the case to a higher level person (how many are there??) to find out about honoring the original agreement we had back in April.

Update: 9/5/13

Well, it looks like Citizens Bank is denying any blame in this mess and denying us the original rate/terms of the agreement. They are blaming the denied subordination from our 2nd bank (even though it took them 4 months to send that paperwork). Loyalty doesn't go very far with this company but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The option I was  given was to reapply at the current rate, which happens to be about 1.2 points higher than what we thought we were getting. I'm still waiting to hear back as to whether or not they are going to want another $450 for the new application. If they do, then you know what they can kiss?

Update: 9/12/13

At this point, I've contacted the Attorney General's office about the situation and they've led me to a government consumer finance website where I've sent in my complaint. I know the complaint was then sent to Citizens so we will see if anything happens from that. I also called the office of the chairman on monday, September 9th because I hadn't heard anything else. At this point, we want to know if Citizens Bank is going to require we pay ANOTHER $450 to re-apply. I also want it known that we DO NOT want to deal with the same people/agents that we've dealt with through this whole debacle if we decided to re-apply. I was told there was no news yet but they were "meeting" about it that day. Tuesday goes by with no news or phone call. Finally on wednesday the 11th, I call again and am told no news yet but the woman that might have news is going away tomorrow (thursday) so I should hear something later in the day. Guess what? It's the end of thursday the 12th now and no phone call with an update again. This company, Citizens Bank, just keeps proving my point over and over and over again. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS.

Update: 9/13/13

Friday the 13th. I heard back from Citizens. They have agreed to refund me the $450 non-refundable application fee. I guess I'm happy about that but it also tells me they don't want us to re-apply and most certainly not offering us the original terms they screwed up on. This seems to be the easy way out for them. At this point, I'll be watching for the refund but also waiting to hear back from the consumer finance filing.

Update: 9/23/13
I heard back from the consumer finance company today in regards to Citizens Bank. Citizens responded by basically saying "thank you for contacting us. We will look into the matter and respond in 60 days." So I guess almost 6 months isn't enough time to drag us around they need another 60 days. Totally makes sense knowing what I know about this company now. Am I giving up? What do you think?

Update: 10/16/13

So it was much less than 60 days but I received the answer I figured I would receive. Citizens basically said they take these matters seriously, blah, blah, blah and they will have someone from the "OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN" contact me. No, I'm not kidding. The same person I had been speaking to for, oh, 2 months even signed the reply. It's really hysterical at this point. The best part is I receive a letter in the mail from Citizens stating the timeline we just went over for months and if I would like to refinance at the current rate (even though it's much higher now), I should feel free to contact them. I've never seen a bigger joke of a "reputable" company than Citizens Bank. I'm glad I made someone have to take time out of their work day to respond to this. It's like a small victory for me but not what I think is deserved on this end. My goal now is to post this blog to as many websites as possible to help warn others what a mess this bank really is.

Stay tuned....