LAYTON -- One Utah man is taking on the nation's second largest bank after he says the company held $472,500 of his money for months without applying it to his home mortgage loan.
In December 2009, David Longfellow walked into a Layton Chase Bank branch to pay off the mortgage Chase Home Finance held on a home he had built. Longfellow handed the teller a cashier's check for $472,500 to apply to his loan.
Knowing he may be a thousand dollars or so short on the loan, he contacted Chase via telephone to obtain the remaining balance. He said the customer service representative said something that startled him.
"They're asking me when I'm supposed to make my payment. I said, ‘I've already made my payment. You don't have a record of that?' She says, ‘We have a record of a payment of $472,500. But it's in suspension.' "
Longfellow said he asked the representative to apply the money to his loan, who he says refused.
"I went back and forth. I was on the phone for well over an hour trying to talk sense into this person. I asked for a supervisor and I could get nowhere," Longfellow said. "They would not apply the money. They had it in a suspended account somewhere off in wherever?"
It's just wrong that they can do that to somebody. It's just wrong that a big company can just push people around. They had my payment. They were not applying it. They were harassing me and my wife.
Longfellow said he kept calling Chase, trying to get the issue resolved. He said he even went back to the Layton bank branch to speak with the manager there, who also tried to resolve the issue.
"It was the most frustrating thing I've ever had to deal with," he said.
As weeks turned into months, Longfellow said he began getting phone calls from the debt collection division of Chase. "It would be one right after another. I would talk to them on the home number and hang up the phone. Two minutes later, they'd call my business number. Then an hour later, they'd start all over again," he said. Frustrated, Longfellow said he asked the customer service representatives repeatedly to return the money.
"I told them if you're not going to apply it to the loan then send it back to me. They said, ‘Well, we can't do that.' Why not? And they'd never tell me!" Longfellow said.
In the meantime, his construction business began faltering. Longfellow admits that the economy was part of the problem, but he also blames Chase Bank for negative reporting to the credit bureaus, which made it difficult for him to obtain credit for his business projects.
"It's just wrong that they can do that to somebody. It's just wrong that a big company can just push people around," he said. "They had my payment. They were not applying it. They were harassing me and my wife."
Finally in March 2010, Longfellow received a letter from Chase stating the company applied the suspended funds to his account.
"It should have been such a simple process," Longfellow said. But, his dispute with the bank wasn't over.
Longfellow received numerous letters from Chase Home Finance notifying him that he needed to pay the remaining amount of his loan.
"Numbers that they would just pull out of the air," Longfellow said of the amounts on the statements. "It was, ‘I'll try this number and see if it works.' Nothing makes sense. It showed no reconciliation of where the money was or where the interest they had applied, taken off, deducted or moved or anything they did."
Longfellow has since hired an attorney and has filed a multi-million lawsuit against the bank.
A Chase spokesperson told KSL that the company has offered to erase any remaining balance on Longfellow's loan. Also, the spokesperson said the company is working to repair any negative credit reports that were filed against Longfellow.
Chase has since opened a Homeownership Center where its clients can have their problems or concerns resolved in person. It is located at 5664 South 900 East in Murray. To make an appointment, call 801-263-0708.