Utah Mortgage Firm Comes Under Fire

Utah Mortgage Firm Comes Under Fire


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John Daley reporting A Utah company that services home mortgages continues to come under a barrage of complaints from customers around the country who say they feel like they are in a nightmare, and can't wake up.

Now more customers are coming forward, claiming Fairbanks Capital -- based in South Salt Lake -- has wrongly placed them in financial jeopardy, and won't do anything about it.

Fairbanks Capital is one of the largest mortgage-servicing companies in the country. It's basically a collection agency, which deals with mortgage payments, for people who can't qualify for standard loans. But the company has increasingly been under fire.

One Maryland TV station aired a series of stories about customers saying they felt victimized by Fairbanks. Customers complain Fairbanks failed to pay homeowner's tax and insurance they had paid for in an escrow account. They sent in payments on time, only to have the company call them late, or they were threatened with foreclosure.

After KSL-TV first aired a story about Fairbanks, more than half a dozen Utah customers called with similar hassles.

Brian Salinas, a construction worker, has meticulously compiled a 3-inch thick notebook of his dealings with Fairbanks. He says he was wrongly assessed a number of fees, and that Fairbanks blocked him from refinancing with another company. He says his problems started the first day.

Brian Salinas Fairbanks Customer "THE VERY FIRST DAY WHEN FAIRBANKS GOT OUR LOAN WE'RE ASSESSED A TWO-HUNDRED FORTY THREE DOLLAR LATE FEE AND OUR LOAN WAS CURRENT."

Theresa Ellis-Anglesey, a musician, says she made her first payment on time, and the company issued a late fee, starting a series of escalating penalties she says were completely unjustified.

Theresa Ellis-Anglesey Fairbanks Customer "AND ONCE IT ESCALATES LIKE THAT, IT'S JUST IMPOSSIBLE TO TRY TO RECOVER AND ONCE YOU START TUMBLING, FINANCIALLY AND YOU'RE SELF-EMPLOYED, IT'S A NIGHTMARE, IT'S A NIGHTMARE."

Like Salinas, Ellis-Anglesey contends Fairbanks forced her into foreclosure.

Theresa Ellis-Anglesey Fairbanks Customer "IT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A VICTIM, BECAUSE IT'S LIKE THESE DAYS WHEN YOU GO AND YOU PAY FOR SOMETHING AT THE STORE YOU WALK OUT WITH THE PRODUCT. AND WHEN YOU GO TO THIS COMPANY AND YOU TRY TO MAKE A PAYMENT AND THEY SAY YOU HAVEN'T, IT'S AN ANGERING THING THAT YOU CAN'T JUST EVEN PROVE IT TO THEM BECAUSE THEY WON'T LISTEN TO YOU."

It's the same story for Sheryl Scott, a relatively new customer.

Sheryl Scott Fairbanks Customer "WHAT I FEEL LIKE THEY'RE TRYING TO DO IS THEY'RE TRYING TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE YOU'RE LATE WHEN YOU'RE ACTUALLY EARLY. AND MY PAYMENTS ARE ALL CAUGHT UP BUT THEY'RE NOT POSTING THEM LIKE THEY SHOULD."

A common theme, when these customers went to the company with their problems, they say they got nowhere, and that is putting them in some serious finanacial trouble.

Brian Salinas Fairbanks Customer "WE HAVE A LOT OF EQUITY IN OUR HOME AND I DON'T WANT TO LOSE IT. I'M GONNA FIGHT IT. WE'RE GONNA DO WHATEVER I CAN TO SAVE MY HOME

A company spokesperson declined to comment on camera, but she emailed us this lengthy statement, saying that regarding the Utah customers we spoke with--Fairbanks "strongly disagrees with the accuracy of many contentions these borrowers raised while noting that some issues that have been raised by the borrowers generally need to be and are being addressed."

She says Fairbanks has implemented new reforms and has new leadership in place, and has a new website to respond to complaints at ombudsman@fairbankscapital.com.

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