Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Northwestern Bank: Lending Institution or Loan Shark

When the Federal government was bailing out the banks, Northwestern sent out a letter, bragging that they didn’t need to be bailed out. Eventually, I was to learn that Northwestern Bank intended to bypass the government by imposing fees and penalties directly on their customers.

Fall of 2009, I had been out of work for over two years, but was still able to keep up with my mortgage payments Northwestern Bank until my unemployment ran out and fell behind. October 10 I started a part time job. At that time, I made arrangements with Northwestern bank to pay every two weeks until I caught up. At first, their representative tried to force a payment schedule that was impossible to keep. Eventually she agrees to the bi-weekly plan. I would be paying at least an extra 50.00 a month with an extra payment when three pay periods fell within one month.

The situation was made worse when the bank started charging me over draft fees for a check that I did not write and refused to cover. They were charging fees on fees. The overdraft balance, I only mention it because the bank representative verbally stated they were going to add them into my mortgage.

The banks representative continually changed her story on the loan late fees. It went from no late fees to partial to the full amount.

At the end of July, I called to check the status of my load. I was told that I as still two months behind. After 8 months of paying an extra 50.00 plus extra payments in April I was no closer to being caught up.

In August and September, I dropped my payment back down to 200.00. I was angry and frustrated. In October, I missed a payment. I was ill and missed a full week of work. On approximately October 7, a representative from the bank appeared at my door unannounced and uninvited to take pictures of my house for foreclosure. I ordered him off my property and called the bank. I was told that the Northwestern was going to foreclose. I was again 2 ½ months behind. Their new representative refused to tell me where the extra money I had been sending had gone. I asked for a written accounting of my payments. He agreed to send it the next day. It never arrived. Instead, I received a letter demanding immediate payment of 1,427.08. This amount is equal to seven house payments.

I had been paying by money order. When I was organizing the money order receipts, I realized the one receipt the bank sent was short. At the time I receive it, I hadn’t looked at it. It was a mistake on my part. I should have paid closer attention.

My last payment was returned. In spite of my efforts to meet my obligation, Northwestern Bank has decided to go forward with the foreclosure. I have filed a complaint with the State and have contacted a financial councilor. In addition, I have once again asked for an accounting of my payments. I was told it would be forthcoming.

The question must be asked--how many people have they done this too. Is Northwestern Bank really a lending institution or are they a loan shark.

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