Go Ahead, Get Mad: A Story of a Girl, a Bank and the Federal Government

After four years of being a good girl and working through the proper channels, I got really mad last week. And now, the problem that has dogged me for the last four years was magically resolved.

You see, in 2009, I entered into a modified mortgage agreement with Citi Mortgage following my divorce that left me with a very, very large mortgage to pay on my own. At the time, I was very concerned as a single woman and small business owner about my credit report as I knew that a bad report would cost me thousands of dollars a year in additional interest and difficulty in getting required credit both personally and professionally. And it did.

Despite repeated promises that my entering into this agreement under the brand new Home Affordable Mortgage (HAM) Program would NOT create any black marks on my credit report, they did not keep their promises. Since 2009, Citi Mortgage has reported me as “delinquent” for several months while I was under the HAM Program. I sold the house as soon as I could and my daughter and I moved in with a girlfriend (along with our Golden Retriever, 2 cats and hundreds of boxes … bless her soul for taking us in).

This issue has come up when I needed additional credit in my business, when I needed to reestablish credit in my name, and when I applied to rent apartments and start my life over. It has resulted in very high interest rates and, in at least one case, being denied a place to live.

I have been a good girl and have been diligently working through the proper channels. I have complained about the report to each and every credit reporting agency. Several times. Each time they would report that “Citi had reviewed my case and found no errors”. I sent letter and followed up with phone calls directly to Citi. Same response.

So when I pulled my Experian credit report two weeks ago and it was still there, I kinda snapped.

cfpb logoMy wonderful new husband suggested that I report Citi to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I filled out their very simple forms (it took about five minutes once I got the right browser working) and basically told them the story above.

CFPB asked what I wanted as a resolution, and my response was simple: “I want Citi to make good on their promises and remove the black mark from my credit reports since I made every payment on time as we agreed to under the HAM Program.”

Today, just a little over a week after I submitted my very simple story to the feds, I received a phone call from a very nice gentleman from “The Office of the President of Citi Mortgage” informing me that my case had been reviewed and that Citi has now requested that the delinquencies be removed from all credit reports. (Wow! Really?!) He agreed that I had indeed made every payment according to terms and that I was never “delinquent” in my payments. He told me to keep his number and call him if I had any other questions or problems.

While I am thrilled to finally have this erroneous information removed from my credit report, I am disappointed that I had to invoke federal protection in order to solve this very simple case with Citi. At a time when some are calling for less oversight, I can tell you as a woman and a small business owner, we desperately need oversight and regulation.

And to all the women out there fighting financial battles, I urge you to check out the CFPB website to get the feds on your side when dealing with banks that more often than not, treat women poorly, whether they are or not!

It is my hope that this post will help other women to get their cases resolved much more quickly than mine was. Don’t bother going through the credit reporting agencies. Invoke the feds, and use their power to get your case resolved quickly. Don’t be a good girl in this situation – it’ll cost you a lot ….


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