Petty Revenge: Mortgage payoff

Posted: Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 11:35PM

Like any good story involving banks or another service, this one starts with some added fees which were not explained well at the time. Which is where this one starts.

The Backstory

I got one of my mortgage statements in the mail. While combing through it I realized that my balance went up instead of it going down. And this is despite me paying extra towards the principle.

So I decided to look more into it and also I resolved to pay it off with my entire, at the time, life savings.

I paid a visit to Community Bank, N.A.’s local to me branch, who then advised me to call their line (as they didn’t have any ‘mortgage bankers’ at the branch) to speak with the mortgage services department.

Well, that went swimmingly. She remarked that they were extra fees for me being “high-risk” (I never missed a payment since I’ve had the mortgage) as well as “extra administrative fees.”

When I threatened to just pay the entire balance off, she LAUGHED and said “…like you have the money.” When I hung up I started immediately liquidating what I could to pay it off. Within a few days I had what I needed.

I was barely able to squeeze together what was needed, but I did it. January 31st was my last payment on the mortgage and I had just received all of the paperwork required to release the lien from my deed. I’m a free man now, well, other than insurance and taxes.

It was actually the escrow

Paying it off on got me thinking, maybe I should take a closer look at my escrow statements (I noticed I didn’t have to pay the entire principle balance to pay it off as the escrow balance applied to it). I sifted through the escrow statements (stated on different statements than my primary mortgage), and saw an interesting pattern.

The tax payouts from the escrow account was actually in the months between taxes being due. So instead of in January, July, or September, they were being paid out in March, April, and December. And also a second gander at the escrow statements, showed that the late fee on the taxes wasn’t being suggested as a higher payment, but instead, was being tacked onto the back of the principle.

And property taxes pretty much double if you’re two months behind on them. Made so much sense to me after realizing that they were doing that.

My moving away from said bank

After dealing with this, I also resolved to move as much as possible out of Community Bank, N.A. so they can’t make their money off of my account balances either. At least not as much as my entire, albeit rebuilding, life savings.

In the near future I’ll probably still use my accounts there for cash deposits, but eventually I may move that to a local credit union. For now I’m only keeping the bare minimum needed to keep them from arbitrarily closing my accounts.

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