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Persistence is the Key to Everything Money

As I declared here recently, my husband and I have made the new goal to pay off our home by the end of 2013.  What I didn’t say is that my personal goal is to really kill off the mortgage by the end of 2012 (we bought our house in 2007).  No matter what, paying it off early for us means making extra payments towards principal.

The First Problem

Making a principal payment should be pretty simple, right?  Nope.  At least not with Chase.  They made the monthly payment incredibly easy – that $900 payment is taken care of automatically without fail with $515 going towards our regular payment and $385 going towards the principal of the loan.  BUT, I have to babysit any other principal payments or they screw it all up!

I mentioned the first fiasco before…I tried to make an additional principal payment of $900 after we refinanced since they skipped a month while the new mortgage was being set up so we decided to pay it anyway, but all towards principal.  Well, that didn’t happen.  They took the extra $900 as an early payment instead.  I called twice about it, but it wasn’t corrected, and I finally just blew it off and waited for our automatic payments to catch up.  We invested the extra $900 instead using the best way to invest money short term that we know of using a micro investing app that has great reviews.

My Most Recent Experience

Well, if I am serious about our new pay off goal, I knew I’d be making additional principal payments and couldn’t blow it off.  So I drove to a Chase bank, asked how to make a pure principal payment, withdrew $7000 as they requested, and applied it as an extra principal payment.  But when I checked the balance when I got home, the $7000 was withdrawn from our checking account, but there was no credit to our mortgage account.  So I called and was told not to worry, the extra payment would take 2-3 days to show up, but it would be applied as of the day I did it.

Okay, so I wait 3 business days, login to my account online again, and see that the $7000 payment is indeed there but it hasn’t been applied to anything!  It’s just sitting there like $7000 in cash on the sidelines!  So I call again, explain the problem, and am told that the rep is submitting a work order to have the payment applied to principal as I originally requested and it would be applied retroactively as well.

I logged in 2 days later and woot – the payment has finally been applied and it is dated correctly!  Yay!

Why I am Still Annoyed

Great, my payment is finally right.  But why did I have to babysit it to make sure?  Why bother driving to the bank if they can’t do something like this correctly the first time?  I would have done it online, but they said that would mess up the automatic payment thing we already are participating in.  Grrrr…  I am worried that I will be babysitting every extra payment I plan to make each month, but at least it is pushing me harder than ever to get this house paid off!

But the key part to this post is – be persistent when it comes to your money.  Be stubborn.  Be politely aggressive.  Because no one cares about your finances more than you do.  It’s a lesson I’ve learned a hundred times, but it is worth repeating. My next battle will be reducing dental insurance cost for my hubby’s teeth issues. I blew off expensive coverage before and was never happy about it.  Not again.

Have you ever had to really dig in money-wise for any reason?  Ever babysit a payment or something similar?

20 thoughts on “Persistence is the Key to Everything Money”

  1. 20's Finances

    That is simply ridiculous. I have heard other stories like this before. When I apply for a loan, I am going to ask about their process for taking extra money that goes towards the principle. I don’t want any of this nonsense. Surely there must be someone who takes the extra payment without the extra steps, right?

  2. MoneyforCollegePro

    My main problem has been with our escrow payments for our homeowner’s insurance and taxes. Our mortgage was sold last year 3 times, and in the interim, our escrow tax and insurance payments got all screwed up. It was absolutely pulling teeth to make sure they got paid and the taxes were still delinquent. I was able to get the lender to eat the late fee thankfully, but it was a huge mess!

  3. Denise @ The Single Saver

    I have a similar goal as you to have my house paid off y the end of 2012 or 2013 at the latest (I built in 2008, so we really are on similar paths). I can understand your frustration. My mortgage is with Third Federal and I have to say they are excellent and have an excellent online banking site that lets me make principal payments. And they actually do it RIGHT! I never appreciated this about them until I read of your experiences with Chase.

  4. Money Beagle

    I just re-financed with the same lender as our original mortgage. For the most part it was pretty easy. There was one thing that annoyed me. The lending agent told me that it would probably be a good idea to cancel the auto-pay on the old loan once the closing date was set. I did so, and then that afternoon I received something in the mail stating that my auto-pay options would transfer automatically to my new loan. Since I’d already cancelled it I had to go through the whole rigamaroll to set it up again once the new loan was in place. Not a big deal but definitely was aggravating!

  5. I was excited to read the post and see what stategy you were using and then I read that awful word “Chase” They took over my mortgage during the hostile takeover of Washington Mutual. This is a recap of my experience summarized in a recent blog post.

    “I was vividly reminded of this about 2 years ago when I forgot to make a $15 line of credit payment. I received a notice from Chase that my home was now in default on my mortgage! It took me hours of canned music and false starts to even find what the problem was and when I found the mistake I immediately paid the line of credit payment with the late fees. But guess what? That was not enough. Chase had reported to the credit bureaus that my actual mortgage payment was late and my credit score was dropped by more than 100 points with a red flag on my mortgage even though my mortgage payment was on auto-deduction and therefore NEVER late. I spent at least 60 hours making phone calls and writing letters and even contacted an attorney. I was told that the way Chase reported it would stand even though I could clearly show two separate account numbers. C’est l’vie. Am I still angry? Not so much, but it did open my eyes and I started looking around and asking the logical question “What in the world is going on here?” And then I got furious!”

    yes, I totally support your efforts to pay off your mortgage not only because it is a good thing to do but because it is unnerving to have this institution have it’s hooks in our homes even for $15. I too look forward to the day when the mortgage balance has been paid.

  6. krantcents

    I increased my payment with Wells Fargo’s help to pay off my loan early. I even set it up as an automatic payment on the 1st. They credit my account properly. Banks, particularly in this economy are more worried about foreclosures.

  7. ODWO

    Their incentive to do it right, to help you pay off your mortgage early, and keep YOU from paying additional interest is ….. well, there is no incentive for them. They would be losing money. (Ooooh damn!) 🙂

    I used to be with Chase …. back when it was Texas Commerce Bank (I liked them), and the progression up to Chase.

    I don’t think your bank is worried about foreclosure … just losing that easy, steady-as-clockwork, interest bearing, income stream. Every day the balance is sitting there, is more $$$$’s in their pocket. Every single day! Hopefully you will not have to baby sit this. But, making that monthly trip to the bank might be worth it considering your end-game is shortly around the corner … months away, not years … if you can’t get it right with them.

    Sent you an email about this weekend too.

  8. Another tip I have heard for those with a long way to go is to have what some banks refer to as the accelerated plan that makes payments every two weeks instead of monthly. Surprisingly, this alone will cut 7 years off a 30 year mortgage.

  9. Crystal

    Wow, if you substitute “ACS” with “Chase”, this is nearly identical to my recent experience trying to pay extra principal on my student loan. I was on the auto-pay plan, but every time I would make an extra payment, they would pay it ahead on the loan instead of apply it to principal. I have had to call them every month for the last 5 months that this has happened, and every time the person I talk to insists that this time “they have it correct”. Nonsense. Finally I decided to take the $10k out of my savings account and use it to pay off the balance of the student loan and be done with it. What a relief!

  10. Crystal @ BFS

    @20s Finances, I asked about the process too and they did not mention this extra step, so good luck!

    @MoneyforCollegePro, I heard horror stories about escrow payments, so we didn’t escrow. Sorry you were given such a headache!

    @Denise, yay for a good bank!

    @Money Beagle, that would have annoyed me too. We had our mortgage through Washington Mutual and were enveloped by Chase. Then they offered a no cost refi to get us to stay I guess, and we took the bait.

    @Carol, we were happy Washington Mutual customers first too! Holy crap – you should be writing a vent post way more than me!

    @krantcents, Chase seems to be worried about keeping as much of my interest payments as possible…

    @ODWO, yeah, the fact that I only have to put up with this for a max of another year helps…

    @Carol again, I’ve heard that kicks butt too! Chase sent us paperwork for that if we wanted but they would charge us for the benefit, lol. So we just have overpaid since the beginning and are now hoping to get out asap.

    @Crystal, my first car loan people did the exact same thing to me! I wrote a $7000 check 2 years after buying my Aveo just to get them out of my life…

  11. cashflowmantra

    I would certainly set aside the money and only make a few extra payments. Otherwise, you will drive yourself nuts trying to follow up.

  12. YFS

    This is outrageous. What the heck is going on at chase that they can’t process your payment correctly? This shouldn’t be this much of a hassle. Ask them can you write a check and specify principal only.

  13. Kris @ Everyday Tips

    I would be incredibly furious. I guess we see now why they do ‘free’ refinancing. I wonder what recourse you have?

    I am angry on your behalf!

  14. First Gen American

    Wow..this sounds exactly like every single medical bill transaction I’ve ever encountered. Stuff doesn’t get billed correctly, they expect you to pay big bucks and then you have to do case after case and babysit til resolved. One thing I didn’t babysit and then it ended up being a year later that my dentist told me he still hadn’t been paid and then it was too late to resubmit another appeal. Grr..bad customer service is just infuriating. Not having that mortgage payment will be great though, so it’s worth it to go the extra mile..even if you do it every 3 months instead of every month.

  15. Cat

    I liked your paraphrasing of J.D. (I’m assuming that you are :)). And yes, you have to keep on top of things – my frustration right now is the insurance company..grr..

  16. Cat

    Got your reply – don’t sell yourself short- you’re pretty cool too! 🙂

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