Sunny went through a nightmare with Chase and is sharing her experience to help others avoid the same difficulties.
Thinking about applying for a home loan through Chase? I did, and it was a terrible experience that resulted in me losing all trust in the company. I'm sharing this information with the hope that it helps others avoid a similar predicament.
The Application Process
I applied online, and in a few days, I was contacted by a home lending advisor. He asked me questions about my employment and finances and answered the questions I had at that time.
After talking to him, I submitted all the documents that were required through Chase's online portal. Required documents included W2s, tax forms, pay stubs, etc., and all I had to do was upload these files and mark the tasks complete.
About a week after submitting the documents, I got a phone call from my home loan advisor informing me that I had been conditionally approved. He sent me a conditional approval letter so I could shop with confidence knowing how expensive of a house I could afford.
The Transition From Home Lending Advisor to Client Care Specialist
Once I found a home and submitted the purchase contract, I was told that I could no longer work with the home lending advisor during the underwriting process. Instead, I would now be working with a client care specialist.
I didn't hear from my client care specialist for a week. When I contacted the home loan advisor for an update, a client care specialist who was not the one assigned to me called me back. Things went downhill very quickly after this.
6 Reasons Why Chase Is a Bad Lender
- They are unprofessional and lack transparency.
- They do not respect the closing timeline and will ignore your file for weeks.
- They give misleading, false, and inconsistent information.
- They are unresponsive and communicate poorly.
- They are dishonest.
- They do not uphold the "Chase Closing Guarantee" if they cause you to close late.
1. They Are Unprofessional and Lack Transparency
Let's call the client care specialist "Sharon." During the first week, she would periodically call and ask me to upload documentation for certain tasks in the portal, which I did promptly.
I noticed that every time I uploaded a file, the task would soon be marked incomplete. When I reached out to Sharon to understand why and what sort of documentation would be acceptable, she never responded. I called and left voicemails, I emailed, and I even CC'd the home loan advisor on those emails so that he knew I was struggling to connect with Sharon. I got no response. Meanwhile, incomplete tasks were piling up in the portal with no explanation to help me understand what to do. Our file was stuck, and no one was helping us.
Two weeks later, I called 15 times in row and was able to catch Sharon on the phone. She sighed and said she was swamped, and she didn't seem happy to help, even though the only way to move forward was for her to tell us exactly what documentation we needed to submit.
2. They Do Not Respect the Closing Timeline and Will Ignore Your File for Weeks
Sharon went AWOL again after that. We now had 1.5 weeks left before our closing deadline, and I still didn't hear from Sharon. I was terrified that our loan would not close and I would lose my earnest money deposit, which was half of my life savings.
The sellers were also getting nervous. We had to ask for an extension, which put them in a tough spot because they were also looking to close on their home. The worst part was that we didn't know which date to extend the deadline to because there was no communication from Chase. The best we could say was, "We think we'll close late because we haven't heard from Chase."
In a desperate attempt, I reached out to Chase on social media. They responded promptly and were kind and respectful. I wish Chase's home lending department was as competent and as respectful as their social media team.
Social media must have talked to Sharon's manager and pushed her to take our file seriously because Sharon eventually called and told us exactly what documentation we needed to submit. Just two days later, underwriting conditionally approved our loan.
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3. They Give Misleading, False, and Inconsistent Information
What happened next was even more of a pain. I submitted rent receipts as proof of rental income during the initial underwriting process, and they were accepted. We were conditionally approved with those rental receipts. But after purchase, those receipts were considered unacceptable, and they required photocopies of rent checks instead.
Because our tenants pay in cash, we couldn't produce proof. This lowered our income significantly. Chase irresponsibly pre-approved us based on that rental income and then pulled a bait-and-switch at the last minute.
I was then asked to provide more money to cover the difference in appraisal despite having already made a 50% down payment. The house we bought was appraised at $50,000 less than the purchase price. But we had a 50% downpayment, so the lower appraisal didn't make much of a difference, and we still clearly qualified to purchase the home with a now 49% downpayment. Sharon went over the appraisal with us and said we needed to bring an extra $50,000 to the table or get the house reappraised.
This didn't sound right to me, so I asked her to ask the underwriters, and I never heard back from her. So, I guess it wasn't an issue, and she just fed me false information.
There was also no clarity about what types of documents were acceptable. I had to call or visit all of my banks, HOAs, and insurance companies to get documents that I was told were needed, and as it turned out, they weren't needed. Here are some examples of the documents Sharon asked for and then didn't accept.
Sharon said the official bill ledger from the HOA showing charges and payments was not valid and that an email from the HOA stating the charges would be more acceptable. She then said the email was not acceptable and eventually accepted the official bill ledger.
Sharon said only monthly bank statements would be acceptable—not screenshots of the balance and activity. As it turned out, screenshots of balance and activity were acceptable.
Proof of Insurance
Policy declaration was not accepted because it didn't include the address of the property, despite the property being part of an HOA, so Sharon required an email from the HOA. Then, she decided not to accept the email from HOA and eventually accepted the policy declaration.
My funds did not change during the month-long underwriting process. I was told I had "insufficient funds" and needed to provide an extra $60,000, despite having pre-approved me to purchase this house based on the current funds. Sharon, of course, didn't know why underwriting was asking for an extra $60,000 and said she would ask them, but she never got back to me.
4. They Are Unresponsive and Communicate Poorly
Sharon could not answer even simple questions. Every time, she said she would ask the underwriters, but I would never hear back from her. She never responded to emails, calls, or voicemails.
When the situation was escalated by my reaching out via social media, she finally reached out to me, but it was more of the same from before—she didn't know the answer to anything and was completely callous and incompetent. It would have been better to speak to an automated operator. At least the operator would not sigh and sound like they were being bothered.
5. They Are Dishonest
Chase will lure you in with the promise that you can buy a home rather than giving you an honest estimate of how much you can afford in the conditional approval letter. If you listen to their lie, you will end up bidding on a home above your qualified range, they will reject you during underwriting, and you will lose out on the house.
Conditional approval means that you are qualified to buy the house based on an underwriting review of your income and financing. The only condition is that you provide proof of income and funding during the underwriting process so that the lender can officially file the paperwork and give you an official approval . . or so I thought.
It seems like Chase's conditional approval is not underwritten because once we went through the after-purchase underwriting, our finances were suddenly "insufficient." The conditional approval, as it turns out, is more like a pre-qualification, which isn't good enough to give buyers confidence that they will close on a house.
Chase needs to be honest about what "conditional approval" means because telling us we need to offer an extra $60,000 is a big ask when we had already been conditionally approved to afford this home based on the current funds.
Before we made a bid on the house we wanted to purchase, we called our home lending advisor to confirm that our finances and funding looked strong and to ask about a closing timeline. He told us we were "more than qualified" to purchase this home and that he wouldn't be worried if we removed our loan contingency because our file was so strong. He also said the closing timeline would be 25 days.
Fast forward to the underwriting process, and Chase suddenly changed their tune. Suddenly, we don't have enough funds, even though our funds did not change from the time we bid on the house. Chase didn't take our file seriously for three weeks! They dragged their feet and only started reviewing our file in earnest when we reached out on social media.
Because of this, we received our closing disclosure the night before closing (even though lenders are legally required to provide the closing disclosure three days before closing). Chase not only caused us to close late, but they also violated federal law.
6. They Do Not Uphold the "Chase Closing Guarantee" if They Cause You to Close Late
Chase increased our loan amount in order to approve us because of "insufficient funds," which means we now have to pay $300 more in mortgage payments each month. Had we known this before we bid on this house, we would have shopped at a lower price point. We are lucky we can afford this, but for many people, the extra $300 could cripple their finances significantly.
Because of this mistake they made and the readjustment they made to the loan amount in order to make it work, we ended up closing late. Chase's closing guarantee promises a refund of $2,500 if they don't close in three weeks or on closing day. I have yet to receive that refund. They are the reason we closed late and they neither apologized nor upheld their own policy.
During the application, my home loan advisor gave us assurance that if Chase causes us to close late, they would take responsibility and do right by us with the $2500 refund program. As it turned out, the closing guarantee was also a lie—just like the "conditional approval" and everything else about the interaction I had with Chase.
Want to Close on Time? Go With a Different Lender
I really wanted to like Chase and gave them my trust, but they really let me down. For your security and sanity, I recommend working with a private loan broker instead. You may have to pay a few hundred more in one-time fees, but at least you'll have the confidence that you can afford the home you buy and that you will close and close on time.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.