No wonder some of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker's 143,000 mortgage customers are both angry and confused.
First, they had no clue where to send their mortgage payments when the Ocala lender suddenly shut down last week. Now they're getting conflicting advice from the very regulators assigned to clean up the mess:
• Florida financial regulators and Taylor Bean itself have told customers to make payments to the same Ocala address they always have. That advice hasn't changed, Andy Grosmaire of the Florida Office of Financial Services said Thursday.
• Federal housing loan guarantor Ginnie Mae and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, however, have been steering customers to make payments to Bank of America, which is taking over servicing of the loans. Both agencies' Web sites highlight a California address for sending checks to BAC Home Loans Servicing. Ginnie Mae has been promoting the address all week.
• In the middle is Bank of America, which has given some customers the option of, well, doing nothing. At least not immediately.
Customers are expected to be contacted by the bank within a couple of weeks once their loans are added to the system. Some customers said the bank specifically directed them not to make a payment until contacted because their file number wouldn't necessarily be in the system yet. And that any late fees would be waived.
Grosmaire acknowledges the crossed signals are confusing, but he's sticking to his guns. Though Taylor Bean leaders fired nearly 1,000 employees in Ocala last week after they could no longer make new FHA loans, a small group of workers remained on site to process existing loans. So he advocates sending payments there as usual.
"We're in contact with (Taylor Bean executives) every day and since they have the accounts, I'm kind of hesitant to say anything different," Grosmaire said.
Eventually, Bank of America will take over servicing, but it hasn't happened yet, he said.
"We've seen no announcement. We know it's in the works and it's been in the works for about a week."
Bank of America, through a contract with Ginnie Mae, is expected to pay remaining Taylor Bean staffers to help with the transition. And in a recent federal filing, company attorneys indicated a bankruptcy filing is "imminent."
But don't look for any clarity or updates from Taylor Bean's Web site.
Its home page lists no news of the shutdown, no connection to Bank of America, no links to information from regulators. Highlighted twice on the page is TBW's corporate motto: "Perfecting the Art of Mortgage Lending."
Jeff Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8242. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffmharrington.