Smart About Money: “The online lender just won’t leave us alone!”

Nick Maffeo

The other day, I was talking to a friend who has been in finance for years. He bought a home about a year or so ago and had gotten his mortgage through one of the online mortgage companies.

Apparently about 6 months after his loan closed, he got a call from his online lender. He saw it was them on Caller ID and picked up because he thought maybe there was a problem with a payment or something.

The online mortgage company representative said, “You told us to call you if an opportunity to refinance your loan came up.”

My friend didn’t remember asking them to call. But he listened to their pitch. The rate they were offering wasn’t enough of a savings to make refinancing worthwhile. So he figured that was that.

Then he got five texts over the next five hours from them. He got multiple calls at home and on his cell. His wife got multiple texts and calls. They were taken aback.

He told me they wanted to block the online mortgage company’s number but were afraid of missing an important call from them one day.

This gentleman called the online mortgage company and asked them to please stop contacting him and his wife about refinancing. They said they would stop and – once again – he figured that was that.

Six months later, it started up again – with the very same script word-for-word: “You told us to call you if an opportunity to refinance your loan came up.”

My friend knew he had not asked them to call. But he was curious so he listened to their offer. It turns out they could lower his monthly payment – by adding 7 years to his mortgage term! That was the last thing my friend wanted and he told them that. The calls and texts kept coming for a week or so. My friend and his wife ignored them.

Just recently the calls and texts started again. Rates have gone up so my friend knew they could not possibly be offering him a better rate. But now he and his wife were mad about the calls and texts, even though they do not respond to them. “They just won’t leave us alone,” he said.

“I don’t begrudge the online mortgage company for trying to get us to refinance,” my friend told me. “I do begrudge them for trying so aggressively – especially with people who may be more vulnerable.” Exactly!

It’s not really clear what to do in a situation like this or how to get those calls and texts to stop.

It’s probably safe to say that if there is a problem with your account, your lender will leave a message and/or send an email or snail mail. Any other contact is probably a sales call.

If you believe refinancing would benefit you and you reach out to your lender, that’s one thing. If your lender calls and texts you over and over again to see if you want to refinance, those are sales calls which you are under no obligation to take or respond to.

Because it’s definitely safe to say that refinancing your mortgage is not something you should be talked into because of a sales pitch.

If you’re not sure if a refinance offer matches up with your financial goals, it will be in your best interest to consult with an independent financial professional (like a CPA) before making any commitments.

Nick Maffeo is the President & CEO of Canton Co-operative Bank – right next to the Post Office – in Canton. Have a question? Email to info@cantoncoopbank.com.

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