October 8th, 2010
07:48 AM ET

Bank breaks into home - over mortgage payments

Nancy Jacobini was home alone in Florida when she heard what she thought was an intruder at the front door. There was no knock. She wasn't expecting anyone, so she grabbed her cell phone and called 911.

As it turns out, the man who broke the lock on her front door was actually a contractor hired by her bank. It is a procedure typically used to secure a foreclosed home. However, Jacobini's home wasn't foreclosed. She tells American Morning's Kiran Chetry how terrifying the experience was for her.

Nancy Jacobini: When the police arrived, of course, they had to search the house to make certain that nobody else was in it. And then one thing led to another, and then we basically found out that the gentleman was there to change the locks on my home.

Kiran Chetry: And who was he sent by?

Jacobini: He was sent by the bank, Chase Bank, to change the locks without my permission.

Chetry: You say that you were about three to four months behind on your mortgage payments but you'd been working diligently with the bank to get a mortgage modification.

Jacobini: Absolutely.

Chetry: And you didn't receive any notification about any impending foreclosure.

Jacobini: I did not. I did not receive any information at all in reference to a foreclosure.

Chetry: Basically you're sitting there and you have no idea if someone's breaking into your home to attack you at this point.

Exactly. I knew the aggressiveness was getting very severe. I was very much afraid, and it was a rainy day at the time. Skip thought the person was taking advantage of the weather. There were going to be no witnesses. This person had a gun, a knife, I had no idea what was going to happen. I didn't know if there was one person, I didn't know if there was two people. All I knew was my life was in danger.

Chetry: Have they apologized to you, Nancy, for what you went through?

No. Actually, I purposely retrieved both of my messages last night to really, really try to decipher every single word, you know, while I was in private just to see if I overlooked something. And no, there was no apology. On either one of those messages.

What'd they say?

Jacobini: It was basically an introduction of who the gentleman was, and he had mentioned that he was calling because he had received an escalation to his office and that he was calling about the mix-up in reference to the work preservation work order ... And then the second message simply stated an introduction, of course, of who he was. And that they were basically, you know, playing phone tag and that he was just calling in reference to, you know, this situation.

Let me ask...

Jacobini: I did not get an apology.

Chetry: Matt, what's your take on what went on here and what should happen moving forward?

Matthew Weidner: This is an absolutely terrifying phenomenon. This is happening all across the country to people just like Nancy. It's so important to emphasize she's not in foreclosure at all. There was absolutely no warning.

I've made contact with them several times and haven't gotten any credible apology at all. In fact, my last phone call yesterday, they were still trying to confirm whether power was in her name, totally irrelevant. But she's been in this house for 20 years and power has been in her name that entire time.

Chetry: That's the unbelievable part. How long you were living in this house and the fact that you were not in foreclosure. Here's what JP Morgan Chase says, they say properties in delinquent payments they can regularly visit to inspect them. And if the property's found to be open, they can work to secure it even if it's not in foreclosure. What do you think of that?

Weidner: I want to take exception to that. That's the big problem happening across this country. These banks are running wild. It's the wild west out there. Here's a house that's perfectly secured, her locks are secure, she's got an alarm system on it and power in. And the banks across the country are using that excuse as a justification for violating fundamental rights. It's got to stop. America's got to wake up and say we're not going to take this anymore.

Are you suing?

We are in negotiations right now. But frankly this is more than suing. This is about getting this issue in front of the American people so that the American people demand it to stop. Ultimately we do want this in front of a jury because we want Americans all across this country to stand up and say what happened to nancy can't happen again, and yet our banks are just bulldozing all across Americans, all across America, bulldozing over them.

Chetry: It's really quite shocking this happened to you, Nancy. And we're certainly sorry. Please keep us posted on any more information you get from the bank and how this turns out.

Jacobini: Thank you very much.

Chetry: Thanks for joining us, as well.

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soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Maybe the bank was trying to intimidate her into leaving without having to go through the formal eviction process.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. zcostilla

    She may have been invited but that guy hod ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to come in to her home. That's what a Remington 870 is for. One pump to load a shell will scare off anyone but a true criminal who doesn't care about the risk. NOBODY has the right to enter your home without being invited!

    October 8, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. curious.

    She says she has been in the home for 20 years, if this is the case, barring some serious stupidity on her part, the home should have been within a few years of being paid off, and she wouldn't be in need of a loan mod. That being said, when you don't pay your bills, things owned by the bank will get taken back. I understand it might be beyond her means to now afford her house if she lost her job, income etc. However, most of the people who got suckered into those loans were simply not paying attention. Trust me, it was so glaringly obvious what they were trying to do that my husband and I simply walked away and decided home ownership was simply not in our near future. Half of what they said made no sense at all and then when you actually tried to compute the information, it didn't add up. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    On the flip side of this, if the woman has fallen on hard times, has no income, hasn't modified her loan since she purchased in 20 years ago, the damn public bailed out the banks, how about the banks being a little nicer to those who have been loyal for 20 some odd years and help out their customers??

    October 8, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      So many people here are saying that, if she has been in the house 20 years, she should just refinance because her balance should be low, but in order to get a loan – no matter how small – you have to have income. If she lost her job and has no income, she cannot refinance with another bank. She probably bought the property 20 years ago at about $150K with a monthly mortgage payment of about $1,100.
      Chase had 2 choices.
      1. They could have refinances the balance she owed on the property – probably about $50k, over 20 years – her payment would be about $350, which she most likely can make with part-time work and or temporary positions.
      2. They could take her home, sell it for about $200k, charge her the balance due, and exhorbitant fees and penalties – probably about $80K and make an easy profit of $30K.
      The problem Chase has making the 2nd choice is that they have to convince a judge that he should allow them to sell the home she has live in for 20 years and that there was no other solution – huge problem. So they decided to lock her out of her home so she would have to go somewhere else to sleep. They can then tell the judge that she abandoned it so they can sell it.

      October 8, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • greatandtoy

      I think it is more likely that she bought the house 20 years ago (at a high interest rate) and refinanced the home during the boom for a lower interest rate plus took some equity out. Just my guess.

      October 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    I would have shot their a$$. Idiots! I hope the bank gets suedddddddddd! Or at least someone gets their a$$ kicked.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I know right anyone breaking locks on my house is is going to get hit with many jacketed hollow points.

      October 8, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt

      Exactly. What would happen if one of the break-in artists was shot and maybe killed? This sounds like dangerous work to me if you get caught by the wrong person.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. NoWay

    Big banks are all the same – no one to talk to. It's impossible to see the 'white of their eye'. The vast majority will only talk via an 800 number. And most are rude as well.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Takara


    They can call almost whenever they want. Why would it matter to them if they are calling on Saturday? God doesn't exist, so the not calling on Saturday thing is a moot point. If you paid your bills, you wouldn't have them calling you in the first place.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      May the kindness and compassion you show others return to you a thousand fold. It's either a blessing or a curse, take an honest look at yourself and you decide which one it is.

      October 8, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • wed110197

      God doesn't exist? Really? Why didn't anyone tell me that? I didn't know. I can't believe it! All this time I've been following a lie. The bad habbits I've turned around through the power of Christ for nothing. The wegiht loss and gain health, for NOTHING. The better person I have become by listening to God and praying and RECIEVING understand was all a hoax. All this time I should have just listened to YOU. Oh what a dummy I am for not following others. I am NOT religious. I observe the Sabbath as a day of rest Holy to ME, because it is important to health and is on the path of LIFE. And they say athiests have high IQs.

      October 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Austin B


    October 8, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. FlaBoy

    Dear rob

    You are a moron.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. R

    I feel no sympathy. People need to pay their bills.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • B

      I agree 100% and your comment is one of the only intelligent ones posted here. Houses aren't free and are the property of the bank until the mortgage is paid off. If payments aren't being made, they have every right to come take it back. It is their property, not the deliquent home owners.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Handy manny

    Sounds like Rob is a banker. I have a mortgage payment through Chase but was shopping for a better rate. I think I"ll speed up my process now. And no, its not always that easy to just pay bills on time. Ask the federal government to pay THEIR bills on time. Its going to take someone getting KILLED during one of these "lock change take overs" for this outrageous practice to change. I just wish that Nancy had a gun in her house & blew the sorry SOB away. GO GIRL!

    October 8, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DISCO

      Good luck with that. I refinanced my home away from Chase and the new loan was sold right back to them. I have a lower rate at least but I am sending my payments to the same place I was before.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      The federal government does need to work on budgeting,and We the People have to make hard decisions about what we are and are not willing to pay for. But the federal government does pay its bills on time. It has to borrow to do so...primarily from China these days...but they pay principal and interest on time, and they pay wages and other obligations on time. When t-bills expire...they are paid off. Period. The federal government has never defaulted on debt nor gone months without paying.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. elizabeth

    This is just awful it can happen to anyone. Is there a law to protect us? or we live in BANker's LAW LESS WORLD.


    October 8, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam the Sham

      The real question is "what happened to proper spelling and grammar" in this country. Jeesh

      October 8, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. The Emperor

    If it were me and my house, the poor innocent slob breaking in to change the locks would have a few slugs in him right now. We need to get back to the way it used to be, shoot first, ask questions later. I bet the banks would stop doing what they are doing!

    October 8, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    Anyone breaking into my house for any reason is going to get a .416 Weatherby round in their midsection.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. killian

    Just pay your bills or move out. Stealing from Chase is ultimately stealing from your neighbor. Why is this article so one sided?

    October 8, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      The article is one sided because Chase would not comment... They know they violated the law by changing locks WITHOUT FORECLOSING THE HOME OR SERVING AN EVICTION NOTICE!! By the way, Chase steals far more with predatory lending, double dip fees, and magically rising interest rates than any homeowner or credit card holder could ever take from them.

      October 8, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa S

      Killian: This article may be one-sided, BUT it is truth-sided. These big banks do not care how they treat you. They overcharge on everything and usually treat people badly. Americans need help and understanding, a modification or whatever, but if they are trying to pay, then the bank should help them, not break into their home!!!!!

      October 8, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. wronginamerica

    This story and the responses sum up everything wrong in america. The bank owns this home. It has the entire 20 years this lady lived in it. The bank bought the home 20 years ago, it lets her live in under a signed contract that says she will pay them every month to live in it. Its called a mortgage. She can sell the home and give the bank their money back whenever she chooses. The bank is a victim when people randomly break their contracts with the bank. Why isn't she being prosecuted for breaking her contract? When you people started thinking that something you bought with someone else's money was yours, you lost all sense of the real world.......

    October 8, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • DISCO

      I basically agree with your post. Although, by law, (the same law Chase agreed to when they also signed that contract), she must be given notice. There are time periods involved and legalities that must be followed before changing the locks.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Star

      That's all American but did you forget what cause this situation is that the banks had ripped off the Americans with over inflated loans and now the homes are worthless. If you are in the your right mind why should I pay for something that is worthless. Now if everyone is able to short sale their upside home loans without the BS they will be more than happy to rent or relocate. You have no idea what these people are going through some have lost their jobs and the modifications are a joke. The banks and auto industriies asked for our help for a bailout but did not return the favor to the consumer who are at their wit ends. You can have a 800 credit score and they will find some way to turn your request down for a loan. Why is that?

      October 8, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • eli

      debtors prison to save the poor banks? really? wow. you suck.

      October 8, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • shawna

      If she has lived in that house and paid the mortgage for 20 years, she has probably already paid back the original value of the house TWICE OVER with interest. Screw the bank, they were in the wrong here.

      October 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
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