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. Mark

    I guess my question is this: Someone breaks into my house and I have no clue what he wants. All I know is that my wife and children are sound asleep. What is stopping me from grabbing one of my guns and killing this person? What is the bank thinking? In the city I live in, if someone breaks into your home, you have the right to confront them with deadly force. This is just plain stupidity on the banks part

    October 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Junker

    Let me start off by saying, I do work for a bank....a bank that did not take any TARP money and a bank that did no predatory lending. There are still some good honest banks out there. Both the bank and Nancy Jacobini have a solid argument in this case; However, you can't just change locks on someone's home if they are late on their payments. I can sympathize with Nancy. My wife and I had triplets last year and we lost my wife's $60k income. We got several months behind on our mortgage and eventually had to file bankruptcy. We reaffirmed with our mortgage co. and they have been working with us to get caught up. If nancy was 4 months behind; then chase could easily start foreclosure. But chase would have to get their attorneys to send notices. Nancy should have been notified with a registered letter or in person. I do go out and personally try to collect past due payments from my customers.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Texas Pete

    If people try breaking my locks its shoot first, ask questions later.

    October 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. What4?

    Wonder how this would have played out if she had shot this guy as soon as he came through the front door?
    I'm sure Chase would get sued by this guys surviving family menbers and a settlement would not come cheap?
    I know I or my wife would have shot this clown. He would have saved a lot of embarrasment if he had just knocked on the door to see if anyone was at home before breaking in. Brainless.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. LMD

    Am very sorry for what this woman is going/has gone through. But this will be the start of things to come,if all regulations go out the window,as some are suggesting. If there will be no monitoring in place for banks,wall street etc. people will find themselves without any recourse. Hopefully,this woman will be able to,as of right now,legally go after these people,and hang them out to dry. Next yr,she may not be lucky enough to do that if the elections go the wrong way. These are the new"Home Invaders".

    October 8, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. budd

    Corporations now own more land in the US than citizens. Does that sound like the way it should be?

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

      They are also taking their profits and buying back their own stock instead of taking advantage of the lowest interest rates ever to create jobs. Does that sound right? Corporate America doesn't care about America.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. caa301

    Well if the bank sends someone to break into my home I have something for them.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. avos

    Well no wonder after some time, banks and lenders will start killing people who did not pay mortgage by hiring hitmen.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Xiili

    Yeah this is a clear case of banks overstepping their boundary, I couldn't secure a job to save my life after retiring from the Army, I have USAA as my bank for my car, I was 5 months behind on payments and as long as I kept in good contact with them they never harassed me, never threaten to repo my car or anything.

    I can understand the banks side of argument if, and only if she were in a foreclosure, blindly sending someone in to change locks, that's asinine!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. thinker

    Yes, thats right, for what ever reason she did not pay for the home. As, a result the bank has a right to take it back, THROUGH LEGAL PROCEEDINGS! When the bank determines it is time to forclose, they have to do it in court, give you notice, so that you can show up and either agree OR prove that you are not behind (to prevent a mistake). Once they have a court order to evict you, you tipically have 30 to vacate. At which point if you do not, they show up with a SHERIFF and the court order and you are made to leave. Untill that point, YOU own the house. The bank NEVER owns the house. They have a LIEN against your house that states they have a financial interest in your property which has to be satisfied by payments(your contract) or in full if the house is sold.

    bottom line: They bank (or the representative) commited breaking and entering, If the lady chose to she could have used deadly force and not a court or jury in the world could have convicted her. After shooting the man, she could have sued the bank, (and still can). The bank should have followed the law and secured a forclosure against the woman who broke the law by not fulfilling here obligation under the terms of the contract(for whatever reason)

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

    This is a perfect example of why the U.S. Government needs to take some control. The banks hand out more credit than what they can cover and when the crap hits the fan they take it out on the home owners whil the execs get their million dollar bonuses. I hope she sues the crap out of them and they fire the people responsible. Honestly, I hope she does bankruptcy, they can't take her home and the bank will be forced into a lower interest rate that the judge sees fit.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. OMG

    @ Marth
    And we, as tax payers, were under no obligation to bail these banks out either, but we did. Where would they be if we didn't? Sometimes things happen in life that you have no control over and it can become a spiral effect. I had been making my mortage payment on time since I've owned my house, but because of a vehicle accident, that was through no fault of my own, and shattered my heal bone. I racked up numerous medical bills and througout the year wound up becoming a little late on my mortgage payment while trying to keep up with the medical bills. Never missed a monthly payment, just a week or two late. So...things can happen.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. KB

    I have no words for this article after reading it. I mean, it is definitely CRAZY to think that these banks can do whatever it is they want when they want to. They know that millions of people are in debt and are struggling everyday in today's economy. What gives them the right to "invade" a person's privacy at their home. Even if she was behind on the mortgage, she is still in talks with the bank about a loan modification. What gets me is that she wasn't even issued a foreclosure letter or anything! I know that it isn't right for her to be behind on the mortgage, but come on, the bank obviously knew she was struggling and working with her..why would they take it a step further now? Chase is the worst and now they have given themselves a bad name. I hope that she does more than sue them..they definitley deserve it!!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Larry Freedman

    I was in foreclosure and had an approved short sale of my home in 2007.The Washington Mutual was the bank and they took 6 months after they approved the short sale to get to closing. I moved out so the buyers could move in and the bank without any notification broke into the house to "winterize" the plumbing. The person the bank sent in was incompetent and instead of turning the water off he turned it on. The pipes froze and burst and the buyers backed out of the deal. Not only did the bank refuse to take responsibility the insurance company refused to pay for the repairs.

    I had to walk away from the house and declare bankruptcy. I lost everything.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    I can't feel bad for this lady at all... She admits she's 3-4 months behind in her payments. So she has been living for FREE for the past 4 months. It is the banks that have no rights with deadbeat homeowners. I say the bank should have every right to break into her home, remove her property, and change the locks. She's a deadbeat, and it are people like her who are ruining our economy.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
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