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. bvaudt

    This "interview" was set up to generate the very response that it did! 1. We do not have the whole story. 2. The locksmith carried neither gun nor knife please re-read the "interview." 3. The remaining interest on this loan even with twenty years paid would be more than Chase could get on the same money today. 4. Banks employ human beings. Human beings make mistakes. 5. Ninety eight per cent of the respondents on this thread would be wise to take a deep breath and try to look at both sides of a question.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. diane

    I cannot believe this type of thing is happening in our country!! This type of behavior on the part of the bank should be illegal even if the property is in foreclosure. It is my understanding that all states have eviction laws. Why didn't the bank use those laws? Bush started a landslide of corporations ignoring the rights of others and it is time to put a stop to it.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Texan

    Here in Texas we shoot people doing something like that.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. K-Mo

    Hey Jason....Rob is correct, to some degree. With living in the home for 20 years, that home should have been paid off, or at least close to it. If buying in 1990, and going through the housing bubble, she should have had plenty of equity where she could have refinanced without any issue and gotten a better interest rate. Like many people, they used their homes equity as "revolving credit" and expected that the other shoe would never fall. it's bad investing....and a home is an INVESTMENT!!! The column fails to mention how much her home was bought for, what it's worth today and the balance owed on the home. If she didn't refinance and take a bunch of cash out, they this wouldn't even be a story. She'd be one of many that were able to secure a historically low interest rate.

    The "poor me" mentality where people want everything for free and take zero responsibility for their actions. If people don't understand their mortgage, that's their fault for not asking the right questions. Don't sign something without full understanding. That's common sense. You don't need a finance degree to know that!!!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      Very well said!

      October 8, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Charls

    Just start shooting a clouples of those guys as they start forcing the doors, that should take care of the plan, this is America!!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rich

    After 20 years of PERFECT performance on credit accounts with 3 different banks (Chase, BofA, and Wells Fargo), with the omly reason being that, in these troubled times, my balances owed were high, all 3 banks chose to raise my fixed (by contract) interest rates. They are the Darth Vaders of the American commercial community. I wish them all the worst possible fortune, and especially their predatory bonus grubbing administrators. I hope Nancy sues them!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Handy Manny

    Hey wronginamerica......The story and responses DO sum up everything wrong in america. BIG BUSINESS, SUCH AS BANKS, ARE ALWAYS RIGHT & THE AVERAGE PERSON IS ALWAYS WRONG. Average folks don't have a team of lawyers & big bucks working for them. And I've never seen a big banker having to choose between buying a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas with thier last $5. I have NO SYMPATHY for the stuffed shirts at the top of these banks that already overcharge for EVERYTHING. If they were not overcharging, these big company executives wouldn't be able to take several vacations a year or build another hi-rise. Give me (and the rest of america) a break.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Katie

    She likely took out some kind of home equity loan when home values were near their peak and either had an ARM that reset when rates were astronomical or lost her job and could no longer afford the payments. Or.....she just had a 30 yr mortgage and the bank is eager to make money off of her equity in the home, lots of possibilities. Either way, there is a foreclosure process for a reason and if you haven't started the foreclosure process, you have no right to break the lock on a home.....None. This is ridiculous.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Linda

    I'm with Tim on this one! Seriously though, even if she was behind.. as long as she's in negotiations with the bank to make a serious attempt at getting this up to date on payments and the bank has NOT gone through foreclosure proceedings then they have NO right to break into her house!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    As someone who went through it .... I had to relocate for my job. I was in my house for 16 years and it appraised for a 2nd mortgage at over $300K the prior summer. I still had $80K in equity (per the banks appraisal) when it went on the market. 12 months on the market with price reductions every month ... I finally HAD to move. The selling price of my home was now at my mortgage, so I knew I was losing money. I tried to speak to the bank about a modification but they refused to speak to me until I was late on payments. I spoke to an attorney who agreed that that was the policy at most banks. 30 / 60 days late, they still wouldn't talk to me or my attorney. @ 90 days late + 1 week they filed foreclosure papers. I had held onto the money that I had withheld from payments willing to catch up, but they tacked on over 6K of attorneys fees. When they found out the house was vacant, they notified the insurance company who dropped coverage because I was an out of state owner of a vacant property. Desperate ... I reduced the price another 30K and proceeded with a short sale. It is NOT always the hard working tax payers that are scamming the system. The banks know full well how to screw the consumer and are doing so on a regular basis. I am rebuilding my credit ... but would I really want to enter into home ownership again? As foreclosures continue .. the free fall in value will continue.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • s

      Did you try selling the home for what you paid for it 16 years ago? I'm sure it would have sold quickly or you could asked a little more and made a nice profit from what you paid. The other money you borrowed in the refi likely paid off car loans, student loans, credit cards or when to other expenses. Why should the bank or the next person purchasing the home eat the cost of all these unrelated debts when you sell the home?

      October 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      'S' ... Spoken like a true idiot. We purchase homes as an investment, otherwise we would rent. Yes ... I paid for my childrens college with 'equity' the bank said I had. If you pay a mortgage, taxes, multiple improvements to the home over 16 years, then you EXPECT a profit. You don't EXPECT to sell your home for what you paid for it. You don't EXPECT to get approved for a loan with plenty of equity left only to lose 16 years worth in 18 months. I 'sold' for about 10K more than I paid for it ... but I put over 60K of improvements into my home over that time. I'm not a 'woe is me' person. It happened, I'm over it. I had to move because my company shut down their facilities in the city I worked in. I moved across the country to retain my employment. BUT plenty of people are getting screwed left and right by the banks who used OUR money to get stonger and then put that shaft to the same people who propped them up.

      October 8, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • s

      Let me follow your logic. Housing is an investment or you’d just rent. Investments, by definition, go up and down in value. You borrowed money to pay for your children’s education and used the house as collateral. You agreed to the terms of the loan and promised the bank you’d repay them the money they gave you in full. Then, when your investment went down in value you stopped paying the bank entirely, faking financial troubles as you actually confessed to having the money, until they agreed to accept less money than they had given you to pay for your kid’s education. Banks are owned by stock holders, your neighbors. So, because housing investments went down in value, you broke your promise to the bank and made your neighbors pay for your kid’s education. How is that not stealing? If you walked into the bank with a gun and just too the money to put your kids through college would that be ok to? The bottom line is the same.

      October 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. s

    We need to come up with smoother transitions for people who choose to stop paying their mortgage. Perhaps take all the items out of the home and put them in a storage pod which would be place on public land where the debtor would be allowed to camp? Banks are owned buy stock holders which represent the general public. There must be simpler ways for the public to get back homes which are being stolen by squatters who refuse to pay.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      "Three or four months behind" and she's complaining about a mix up? The article says banks are bulldozing all across America, all across Americans... Sorry to say it, but if you can't pay for your home- they own the property until you pay it off. I'm sure this lady isn't perfect, so allow the bank a switch up on sending a guy to change the locks... while I can imagine it was a scary situation, the truth is YOU are 3-4 months behind. Maybe you should apologize to them- had your mortgage been up to date, THEN I'd listening to your complaint. OHHH, but wait... lawsuit $$$!!! Why am I not surprised.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Carl

    Hmm...locksmith doesn't even knock or ring the doorbell before attempting to open the locked front door? He's lucky she wasn't armed, because she may have had probable cause to shoot him dead the minute the front door opened. If it were me, I'd have been standing just inside the door with a 12-gauge...just waiting for that door to swing open.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Stacey

    Did the guy never even think about knocking first to see if anyone was home?

    October 8, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gman

    Get ready people!

    New mortgage agreements will have the "Ability to come over and rip you from your house if you don't pay!"

    Its NOT your home until you paid the mortgage off and even then, its not your home if you don't pay taxed!

    October 8, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Josh

    I don't get it. She called 911. Why wasn't the intruder arrested and hauled away in handcuffs. All the police need, is a complaint by the resident, and clearly in this case, they had one (again, she called 911).

    The police aren't suppose to be judge and jury. Let a criminal court decide if the intruder, and everyone who conspired with him (JP Morgan Chase managers, executives, and board members) , if they had full legal authority to enter the home.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      That would be BINGO.

      October 8, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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