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. Anon

    If that happened to me the guy would have a large 12 gauge hole in his chest. That is breaking and entering and is ILLEGAL!! But then Chase and banks in general are CRIMINALS anyway.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Belinda

    Chase Bank is the worst bank to work with. The Government needs to shut them down.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. jerryfelldown

    Hey chase come change my locks an ask my two 150 pound cane corso's if u have a right to be there. then talk to the shells they'll asure u where u should have

    October 8, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    @ BS contractor, DID YOU NOT READ that she was working with the bank on a loan mod. Sure the bank has a right to protect their investment, but there are certain rights that the borrower has too. And one of them is if ti's not in foreclosure they can't just break into someones dwelling without knocking and start changing locks. You can't tell me that someone wouldn't notice if there was actually a person living in a home by just obsreving a little or how about TRY KNOCKING ON THE DOOR FIRST! Don't be such an idiot making a response like that. BTW you don't know what kind of hard times this person has fell on, Poepole like you make me sick. If I'm ever in a similar situation I would hope it was you coming into my home, whether you have a ccw or not go ahead and pull the weapon cause I'm a pretty good shot myself

    October 8, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. whitekong78

    Why doesn't Chase have the local sheriff come along to notify the occupant of eviction? News reports stated that chase admitted it was a "mistake". The banking system is designed to keep poor people indentured to the bank while all the perks and benefits are given to people with the most money.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    If the security agreement (read: mortgage) that the homeowner signed said that "in the event of default, Lender may enter the collateral to secure the collateral" - then there is no break-in, SHE CONSENTED to the entry (albeit many years ago).

    Yes, you own your home. Yes, your lender has a process they must go through to divest you of your ownership. YES – in order to get the bank to lend you the money all those years ago to buy the house, YOU AGREED to many restrictions and conditions, and YOU granted them additional rights in the house. If YOU hadn't AGREED to this, THEY would NOT have loaned you the money.

    See how it works?

    October 8, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. rachel

    Maybe if the banks weren't so messed up in their business practices and didn't need a BAILOUT from Americans so many people wouldn't be in the situation this woman is in. Our economy is messed up BECAUSE of banks and the guys at the top raping the American public to get rich, using unsavory tactics to get peopkle INTO houses so they can make a fortune on interest. People are responsible for their financial decisions, but these banks had a well thougth out and funded business plan for what is close to fraud for years.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. publius enigma

    Too bad its not texas so you could shoot him.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Catie

    I do not understand banks being allowed to change locks without a court proceeding. My husband and I rented our condo and the renter hadnt paid for the rent for 3 months. We were not allowed in the property without the renters permission and we had to go to court. The renter trashed the inside, I cried for 3 days when I saw my beautiful home trashed. We are military and we had to go on a tour to another state so we rented in good faith. After the court order a sheriff had to go open the place to us and we changed the locks. We won the action but never saw a dime. It was so sad. So if an actual owner cant even get inside a home without a sheriff how are the banks allowed get into a home without a sheriff?

    October 8, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    This is the kind of power the Republican party wishes to give to the banks. When the administration resists it, the Republican hacks call them socialists, and complain about how government regulation is destroying capitalism.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. JohnnyZ

    If anyone attempts to break into my home, sights will be aligned, safety off, finger off of the trigger. If they succeed and I do not recognize them, they will be shot until they stop progressing or until they retreat. I don't want to sound macho but mortgage or no mortgage, no one breaks into my house if I am there.

    Had the contractors considered the common sense action of ringing the doorbell or knocking first? This might have led to a conversation rather than a police visit or possibly being shot.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jason B.

    That intruder's pretty lucky she wasn't armed and wiling to shoot!

    October 8, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tman

    Pay your payments, if you sign a contract know you will live up to it. Or get a house that you know you can pay for, Americans are living outside their means.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. yaeger

    If this were my house the story would have been: Man fatally shot several times while breaking into home.
    The banks need to pay for this ludicrous behavior. Hit them in the wallet where it hurts.
    I'm not a banker but I would think proper protocol would be to put the house in foreclosure and take a sheriff's deputy when you evict the tenants, not send a thug to break in and change the locks. Again, I have no issue with dispatching illegal intruders with lethal force.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. mcrose

    My guess.
    The reason these "accidents" are happening is the same reason that loans were "accidently" given to people who couldn't pay them.

    The individuals in the bank are most likely compensated per forclosure executed. Just like the mortgage bankers were compensated per loan make. You give people a financial incentive and they will do whatever they can to make it happen. Rules will be bent and rules will be broken, because those who make the most loans/forclosures will make the most money.

    If there is not recourse/punishement levied against the people and the banks who employ these practices we will eventually end up in a situation where people issue a mortgage against your house without you knowing just so they can reposess it. Oh. . .wait that IS already happening where contractors are sent to the WRONG house. Without severe punitive damages against those who does this we are ALL at risk of having our house broken into whether or not we have a loan out.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
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