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.

Jacobini:
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?

Jacobini:
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.

Chetry:
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.

Chetry:
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.

Chetry:
Are you suing?

Weidner:
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. Sheri

    As has been said...if she had been in foreclosure and received the proper notice, then YES the bank had the right to change the locks and take over the property. This is a case of abuse of power and some scare tactics. I think they should sue....for exactly the amount that will pay their mortgage in full. And if every person that the bank does this to does the same thing they might think twice about using this tactic.

    I would have been terrified. I cannot imagine.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Johnny Five

    Would the bank have been liable if she would have shot him dead? Someone breaks into your house and you take them out....who is at fault?

    October 8, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ron

    Lucky Lady! She's probably going to have the bank pay off the rest of her mortgage and she'll live happily ever after in her home. I say she should sue Chase to get at least the house, a new car and a good chunk of money in another bank to collect interest.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tim NJ

    Local police and federal law enforcement need a warrant to break into your house. The people posting here that support granting more authority to locksmiths hired by Mult-national banks need to have their heads' examined. I'm all for supporting the bank's need to protect their assets but there should be a process of notification and foreclosure before seizing the property. That's just common sense.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kitty

    I have an idea, pay your bills! If she had made her payments this never would have happened.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kenny

    They say anyone can "talk big" on the Internet so her is my "Big Talk" and the intruder can attest to it. I herd glass break in my kitchen and when I got to the kitchen and turned on the light he turned and picked up a butcher knife. After 2 rounds he dropped it. Should you need proof of this, he can be found at 123 South Hell St. In Hell. Don't break into a house even to change the locks. Call the sherriff and have them meet you to confirm the house is infact empty. That's the way to do it.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew

    I work for a bank selling foreclosures and I get that they should have knocked and posted signs on the door and this home owner should have been contacted prior to them "breaking in on a dark, cold and stormy night", but really you had "no idea" you were in foreclosure and yet you are 3-4 months behind in your payments?? What did you think, the bank was going to send flowers?? I am getting sick and tired of hearing these cry babies and what is American doing for them because they are behind in their payments. As stated, this house should have been almost paid off and not used as a cash machine. I pay my mortgage every month on time and I get nothing, no thank you from the bank and no thank you from anyone who has been sitting in their hom for MONTHS and even YEARS without making payments. We have people who have not paid their mortgage in 3 years still sitting in their homes.....but don't foreclosure because we are "working out payments" so that people who have no job can go back into foreclosure 6 months later only prolonging the tremendous issue this Country is going to face in the coming years. People need to wake up and take responsibility, stop blaming everyone else for your problems!!!! Make your payments and when you don't, you loose what you have. It's pretty simple really, Real Estate is an investment, just like the stock market. And although you don't live on the stock market, it is a risk and a lot of people are loosing, but nobody and I mean NOBODY complained when they were pulling money out to buy senseless material items to make them look better than they really are. Sometimes you just have to face the facts and accept the situation for what it is, learn from your mistakes (which is the hardest thing for ANYONE in the Country to do) and rebuild your life.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ten

      Well said!

      October 8, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Right on, nobody has any responsibility any more.

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

    To do a loan modification with a bank you have to be behind on your loan. We do not know if she stopped paying to get thst modification. We also need to remind ourselves that JP Chase took Our Tax money to stop from going bankrupt. So the bank is not doing her a favor they are doing what they are suppose to do for taking her tax money. We need to wake up and understand the facts before we judge someone. The goverment is giving our Tax dolars away to save companies who care nothing about us but, they will not help us with our own Tax dollars. I control the goverment they do not control me. These people work for us not the other way around. We can get these people in goverment fired if we as Americans really cared.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chuck

    I sincerely hope she is pressing criminal charges for Breaking and Entering as well. I could care less WHY the dude is there or who sent him in that regard... BandE is BandE

    October 8, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dyanne

    Hey,
    Suppose she had a young child and a baby sitter in the home.? I guess the bank may have apologized then.! Oh Boo-Hoo banks. You got 69,000,000,000.00 BILLION dollars from all of us........And you treat us like that. I WANT OUR 69 BILLION DOLLARS BACK TODAY!

    October 8, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. TheDoctor

    Use the Stand your ground Law, if they break in, drop them where they stand. I think the bank and these guys will learn very quickly how the laws work in some states.

    You have no idea who is coming in as they were not accompanied by the sheriff and did not have legal paperwork.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hone Owner in Florida

    I'd like to start by stating the reading comprehension abilities of Americans have really gone downhill. She speculated the situation, it's not stated he had a gun and a knife, but that was her fear. I have a mortgage and own firearms and live in Florida. I will defend my home and property and have had to do so previously. The announcement "I have a gun and will shoot" works well, even if you don't have a gun. I've never had to shoot anyone yet, but my neighborhood isn't getting any better. People can speculate and state their interpretation of the law all day long, but the facts remain. She did the right thing, a court can decide if the bank's representative was in the wrong or not. Times are tough, trigger fingers and emotions can be on edge. I'm glad she didn't kill him and it wasn't a burglar. For those that have a Television and Internet law degree, even on TV, the cops say "stop or I'll shoot" before they open fire. I pay my mortgage and I am the resident of my home. I have the right to protect it, but not the right to be stupid about it. I'd have to miss an intruder and put a bullet in my neighbor's house, so as all gun owners 'should' know, safety first. I do feel that since the banks agreed to high interest high risk loans knowing a large group of these loans would go in to default and then received our tax dollars to repair damages caused by their greed, they should return the favor in these hard economic times. We the People bailed out the banks and car companies.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jessica

    They will never apologize as that would admit guilt on their part, which they never, ever want to do.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ten

    Pay the mortgage on time and you don't have to worry about it. Sheesh. Banks are doing you a favor by owning the home so you don't have to save and pay in cash – the least you could do is pay them on the agreed-upon terms. Just because she was "renegotiating the mortgage" doesn't mean that the bank still doesn't own the house. People get so self-righteous when they're in the wrong themselves.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • B

      The bank tells you to miss a payment before they will review you your account for a loan review.

      October 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheDoctor

    Wow the whiners, the banks have a process to follow and if they can't follow it they should be prosecuted. Yes someone may be behind but these banks because of all their greed can't even figure out what they own. they have no right to do what they did no matter how delinquent someone is. And a bank never forecloses after 4 months and the process takes much longer to serve , counter and more.

    So they need to follow the process. the banks started all the mess and everything that came after it. I had a client doing 25 million in sales and the bank made a few million annually off him, they then cut the line, sued him for monies owed and then went directly after his clients once they had the database. of course when he started he worked with smaller banks and there were no issues and everyone made money, after the 2nd acquisition by one of the largest global banks they felt they owned the business and came and took it.

    October 8, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
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