Wells Fargo Helps Colorado Homeowners

Wells Fargo Helps Colorado Homeowners


Wells Fargo lends distressed Colorado homeowners a mortgage lifeline

David Everett Muench, left, speaks with his father at Wells Fargo's home retention workshop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near DIA, the 17th metro-area workshop by the bank this year. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post )

An event hosted by Wells Fargo Bank on Tuesday drew dozens of people seeking to rework their mortgages because of economic troubles or reduced home values.

Among those who attended the event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Denver International Airport were Ashly and Brandon Ditlow, who paid $300,000 for their home in New Castle in 2007.

The property — the cheapest the couple said they could find near Brandon's Eagle office — is now worth less than they paid for it.

"We have never missed a payment," Ashly Ditlow said. "We knew the house was underwater, and we wanted to pay on the commitment we signed up for."

The couple said the downturn in the mountains, where Brandon works as an air conditioning specialist, has hurt their finances.

After meeting with a Wells Fargo "retention team," the couple said the bank may help them. Their solution, if it materializes, will be for the bank to defer a portion of their loan.

Wells Fargo representatives spent the day working with borrowers like the Ditlows to reach similar modifications.

The bank claims that from January 2009 through May 2011, the company had 687,047 active trial and completed modifications nationwide.

Shannon Peer, who oversees the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, said banks have been criticized for not doing more to aid customers.

But the workshops are "very beneficial because of the face-to-face service," Peer said. "Banks have been criticized because of a lack of commitment and this is a response to that."

Jim Spray, a Denver mortgage broker, was more skeptical about such events. He said such face-to-face workshops can be helpful.

"But so much of what I've seen is to gain favorable publicity with government entities," said Spray, who has testified in federal and state courts against banks.

According to Wells Fargo officials, approximately 25 percent of those who participate in its face-to-face workshops receive same-day approval to stay in their homes through arrangements such as loan modifications or refinancing.

Within two weeks, about two-thirds will have reached such agreements.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or hpankratz@denverpost.com


25% Wells Fargo workshop participants likely to get approval to stay in their homes on the same day through loan modifications or refinancing; 50 percent get approval within a week and two-thirds get approval within two weeks

96% Wells Fargo borrowers in the metro area who are current on their loans

4% Wells Fargo borrowers in the metro area, about 4,600, who are delinquent

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