Yes, it is a good idea. But first it needs to be cleared up that it is not Bank of America’s system. It is a third party servicer called Equator. Equator was formerly called REO Trans and established in 2003. Until recently, the system was used only for REO properties. REO properties are those that the bank has taken back because of foreclosure. Real Estate Owned is the full name for REO. This means owned by the bank.
When Equator realized the need for a proficient system for the processing of short sales, they developed it, and presented it to the banks. Bank of America is not the only bank using the system. Equator’s CEO. Chris Saitta, has also made an announcement that they have a system that will be coming out for the new HAFA program for short sales. The website can be found here.
I have been a part of the Beta program with having a short sale I was negotiating that belonged to Bank of America. My short sale was slowly being worked on, and was already 7 months old. Equator says the average of a short sale in their system is 88 days. I think this will be true, and will be improved on with time. Of course, as with any beta system, there are bugs that need to be worked out.
I voted YES on this debate, because I have seen some improvement in my short sales getting processed as a result of the Equator system. I did experience one system error, but at least five human errors. It is my hope that as the employees become more educated, and get used to the system, they will become more proficient.
I don’t know why, but it seems Bank of America employees have the attitude that telling you anything, “just to get you off their back” is appropriate. One of the problems with this is that some have become quite adept at doing so, and it is difficult to tell who is telling you factual information, and who is just telling you something that will seem to satisfy you. Often, with weeks of repeated calling, you find out, that the file has not moved forward because something is needed. This is usually because someone has not told the agent or negotiator something, or has not told the homeowner they need to submit things for the file to be active. This happened to me, then it took ten calls in one day with both myself and the homeowner calling to get the correct instructions. We got a lot of misinformation, and information on the previous bank side negotiator, and bogus instructions for how the homeowner was to sign in. Finally we reached someone who was knowledgeable and gave correct information.
Then after the first offer was not accepted, the bank negotiator closed the short sale file. He never sent the notification or found out if we had another offer. I started on a campaign again to be able to put another offer in. This campaign was again numerous calls, and being told just to put another one in. But, it was impossible to do because it had been closed. After two weeks someone smart enough got it set up for me to put in another offer.
Later, I had to counter offer what the bank had countered. I filled out the online form for the counter, and pressed SUBMIT. The offer was suppose to go to the bank negotiator, but there was a system error, and it didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t to the negotiator, and there was no way for me to submit the offer again through the system, because there was no form. Trying to explain this to the negotiator was like the comedy routine of “Who’s on First”. But, never fear, after a month of human error, a new counter offer form was sent to me one afternoon, and it was submitted to the investor, and approved on the same day. This closing took place nine months from the beginning. A slight improvement on my last manual system closing that took 11 months. Of course, at that time they usually took 2 months just to find the short sale package after it had been faxed in, then they lost some of it, so the time started all over again.
Yes, I do think the new electronic short sale system Bank of America is using is a good idea. Equator works hard on making the system very useable. Now if only the human side of the system at Bank of America would prove as reliable, they could have the best system out there.