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Is a Short Sale Backlash Starting Against Bank of America?


I’ve personally written about B of A Short Sales before and so have many others.  I don’t know if this will get any real traction but below is an unedited (and unsolicited) email I received that was sent out to Realtors across the country.


It’s crazy. Agents are Bank of America’s biggest customer. But they treat us like dirt on short sales. It’s like we don’t matter to them at all. However, we do matter and a whole lot more than they realize. Did you know that their mortgage division is one of their largest profit generators? That means when you send them a buyer, you’re actually helping them make more money. Why are we helping them out by sending them our customers? 

Let’s simply stop sending them business. Hey, we all know they’re making money! They have enough in the bank to pay Ken Lewis seventy-one million in retirement bonuses. And now they’re paying out forty-five billion to the feds so they can hire on a new CEO. Maybe they could use that to hire on more staff to negotiate short sales. Nope! Getting a new CEO is more important than taking care of their most important customers.

Here’s the scary data. We all know that short sales save money. One study showed a 20% higher net on a short sale versus an REO. That’s a lot of money! On a $150,000 mortgage, that means a savings of $30,000. This is their Achilles heel But, they aren’t taking the losses personally. No wonder they don’t want to hire on more staff. But, it costs Uncle Sam. Let me explain.

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I remember reading somewhere that 45% of BOA’s loans were owned by Uncle Sam, thru Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. When we show the American Public that BOA is costing Uncle Sam and the taxpayers tons of money, they will be outraged. So, join me in telling them how we feel and help me get the word out on this atrocity. We can get them to hire on more staff and do a better job on the short sales. But, I need your help.

Go to my site, and sign up to stop sending your buyer’s loans to them. Do your part to help make short sales work so everyone benefits.


Ben & Chris Curry – We work at KW in Gainesville, Florida

P.S. Don’t think BOA’s CEO, Ken Lewis, cares about agents. And don’t think that REOtrans is going to solve the problem either. No amount of technology is going to change the fundamental problem. They don’t have enough staff. How can negotiators even think straight when they’ve got 400 files on their desk? Would you?

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REOtrans is like putting a band-aid on, when you lost your leg. Rather than take care of their most important customers, BOA think they have more important things to do. What do they consider more important than treating agents with respect? It’s paying their departing CEO seventy-one million in retirement pay and forty-five billion to the feds. Why don’t they use that money to improve their short sales?

If you think that’s outrageous, then pledge your help at .

P.P.S. Forward this e-mail to your friends. Let’s get everyone we know on board. Then, we can actually get them to change their policies. Here’s a story from one broker whose buyer got lied to by them.

“I just had the worst experience as a broker in the twenty years of selling RE. The local BOA prequalified a client of mine and gave her a prequal letter saying she was qualified for a $105,000 mortgage. I was concerned with her going to BOA  and was skeptical about them qualifying her because she had her own business and did not show a lot of income, but she had a good bit of money in their bank and I screwed up and trusted them. I tried to get her to check with another lender with no success.

Long story short,  after BOA made her pay off her car, transfer money out of CDs, having the loan processor go on vacation the day before closing without telling anyone. The final loan approval guy calls one week after the closing date to say that the Buyers ratios are over 30 points off!

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I am not a mortgage broker but even I know that the first thing you check is credit and the second thing is Dept to income ratios.

The moron’s they have working for BOA allowed this poor lady to go through the expense and hassle of their loan process with Dept to income ratios that where nowhere close to being where they need to be.

They had the nerve to call her a week later to ask for a $400 fee they say she owes them for the loan process. Worst experience with a lender in 20 YEARS!” Paul. 

Pledge to stop your sending your buyer loans to them here .

Sent By: Ben & Chris Curry P.O. Box 2287, Lake City FL 32056.

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If you found the above viewpoint interesting – look for my next post on the subject of Bank of America and short sales.  I think you are going to love it!

Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Jim Gatos

    December 27, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Russell, one of the reasons I LOOK FORWARD to reading your posts is because you simply don’t pull any punches. You simply go for the “jugular”.. tell us the truth, and damn the torpedos..

    This article hit home for me a couple of ways.. I have been able to close on two BOA short sales this year, HOWEVER, I also have one the owner herself pulled out of because she was “emotionally spent”, and decided to go through foreclosure.. and another one now we’ve been waiting MONTHS for with NO real answer… They do BPO after BPO because somehow, their own BPO’s get “negated…

    WTF, huh..?

    I personally know agents and buyers who “cringe” and pretty much try to avoid getting involved with a short sale if it’s a BOA Short sale, and that really is sad. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you of some of the horror stories I’ve heard.. Horror Stories I personally have been blessed NOT to have personally experienced abundantly.

    Their loan process, even in MY area, is generally looked at as a nightmare by most of the real estate agents I’ve spoken too. I personally “cringe” when I hear a buyer going through them. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced that much with them locally, but I hear stories from other agents.. I’m one of the lucky ones, they haven’t sent their loan officers after me… Lost applications, ridiculous charges, similar stories of convoluted loan systems seems to be the “norm” at BOA…

    Two loans I’ve given them a couple of years ago were Countrywide loans.. They went through, but I hated the way they seem to treat agents and their clients. The loan officer at the time was (and is) my friend… and STILL, the process wasn’t the smoothest.. What does THAT tell you? I’m trying to be nice and hold back here…

    Being more on the listing side, I suppose I don’t have to deal with most of the crap buyer’s agents deal with when dealing with BOA.. I can tell you, though… They don’t need much help from the public and from agents when we are discussing their reputation.. No sirrre BOB, they’re doing a great job at this ALL BY THEMSELVES…

    They also had a division in my area, known as “Spectrum Funding” (Now defunct, I guess.. ), They specialized in giving loans to people who were higher credit risks loans.. The kind of loans I suspect got a LOT of people in even MORE trouble…One of the loan officers themselves shook their heads when they told me the stuff that would be going on. Example: my friend wanted a loan to buy some land to build spec houses. The BOA loan guy was the son of a friend of his. I recommended another lender. My friend felt obliged to go to BOA.. FIrst them tell him around 6%.. When in a week, they were finalizing everything to apply, the loan “matter of factly” jumped to over 8%!


    My friend walked out and never went back..

    I personally wouldn’t even consider having a checking account there.. LOL…

    Well, anyway… every time I read one of your posts, I envision you as a “60 Minutes” version of a reporter for real estate. “I’m Russell Shaw, those stories and MORE on ….”.

    Take care, glad to see you blogging again!

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    December 27, 2009 at 7:47 am

    I don’t have any comment on if people should send their clients to this lender or not.

    Having said that, they are by far the most difficult company to deal with in regards to Short Sales. The introduction of REOTrans has resulted in significantly more work for an approval that should have been given months ago.

    The staff members are lost, the seller is lost and it’s impossible to get a direct answer. It appears from the outside that BOFA has just created more busy work, for the agent attempting to help their client get an answer.

    All the while BOFA is busily working on foreclosing as fast as they can. It’s insane, and the only reason why (I can’t believe I’m writing this) think it’s time for the Fed’s to start putting new voluntary practices of 10 day approvals etc, into effect as requirements and not incentivized initiatives.

  3. Broker Bryant

    December 27, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Russell. I received this same email last week. My opinion is that the email and the request for collusion is in violation of Anti-Trust laws. I do short sales for a living and focus on getting them done not whining about BofA. While BofA is slow they have approved every single short sale we have requested.

    The fact if the matter is that if someone owed me $200k and only wanted to give me $60k I’d take my sweet time about it too. Especially if I had another party paying me a monthly fee while I sorted it out.

    And of course in most cases BofA is not the entity making the decision about the short sale anyway. They are just paper pushers.

  4. Ken Montville

    December 27, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I am not a big fan of short sales regardless of who the mortgage holder may be. It could be anyone and, as Broker Bryant pointed out, there is no incentive to hurry the process along.

    IMHO, we should forget about placing a lot of time and energy in changing the short sale process, per se. Instead, the time and energy might be better spent lobbying the powers-that-be to force a quicker process to full foreclosure and get the inventory out of the system. Once the bank owns the real estate they’re a lot easier to work with and more willing to unload, er, sell it.

  5. Broker Bryant

    December 27, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Ken, Speed up foreclosures? Sorry but I’m in the business of helping people salvage some of their credit and get out or a bad situation with the least amount of damage. Speeding up the foreclosure process helps nobody.

    Short sales fail because of lack of knowledge on the part of the agent. We are the ones that need to step it up a notch. We need to be able to tell which short sales will get approved and which ones won’t. Then we need to know how to work with each individual lender based on who the investor is, whether or not there is PM and what their financial expectations are.

    It is also our job to make sure sellers and buyers have realistic expectations.

    Once agents quit blaming the lenders and start learning the solutions short sales will be a whole lot easier. As it stands now the system is bogged down with multiple offers, fake purchase contracts, incomplete short sale packages, unnecessary phone calls, fraudulent seller financial packages, contract prices that are way too low, just to name a few. These are the reasons short sales don’t close.

  6. Jim Gatos

    December 27, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Broker Bryant..

    Your reasons are exactly why there needs to be more UNIFORMITY among the short sales process… I don’t totally agree with Ben Curry BUT I can see why there should be some uniformity..The banks lent the money; now it’s in their ball court to do their part… Learning the solutions? I’ve learned ALL the solutions I could learn, all it takes is ONE bad experience to change your mind..

  7. Thomas Johnson

    December 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Broker Brian: A recommendation to not use a lender is no more an anti-trust violation than a recommendation to use a lender. Boycotts are a part of our soon to be destroyed capitalist system. In serving our clients, we are free to make referrals which support our fiduciary responsibilities. If an agent saves his client from BofA heartburn, his client is served.

    Russell: If the BOFA loans are owned by FNMA or Freddie Mac, then the problem lies with the owner of those institutions: the US Treasury. BOFA is just taking the heat for Tim Geithner and his merry band of Goldman Sachs pirates who have been let loose to loot America. BOFA takes the heat because they are told to by their largest shareholder: the US Treasury. Here is the source of your shadow inventory. Those shorties and those in arrears are living rent free and serve to maintain the property occupied while Tim and his merry band shovel cash out the door to Wall Street. If this inventory were released to the market, fannie’s, Freddie’s and BOFA’s balance sheets would lose a huge number on the asset side, would be instantly insolvent and that would explode the USA national debt to bailout the trillions of underwater mortgages and MBS’s which are held by pensions, and governments all oever the world. I am afraid that Tim and Ben have merely papered over the problem and there is another round of “crisis” to come.

  8. Thomas Johnson

    December 27, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I just found this which is apropos to this debate: according to AP, Fannie and Freddie now have a blank check to keep on operating. They just got another $400 billion from Tim and Ben. Note this hit the wire 12/25 when not a whole lot of folks here at thome were watching. Watch the dollar this week…

  9. John Kalinowski

    December 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Russell! Glad you’re writing again. Happy New Year!!

  10. Chris Curry

    December 27, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Chris Curry here.. I wanted tochime in here:

    1. BOA is trying to change, on Wednesday we had a one-on-one conversation with the new Vice Pres of the BOA Short Division.. HE promised great changes in the next month or so, I pressed him “Can you really made a difference, do you have any power” he promised me that he was given like a blank check to-do what he feels if needed! So I hope good things to come!

    2. We have close 100% of our BOA files (10 in 3 months) it just drives us NUTS how crazy they are compared to the other banks.

    3. Broker Bryant, we are very skilled Short Sale Realtors (95% success rate of closing vs foreclosure), we also have close over 100 shorts sides in the 14 months.

    4. FYI, We got a BOA short approved in 1 day! We just had everything exactly perfect and the bpo was already done. So they are changing, it just to WAY to much kicking and screaming.

    So i just wanted to post my 2 cents and let us know that BOA did respond to us, and I think being the “Boots on The ground” vs some broker saying “My agents Say” help our feedback.

    So send me any headaches or changes you feel BOA should make. WHY, the new Vice Pres asked that I would send him case studies on how CRAZY of a mess he has to clean up.. Again “Boots on the ground” vs “My agents Say this”..

    Chris Curry (Real Short Sale Realtor-95% of my Business is Short Sales)

    P.S. The only way they reach out to me was because there loan officers were e-mail the top saying.. Talk to this guy, we can’t close agents business.

  11. ShortSaleArtisan

    December 28, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Wow everyone, great comments here!

    All in all a very Interesting post and email that was sent, and mirrors everything I’ve about the current BofA process.

    Interesting take on technology and REOTrans. It’s disheartening to see how technology, which should be improving processes, is actually adding a layer of complexity to the process.

    I didn’t see any comments here but I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s take on how the HAMP short sale program will impact Bank of America when it takes effect in the spring.

    @Bryant good to see your post too taking a level-headed look compared to the article itself. Congrats on securing approvals with BofA. I guess whining doesn’t really get us anywhere, but the intent of the email is to drive people to the “Agent advocate” site, which looks like it has good intentions…. improving the process would help you too! While I get that the bank doesn’t want to take $60k as settlement when they are owed $200k, invariably the $60k is better than the (for example) $30k they would get down the line.

    I’ve always made the case that as long as the distress is real and the situation is honest a short sale really is a best-case solution for lenders and homeowners who are in trouble. Is it ideal? Absolutely not! But assuming due diligence is correct and the homeowner is not misrepresenting the situation (which would be illegal; anyway) – a short sale can help every involved entity.

    Great posts everyone!

  12. Broker Bryant

    December 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Thomas, There’s a big difference between not recommending a lender to your customer/clients and sending out an email to other professionals suggesting they do the same. That is collusion. In the same vein there is a huge difference between consumers boycotting a business and a 3rd party suggesting they do so. Just call the DOJ and ask them what they think about the above email.

    Jim, I have no problem with a uniformed system for short sales IF they can come up with ine that will work. I think they are trying with the new HAFA guidelines. We’ll just have to wait to see if these guidelines catch on or not. And of course NAR has no clue when it comes to short sales. I actually heard recently that the person in charge of short sale training for one of the largest State Realtor associations has NEVER closed on a short sale. How foolish is that?

    The lenders are a part of the problem. But they are in no way the major part of the problem. In fact most lenders already have guidelines for short sales. Most of the agents I deal with don’t even know this. How can they expect BofA to approve the short sale in a timely fashion if it is not being submitted properly including using the proper forms that are specific to BofA?

  13. Broker Bryant

    December 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Good comment Chris. I am happy to hear you guys are making a difference. I received your email a few days ago right after reading several articles back to back from agents whining about short sales. It irks me because I know so many just don’t know what they are doing.

    I am relatively new to the short sale market but figured it out very quickly. It’s not difficult if we are willing to learn. Too many are not.

    Keep up the good work Chris. My rant is over 🙂

    p.s. I still believe you may have anti trust issues with your email.

  14. J Philip Faranda

    December 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Well, it isn’t surprising that this letter is being distributed. I haven’t gotten one but you reap what you sow. There was a time when Countrywide was the Grinch of short sales. When they were acquired by B of A people thought things might get better, but they didn’t. It should only take as much time to approve a short sale as it takes to underwrite a mortgage- the process is analogous. That we have to drag the lender, kicking and screaming, to get more money than they’d get if it went to REO explains how this industry thinks. It also explains how we got into this mess.

  15. Tony Hunthausen

    December 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Your frustrations in dealing with B of A on short sales are shared by many of us. It is clear that their systems are lacking and they are short staffed. No doubt the absorption of Countrywide this past year has contributed significantly to the chaos.

    I have only done one short sale with B of A thus far, and we were able to close it after a grueling 8 mo. Having learned something about their system will hopefully make the next one go a little smoother.

  16. Augusta Short Sales

    December 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Excellent comments! The short sale process is an adventure to say the least. Their inability to respond to offers in a timely manner continues to baffle us all.

  17. gainesville rentals

    December 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Short sales have been difficult experiences for me. Mostly the problems arrive within the bank not being quick with responding to customers.

  18. jlittleaz

    December 28, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    BOFA has ALWAYS been the most arrogant of the arrogant. I first started dealing with them in 1963, have hated them ever since.

    Instead of boycotting them, the peasants need torches and pitchforks.

    I am afraid the email suggesting a boycott is collusion and could result in some serious legal problems.

  19. Jim Gatos

    December 29, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Every time I read the email over, I tend to agree more and more with the “Broker Bryant” camp, that says the email is pretty much borderline asking for trouble. Has Mr. Curry seeked any legal advice?

    I personally have done short sales since 1993, and although the process itself is pretty much akin to “pulling teeth”, I know how to put short sale packages together and begin the process.. I am also aware, of course, of the different procedures with different lending institutions..and the need to “customize” the packages their way.. I’ve NEVER had a problem with the short sale process on MY end of the deal; the problems seem to happen when the lender is approving or disproving the sale…

    I read the comments on how “easy” Wells Fargo is supposed to be; let me tell you that’s NOT true in my case.. I’ve had a property on deposit since June and we’re still waiting for approval.. They FINALLY re-opened the file and hopefully, we’ll close next month.. I know we’re “dragging” the lenders in the process, however, the state of the economy is making short sales an everyday occurrence… It’s just the way things are..

    There should be NO reason why a buyer (a legitimate buyer, that is) should have to wait since June to buy a short sale, and remember, we don’t even know YET if it will happen. That’s NOT how you help the economy.

    There seems to be a lack of controls.. I am STILL waiting for Obama’s short sale “goon squad” to come over.. When will THEY come?

  20. Barry Cunningham

    January 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Wow..I agree with both Russell and Broker Bryant! I knew the time would eventually come.

    I haven’t had much of a problem with CW/BOA…must be the rep in this area. She is pretty wide open and communicates often. Sorry so many are having so many problems…but it’s probably only going to get worse…unfortunately.

  21. The Short Sale Lawyer

    January 5, 2010 at 3:02 am

    About time those who feel strongly stand up and speak their minds. Bank of America and others are not helping homeowners, they are lying and getting them to send money into them anyway they know how. We need to start to work together and solve the problem from the ground up.

  22. Jones

    February 15, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I’m beginning to believe that Bank of “America” is a euphemistic name that lulls us into a false sense of security/trust. Perhaps they are a foreign bank that is bent on destoying America one family at a time????At least, that’s how they appear to operate. UNDERCUT our standard of living and end up owning us to boot. How many clients will you have if 20% of American familes have been foreclosed on? Hey, it’s OK because BOA won’t run out of clients, they’ll just be able to charge more interest on consumer debt!!! And they can always get their money back from the treasury when the foreclosure they were working (while you thought you were working a shortsale) is complete. You are right, the DOJ should get involved in interviewing BOAconsidering the “pump and dump” that occured in 2008 that required the collusion of the appraisers, the lender, and both the buyers and sellers brokers…and left the buyer holding the bag. I’m suing my buyerbroker who was involved in the buy of my home in 2006 along with BOA’s appraiser and underwriter—maybe being questioned under oath By the FBI will make them more comfortable with the truth.

  23. Jones

    February 15, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Broker Brant and Gatos….So how long have yo beenworking for Bank of America ?

  24. Agent Randall

    March 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Hmm, I have closed many short sales with BofA with out a hitch until last month.
    I was told that they were no longer going to pay past due Home owners association
    dues in California or mandatory city inspections. So if the seller has no cash and the buyers wont pay that means the agent/broker has to pay the diff. This is just too bad, us as agents are all trying to help but get the shaft in the end.
    has anyone used the Equator System? Thoughts?

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