Attempting a short sale with a client loan with Citi

I own a RE/MAX office in Seattle and have helped many clients through the short sale process, however I have not (until today) worked with Citibank and am wondering if anyone has any experience working with this lender’s particular loss mitigation department. I have been experiencing extensive hold times (up to an hour each day) and am hoping for a circuitous route - if there is one. I expect long hold times and have staff to help me with these calls but just thought I would pose the question.

Thank you, I look forward to participating in the forum.

As you process leads, keep an eye out for loans with the following companies and avoid them:

Popular Mortgage, Suntrust, ASC, CIT Group, Option 1 and OCWEN are all lenders that are extremely difficult to work. They are unorganized, understaffed and their employees are under trained. Many of these companies use a “team approach” to loss mitigation. When I call these lenders I routinely get stuck on hold for 30 minutes and always get cut off when my call is transferred. When someone does finally answer the phone they have no clue what’s going on with the deal because no one in particular has been assigned to it. These companies are inefficient and ineffective.

Be aware that HSBC and Wilshire historically always pursued deficiency judgments against homeowners; however, lately these lenders have forgone this practice and have approved short sale offers without asking for a deficiency.

Countrywide is a huge lender and is one of the most organized loan servicer we have worked with over the years. They service loans for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA and the Veterans Affairs (VA). They also service their own loans. Countryside typically requires 30 days just to get a file set up in their system. Once a BPO is done they require another 30 days to review the BPO and the offer. They also need to have a file 21 days before the auction to examine the file and potentially postpone the foreclosure sale.

Chase needs 30 days, as does Wells Fargo to postpone auctions. Chase is one of our favorite lenders to work with because we find them honest and diligent. Chase will return phone calls! We have had much success with Chase in getting deals done and getting them done fast.

Ameriquest (AMC) is another decent loan servicer to work. They also seem to work quickly and more efficiently than most lenders. We have had much success with them as well.

CitiFinancial / CitiMortgage is another company whom we like. These are two separate companies and short sales are handled by completely separate offices. Citi can be inconsistent with their approval methods. For example, sometimes their loans, especially the 2nd mortgages, are serviced out of their local branch offices that are usually located in strip centers. The people who service these loans in the local branches are usually young loan officers. These twenty-somethings usually do not understand the process of short sales. If you come across one of them see if you can get the file assigned to a senior manager or have the file transferred to one of their large loss mitigation offices. You’ll have much more success working with a more senior loan representative or mitigator.

Citi is also inconsistent with their approvals. Sometimes they’ll try to pursue deficiency judgments and sometimes they will not. Make sure you ask them for a “settlement in full” and not for a “release of lien.”