If you need to know the time and temperature while you’re watching Jimmy Kimmel, cashing a check or depositing a jar of coins on a Sunday morning, TD Bank might just be the bank you’re looking for. If you’re trying to refinance your mortgage, they may just have you looking for a bridge to jump off.

Over the last twelve months or so, we’ve had five customers who engaged with TD Bank to refinance their home mortgages. Three went elsewhere out of total frustration with the process and the other two stuck it out and have the battle scars to prove it.

The most recent victim was refinancing his jumbo mortgage (over $417,000) and was told it would be a relatively simple process and his loan officer (who he met at the local branch near his office) would be with him every step of the way.  I’ll spare you the details of the incompetence that my customer experienced during the process, but we finally settled at his home two weeks ago. He informed me that he had written a four page letter to the CEO of TD Bank outlining the utter chaos surrounding his refinance. At one point, after he complained to a supervisor about the poor service in the processing department, the loan processor called him and asked him why he was talking about her behind her back! Nice huh?

You can guess - settlement didn’t go off without a glitch either… you see, when you refinance with TD Bank in PA, you’re free to choose your own title company for the title insurance policy, but they can’t conduct the closing. So here’s TD Bank’s idea of being efficient and customer friendly:

Our mutual customer hired ALT to provide title insurance. Typically the title company works directly with the lender, prepares the title search and HUD-1, attends settlement and disburses the loan. This is how it works in 99.999% of cases, but not when you’re working with TD.

Our office is fifteen minutes from the borrower’s home in Blue Bell, PA. However, TD Bank hires a company in central New Jersey to coordinate and close the loan. The loan coordinator called me to get the cost of the title insurance for the settlement sheet she was preparing, so I asked, “Is someone driving from New Jersey to close the loan at the customer’s house?” She said that a notary had not been assigned yet. I asked her if she would like me to do it, since I’m only fifteen minutes away. She asked  what my fee would be and I told her nothing… we’re providing the title insurance and do not charge a fee to close the loan. Her response was “my supervisor will love to hear that” and that she would get back to me. An hour later, I get the call that I’ve been authorized by her supervisor to handle the closing, but even though WE don’t charge a closing fee, her company would still charge the customer $400 for the closing. WHAT!

You guessed it. I inform our client; he finally has enough and demands to speak with a decision maker in the mortgage lending department at TD Bank. TD Bank eventually makes an exception, and gives our company their blessing to close this one loan.

The loan closes, the customer is relieved and he celebrates the end of a nightmare with a couple of cold Coronas. Fortunately this story has a happy ending for this particular customer.

Later that night, after trying to put this entire transaction into perspective, a thought crossed my mind. If someone borrowing more than a million dollars has to be subjected to this nonsense, the poor guy or gal refinancing their one hundred and fifty thousand dollar mortgage doesn’t stand a chance.

In Pennsylvania alone, you’ll find more than 1,700 mortgage lenders. Do yourself a favor and check out all of the lenders from A-S. But if you insist on torturing yourself by continuing past S, when you get to TD Bank you might want to call it a day!

As always, if there’s an assistant vice president, vice president or executive vice president at TD Bank that would like to give an explanation… feel free to comment on this post.

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