This story came from Ms. S., a visitor to one of our free Saturday consultations. Ms. S. makes her monthly mortgage payments to servicer BSI, which is short for Banca della Svizzera Italiana, the oldest bank in the Swiss canton of T. BSI was sold in 1998 to the Italian Genarali Group, which last year sold it to a Brazilian company called BTG Pactual for $1.7 billion. This trip around the worldwide financial universe is to show you that servicing American mortgages has now become big international business, thanks to securitization and the explosion of profit-heavy foreclosure. Financial institutions call it “asset management” for their “institutional investors,” but we can shorten that to “the foreclosure machine.” This machine is turning our citizenry into a nation of renters for the benefit of the big banks.
Ms. S. told me of a scheme BSI is perpetrating on her and other borrowers. It involves routing her payments to two different locations, and then charging late fees. Every month, Ms. S. mails her payment to an address in Texas. Then BSI re-mails it to their main location in Pennsylvania. This means that a payment that should be in transit for four days is sometimes in transit for as long as fourteen. It usually arrives late, incurring a late fee. This means an extra fifty dollars is added to Ms. S.’s mortgage payment each month — an extra six hundred dollars over the course of a year.
Ms. S. got wise to this scheme and complained to BSI. She is always able to get credit back for these late fees once she complains and shows the date on which she mailed her check, although BSI continues to charge her when she mails the check on the first of the month. Ms. S. gets around this by mailing her check in the middle of the previous month to make sure that it arrives at the second location in time. The problem is that BSI is doing this on a massive scale to millions of borrowers.
We all know, or should know, that the business of banks is converting our money. The conversion occurs from us to them. Here is a beautiful scheme to take fifty dollars a month extra from every borrower that is serviced by BSI. Just think of how many people pay this late fee without ever realizing what is happening. You may be one of them.
If BSI is your servicer and you are interested in being part of mass-tort litigation against BSI for this practice, contact Advocate Legal. The benefit of mass-tort litigation is that everyone joins together and shares the cost. If enough of you respond, we’ll take this to the courts.
For more about BSI’s nefarious practices, here is a letter regarding a recent settlement where BSI paid a $211 million penalty to the U.S. under a Department of Justice Program for Swiss Banks suspected of money laundering and tax evasion to avoid criminal prosecution.