Is Your Unsecured Loan Secured or Unsecured?

I recently received an offer from Citibank for a second mortgage. It was an almost impossible deal to pass up, so I filed an application electronically. As seems usual in these cases, the credit check came back that did not include an account at Wells Fargo that I wanted to pay off, so I filled in the information manually on the electronic application. I specifically indicated that the account did not have a lien on the subject property.

So about three days later, I got a call from a Citibank representative. “Is the Wells Fargo account you added an unsecured account?” “Yes,” was my response. That was the only question they had, so we hung up.

Almost a week passed and then I received a phone call at 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday, a cruel thing to do for ANY reason. On a side note, it should be a legal requirement that any representatives or support personnel for any company should be located no farther than three time zones away. It was obvious that the person was from India; she could barely understand me, I could barely understand her, and the one-to-two second delays caused by the distance were highly annoying. The first thing they did was ask for my social security number. Fortunately, despite being woken up after only a few hours sleep, I had the presence of mind to wonder why the heck they wanted my social security number when THEY were the ones that called ME. Warning sign number one: unrecognized number from an unrecognized area code. Warning sign number two: someone with a question about my account doesn’t have the information that I would expect them to have. Warning sign number three: an obviously foreign accent. After several minutes of jockeying back and forth, I was able to verify that they truly were Citibank and not some shmoes in their garage trying to steal my identity.

Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

“Is the Wells Fargo account an unsecured account?” — “Yes, which is the same answer I gave when someone from Citibank called earlier this week.”

“Is it a secured account?” — “No, I just told you it is an unsecured account.”

“Can we get any information on any liens associated with this account?” — “It is an unsecured loan. The loan is not secured. There is no property associated with the loan whatsoever. It is not a HELOC (home equity line of credit) and it does not have a lien on any property. It is an unsecured line of credit.”

“So it’s a HELOC. Which property has the associated lien?” — “It is NOT a HELOC. It is just an unsecured line of credit. No property, no lien. It’s a line of credit, not a home equity line of credit. This account has nothing to do with home equity. It is unsecured.”

“The loan is unsecured?” — “Yes! Exactly!”

“We just want to make sure that there are no problems when we take over the existing second position [of the mortgage].” — “There is no second position. There is no second mortgage. We only have a first. There are no other liens on the property. The Wells Fargo account is an unsecured line of credit. They simply loaned us money. No mortgage papers, no liens, nothing. This information is all on the application you have in front of you.”

“But it’s a line of credit, isn’t it?” — What I ACTUALLY said was, “Yes, but it’s NOT a home equity line of credit. It is unsecured. It has nothing to do with our house. All I want to do is to pay it off.” What I WANTED to say would have been undoubtedly laced with colorful epithets and derisive remarks about her immediate ancestry.

“Can I put you on hold while I speak with [someone else] for a moment?” — “Sure.”

About 45 seconds later she came back on and asked, “Is the line of credit unsecured?”

Oh, my God! Unbe-frickin’-lieveable!

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