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The Risks Of Outdated Procedures

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We have previously discussed corporate productivity errors that drastically impact unsuspecting people. Likewise, today’s topic on accidental housing foreclosures highlights the aftermath which follows unstable systems.

For Pittsburgh native Angela Iannelli, owning a home for twenty years and remaining punctual with mortgage payments did nothing to prevent the stress of foreclosure. Good Morning America covered her story on the accidental foreclosure which left her shaken and her house damaged.

I cannot walk in my house by myself. I tried it one time by myself. I went over, walked in and the whole time and I was jumping like somebody was behind me and just started shaking.

The damage done to her home by Bank of America took six weeks of repair. According to Iannelli’s lawsuit, the lock-down resulted in many problems:

Iannelli, 46, is suing the bank, noting in court papers the serious destruction done to her house, including cutting various water lines and electrical wiring, damaging Plaintiff’s furnishings and carpet.

Though this story does not go into the events leading up to Iannelli’s wrongful lockout, its hard to imagine that a faulty process was not involved. After all, how can a mix-up of this magnitude occur if not for receiving the wrong address or mistaking one house for another? According to the report, these types of mistakes are happening more frequently due to the increase in overall foreclosures and the passing of names and addresses from one department to the next.

consulting on foreclosures

© Flickr user Victor1558

Mistakes happen. There is no doubt about it. And when such errors play out, it provides an outline for what not to do in the future. The key is not avoiding failure, it is learning how to not make the same mistake again. Unfortunately, Ms. Iannelli’s situation is not the only one of its kind—forcing banks to revisit procedures, re-train staff, and work overtime to not only compensate innocent victims but reassure their other mortgage holders that the same won’t happen to them.

Thankfully, the company has taken steps to make sure these things don’t happen in the future.

Bank of America apologized, saying: “We will move quickly to review the allegations … and consider any hardship that resulted.”

Dan Frahm, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the company has “zero tolerance” for these kinds of incidents.

James Hagerty, a reporter who covers housing and mortgages for The Wall Street Journal, said, “I think this kind of embarrassing situation does help galvanize the banks to try harder. … Gradually, the banks are going to get better at handling these cases.”

Meanwhile, homeowners can do little to protect themselves against accidental foreclosures. But Bank of America said it is working on the problem and has mandated a strong system of procedures for contractors, including additional training and establishing a 24-hour hotline for homeowners.

Bank of America claims to have learned from their mistake, but in such a large corporation with so many moving parts, these things are hard to avoid.

As the number of foreclosures increases across the country, experts say, so do mistakes, such as mixing up names and addresses as they are passed from department to department.

The owners of a St. Petersburg, Fla., home claimed their belongings were cleaned out, despite paying for their home with cash, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

In Galveston, Texas, the power was shut off at a vacation home, resulting in 75 pounds of spoiled salmon and halibut for the owner, according to the Galveston County Daily News.

Don’t allow outdated or improper procedures wreak havoc on your company’s credibility or financial bottom line.  Instead, contact our business consultants to learn more about creating effective processes to reform errors that maximize your business capabilities.

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