CFO Jimmy's Patronis' Seal

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…. Orlando Sentinel: “Couple gets credit rating back as politicians seek answers on deferred mortgage mixup”

“Couple gets credit rating back as politicians seek answers on deferred mortgage mixup”
Orlando Sentinel
Trevor Fraser
December 21, 2020
To read the full story, click here.
State and federal officials are demanding action from lenders and rating agencies after an Orlando Sentinel story described one family whose credit scores plunged after taking a coronavirus-related deferment on their mortgage.

But even before any formal investigation could begin, Tod and Christin Caviness have been made whole.

“We’re on the road to where we should have been a month ago,” Tod Caviness said, with their credit ratings restored.

Last month, the Bradenton couple discovered the problem after they resumed mortgage payments they had temporarily halted under the federal CARES Act. Congress approved the law to give relief to people whose finances have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

Their plight caught the attention of Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

“What is happening seems like a disconnect where forbearance has been allowed … but the credit rating agencies seem like they’ve been on another planet while all this is going on,” he said in an interview Monday.

Patronis, meanwhile, is focusing on the big three credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In a letter he sent on Dec. 18, he questioned not only the error, but the consumer experience in disputes, writing, “the customer service that’s being provided to those in need can only be characterized as garbage. To err is human, but to give folks the runaround – especially around the holidays – is downright unconscionable.”

Patronis also wants to look at issues beyond the credit scores. He mentioned a friend who also took a deferment but had the new payments applied to the life of the loan, raising the overall monthly payments when they resumed.
“What if I’m on a fixed income and you’ve gone and increased my payment?” he said.

He’s hoping the attention on this issue can bring several results, such as more accessible customer service.

“I don’t think the financial institutions want to hurt people,” Patronis said. “But I think sometimes if we don’t call them out, they lose touch with what people are dealing with. They’re going to have to be a little more sensitive to what everyone’s plights are dealing with COVID-19.”
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