Tips for dealing with SunTrust as our mortgage servicer?
September 22, 2014 1:42 PM   Subscribe

The mortgage on our house was transferred from a local bank that we really liked to SunTrust. I would appreciate any best practices for dealing with SunTrust, which does not have a good reputation as a mortgage servicer.

I've googled a bit about it and found a news story about SunTrust paying out $50 million to compensate for servicing abuses. I've also found this complaints page where a common refrain is that the various departments at SunTrust don't communicate with each other, and "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." This has me worried.

We have been paying our mortgage to LocalBank through our credit union's online bill pay. This does not seem to be an option with SunTrust; they will allow checks + payment coupon, or them directly taking the payments out of our credit union account. I am really not comfortable with allowing SunTrust that kind of access to my account, so we will do the paper check route.

I'm thinking that I probably should make a copy of the check and the coupon, and send the payments via certified mail. Is this overkill? Is there anything else I should be doing to minimize the impact of any potential SunTrust screwups?

We also will probably make principal-only payments occasionally, and any tips on getting that done with a minimum of confusion with SunTrust would be welcome.
posted by SockISalmon to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance $LOCALBANK was homestreet? Same thing just happened to me. I'm considering setting up auto-pay with my bank so they issue the check, in the hopes that that will be any easy way to ensure a paper trail.
posted by lucasks at 2:25 PM on September 22, 2014

Agh, I see that's what they disallow. Sorry for the bad advice.
posted by lucasks at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2014

Best answer: I get the concern, but SunTrust isn't just a servicing corporation, they're an actual bank. I think ACH auto payments through them is best. I understand the inclination to not want to grant them that sort of access, but it's genuinely the easiest and best way to ensure they're paid exactly when they demand and giving them literally no slack for screwing with you.

For principal-only payments, you'll typically have to send them a check with PRINCIPAL ONLY in the memo and the account number, but you'll need to call them to get the whole process.

Makes me happy that my loan got sold off to RoundPoint. They allow autopay, but they even allow you to auto-overpay to principal, which is fantastic.
posted by disillusioned at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2014

Best answer: Open a new account just for the SunTrust ACH. You can either manually move money or do direct deposit in the amount of the mortgage.
posted by jpe at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you really don't trust Suntrust, jpe's suggestion is best. However, odds are you'll be fine. When reading all the internet complaints, keep in mind that you're reading the horror stories. Doesn't mean they're not true, but your odds of winding up in those predicaments are not high.

My mortgage payment is auto debited to Wells Fargo, a bank I am not fond of and would not have picked (my mortgage got passed around about 3 trips before landing there), but there have been no problems.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:38 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Our mortgage has been with Suntrust for years, and we haven't had any issues. Granted, we go to one of the local branches and pay with a check/e-check; auto-pay via electronic withdrawal is not something we have done.

We pay extra on the principal with every monthly payment; there's place to notate that on the payment coupon. Also, any additional payment during a month goes directly towards the principal. So if your loan is based on 12 payments a year for 30 years, the 13th, 14th, etc payment for a particular year reduces the principal. Related: I believe Suntrust has an option to pay part of your mortgage payment every two weeks. That eventually works out to an extra payment each year.
posted by jenny76 at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers.

My biggest fear with the ACH is SunTrust taking out more than they're entitled to, and then having to fight with them for months to get it back because they are dysfunctional.

Local SunTrust banks are a fairly long commute away from us, but it's an option that I hadn't thought of, so I appreciate hearing about it.

I will talk things over with my husband and decide which is the least objectionable choice: 1) sucking up my anxieties and just going with the ACH with our existing account, 2) opening an account just for the mortgage, or 3) driving a fair amount each month to deliver the checks to a local SunTrust bank.
posted by SockISalmon at 10:08 PM on September 22, 2014

When our CU contracted with an unsavoury firm to do this, we did have problems at first. They messed around with trying to charge us fees for their mistakes, etc. We, too didn't want to give them access to our accounts directly. Our solution for the problems was not to try going through the system of the terrible servicer, but go to our credit union and have them call to fix the issue. Your credit union is the actual customer, not you, so this can be more effective. They stopped messing with us after two incidents. It also puts the CU on notice that there might be a problem with this company.

We use our online bill pay, but NOT the automatic deduction. We manually put in the payment every month. Because our mortgage is with the CU, the debt is on our main account page, not the bill payment page. We can do a direct payment. Is that possible for you?
posted by annsunny at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2014

My mortgage was just transferred to SunTrust and, without actually looking much into what they allowed and didn't allow, I just added them as new payee in my online checking account (it's through Fidelity), added the new account number, and let the bank send checks just like it did with the old servicer. No issues, the payments go through. YMMV, of course.
posted by ndg at 5:23 PM on September 23, 2014

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