Monday, February 02, 2009


The above picture is from what I consider to be one of the funniest scenes ever in a Bill Murray movie. It's from the film "Groundhog Day", of course. If you haven't seen that one yet, it's very much worth a look.

In the movie, Murray plays a reporter who is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to help report on the Groundhog Day proceedings. Somehow he keeps repeating the same day, over and over and over. Given his comedic talents and some great writing, it makes for a hilarious story.

It seems like lately I have been in something of a Groundhog Day movie scenario. Mrs. Snave and I tried to refinance our house, and it was going to be a sweet deal. We were going to get enough extra money to pay off a large credit card debt, thus we would pay out about $1100+ less each month in that department. We would have gotten an interest rate of 4.75% instead of our current 5.5%, and we would have owned our house in 15 years instead of the 17 we have left on our current mortgage.

What keeps popping up on my credit reports is my late father's Shell card. He and I have the same name with middle initial "W" (!). Even though the W. stands for different things, the confusion is created by our first and last names and by me having had the same address as Dad from the time I was born until the time I moved out of the house.

Anyway, of the three main credit report agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion), one says I was born in 1927 (Dad's birth year) and all three say his old Shell account is mine. All the reports list stuff like "charged off as bad debt", "key derogatory", whatever. If we can't get the refinance done, it will very likely kill us financially.

Along with not being able to do the refinance, I also can't get Parent Plus loans for my daughters' college educations. Luckily, we are able to use Mrs. Snave's information for the college loans... but because both of us have to co-sign for the home refinance, we're sunk.

Since we got the denail notice in the mail from Bank of America on Saturday, I have spent eight or ten hours writing letters, investigating, going to Mom's house to look through old bank statements, etc. I don't think this problem can be fixed any sooner than 30-45 days from now. Crap!

So I suppose there is some resemblance to the Bill Murray movie plot in regard to my financial situation. I wouldn't trade having the same name as Dad or having lived with him for 19 or 20 years for anything, but right now it's the gift that just keeps on giving!

Wish us luck. I'm exploring all the avenues available to us, and I think all we can do now is to be patient. As in the movie, good will prevail in the end because this main character isn't going to allow it to happen any other way! 8-)


Blogger Mauigirl said...

That's terrible you are having so much trouble straightening this out. My husband has a similar situation - he and his dad's names are the same except for a middle initial - but luckily Dad's credit is good so it hasn't caused us a problem. Best wishes!

9:47 AM  
Blogger MRMacrum said...

For one thing I would find a different bank. In my opinion and from personal experience, Bank of America is the worse bank in the World. I hate them. I fart in their general direction.

It sucks that you have your fathers unpaid debt to deal with. I went through a similar scenario only it was not unpaid debt but debt they thought I was not reporting. One of my brothers credit card account had been somehow placed under my name. The bills still went to him in Texas, and he paid them dutifully. The problem is I was made to appear as a sleaze bag because I did not report this when looking for a home equity loan. And yeah, it was Bank of America we dealt with. I got it straightened out, but like you, it took some time.

Good Luck. And really, look into using another bank.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I talked to a loan officer at one of our local credit unions this morning, and he says they are allowed to make some decisions based on common sense, that there isn't any national organization for which they have to toe the line. I'll see what happens with that when Mrs. Snave and I go talk to him this afternoon. We already have our car payments set up through them, so they know us. We got the car loans going before Dad died, so the bad information was not on our credit report at that time... but this guy said to come in and "we'll see what we can do".

If we are talking about 15 years though, that's 180 months. If the C.U. offer costs more than $100 a month more than the B of A offer, that's $18,000 over the life of the loan... So if the C.U. says they will do the refinance for us but at a slightly higher monthly payment, do we wait for the credit bureaus to fix things and go with B of A, or do we take the C.U. offer now and be done with it?

I still wouldn't be able to get Parent Plus loans for my kids until the credit bureaus get their acts together, but at least we could get the refinance done...


12:09 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Good luck. God I hate these bureaucratic snafus. I haven't had anything like this recently, but a few years ago a friend applied for a passport. She applied months and months before she would actually need the passport for a trip to Germany she was planning.

Her passport kept not being ready, and she finally went to the passport office in person. It turned out that there were problems with her ex-husband, and the passport officials somehow mixed up the two of them, or something. She finally yelled at one of them "Do I look like I'm 6 foot 4 and weigh 250 pounds and have a beard??"

Anyway, I thought of her story when I read your post. Good luck with this.

6:48 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Sorry to hear you're having a rough time. Hope it all works out, buddy.

8:57 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Snave, you're talking about a substantial amount of money. I wonder if it would be worth your while to have a lawyer take up with the credit bureaus their inability to quickly and properly identify two people with different birth dates, decades different at that, and different Social Security numbers.

Does Oregon have a consumer protection agency? If so you might want to contact it, the federal one or both.

In a choice between dealing with a good credit union and Bank of America on a deal like this, I think you might be better off going with the CU even if it does cost a bit more. I suppose there's a chance you might be able to refinance again in a few years, so the difference might not be as great as it now appears.

In any case, I hope you're able to work this out.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I wish you luck, Snave. You and Mrs. Snave certainly don't deserve this. I would definitely find another bank. At any rate, sadly, these days I think a lot of our lives are like the movie Groundhog Day...

6:39 PM  

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