Complaint Review: First Choice Lending Services, LLC NMLS # 473797
First Choice Lending Services, LLC NMLS # 473797; Allen McDonald, Sr. Loan Officer NMLS # 308837 Incompetence - O tempora, O mores! Knoxville Tennessee
In March, 2013, I was approved for a VA loan on a $139,900 home by First Financial in Athens, Tennessee; however, this mortgage broker required a $6,000 closing fee. Jason Pankey, my realtor at Garren Realty in Etowah, Tennessee, then put me in contact with his friend, Allen McDonald, a mortgage broker at First Choice Lending Services, LLC, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Allen assured me that securing a VA loan would not be a problem.
After several calls from Allen questioning me about income reporting methods and a nonexistent 401(k), by the end of May, 2013, the loan had still not been approved; and Allen had stopped returning my calls, so that the only way I was able to make contact with him was through the realtor, Jason. Finally, I was told by Jason that Allen said that the loan application was rejected because lenders were scared off by the word “atypical” that the appraiser used in what was a very opinionated appraisal even though the home passed inspection. Allen then wanted updated pay information at the first of June in order to restart the loan application, which I declined. Later on, Jason told me that Allen told him that the loan was rejected because my debt ratio was too high and also because the underwriter disputed my reported income even though it has been reported per a CPA's instructions for the last 9 years and passed two IRS audits. Because of this, Jason said that according to Allen I would only qualify for a $120,000 home.
In September, 2013, my offer of $98,000 – $40,000 less than the house I attempted to purchase earlier the same year – was accepted on another home; and I submitted loan application paperwork a second time. As before, Allen assured me that securing a VA loan would not be a problem. However, he started again with the same arguments as before, complaining that my debt ratio was too high, arguing about my income reporting methods, questioning me about a nonexistent 401(k), et cetera… again, on a house that was $40,000 less. (In hindsight, it appears that he was using a list of standard talking points designed to make him sound impressive and disguise the fact that he was inexperienced and had no clue what he was doing.)
In December Allen wanted to add my wife to the loan application, who by now had finished a degree program and secured employment; so I sent him her last three paystubs as income verification. He then requested a copy of her diploma and a college transcript stating that the underwriter wanted confirmation that she wasn’t just working long enough to get the loan with the intention of quitting once it was secured. After sufficient information was provided, Allen said that with it we definitely qualified for the loan.
A week or so later, Allen informed me that the loan was ready to close as soon as my schedule allowed, which told me that the loan had been approved. I scheduled the next Wednesday as a vacation day. That weekend between work assignments and under the assumption that the loan had been approved, my wife and I ordered appliances from Home Depot for the new home (necessary because the ones left in it were 30-40 years old and for the most part nonfunctional).
By Monday before the Wednesday close date, because Allen had still not given me an appointment time for the closing I called and left him a voicemail telling him that if there was a problem I needed to know a.s.a.p. On Tuesday evening, I received a cryptic email from him that told me the loan had, in fact, not been approved. By that point, of course, it was too late for me to cancel the scheduled next day off.
On Friday, at my realtor’s insistence, Allen returned my calls and confirmed that the loan was not approved. I told him the problem his deception had created regarding delivery of the appliances ordered. He expressed concern and said that he hoped the underwriter wouldn’t find out about that purchase. By all indications, however, he apparently went straight to that underwriter the following Monday morning and told her about it; at which point she ran another credit report. Again, my wife and I were left hanging while no decision one way or the other was made.
Finally, my wife cancelled the appliance order and notified Allen, also informing him that she had contacted our state senator and would be reporting our experience to consumer reporting agencies. He, of course, denied his bungling of everything and even insinuated that we were lying. The circumstances regarding not one but two botched jobs on his part as outlined above reveal where the true deception lies with Mr. McDonald.
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