Bank blunder on loan spans two decades

Seven On Your Side
May 31, 2013 8:21:54 PM PDT
Back in October 1992 George H.W. Bush was in the White House, "Aladdin" was king at the box office, and for one unsuspecting Long Island homeowner it marked the beginning of a banking blunder that set off a chain reaction that would cost thousands more than two decades later.

"It's been a nightmare because it goes on and on and on," said Kisa Valenti, a homeowner.

The only thing that can soothe Kisa Valenti's mounting frustrations is her husband's piano playing.

The pair found love the second time around a few years ago, got married, and moved into her home.

But when it was time to sell his old house, an old home equity loan was the hitch.

"I just, I just couldn't believe it," said Joe Costantino, a homeowner.

It showed up as an unresolved $20,000 debt against the home.

"I took it out in 90," Costantino said.

"And you paid it off two years later?" Nina Pineda asked.

"Yes," Costantino said.

He still has the paper to prove it.

"He is such a great record keeper," Valenti said.

It's a saving grace, because the loan pay off was never sent to the county.

In order to close, the couple had to put $5,000 in escrow toward that $20,000 lien just to push the sale through smoothly.

"So you've been trying to figure this out since you've closed in December?" Pineda asked.

"Yes," Valenti said.

"And they still have $5,000 in escrow?" Pineda asked.

"Right," Valenti said.

One of the big stumbling blocks is that the original lender was long gone Riverhead Bank.

"So Riverhead became Beneficial?" Pineda asked.

"Beneficial merged with HSBC," Valenti said.

And when Kisa asked HSBC to notify the county the loan was paid, mistakes were made.

"How many mistakes were on this?" Pineda asked.

"I think four or five," Valenti said.

Mistakes like forgetting to sign the document over and over.

"I can't understand how they can stay in business," Valenti said.

So 7 On Your Side called up HSBC and they finally got it right.

"The ordeal is over," Valenti said.

Suffolk County removed the lien on the record and Kisa and Joe got their $5,000 back.

"What are you going to do with the money?" Pineda asked.

"This summer we're going to Iceland," Valenti said.

"Well, that'll get you there and back," Pineda said.

The bank HSBC apologized for this problem but solved it immediately after 7 On Your Side's calls.

The big takeaway is to hang on to important documents no matter their age, especially a loan or mortgage satisfaction document.

And, follow up with the county to see if they recorded it. 7 On Your Side was told this problem is fairly common.