Chase Letter Rattles Homeowners' Nerves

Letters warned of possible shortage in escrow accounts

A letter sent to tens of thousands of Cook County homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Chase raised concerns recently, but left a number of questions unanswered.

The letters, sent out since Thanksgiving, warned homeowners of a possible shortage in their escrow account due to a change in the disbursement date of the second installment bill sent by the County.

Homeowners who called the Chase number said they couldn’t get any specific information, while the number Chase listed for the Cook County Treasurer’s Office was actually the number for the County Clerk’s office.

While this is first year the county has sent the second-installment bill on time since 1977, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said it should not have come as a surprise to banks. Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced the change in dates last June, two months before the second bill was due.

Pappas also said Chase did not consult with her before inserting her office’s phone number in the letter.

A Chase spokeswoman said the company has apologized to Pappas for the mistake, and has now set up its own hotline -- 866-808-7740-- to answer any escrow questions. Chase said it will work with all homeowners to help spread out any increase in monthly payments, at no extra cost.

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