To those that say this could/should have been easily resolved, no, not when Fifth Third is involved. Friends of mine almost had their credit ruined and faced foreclosure b/c 5th 3rd said that they "missed" a payment. The friends could PROVE that the payment was made -canceled check - but believe it or not, 5th 3rd continued to insist that the payment had not been made b/c they (the bank) mis-applied the funds and screwed up on their end.
Sounds simple right? Show cancelled check, show mortgage statements, show ongoing payments with never a late payment in history of the loan, should be resolved. Oh no. Within about 3 mos, 5th Turd was still insisting that the ONE payment hadn't been made and then started returning their payments to them every month (just as cited in the article, but by US Bank). They tried to schedule a meeting with the bank to show a loan officer the paperwork that would prove the payment. NO, NO, NO
-the bank refused to meet with them. They went to the bank and were told no one could meet with them and to leave.
They had an attorney that 'tried' to resolve the issue. No go. The attorney couldn't get it resolved -granted, this was a small-time attorney that tried to show the bank's simple error to them and once the bank threw their corp attorneys on it, the guy was out of his league. I know you're saying that something is fishy, that there was something else going on, but there really wasn't. Just an arrogant big business refusing to admit wrong-doing.
Finally, my friends had to hire a very expensive, experienced, banking attorney (they made too much money for legal aid, but are not rich by any means). This attorney had seen similiar situations numerous times. The only way to get the bank to pay attention was by filing a lawsuit against it -a costly endeavor. When it came close to the first court date, the bank decided it was time "to
settle." Yes, because they knew they were wrong. Suddenly, the bank was calling THEM, whereas for months the bank refused to take their calls.
After a year of this, the bank finally admitted it was wrong and fixed the accounting on the loan. Luckily, my friends had the foresight at the very beginning to continue to send their monthly mortgage and every month, when the bank returned it to them, they put the money in a separate account b/c they knew they would have to pay eventually.
The final outcome: the bank fixed their error, wrote a letter to the credit bureaus and received the payments for all the months that this was in dispute. Oh, and my friends? They learned the most expensive, important lesson of their life... they should have just made an "extra" payment of their $1200 mortgage to be done with it, but it ended up costing them almost $10,000 in legal fees to fight this -which is NOT recoverable in the state of Ohio. And before
it's suggested that they should have gone to the AG, or to this group/agency or that one; they tried. No one would respond to them. It was just one, small case.
Good luck to the Smiths. Hopefully the publicity will force the bank(s) to get this resolved. However, you need to be prepared to make the payments you've missed -you're not entitled to a free ride while this has gone on (if I mis-understood what the article was saying I apologize).