Bank denies loan, tells woman she's actually dead

A St. Louis woman is suing a bank and Equifax after months of trying to convince them that she is in fact alive.

By MSN Real Estate partner Feb 10, 2014 2:02PM

© Marilyn Nieves/Getty ImagesBy Jacob Gershman, The Wall Street Journal 


Kimberly Haman wants people to know that reports of her death are greatly exaggerated.


In this instance, it’s not a newspaper or Twitter account that has apparently jumped the gun with a premature death report. Haman, a 46-year-old St. Louis homeowner, claims she spent months trying and failing to convince her local bank and a major credit-reporting company that she’s alive.


In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Missouri last week, Haman claims she was plunged into a Kafkaesque black hole of credit unworthiness after a routine trip to the bank.


Post continues below

Seeking to add herself to her parents’ joint checking account as an authorized user, Haman filled out a credit application last February at the instruction of a local branch of Heartland Bank, which has locations in the St. Louis and Denver metropolitan areas.


But weeks later Haman, who was also at the time applying for a new mortgage, discovered that her application for refinancing was put on hold because Heartland was reporting her as “deceased” on an Equifax credit report, according to her lawsuit, which was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A representative of Heartland did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An Equifax spokesperson said: “Equifax reports consumer account information as provided by its furnishers, which are banks, retailers, credit card companies, etc.  We do not create data on consumers. Because of ongoing litigation, we are unable to comment further.”


Haman says Heartland assured her in April that it would fix the mistake. But by the end of June, her mortgage application got turned down because her existence (aliveness?) was still not reflected in her credit report, according to her lawsuit.

“Dear Kimberly Haman,” wrote the lender. “We regret to inform you that we are unable to proceed with you loan as of today June 20, 2013. The reason for your denial is that your status from Equifax is reporting you as deceased.”


She then contacted Equifax about her predicament, the suit claims. A half a year had gone by since that fateful trip to the bank, she says, but the grim reaper was still haunting her finances. Haman in August was denied a credit card for the same reason, according to her lawsuit.


“The entire experience has imposed upon Plaintiff significant distrust, frustration and distress,” the suit says, “and has rendered Plaintiff hopeless as to her ability to regain her good name and the credit rating that she deserves and has worked hard to earn.” Her lawyers say Haman works as a financial services supervisor.


The suit alleges that Heartland and Equifax violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to properly look into the problem. The statute governs the accuracy of credit information circulated about consumers and establishes a process to investigate consumer disputes.

"We don’t know specifically where the breakdown is," Sylvia Goldsmith, an attorney who represents Haman, told "Law Blog." "Both of her parents are still living, as well."


Heartland’s slogan, by the way, is “Real Life. Banking.”



More from The Wall Street Journal

Tags: loans
Apr 2, 2014 12:51PM
Without Charlie,  21/2 Men is a bomb.  The TV execs really screwed up royally.  They should swallow their pride, get their heads out of their butts, and resurrect Charlie.  He could come back from the dead and make this into a hit again.
Feb 11, 2014 4:53AM
When my mother passed away a bill kept showing up for her cell phone. I called to inform T-Mobile that she had passed and they said they could not do anything since I wasn't on the bill. SHE would have to call them. Uhhhh ... ok. Well, I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she just hadn't thought it through so I asked if I could send in "mom's" death certificate and the person I spoke to said; " you can do that but we will still have to talk to her to confirm it."  
While good people look for jobs there are others who just shouldn't have them ...
Feb 11, 2014 4:29AM
All problems I have had have been with Equifax. They apply reports without verifying ss numbers. They are the worst of the worst.
Feb 11, 2014 3:42AM

We as Americans, while trying to establish and maintain our credit rating, depend immensely 0n the 3 major credit reporting agencies. It's mind boggling when these same agencies don't fully present an accurate rating. This is not an isolated incident I'm sure. These 3 credit reporting agencies have ruined more peoples credit than Carter had liver pills!! If she's had enough, sue them!! There is no real excuse for blatant incompetence, yet these agencies exude it! If you have to deal with them, you're better off talking to the wall, Let the courts figure it out.

Feb 11, 2014 1:22AM

I just found out my bank filled out an application for credit in my name without my permission or knowledge. That of course goes on my credit rating as a negative mark because it was turned down. They said they do not do that type of loan, what ever that means. I have not been able to get an answers.

Feb 11, 2014 1:20AM

Just one of the many consequences of illegal immigrants.























Identity theft for the slow minded people.

Feb 11, 2014 12:57AM
First thought when I read the headline was "gotta be Bof A"...
Feb 10, 2014 11:57PM
Since when did legislators give the power of God up to Equifax...Holy Hell?? I thought financers knew statistics and logic well enough to NOT take advantage of the masses...OMG...I just said I was WRONG ;-)
Feb 10, 2014 11:47PM
BTW, No one can answer this one "Why has 11.75% been our lowest mortgage  rate in 29 years?"
Feb 10, 2014 11:43PM
I'm on the verge of making my death real....they did this to me in 2008...I might have came back to live in the credit world (after 3 months proving life) but has a Zombie. One one would even listen, guess its cause I'm just a worthless Zombie now. No lawyers would help, "on your side" (TV that helps,NOT) laughed, feds made me write detailed paper, guess I made a bad grade on it cause I never heard from anyone. If you can call it a good thing, I did discover our Insurance Agent was making "mistakes" on our clue report, in hind sight it explained why we where pay 785$ month for auto insurance, short of it..again no one would listen.....**** these "mistake" making fools! 
NOT Happy! happy! Happy!
Feb 10, 2014 10:52PM
I was told my husband died a year ago. Maybe they were wrong. God I hope so but he hasn't shown up yet. Me too forever Bill. I love and miss you every day!!
Feb 10, 2014 10:42PM
I had a similar experience 4 years ago.  I had gone into the branch to have an unused credit card reinstated.  The bank officer said there was a problem--I had no credit score.  He then explained that happens only when someone dies.  So he called the credit card department and told them I was alive and sitting across from him.  That explanation didn't affect the outcome; they continued to deny the reinstatement.  My banker then told me it would be up to me to resolve the issue.  To help me he gave me Equifax's phone number.  I called Equifax and explained the issue to them.  Their response was to make my credit report available to me on-line.  After 2 hours of reading every entry multiple times I finally found the incorrect entry.  Home Depot had reported me as deceased.  I called Equifax to let them know that.  Equifax said they couldn't change the status solely on my statement; the request had to come from Home Depot.  So I called Home Depot.  Here's what had happened:  my wife had passed away 10 years prior, and Home Depot recently cancelled my joint account because of a death, rather than simply removing my wife's name from the account.  Then they reported me as being deceased rather than my wife.  It took another 30 days before Equifax finally corrected my status so that I would again have a credit score.  By that time I had no more need for the credit card.
Feb 10, 2014 10:36PM

People wonder why the country is in debt, when people themselves depend on a credit card to be able to live on things they dont need or want just to fit in . They go out and buy things they cant afford and go out and cry its the banks fault they cant pay. Then they go and file for bankrupcy and then cry because they want credit again. A world of banks that are always the bad guys and people that run to them when they want something they cant afford.

In this case the person is supposedly dead, maybe she should start by trying to go fix the identity fraud that probably occured instead of depending on the bank to fix it for her.

Feb 10, 2014 9:32PM
Amazing. Someone provides false information to the credit bureau, and they repeat this information to creditors over and over again. You inform the reporting establishment, and the credit bureaus, that the information is incorrect, but they continue to report it as fact.  In the process, you are damaged by their failing to correct the false information, and they tell you, "I only repeated what was told to me." In such case, shouldn't they be held liable for slander? If we spread  false information about a person, and they are damaged in the process, we would surely be held liable in a court of law. Who gave corporate America and the bureaus a pass on slandering others, and why do we allow them to get away with doing this? Corporate America mistreats the American people because we allow them to do so. If we don't stand up for the abused, eventually we will be the victims, and no one will stand up for us. Maybe we should unite as American citizens, and demand protection from corporate America and the credit bureaus. They should be held accountable for their actions, when they cause damages to others.
I was told I died a year before I was born when I tried opening an account at BoA.  I feel for this lady.  It's a complete pain to have to go through proving you are alive.
Feb 10, 2014 8:49PM
DIdn't Equifax just get it's backside handed to it because it failed to correct errors on a credit report of an Oregon woman?

I believe that one was 18 million.  Wonder how much the federal judge has to hammer them with this time to get them to listen?  Banking, and Credit Agencies are out of control and need to get slapped down hard and harder until they learn or die.

Feb 10, 2014 8:46PM
Yeah , rob a bank they will make you deceased !!
Feb 10, 2014 8:28PM
Go rob a bank.. they wont arrest you as a deceased.
Feb 10, 2014 7:59PM
 Oh I love to sit in a office all day and mental masturbate all over the slaves because I paid my bribe to the college. You got to love the baby boomers such a wonderful world they created the "rebels".
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