Garcia v. World Savings, FSB, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1031 (2010)

Deliberate and Effective External and Internal Communication is Critical

The latest case following the mortgage meltdown underscores the need for lenders to be deliberate and clear in both their external and internal communications. In Garcia v. World Savings, FSB, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1031 (2010), the appellate court determined that the lender’s verbal agreement with the borrower to postpone a foreclosure sale could be enforceable, even absent consideration for the lender’s promise to postpone. The appellate court found that the loan officer’s telephonic assurance to the borrower that he could, and would, briefly extend the pending foreclosure sale under certain conditions was reasonably relied upon by the borrower.

Take Away

This case highlights the need for lenders to be clear and direct in their communications with borrowers particularly with regard to matters relating to enforcement of remedies upon default. Lenders need to recognize that verbal agreements, if reasonably relied upon by borrowers to their detriment, can be as binding as written contracts. Not only must lenders take care to precisely communicate with borrowers, it is crucial that lenders communicate effectively internally so that actions, decisions, or promises by one department or employee are consistent with those of other employees or departments. Failure to communicate effectively externally or internally can result in failed expectations, inconsistent actions, and potential liability.

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Garcia v. World Savings, FSB, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1031 (2010)