Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2012

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Imagine walking into a lending office with the nervous anticipation of applying for a home loan, only to be rejected—but not because of poor credit or an unreliable financial history. Instead because the bank has on record that the “subject is deceased.”

That’s what one South Carolina man experienced as he walked into a Bank of America and applied for a home mortgage loan. He was not pale, unbreathing, or helped into the branch by some master puppeteer, nor was he the world’s first zombie attempting to civilize himself by acquiring a home. No, Arthur Livingston, was a warm, walking, breathing, healthy human being that the mortgage loan giant had the audacity to say was dead… to his face, no less.

Five months have passed since he was informed of his undead status, and still no solution has been made. Livingston had hoped to acquire a home loan and move his family into a new residence by now—but that’s proven to be a “major problem” since he’s “deceased,” reported ABC News.

A BofA customer for 14 years, Livingston told ABC News that he regularly pays his credit card bill in full, including $2,000 to $4,000 in travel expenses for work. Despite the fact that his bank accepted these payments, they seem to have failed to let him know that he was flagged as deceased in their records. As a result, Livingston fears that his intentional moves to improve his credit have gone undocumented.

“[Bank of America] is well aware that the account is very active on a daily basis,” Livingston said, referring to his outstanding credit practices. But “It’s been a complete waste of time.”

A credit scoring expert with Credit.com, Tom Quinn agrees. He told ABC News that most credit scoring bureaus have systems in place that prevents a score from being generated if there is any indication of a deceased status.

“Just another good reason why consumers should periodically check their credit report for accuracy and follow the disputing-inaccurate-process if they find this kind of inaccurate information on the file,” he explained.

After BofA allowed this matter to go unresolved for months on end, though, Livingston hit his breaking point and contacted the local television station, WISTV-10.

“I’m not trying to be overdramatic,” he said in defense of himself. “I’m not legal-seeking. I’ve been patient for 90 days.”

The news special was finally enough to gain BofA’s attention, and Livingston was contacted by a representative shortly thereafter, assuring him that the matter was now being reviewed by the right people.

Victor Searcy, the director of fraud operations for Identity Theft 911, offers a possible defense for BofA. Searcy claims that since Livingston’s name may be common, the nation’s largest bank could have simple mistook Livingston for a deceased client.

Despite a possible mix up, Searcy clearly sides with Livingston. “Regardless of the situation, it shouldn’t take 100 days to investigate and clear. He can obviously present identification and appear in person to provide ‘proof of life,’” reported ABC News.