Local Business Owner Could Lose Everything

The owners of a Chestertown sandwich shop say they face losing everything. Herb and Christine Will are struggling to keep their business and their home after receiving notice that they owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Wills told WBAL-TV 11 that they believe their home is worth 20-percent less than it was when they purchased it in 2007 with a loan from Mercantile Bank.

The year prior, the couple opened Herb’s Soup and Such in Chestertown. Herb Will is a chef who graduated from Baltimore International College. The Wills said both their business and home could be lost to foreclosure. The couple received a letter from attorneys representing PNC Bank, which took over Mercantile, giving the Wills notice to pay more than $300,000 on their business and home loans. The Wills’ mortgage reportedly included a rate renegotiation clause, which technically meant a balloon payment after three years.

When the payment came due, the Wills said they were assured there would only be a review of the loan. PNC conducted a review of the couple’s business, determined the home and the business lost value and said the loans were no longer a good fit for the bank. Herb Will admits to a reduction in income, but said the couple has no cash flow problems. “We haven’t been late on any payments. We haven’t missed any payments,” he said. The Wills said they are trying to refinance with another bank and they have filed a complaint with the federal Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks.