Independent Foreclosure Review – How Close Will They Look?

Posted on by Phil Querin

On April 13, 2010, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), together with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) announced that it had commenced enforcement actions against 14 large residential mortgage servicers and two third-party vendors for improper practices arising out of their mortgage servicing and foreclosure processing during the years 2009 and 2010.

As a result of the investigation, consent orders were entered into by the 14 servicers and vendors.  Independent consultants have now been charged with evaluating whether borrowers suffered financial injury due to these improper practices.  The consultants are empowered to evaluate whether and to what extent certain remedies would be available to the consumers who suffered injury. If appropriate, financial compensation may be ordered.

The 14 servicers and vendors are the following:  America’s Servicing Company; Aurora Loan Services; Bank of America; Beneficial; Chase; Citibank; CitiFinancial; CitiMortgage; Countrywide; EMC; Everbank/Everhome; First Horizon; GMAC Mortgage; HFC; HSBC; IndyMac Mortgage Services; Metlife Bank; National City; PNC; Sovereign Bank; SunTrust Mortgage; U.S. Bank; Wachovia; Washington Mutual; Wells Fargo.

Most of us know of one or more folks who’ve had some pretty bad experiences with banks.  If so, pass this information along to them.  Here are two links for them to visit for more information: IndependentForeclosureReview.com and http://independentforeclosurereview.com/faq.aspx.

The deadline for aggrieved borrowers to request review is April 30, 2012.

PCQ Comment. Given the abysmal reputation that the Big Banks have for transparency, one has to question the efficacy of this latest effort at “Peace and Reconciliation.”  The independent reviewers may be selected by the banks themselves – with the consent of the regulators.    There is a suspicion that those selected will be the same companies with whom the banks already have a business relationship with other review and auditing functions. As reported in American Banker:

Allowing the banks to choose their own judge, jury, and jailer presents almost untenable conflicts of interest. All of the consulting firms that were initially being considered to do the work serve the banks already. The banks, and their mortgage servicing operations, are existing or prospective clients.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, is the auditor for Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, two of the fourteen servicers under scrutiny. PwC’s retired Chairman, Sam DiPiazza, is an executive of, and on the board of, Citigroup, another bank with a servicer to be reviewed. Promontory Financial Group and Treliant Risk Advisors are professional services firms that serve the mortgage servicers directly on other consulting assignments.”

News of this event hit the Internet in June, 2011.  If so, why is it only getting attention now?  As we learned from Belial Bank’s Chief Lobbyist, Kenneth Y. Slick, or “KY” as he likes to be called:

K. Y. Slick:  “Guile, you seem to forget, we’re “too big to fail.”  We don’t have to show weakness to get our way.  We’ve got friends in high places.  The Office of the Comptroller of Currency is in our pocket.  Hell, they’re run by one of our former lobbyists!  So while they pretend to be angry at us, we plead with them to do anything they want, so long as they don’t throw us into the briar patch.  Didn’t you read about our latest ruse?  On June 30, the OCC posted a bulletin on the Internet, requiring all the big servicers to undergo an examination of their practices, from documentation to notarization.  But the catch is that we get to do the examination ourselves!  Yeh, ‘self assessment.’ And after our period of mandatory introspection, we’re supposed to report any deficiencies we see in our practices.  Ooooh! Scary stuff!  This reminds me of my sophomore high school lit class, when the teacher let us grade our own papers!  So, in short Guile, we don’t need to go down the path of self-righteousness.  We have might on our side, and from where I come from, ‘Might Makes Right.’’” [For a revealing look at the entire conference call, click here. - PCQ]

So, time will tell.  There is intriguing speculation that some unemployed robosigners may now start applying to become “independent reviewers”.  Seems like a perfect fit, since at least they will be able to recognize the signatures that they actually signed, and the ones they didn’t….

Posted in B. L. Zebub, Belial Bank, Financial Crisis, Foreclosure, Legislation - Federal, Lenders, Market Conditions, Miscellany, Real Estate/Distressed, Servicers | Tagged , , , , ,
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