At what point is it appropriate after a borrower defaults to initiate foreclosure proceedings? As soon as the borrower defaults? Few, if any, servicers follow this rule. During a review of loss mitigation options? During a trial modification? Servicers long have felt that the extraordinary delays in completing foreclosures based on some state laws weigh in favor of starting the foreclosure process as soon as possible. Of course, the servicer always can call off the foreclosure if the loss mitigation option succeeds, but a decision to delay the initiation of foreclosures can result in investor claims. On the other hand, borrowers who think they are in the running for a loan modification often are angry and dismayed when the foreclosure notice arrives. The national foreclosure settlement between the country’s five largest residential mortgage loan servicers and the federal government and 49 state attorneys general places a number of restrictions on the controversial but common practice of “dual tracking” foreclosures and loan modifications. Read More
By: David A. Tallman
The alleged failure of servicers to adequately supervise the activities of their foreclosure and loss mitigation vendors and other service providers is one of the central criticisms levelled by federal and state regulators against residential mortgage servicers. The regulators assert that skyrocketing foreclosure volumes caused key vendors – including foreclosure firms, bankruptcy attorneys, and document custodians – to take shortcuts. Moreover, with respect to the management and execution of legal documents, regulators assert that servicers failed to adequately supervise the activities of their foreclosure and loss mitigation vendors and other service providers. According to the regulators, servicers were not sufficiently equipped to track the movement of original documents, verify that affidavits and declarations filed in foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings were factually accurate and correctly executed, or ensure that the vendors otherwise performed their services in compliance with applicable law. Read More
By: Kristie D. Kully
The servicing standards imposed on the five largest mortgage loan servicers by the recent global settlement agreement with state and federal regulators, described here, continue to pile on the “SPOC” requirements. “SPOC” stands for a single point of contact – a knowledgeable and accessible person a troubled borrower may contact to receive information and assistance in the loss mitigation, loan modification, and foreclosure process. SPOCs may do little to resolve the foreclosure documentation irregularities that sparked state and federal regulators to initiate their investigation. However, they have been touted as key to the efforts for national servicing standards, and are an inevitable adjunct to the global settlement agreement.
In many financial service relationships, dissatisfied customers can solve ongoing customer service deficiencies by simply taking their business to a competing provider. Mortgage borrowers, however, are generally stuck with the company that services their loan, unless they are willing and able to refinance. This inability to “fire” loan servicers for poor performance, combined with the fact that mortgage servicing errors can cause serious harm – up to and including the loss of a home – has motivated government officials to impose loan servicing complaint resolution requirements whenever an opportunity arises. Read More
Residential mortgage lenders and originators (RMLOs — known as “mortgage companies” and “mortgage brokers” but not individual loan originators) now are subject to the Bank Secrecy Act’s (BSA) anti-money laundering regime pursuant to a long expected new regulation published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2012 by FinCEN, a part of Treasury that implements the U.S.’s anti-money laundering regime. Under the new rules, RMLOs are required to develop and implement an anti-money laundering program (AML Program) and begin suspicious activity reporting (SAR Filings) by August 13, 2012. Read More