Been through a foreclosure? You may be eligible for a review
The clock is ticking on that process, however – people wanting a review must request one by the end of July.
In essence, the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve investigated 14 major mortgage servicers accused of engaging in unfair foreclosure practices. The end result of that investigation was a consent order in which the servicers agreed to mail out 4.3 million letters to homeowners and advise them they may be eligible for financial compensation after an independent review of their cases.
What is a loan servicer? The servicer comes into play when a borrower takes out a mortgage through local lender – the originator – and it gets transferred to another financial institution. The new group collecting the mortgage payment is the servicer. The investigation into the servicer’s activities kicked off in earnest in the wake of the so-called “robo-signing” controversy in which servicers were accused of starting foreclosure proceeding by filing documents signed by people who had no direct knowledge of the facts contained in them.
The Independent Foreclosure Review – the group set up through the consent order – hasn’t been as busy as one might expect, said Joel Doelger, director of community relations and housing counseling for Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) in Fayetteville.
Doelger said a good number of people who stand to benefit from a review didn’t respond to the letters from the servicers.
As you can imagine, people who are struggling financially are often targeted by scammers who are more than happy to steal the last dimes out of the pockets of troubled homeowners,” he said. “Because of that, the mass mailing program has not exactly been an overwhelming success.
“Many affected homeowners who received these letters from the servicers either never opened them, or after a quick glance determined that it was just another scam of some sort. As a result, (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)-approved housing counseling agencies, like ours, have been asked to help get the word out about this program – and to reassure effected homeowners that the program is legit.”
Doelger said he suspects the majority of people who may benefit from a review are in central and northwest Arkansas. CCOA isn’t involved in the review, but Doelger said consumers need to explore every avenue available that might help them out in these troubled economic times.
How can one request a review prior to the July 31 deadline? Point your favorite Internet browser to IndependentForeclosureReview.com or call (888)952-9105. You’ll find out a complete list of servicers that are part of the consent order. If you made mortgage payments to one of those servicers and had to deal with a foreclosure in 2010 or 2011, it might be well worth your time to get an independent review of your case started.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.