by Broderick Perkins
(2/21/2012) Eligible consumers have an extra 90 days to seek a review of their foreclosure under a federal settlement that forces mortgage servicers to address institutionalized foreclosure abuses.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System recently extended from April 30, 2012 to July 31, 2012 the deadline for consumers to seek a review of their mortgage foreclosure under the federal Independent Foreclosure Review.
As part of enforcement actions issued in April 2011, the OCC, Federal Reserve, and the Office of Thrift Supervision required 14 large mortgage servicers to retain independent consultants to conduct a comprehensive review of foreclosure activity in 2009 and 2010.
The review order seeks to identify borrowers who may have been financially injured due to errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process.
If review finds that financial injury occurred, the borrower may receive compensation or some other remedy. The order could also delay existing foreclosures.
The enforcement action also orders lenders and mortgage servicers to correct deficiencies in their servicing and foreclosure processes and to engage independent firms to conduct independent reviews of foreclosure actions.
The deadline extension provides more time to increase awareness of how eligible people may request a review through the "Independent Foreclosure Review" process and to encourage the broadest participation possible.
Borrowers are eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review if they meet the following basic criteria:
• The mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers:
America's Servicing Co.
Aurora Loan Services
BAC Home Loans Servicing
Bank of America
EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
IndyMac Mortgage Services
National City Mortgage
Washington Mutual (WaMu)
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Wilshire Credit Corporation
• The mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
• The property securing the mortgage loan was the borrower's primary residence.
The foreclosure review settlement stems from the same foreclosure abuses that generated the landmark $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement
Both address a customer-be-damned culture of foreclosure violations including "robo-signed" (forged or falsified) affidavits in foreclosure proceedings; deceptive practices, including "dual tracking" (simultaneously working a modification application and a foreclosure procedure on a mortgage); failures to offer non-foreclosure alternatives before foreclosing on borrowers with federally-insured mortgages; filing improper documentation in federal bankruptcy court, losing and misplacing crucial homeowner documents and generally giving distressed homeowners the runaround, rather than a single point of contact.
Consumers pay nothing for a foreclosure review.
For more information, borrowers can call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., both Eastern Times, or visit "Independent Foreclosure Review" general site; the Federal Reserve's "What You Need To Know About the Independent Foreclosure Review" site, or the OCC's "Correcting Foreclosure Practices" web site.
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