Our FAQ on the Foreclosure Reviews

Our FAQ on the Foreclosure Reviews

by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Nov. 4, 2011, 10:37 a.m.

As we reported today [1], federal banking regulators have launched a foreclosure review process. Certain current or former homeowners who were the victims of abuses or errors by mortgage servicers will be eligible for compensation.

Regulators have provided a bare-bones website [2] and frequently asked questions, which you can see here [3].

But we thought things could be even clearer, so we’ve provided this information as an extra resource for readers. If you have other questions about this process, let us know, and we will consider adding it to this FAQ.

Also, to help us continue reporting on this issue, homeowners going through the process can fill out our foreclosure questionnaire [4] if they haven’t already, and let us know what’s happening [5].

Q. Who is eligible for the reviews?

You have to meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The home is/was your primary residence. Vacation homes or investment properties will not be eligible.
  2. You were in the foreclosure process at any time between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. The review is NOT limited to people who actually lost their homes to foreclosure in that time period. All that matters is that you were in foreclosure at any point during that time frame. You might have eventually avoided foreclosure by getting a modification; you might still be in foreclosure; you might have sold your home. The final outcome doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you were in the foreclosure process at some point in 2009 or 2010.
  3. Your mortgage servicer — the company you sent payments to and that handled your request for a modification — in 2009 or 2010 was one of the following companies, listed here in alphabetical order:
    • America’s Servicing Co.
    • Aurora Loan Services
    • BAC Home Loans Servicing (a subsidiary of Bank of America)
    • Bank of America
    • Beneficial
    • Chase
    • Citibank
    • CitiFinancial
    • CitiMortgage
    • Countrywide
    • EMC Mortgage
    • EverBank/Everhome Mortgage
    • GMAC Mortgage
    • HFC (now HFC Beneficial)
    • Home Loan Services (a subsidiary of Bank of America)
    • HSBC
    • IndyMac Mortgage Services (part of OneWest Bank)
    • Litton Loan Servicing*
    • MetLife Bank
    • National City Mortgage
    • PNC Mortgage
    • Sovereign Bank
    • SunTrust Mortgage
    • U.S. Bank
    • Wachovia Mortgage
    • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
    • Wells Fargo Bank
    • Wilshire Credit (a subsidiary of Bank of America)

*Regulators acted on Litton Loan Servicing later than on the others, so the foreclosure review for Litton customers has not yet begun. The Federal Reserve — the regulator for Goldman Sachs, which owned Litton during the relevant time period — could not tell us when the process would begin for Litton. We will update this post when we hear more about this.

Q. Who is conducting these reviews?

Under the supervision of regulators, the banks have hired consultants to conduct the reviews. Regulators say the consultants will be independent and answer to them, not to the banks. Regulators have kept the identities of these consultants secret but say they will divulge them in November. We will update this FAQ when that happens.

Q. How do I submit a complaint so that I’m included in this process?

You have to submit a Request for Review Form postmarked no later than April 30, 2012.

You can get a Request for Review Form two different ways. First, you might receive a letter from your servicer with the form included. Those letters will be mailed out sometime before the end of 2011. If for some reason you don’t receive one, you can also request a form by calling 1-888-952-9105 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.). The form will have a “control number” specific to your individual case, so you can’t get a copy of it elsewhere, not even online.

You can see a sample version of this form here so you’ll know what to expect. It is being mailed to homeowners with something like this notice. But again, you need to obtain a form that’s specific to your request.

Q. What abuses or errors are covered by this review?

The short answer: There is no comprehensive list. But based on what regulators have said, there are some areas of focus. If any of the following things happened to you, you will probably have a better shot at receiving some form of compensation if you clearly describe them on the Request for Review Form and provide any supporting documentation.

Modifications:

    • Your servicer didn’t properly consider you for a modification.
    • You were in a trial modification, were making payments, but were foreclosed on anyway without having been denied a permanent modification.
    • You were doing everything a permanent modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened.
    • You requested assistance/modification, submitted complete documents on time, and were waiting for a decision when the foreclosure sale occurred.

Calculation errors or incorrect charges:

    • You were charged bogus fees and/or penalties.
    • Mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed or applied. It would be especially noteworthy if the foreclosure process began because your servicer incorrectly processed your payments.
    • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than you actually owed.

Legal and documentation issues:

  • Your servicer didn’t properly document ownership of the promissory note or mortgage when the foreclosure was initiated.
  • Your servicer didn’t follow state or federal laws when it pursued foreclosure. (This would include not sending you the proper notices).

Other:

  • The foreclosure action occurred while you were protected by bankruptcy.
  • Your servicer violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. For instance, you were in the military and on active duty when your servicer pursued foreclosure. Under the act, the ban on foreclosure runs for nine months following active duty.

Q. What will happen after I submit my complaint?

You should receive an acknowledgment letter within one week. Then you wait. The reviewer may contact you for more information at some point. You will not be interviewed, however. Eventually, you will receive a letter that lays out what compensation you are being offered and “the findings of the review.” Regulators said they haven’t decided precisely what form these letters will take and in what detail they will discuss your complaint.

Q. How long will the review take?

Regulators won’t say. We will update this FAQ when they give some indication.

Q. What sort of compensation might I receive?

Regulators have not provided any information about this. You might receive cash, and you might get some sort of nonfinancial compensation like having your credit report repaired. The only clear guiding principle is the focus on “financial injury” to the homeowner. But regulators said they have not yet determined how that will be calculated.

Q. Will I have to waive my right to sue my servicer in exchange for receiving this compensation?

That’s not yet clear.

Q. Can I appeal if I disagree with the findings of the review?

No.

Related Story: Flaws Jeopardize New Attempt to Help Homeowners

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4closureFraud.org

Comments
5 Responses to “Our FAQ on the Foreclosure Reviews”
  1. DyingTruth says:

    Am I the only person that thinks such a review process would be better if conducted by “the People” and is in fact a Power reserved to them by the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution?

  2. Glenda Chauncy says:

    This is exactly what they did…I have called numerous times on behalf of many homeowners here in my law office who have the servicers listed. I was actually told, when a very qualified homeowner didn’t receive an application why she was missed. Interesting answer. The 3rd company hired by the Bank/Servicer told us on a speaker phone with an Attorney present, that the Bank/Servicer has processed a PICK AND CHOOSE of who they want to submit loan numbers for the program. I kindly asked, is that based on age, race, color or sex???? Needless to say they were not too happy with my question and refused to answer. They told me I could contact the Bank/Servicer’s customer service department. GOOD LUCK!!!!! SMOKE AND SCREEN MY FRIENDS…once again let’s DUPE the American People….SO SO SAD….

  3. COCO says:

    Another smokescreen. Saxon Mortgage Servicing is not on list-one of the most notorious perpetuators of fraud. Alas, another false hope for us.

  4. To tell The Truth says:

    What about Deutche Bank?

  5. see says:

    What good is the review if you cannot appeal the findings? The banks have hired consultants to do the review. In other words they have hired someone to work for them, the bank, to find errors or abuses or not, but OK they answer to the regulators. Why does this seem fishy to me? I don’t trust this process because I do not trust the banks.

    I made payments to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Bank, NA foreclosed on us, and we were getting calls from Americas Servicing Co. before and after we filed BK.. Wanna bet I don’t get a letter.

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