Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

OCC Defends Foreclosure Deal, Says It Drove ‘Hard Bargain’

The abrupt and embarrassing end of the independent foreclosure review raised many questions that policymakers didn’t bother to answer.

Until now.

In an interview Tuesday, Morris Morgan, the federal government’s point man for the painstaking review of 3.8 million mortgage loans, provided new details about the $8.5 billion deal regulators cut with 10 servicers last week.

“The settlement idea was certainly initiated by the regulators,” said Morgan, who joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1985.

That runs counter to conventional wisdom, which says the servicers moved to shut the costly review process down. Mike Heid at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is widely credited with spearheading the settlement.

But Morgan not only insisted government officials drove the deal, he said the negotiations were tough and nearly collapsed.

“I was more active in” the negotiations “than any other individual from the regulatory side,” Morgan said. “Did we drive a hard bargain? I think yes.”

Rest here…