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Megabanks Extend and Pretend They Won't Pay for Foreclosure Fouls

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Comments (13)
This is very true. There are those of us who submitted our claims very early in the process. We have heard nothing and believe when we finally do, it will be a finding of no wrongdoing by our servicers. This process will drag on... except they shouldn't bank on Romney winning the election. However, even after Obama wins, it still won't matter. Nobody protects the powerless.
Posted by sterlingamara | Monday, September 24 2012 at 3:51PM ET
Thank you Ms. McKenna. Aside from your fundamental and correct conclusion, "It's time for the big banks, and their independent consultants, to stop stalling and prepare to finally pay borrowers for foreclosure abuses", the other key issues here, in my opinion are twofold. 1) How independent are the "independent consulting firms"? And, 2. Given the pale 5% return rate on borrowers requesting reviews, did the banks design an outreach process using the path of least resistance, i.e. operationally and financially? The points you've raised re the "independence" of the independent consultants are valid and bear no repeating here. I would augment only by stating that although the OCC hired an independent contractor to oversee this process, the banks were allowed to choose and design the methods / manner of outreach - which leads me to my second issue re: the effectiveness of the outreach program does, in my view, require additional scrutiny. Although I know that any audit allows for sample expansion based upon discovered patterns of irregularities and defects found, both of which I've been advised are significant and disturbing here, the fact that the outreach campaign was found to be quite lacking per the GAO report to Congressional Requestors - June 2012, seems to NOT be on the improvement track. In reading the report, the mailer and PSA approach are the strategies being deployed. While these are good first level attempts, my conversations reveal that there seems to be NO FULSOME STRATEGY to ensure that as many of the 4 million households as possible understand their options and have an opportunity to make an informed decision on exercising their option to request a review. Pg 6 of this report clearly states that "...the purpose of the outreach is to provide a robust process so that eligible borrowers who believed they've suffered financial injury within the scope of the consent orders have a fair opportunity to request an independent review of their circumstance and, potentially to obtain remediation." As the current strategies have not produced the desired response rates, one would think that the impacted banks would be DIRECTED to enhance their strategies to include second level approaches such as in-person support. These options are more expensive but could be combined with existing delinquent loan inspection requirements for those loans that are still on the books and still in delinquent status, thus adding marginal $ increase to current delinquent loan servicing costs. The companies providing these types of services have fulsome, effective & most importantly TURNKEY strategies / executions that would not only increase penetration and response rates for the 4 million target population, but would also provide excellent feedback on the households who still choose NOT to request a review. I believe in and have successfully used In-person contact strategies and believe that they should be a requirement in the US delinquent mortgage servicing process AND that they should have been and CAN STILL BE incorporated in Foreclosure File review process. It won't help the households who used products bearing NINA & SISA features to bite off more than they could handle....they won't reply let alone request a review. As I believe we are at the precipice of establishing the foundations for US housing policy for the next decades, it's important that we do this right. Extending the deadline but not changing the approach results in virtually unchanged outcomes, little consequence to those charged with mishandling these situations, AND affected households NOT receiving compensation determined to be due. I know we can and MUST do better. The question is " DO WE WANT TO?".
Posted by Ingrid Beckles | Monday, September 24 2012 at 4:14PM ET
What is it with bankers? Why is it that they just can't play an ethical game? What kind of culture is their's? They only know how to screw all involved, always, never miss a chance to show their lack of morals. I think the whole point is the result of making institutions instead of people, accountable; allowing execs to remain as innocent spectators of their wrongdoing. The institutions get fined for all sins, customers pick up the tab and C-level remains the same and doing the same things, over and over. Isn't lobbying the art of bribery? So, who owns the ball here? The big thieve ends up being the government that takes the bribes through lobbyists, proving incapable of protecting us, The People.
Posted by mauriciott | Monday, September 24 2012 at 7:55PM ET
It is unfortunate at the very least to see, through and following a financial crisis of historic proportion and very incorrect following steps by two Presidents to right the ship of State, home owners continue to suffer. Unfortunately, there will remain a process of retaining your money. It is the government that retains much of that money in fines and not to you. It is the legal profession that gets much of your money upon those lucrative government settlements. Slowly and painfully your money trickles. Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of Government representatives are lawyers?
Posted by hedger | Tuesday, September 25 2012 at 9:25AM ET
Francine... Your post was right on the mark, and as a former blogger for BankThink on "alternative perspectives" I can appreciate your jumping into the murky waters surrounding these so called "Independent Foreclosure Reviews." It's a smoke-and-mirrors attempt by the MegaBanks and their regulatory enablers to shove this legacy of fraud and deception into the proverbial dustbin of history (much of it with Donovan and Geithner's approval). If Romney ascends to the Presidential Throne no doubt his aim will be to make this whole foreclosure scandal simply a footnote in some future academic treatise. However (again citing my experience as an AB blogger) it's amazing how little attention is being paid by the one-per centers to the pent-up rage among millions of homeowners either in the foreclosure process, already evicted or simply struggling to stay afloat in their underwater homes. Many may be suffering in silence, but suffering -- like depression -- has a flip side: Anger.
Posted by Joel Sucher | Tuesday, September 25 2012 at 9:45AM ET
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