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Two Banks' Foreclosure Reviews Grind On After Giants Give Up

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The foreclosure review settlement this month gave regulators and banks a chance to escape a costly and much criticized process. But at least two lenders have chosen to soldier on.

The apparent decisions by EverBank and OneWest Bancorp to finish loan-by-loan foreclosure reviews will provide a glimpse of how the big banks' much-maligned foreclosure look-backs would have panned out. Both banks will complete their reviews by mid-summer, according to their regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

"We are continuing with our independent review," says Michael Cosgrove, an EverBank spokesman, in a brief emailed statement to American Banker. Well after other banks laid off their foreclosure review workers en masse, the lender is hiring a "foreclosure lookback coordinator" for a "short term" job. Contract employees of Clayton Holdings, which is running EverBank's review, confirmed that work continued as normal.

OneWest did not respond to a request for comment, and its outside reviewer, Navigant Consulting, declined to speak.

When the OCC and the Federal Reserve announced the settlement on Jan. 7, ten of the largest mortgage servicers had already signed onto the deal. In the following days, HSBC joined in.

That left three settlement holdouts, though one may be a technicality: ResCap, Ally Financial's bankrupt mortgage subsidiary, would likely need court approval before making a major deal with regulators. It has not stopped its review yet.

Viewed in purely financial terms, it is possible that finishing up made more sense for the remaining two banks than some of their peers.

Private-equity buyers acquired OneWest from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in March 2009 under a deal which shielded the new entity from preexisting legal claims. In a statement to American Banker, a spokesman for the FDIC noted that it had provided "certain indemnifications" but did not flesh out what portion of the foreclosure review costs they might cover.

The banks' size might also play a role. Anecdotal evidence and spending on the reviews to date suggested that the largest banks were further from completing the reviews than their smaller peers. For EverBank, which had just over 30,000 foreclosures potentially subject to review, finishing the review may actually be cheaper than calling it off to pay a settlement.

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Comments (2)
The foreclosure review process lacks any trasparency.The website makes no mention of any settlement or institutions that are party to it.I called the number yesterday and basically was told "I share your frustration,have agood day".One West Bank(Navigant)yesterday,told me that their review process continues and that notification results will be sent out by Mar.31(your article says mid summer!).Based on the loss sharing agreement with FDIC,not sure Fed agencies are eager to police results of One West.The OCC need to take a much more active role in overseeing this debacle.
Posted by edgar | Wednesday, January 30 2013 at 1:02PM ET
In March, it will be a year since I sent the paperwork concerning my review. Now it will be until mid summer before results? Since my mortgage was sold to Everhome it's been nothing but a nightmare.
Posted by keepergo | Saturday, February 02 2013 at 1:07PM ET
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