Since April, the state of California's monitor for the multi-state mortgage settlement has received more than 200 complaints about servicers moving homes toward foreclosure while the homeowner pursues a loan modification, according to a new report.
The settlement bars the nation's top five mortgage servicers from engaging in so-called dual tracking, a practice that has faced criticism from consumer advocates.
UC-Irvine law professor Katherine Porter, who was appointed to monitor compliance in California, concluded in her first report that dual tracking continued up to the Oct. 2 deadline for the firm to implement new servicing standards.
But she also noted that complaints about dual tracking declined in September, and she expressed optimism that the practice will stop now that the new standards are enforceable.
"In October and subsequent months, I expect the frustration and fear caused by dual tracking to end," Porter wrote. "None of the five mortgage companies has notified the California monitor that they will fail to meet their obligations on dual tracking."
Porter stated that the five companies subject to the settlement — JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Ally Financial — implemented some of the new servicing standards prior to October. As an example, she cited the establishment of a single point of contact for delinquent borrowers.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to monitor the mortgage settlement, making her the only such monitor at the state level. Porter's duties overlap with those of Joseph Smith, who is monitoring the settlement nationally.