Citigroup Inc. on Monday distanced itself from the troubles upending the home-foreclosure process, saying it did not rely on so-called robo-signers and had not turned up anything in internal reviews of policies and processes to suggest the need for a foreclosure moratorium.
Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said that the company supplied annual training and required annual certification for mortgage-servicing employees involved in the foreclosure process.
"They understand the fact that they need to have personal awareness of the information in the affidavits; they understand that the affidavits need to be signed in front of a notary," Gerspach said when a conference call with reporters to discuss Citi's third-quarter earnings veered into questioning about the company's foreclosure procedures. "We have not found evidence of robo-signing as we have gone through our internal reviews."
He said Citi had appropriate staffing levels in its mortgage-servicing business to "handle the onslaught" of foreclosures and loan workouts. And though the company had ties to a Florida law firm being examined to determine whether it submitted improper loan documentation to the state's courts, Gerspach reiterated Citi's announcement from last week that it has stopped referring foreclosure work to the firm, the Law Offices of David J. Stern PA. He also said that at the time Citi used the third party, the firm had been approved by the government-sponsored enterprises that provide the backbone for the U.S. housing finance system.
When asked if government officials, either in their capacity as regulators or as caretakers for the 12% equity stake in Citi that remains in the hands of the U.S. Treasury, had discussed or recommended to Citi the idea of a foreclosure moratorium, Gerspach replied, "Not at all."
Unlike JPMorganChase & Co., Citi has not set aside significant litigation reserves to cover potential legal costs stemming from the home-foreclosure scandal.