The Office of Thrift Supervision met Thursday with consumers with subprime mortgages originated by Countrywide Financial Corp. to respond to criticism of the regulator's response to the lender's problems.
The meeting was held at the urging of the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America and followed a news conference it hosted in which the borrowers participated. Bruce Marks, the nonprofit's CEO, said it asked the OTS to urge Countrywide to restructure subprime loans due to reset soon.
"We want … [the agency] to go back to Countrywide and say, 'We are going to require you to restructure loans,' " he said. "The perception of OTS is they are the easy touch, the soft touch. … Hopefully, they will get a backbone. We haven't seen it."
The meeting included borrowers, Mr. Marks, and OTS Deputy Director Scott Polakoff. A spokesman for the OTS said the agency listened to complaints from borrowers and would contact Countrywide to try to resolve any problems. But he cautioned that the OTS "did not promise anything."
Mr. Marks said after the meeting that the OTS "certainly did everything to renew our confidence that they're serious" about the borrowers' concerns. "Now they've got to show they can follow through."
Countrywide said Thursday that it has been working with the group regularly and has assisted struggling borrowers. "We continue to be an industry leader in workout solutions."