SunTrust Banks Inc. is refiling documents in thousands of foreclosure cases after an internal review revealed problems in the way foreclosure proceedings were handled.
Friday, in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Atlanta company said the review indicated that "approximately 4,000 files, or less than 15%, of active foreclosure proceedings contained documents with technical issues in the foreclosure complaint verification, affidavit preparation and notary processes."
The bank said it does not believe that the procedural deficiencies it identified violated any laws.
Many other big servicers have spotted similar problems. SunTrust said that in its case, in some instances verified complaints may not have been fully reviewed by the signer. It admitted that its process for notarizing legal documents "could be improved."
As a result, SunTrust is replacing documents in which any of the technical issues have been identified in all pending foreclosure cases that have not yet gone to judgment. SunTrust said it expects this process to be largely completed during the first quarter. The bank said it is taking similar remedial actions in nonjudicial foreclosure states as warranted.
The foreclosure document issues were first reported by Reuters early Friday.
SunTrust is included in a wide-ranging investigation of servicers' foreclosure practices by attorneys general, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies.
"While we cannot predict the ultimate impact of any delay in foreclosure sales, or any issues that may arise as a result of alleged irregularities with respect to previously completed foreclosure activities, we may be subject to additional borrower and nonborrower litigation and governmental and regulatory scrutiny related to our past and current foreclosure activities," SunTrust said. "This scrutiny may extend beyond our pending foreclosure matters to issues arising out of alleged irregularities with respect to previously completed foreclosure activities."
SunTrust said it expects costs to increase "modestly" in 2011 "as a result of the additional resources necessary to perform the foreclosure process assessment, revise affidavit filings and make any other operational changes."