Here is Lawsky’s latest mind-boggling press release featuring Ocwen’s continued wrongdoing despite a prior agreement with Lawsky’s office from 2011. Benjamin Lawsky deserves a great deal of gratitude and appreciation from the American people. To file a complaint or a compliment with his office, go to the webform here or call 1-877-BANK-NYS. Although his office only has jurisdiction over financial issues directly affecting New Yorkers, his investigations, press releases, and regulatory actions will aid all citizens who are affected by the abusive practices of financial institutions his office is investigating.
December 05, 2012
Contact: David Neustadt: 212-709-1691
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION REQUIRES MAJOR MORTGAGE SERVICER TO INSTALL MONITOR TO ENSURE PROMISED REFORMS ARE IMPLEMENTED
Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky today announced that the Department of Financial Services is requiring Ocwen Financial Corporation to hire a monitor to ensure that the company complies with an agreement to reform its mortgage servicing practices. The action was taken after an examination by the Department found indications of Ocwen violating the agreement. The monitor will be in place for two years.
Ocwen is one of the largest mortgage servicers and has been growing rapidly, servicing more than 764,000 residential mortgages nationally as of August. In New York, the company services more than 40,000 residential home loan accounts held largely by distressed homeowners.
In September 2011, Ocwen was the first mortgage servicer to agree to the Department’s landmark new Mortgage Servicing Practices designed to correct robo-signing and other troubling foreclosure and servicing practices that were depriving homeowners of the opportunity to avoid foreclosure.
Under the new Consent Order, Ocwen has 20 days to find an independent monitor acceptable to the Department. The monitor will review Ocwen’s operations and identify and report on corrective actions within 90 days.
Ocwen, one of the biggest mortgage servicers, is expanding. In the past two years, Ocwen has acquired several major servicers’ portfolios of distressed home loans, including Litton Loan Servicing LP in 2011, Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. and EMC Mortgage Corporation in 2012 and has announced plans to further expand its servicing operations through the acquisition of additional mortgage servicing rights, including from Homeward Residential, Inc., formerly known as American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. (“AHMSI”). Ocwen just won an auction to acquire Residential Capital, LLC (“ResCAP”).
The Department’s Mortgage Servicing Practices are designed to redress troublesome and unlawful practices that have plagued the mortgage servicing industry as a whole.
The Practices, which have been agreed to by eight mortgage servicers, require the following changes:
1. End robo-signing and impose staffing and training requirements that will prevent robo-signing.
2. Require servicers to withdraw any pending foreclosure actions in which filed affidavits were robo-signed or otherwise not accurate.
3. End “dual tracking”, i.e., referring a borrower to foreclosure while the borrower is pursuing loan modification or loss mitigation, and prohibit foreclosures from advancing while denial of a borrower’s loan modification is under an independent review, which is also required by the agreements.
4. Provide a dedicated single point of contact representative for all borrowers seeking loss mitigation or in foreclosure so borrowers are able to speak to the same person who knows their file every time they call.
5. Require servicers to ensure that any force-placed insurance be reasonably priced in relation to claims incurred, and prohibit force-placing insurance with an affiliated insurer.
6. Impose more rigorous pleading requirements in foreclosure actions to ensure that only parties and entities possessing the legal right to foreclose can sue borrowers.
7. For borrowers found to have been wrongfully foreclosed, require servicers to ensure that their equity in the property is returned, or, if the property was sold, compensate the borrower.
8. Impose new standards on servicers for application of borrowers’ mortgage payments to prevent layering of late fees and other servicer fees and use of suspense accounts in ways that compounded borrower delinquencies and defaults.
9. Require servicers to strengthen oversight of foreclosure counsel and other third party vendors, and impose new obligations on servicers to conduct regular reviews of foreclosure documents prepared by counsel and to terminate foreclosure attorneys whose document practices are problematic or who are sanctioned by a court.
If you are in South Florida and are looking for help with debt, foreclosure, real estate or want more information about bankruptcy law, call us at (754) 400-5150 or fill out our online form for a FREE CONSULTATION. Let the lawyers and staff at the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen serve you!