Global Foreclosure Settlement: The Success of Herding Cats

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Whether one thinks the terms of the historic federal-state civil loan servicing settlement are too much, too little or about right, two conclusions are indisputable. First, an incredible amount of good faith effort from all concerned contributed to the final settlement—simply synchronizing the differing interests of the various governmental and private parties in over a year of negotiations seemed to require a computer program. Second, while the settlement terms are likely to contribute to the future housing recovery, the federal and state governments appear intent to continue to pursue enforcement actions for prior conduct.

State and federal regulators today filed a previously announced agreement with the five largest servicers of residential mortgage loans related to redressing alleged violations of federal and state lending and servicing laws. The settlement agreement, described as the largest federal-state civil settlement ever obtained, represents the culmination of 17 months of inquiries, investigations and negotiations by and with state attorneys general (“AGs”), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), the Federal Reserve Board (“FRB”), the Executive Office of the U.S. Trustees (“US Trustee”), and other federal regulators. Keeping up with press reports throughout the process about whom and what were in or out of the final settlement became its own full time job.

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