InfoBytes Special Alert: Federal and State Officials Announce Mortgage Servicing Settlement

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This morning, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, and several other state and federal officials jointly announced an approximately $25 billion agreement in principle between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general and the five largest mortgage servicers to settle various mortgage servicing and foreclosure related issues. Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt later announced an "independent mortgage settlement" between Oklahoma and the five servicers.

The national-level agreement - with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial (the servicers) - was the culmination of several state and federal investigations and extended negotiations between the parties. The settlement's terms require a commitment of approximately $20 billion in financial relief for homeowners. In addition, the servicers will pay $5 billion in cash to the state and federal governments, including $1.5 billion to establish a Borrower Payment Fund that will provide payments to qualifying borrowers whose homes were sold or foreclosed on between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. The $25 billion agreement includes more than $766.5 million in monetary sanctions assessed by the Federal Reserve Board. An additional $394 million of penalties from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency are held in abeyance provided four of the servicers make payments and take other actions under the settlement with a value equal to at least the penalty amounts assessed for each servicer by the OCC.

In addition to the financial compensation offered in the settlement, the servicers will conduct future business under new servicing standards, which include (i) restrictions on the default management process known as "dual tracking", (ii) a requirement for the institutions to provide a single point of contact for borrowers, (iii) specific protections for military service members beyond those provided by the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, (iv) obligations concerning disclosures and practices related to force-placed insurance, and (v) limitations on servicing fees. The standards also require the servicers to establish (i) updated foreclosure and bankruptcy documentation processes, (ii) enhanced servicer oversight of third party vendors, and (iii) adherence to a new set of loan modification timelines.

Please see full alert below for more information.
 

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