Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

December 9, 2013

National Mortgage Settlement Update

By David Reiss

Joseph A. Smith, Jr., the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), has issued his Second Compliance Report (I blogged about an earlier report here) which has been filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia. According to the Monitor, Ally Financial and Wells Fargo were not in violation of the settlement at all during 2013 and BoA’s and Chase’s deficiencies were not widespread. Citi had a widespread deficiency.

The Monitor’s conclusion echoes his earlier report although his tone is more optimistic than last time:

It is clear to me that the servicers have additional work to do both in their efforts to fully comply with the NMS and to regain their customers’ trust. The Monitor Reports that I have just filed with the Court show, however, that the Settlement is addressing shortcomings in the treatment of distressed borrowers.

CAPs [corrective action plans], including remediation efforts when required, have been implemented or are in process. If the CAPs are not successful, the Monitoring Committee and I will take additional action, as dictated by the Settlement. In addition, we have applied what we have learned to enhance our oversight of the servicers by creating four new metrics to address persistent issues in the marketplace. (16)

The big five banks appear to be improving their compliance with the settlement, which is obviously a good thing. But there is still work to be done to improve loan servicing. The monitor notes the top ten complaints about servicers that were submitted by elected officials on behalf of their constituents:

1 Single point of contact was not provided, was difficult to deal with or was difficult to reach.

2 Single point of contact was non-responsive.

3 Servicer did not take appropriate action to remediate inaccuracies in borrower’s account.

4 Servicer failed to update the borrower’s contact information and/or account balance.

5 Servicer failed to correct errors in the borrower’s account information.

6 The borrower was “dual-tracked.” In other words, the borrower submitted an application for loss mitigation, and although it was in process or pending, the borrower was foreclosed upon.

7 Servicer did not accept payments or incorrectly applied them.

8 Servicer did not follow appropriate loss mitigation procedures.

9 The borrower received requests for financial statements they already provided.

10 The completed first lien modification request was not responded to within 30 days.

Total Executive Office complaints for all servicers: 44,570 (n.p.)

Obviously not every complaint is valid, but these numbers suggest that the settlement is not being fully complied with.

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