October 23, 2015
Systemic Servicing Failure
Joseph A. Smith, Jr., the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, issued An Update on Ocwen’s Compliance. It opens,
I filed a compliance report with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (the Court) today that provides the results of my tests on Ocwen’s compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement (Settlement or NMS) servicing standards during the third and fourth calendar quarters of 2014. (2)
The Monitor found that Ocwen (which has been subject to numerous complaints) failed at least four metrics and a total of ten metrics are subject to some type of corrective action plan. As with many of these reports, the prose is turgid, but the subject is of great concern to borrowers who have mortgages serviced by Ocwen. Problems were found with
- the timeliness, accuracy and completeness of pre-foreclosure initiation notification letters
- the propriety of default-related fees
- compliance with short sale notification requirements regarding missing documents
- providing the reason and factual basis for various denials
The Monitor concludes, “The work involved to date has been extensive, but Ocwen still has more work to do. I will continue to report to the Court and to the public on Ocwen’s progress in an ongoing and transparent manner.” (5) This sounds like bureaucratic understatement to me. Each of these failures has a major impact on the homeowners who are subject to it.
The Kafka-esque stories of homeowners dealing with servicers gone wild are graphic and frightening when a home is on the line. And when I read the corrective actions that the Monitor is implementing, it reads more like my 6th grader’s report card than like a plan for a massive corporation. One of them is “ensuring accuracy of dates used in letters.” (Appendix ii) Hard to imagine a grown up CEO needing to be told that.
I have wondered before how a company under court-ordered supervision could continue to behave like this. I remain perplexed — and even a bit disgusted.