Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two weeks left to sign up for an independent foreclosure review

I listen to the radio in the morning when I am getting ready for the day ahead (shaving, showering, etc.).  Like most local radio stations, the one that I listen to most often airs advertisements to pay for the rest of the operation.

Many, perhaps most, of the advertisements aired that relate to real estate or to creditworthiness tend to sound like scams (i.e - land "deals" in rural areas of AZ with no water, roads, or infrastructure or "credit improvement" services that involve sending lots of money to complete strangers) and I tend to tune them out once I understand the subject matter of the spot.

One of the spots currently running frequently has a speaker claiming to be from the federal Comptroller of the Currency and involves an "independent foreclosure review".  At first, I ignored the ad, figuring it was a scam like most of the others, but as the spot was played again and again, I kept wondering how they could claim outright to be from a federal agency.

Turns out they can, because they are.

From the website of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board (emphasis mine):

The Federal Reserve Board issued enforcement actions against four large mortgage servicers
--GMAC Mortgage, HSBC Finance Corporation, SunTrust Mortgage, and EMC Mortgage Corporation--in April 2011. Under those actions, the four servicers were required to retain independent consultants to review foreclosures that were initiated, pending, or completed during 2009 or 2010. The review is intended to determine if borrowers suffered financial harm directly resulting from errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies that may have occurred during the foreclosure process. The servicers are required to compensate borrowers for financial injury resulting from deficiencies in their foreclosure processes.
If you had a mortgage loan on your primary residence and believe you were financially harmed during the mortgage foreclosure process by any of the four servicers in 2009 or 2010, you can request an independent review and potentially receive compensation. The four servicers are required to make the independent reviews available to borrowers as part of their compliance with the April 2011 enforcement actions.
A number of servicers supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are also required to conduct independent reviews. (See below for the full list of servicers.)
Eligibility for Review
Borrowers are eligible for an independent foreclosure review if they meet the following criteria:
  • the property securing the loan was the borrower's primary residence;
  • the mortgage was in the foreclosure process (initiated, pending, or completed) at any time between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010; and
  • the mortgage was serviced by one of the following mortgage servicers:        
America's Servicing Company Countrywide National City Mortgage
Aurora Loan Services EMC Mortgage Corporation PNC Mortgage
BAC Home Loans Servicing EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company Sovereign Bank
Bank of America Financial Freedom SunTrust Mortgage
Beneficial GMAC Mortgage U.S. Bank
Chase HFC Wachovia Mortgage
Citibank HSBC Washington Mutual (WaMu)
CitiFinancial IndyMac Mortgage Services Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
CitiMortgage MetLife Bank Wilshire Credit Corporation
If you previously filed a complaint with these servicers about foreclosures pending during the review period, you may still seek an independent review of your foreclosure.
There are no costs associated with being included in the review; the review is a free program. Beware of anyone who wants payment to assist you in connection with the independent foreclosure review or any other foreclosure assistance program.

The deadline for seeking an independent review is December 31, 2012.  Full details are available at the linked website.

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