Independent Foreclosure Review
Many people have called our office because they are/were in foreclosure and recently received an Independent Foreclosure Review check. Most of them ask the following questions:
Why am I receiving this Independent Foreclosure Review Check?
An agreement, providing for Independent Foreclosure Review, was reached by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board with several mortgage servicers.
The Independent Foreclosure Review is supposed to determine whether homeowners, who were in foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, suffered financial injury because of “errors” made by their mortgage servicer during the home foreclosure process .
This agreement includes the following Mortgage servicers, their affiliates, or subsidiaries: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.
The above Servicers have agreed to pay a total of $3.6 billion in cash payments to eligible borrowers. The payment amounts appear to vary.
And the #1 question…
Can I cash my Independent Foreclosure Review Check?
The checks we have seen state the following:
- The payment is final.
- There is no process to appeal.
- “By cashing or depositing the check, you do not waive any legal claims against your servicer and you may pursue additional actions related to your foreclosure.”
Therefore, it does not appear that you have anything to lose by cashing your Independent Foreclosure Review check. HOWEVER, you should seek legal advice from an attorney who is fully aware of your current situation.
Foreclosure Defense Attorneys in Mineola
The above is not legal advice, but the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you! Call (516) 858-2620 to schedule an appointment with an attorney.
National Mortgage Servicer Settlement Progress Report
We previously wrote about the 25 billion dollar National Mortgage Servicer Settlement and how it, supposedly, helps distressed NY homeowners.
The affected servicers are:
- Bank of America: 877-488-7814
- Citibank: 866-272-4749
- Chase: 866-372-6901
- GMAC/ALLY: 800-766-4622
- Wells Fargo: 1-800-288-3212
The above servicers have agreed to provide at least $25 billion in relief to distressed homeowners, the 49 participating states, and the federal government.
Well, have they?
Joseph A. Smith, Jr., the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, recently released a “Progress Report” that outlines progress made by the five banks that are parties to the settlement. The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight stated the following in a recent Press Release:
“The report discloses that the banks have granted $10.56 billion in consumer relief to borrowers between March 1 and June 30, 2012. Additionally, first lien principal reduction trials were offered and begun for about 28,000 homeowners, totaling approximately $3 billion of potential relief,” said Smith. “This information is self-reported and has not been confirmed by the professional firms working with me. Further, it represents gross dollar amounts and cannot be used to evaluate progress toward the banks’ $20 billion obligation.”
In addition, the report provides an update on the banks’ implementation of the settlement’s servicing standards.
“As of July 5, the servicers reported to me that 56 servicing standards have been incorporated into their business processes,” continued Smith. “Implementation of the mortgage servicing standards outlined in the settlement can be an important contribution to reform of the mortgage finance system.
Our take: We find some of the language used and statements made in the press release somewhat vague and troublesome. Moreover, we have not seen much relief, under the Mortgage Servicer Settlement, for our clients facing foreclosure. However, it is our understanding that all the the new servicing standards must be implemented by October 3, 2012. Hopefully, we will see more help for distressed homeowners soon thereafter.
If you have any questions about this or other legal issues, call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC today, at 516-858-2620, for a free consultation!