Independent Foreclosure Review Check
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.
The above is not legal advice, but The Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber, PLLC is here to assist you! Call (516) 858-2620 to schedule an appointment with an attorney.
The following Excerpts are from a recent Press Release by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:
A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN SECURES $136 MILLION FOR STRUGGLING NEW YORK HOMEOWNERS IN MORTGAGE SERVICING SETTLEMENT
After Schneiderman’s Persistence, Narrow Settlement Preserves Sweeping Legal Claims For Housing Crisis Misconduct That Has Not Yet Been Investigated
New York To Receive More Per Underwater Borrower Than Any Other State, Plus Loan Modifications, Principal Reductions
Schneiderman: Civil & Criminal Investigations Will Continue As We Seek Accountability For Those Responsible For Crisis And Leverage Greater Relief For Homeowners
New York’s estimated share of the guaranteed cash payments in the settlement is $136 million, the fourth highest in the nation. New York will be able to distribute these funds to legal aid, homeowner assistance and advocacy organizations to help distressed individuals facing foreclosure or servicer abuse.
Because of the complexity of the mortgage market and this agreement, which will be performed over a three-year period, borrowers will not immediately know if they are eligible for relief. It will take between 30-60 days to appoint a settlement administrator, and banks will be conducting a vigorous search to identify eligible borrowers and this may take several months.
For loan modifications and refinance options, borrowers may be contacted directly by one of the five participating mortgage servicers.
For payments to foreclosure victims, a settlement administrator designated by the attorneys general will send claim forms to eligible persons (You may be eligible if you were foreclosed on between January 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2012)
Even if you are not contacted, if your loan is serviced by one of the five settling banks, you are encouraged to contact your servicer to see if you are eligible—keeping in mind that it will take anywhere from six to nine months to be contacted.
Bank of America: 877-488-7814
Wells Fargo: 1-800-288-3212
For more information on today’s agreement, visit:
The following is from a recent New York Times article:
The nation’s top mortgage servicers are expected to sign legal agreements by the end of this week compelling them to change their foreclosure procedures, regulatory officials said Tuesday.
The servicers, which violated state and local laws and regulations governing foreclosures, are agreeing to improve their methods in numerous ways. They will be required to have more layers of oversight and proper training of their foreclosure staff. The oversight will extend to third party groups, including the law firms that do much of the actual work of eviction.
Under the new rules, every homeowner in default will have a single point of contact with the servicer. The servicers will end their practice of foreclosing while borrowers are pursuing loan modifications that might allow them to stay in their homes.
One of the most significant measures in the consent agreement will require servicers to hire an independent consultant to review foreclosures done over the last two years. If owners were improperly foreclosed on or paid excessive fees, they will be compensated.