The Federal Reserve announced recently that there is a new program available that consumers who were foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010 can use to get a free review of their situation and may receive money for the harm they suffered.
The Federal Reserve Says
The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced that borrowers who believe they were financially harmed during the mortgage foreclosure process by four institutions in 2009 and 2010 can now request an independent review and potentially receive compensation.
Four large mortgage servicers supervised by the Board–GMAC Mortgage, HSBC Finance Corporation, SunTrust Mortgage, and EMC Mortgage Corporation–are required to conduct this program as part of their compliance with enforcement actions issued by the Board in April 2011. Under these actions, servicers are required to compensate borrowers for financial injury resulting from deficiencies in their foreclosure processes. A number of servicers supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency must also conduct the program.
As mandated by the Federal Reserve’s enforcement actions, the four servicers were required to retain independent consultants approved by the Federal Reserve to conduct the reviews. Borrowers are eligible for a review if their primary residence was in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, whether or not the foreclosure was completed. The review is intended to determine if those borrowers suffered financial harm directly resulting from errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies. The Federal Reserve will monitor the implementation of the program and the servicers’ outreach efforts.
To apply for a review, individuals may call 888-952-9105, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET), and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET). Individuals can get more information about the review through a website set up by the servicers, www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com . In addition, the servicers will conduct an advertising campaign and send letters to borrowers who may be eligible to participate in the review to provide information.
Requests for review by the servicers’ independent consultants must be received by April 30, 2012. Borrowers are encouraged to carefully consider the information about the review program to determine if they should participate. There are no costs associated with being included in the review.
In addition to conducting the reviews generated by this outreach program, the independent consultants retained by the servicers supervised by the Federal Reserve will separately review all cases in certain categories of foreclosure actions by the servicers to determine whether borrowers suffered financial injury. These categories include members of the military who were in the mortgage foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 who were covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and borrowers who had previously filed complaints with the servicers about foreclosure actions that were pending during 2009 or 2010. Borrowers who previously filed complaints with these servicers about foreclosures pending during the review period also may seek independent reviews of their foreclosures.
The enforcement actions issued by the Federal Reserve in April also require the servicers to correct other deficiencies in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure practices going forward. Under the plans, among other things, servicers must specify a single point of contact for certain borrowers who are having difficulty paying their mortgages, ensure that foreclosures are not pursued when a borrower is performing on a loan modification, and establish robust controls and oversight over their third-party vendors.
As previously stated in April, the Federal Reserve believes monetary sanctions in these cases are appropriate and plans to announce monetary penalties. These monetary penalties will be in addition to the compensation provided to borrowers in the independent review process.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Also Has An Announcement
On April 13, 2010, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of Thrift Supervision announced enforcement actions against 14 large residential mortgage servicers and two third-party vendors for unsafe and unsound practices related to residential mortgage servicing and foreclosure processing.
Independent Foreclosure Review
As part of those consent orders, federal regulators required servicers to engage independent firms to conduct a multi-faceted review of foreclosure actions in process in 2009 and 2010. Under the orders, independent consultants are charged with evaluating whether borrowers suffered financial injury through errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in foreclosure practices and determining appropriate remediation for those customers. Where a borrower suffered financial injury as a result of such practices, the agencies’ orders require financial remediation to be provided.
As part of that program, the 14 mortgage servicers covered by the enforcement actions will begin mailings November 1, 2011 that will continue through the end of the year. The mailings are intended to provide information to potentially eligible borrowers on how to request a review of their case if they believe they suffered financial injury as a result of errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in foreclosure proceedings related to their primary residence between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. The mailings will include a request for review form.
Borrowers may also visit www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com for more information about the review and claim process. Assistance with the form and answers to questions about the process are available at 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET).
Requests for review must be received by April 30, 2012.
The third-party consultant will assess whether any errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies resulted in financial injury to borrowers. Where a borrower suffered financial injury as a result of such practices, the consent orders require remediation to be provided. During the review, customers may be contacted by mortgage servicers for additional information at the direction of the independent consultant.
Eligibility for Review
To be eligible, the mortgage must have been active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, the property securing the loan must have been the primary residence, and the mortgage must have been serviced by one of the following mortgage servicers:
America’s Servicing Company
Aurora Loan Services
Bank of America
IndyMac Mortgage Services
If anyone has used this new program, please post a comment below and share your experience.