Doing the Servicer Bounce is a Disservice to Homeowners

The New York Times Dealbook reports on a new wave of mortgage complaints—borrowers in the midst of loan modification being bounced to new servicers.

Full article here.

Excerpt:

A growing number of homeowners trying to avert foreclosure are confronting problems on a new front as the mortgage industry undergoes a seismic shift.

Shoddy paperwork, erroneous fees and wrongful evictions — the same abuses that dogged the nation’s largest banks and led to a $26 billion settlement with federal authorities in 2012 — are now cropping up among the specialty firms that collect mortgage payments, according to dozens of foreclosure lawsuits and interviews with borrowers, federal and state regulators and housing lawyers.

These companies are known as servicers, but they do far more than transfer payments from borrowers to lenders. They have great power in deciding whether homeowners can win a mortgage modification or must hand over their home in a foreclosure.

And they have been buying up servicing rights at a voracious rate. As a result, some homeowners are mired in delays and confronting the same heartaches, like the peculiar frustration of being asked for the same documents over and over again as the rights to their mortgage changes hands

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Katherine Porter, who was appointed by the California attorney general to oversee the national mortgage settlement, says complaints about mortgage transfers have surged, adding that the servicing companies have “overpromised and underdelivered.” Her office alone has received more than 300 complaints about servicing companies in the last year.

Top officials with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees the specialty servicers, are scrutinizing the sales to ensure that homeowners don’t get lost in the shuffle.

“The process should be seamless for consumers,” said Steve Antonakes, a deputy director at the agency.

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