NOV 20, 2012 1:21pm ET

Independent Foreclosure Review Request Deadline Looming

NOV 20, 2012 1:21pm ET
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Mortgage servicers participating in the independent foreclosure review launched an expanded outreach effort to increase awareness of the opportunity for eligible borrowers to request a free, impartial review of their foreclosure by neutral, independent consultants.

Eligible borrowers may ask for an independent review of their mortgage foreclosure file if they believe that they were financially injured as a result of servicer errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process.

If an error is found in this process, borrowers may receive compensation if they were harmed. They may also obtain remedy such as refunded fees, stopping of a foreclosure, or payments up to $125,000 plus equity. The remedy will be based on financial remediation guidance developed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The deadline for a distressed borrower to submit a request for a review form by mail or online is the end of this year.

“The servicers are coordinating a final outreach effort to ensure that borrowers who may be eligible for the independent foreclosure reviews have an opportunity to submit a request before the Dec. 31 deadline,” said Paul Leonard, vice president of The Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council. “This includes print and broadcast advertising in multiple languages targeting more than 70 major metropolitan areas hard hit by foreclosure, as well as direct mail, telephone and email outreach, and grassroots efforts through funding and materials provided to housing counseling agencies and faith-based groups.”

To qualify for a review, a borrower’s primary residence had to be in the process of foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 by a mortgage servicer who is active in this program.

The servicers (and their successors and affiliates) participating in the program include: Bank of America, BAC Home Loans Servicing, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, GMAC Mortgage, HSBC, MetLife Bank, PNC Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Aurora Loan Services, Beneficial, EMC, EverBank/Everhorne Mortgage Company, IndyMac Mortgage Services, HFC, National City Mortgage, America’s Servicing Company, Financial Freedom, WashingtonMutual and Wilshire Credit Corporation.  

Initial outreach for these independent reviews began in late 2011 when more than 4.3 million borrowers were contacted by a letter explaining the review process along with a request for review form and a postage-paid return mailer. There was also a national print advertising campaign that ran several times during 2011 and 2012.

There is no charge for a qualified borrower to request a foreclosure review by an independent consultant. Even if a borrower proceeds with this intervention strategy, it will not affect any other options they may pursue related to their foreclosure.

“Throughout this process, servicers will continue their efforts to help homeowners who have not yet gone through a foreclosure sale stay in their homes, where possible,” the Financial Services Roundtable said in a press release.