Ditech Agrees to $1.4M Settlement with Massachusetts

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Walter Investment Management Corp. subsidiary Ditech Financial has paid $1.4 million as part of an agreement to settle claims of alleged abusive debt collection practices in Massachusetts.

The $1.4 million fine will be distributed "to address the negative effects of foreclosure, debt collection or other consumer protection issues" at the discretion of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, according to a news release last week. The agreement, filed in a commonwealth superior court, also requires Ditech to cease placing collection calls in excess of the limit set up by the state and to train the company's debt collectors regarding the agreement.

Ditech also agreed to implement an automated quality control system to prevent excess debt collection calls and to issue debt validation notices to borrowers in compliance with state regulations.

"Ditech Financial is pleased to bring closure to this matter by voluntarily entering into an Assurance of Discontinuance with the Massachusetts attorney general," the company said in an email. "Ditech takes very seriously the attorney general's concerns and the requirements of Massachusetts laws…Ditech values its relationship with the attorney general's office and remains committed to providing excellent service to its Massachusetts customers."

The company also said it had previously taken actions to amend the issues raised by the attorney general.

The attorney general's office alleges that Ditech violated debt collection regulations by making calls to borrowers in excess of the number permitted by state law, at times calling a single borrower up to 12 times in one day. Additionally, the state argued that Ditech did not notify borrowers that they had a right to receive detailed information regarding their mortgage debt.

The actions, which the state says began in 2012, affected more than 5,000 borrower accounts.

Healey said in a news release that the settlement would serve as "a message to all debt collectors that our office will continue to aggressively pursue those who engage in abusive collection practices in Massachusetts."

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