Foreclosure reviews now available to homeowners

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 5:25 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 4:40 AM
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Homeowners who suspects their mortgage provider wrongfully began or completed a foreclosure action can now seek an independent review.

Across the country, more than 4 million people could be eligible, said Bryan Hubbard, spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The independent foreclosure review, which began Tuesday, was set up as part of the enforcement against 14 mortgage providers and their foreclosure services in April after deficiencies with their processes were identified.

Anyone who suffered financial harm as a result of improper practices must be compensated, but how that will be accomplished has not been outlined yet. Only those people whose mortgages were subjected to the foreclosure process between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010 – regardless of whether the foreclosure was finalized – are eligible for the review.

Georgia residents could be more affected than those in South Carolina, where a foreclosure action has judicial oversight, said Augusta lawyer Zane Leiden. Georgia is second only to Texas in how little must be done before a foreclosure is completed, he said. In Georgia, the process takes as little as 38 days to complete.

Leiden estimated that 80 percent of the Georgia foreclosures have been done by a dozen Atlanta law firms that have relied on the accuracy of the lenders’ information instead of conducting independent investigations.

It’s possible that some people didn’t know corners were cut in the process, Leiden said.

The mortgage providers targeted by the government are required to mail notification letters to eligible borrowers, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. But anyone who believes he could benefit from a review may file a request for review.

There is no charge for the review, but it is expected to take several months because of high demand.

Leiden noted that for those who defaulted on mortgages because they could not pay or decided to walk away from a property won’t benefit from a review.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

Information about seeking a foreclosure review is available by calling (888) 952-9105 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. People may also visit www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com. All requests must be received by April 30.

The reviews are limited to the following institutions that started foreclosure proceedings between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010:

• America’s Servicing Co.

• Aurora Loan Services

• Bank of America

• Beneficial

• Chase

• Citibank

• CitiFinancial

• CitiMortgage

• Countrywide

• EMC

• EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Co.

• GMAC Mortgage

• HFC

• HSBC

• IndyMac Mortgage Services

• MetLife Bank

• National City Mortgage

• PNC Mortgage

• Sovereign Bank

• SunTrust Mortgage

• U.S. Bank

• Wachovia Mortgage

• Washington Mutual (WaMu)

• Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.


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