DENVER – Joseph A. Smith, Jr., Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, today issued new metrics that impose greater oversight over Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, CitiGroup and Wells Fargo under the National Mortgage Settlement. These new metrics are the result of violations that the monitor reported earlier this summer regarding the banks’ compliance with the settlement. Staff of the Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office serve on the monitoring committee and throughout the summer, Smith and the committee developed new protocols to give greater protection and additional resources to homeowners working to save their homes from foreclosure. These improved protocols are now being tested as part of these new metrics.
“Our staff closely reviews homeowner complaints to assess whether the banks are following the settlement terms,” explained Suthers, “When complaints revealed homeowners were experiencing ongoing problems in their dealings with the banks, we brought those issues forward. The result is that the banks must now submit to greater oversight to ensure they are living up to the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement and I expect them to follow through on their commitments,” continued Suthers.
Under the settlement, the banks must provide greater notice to the homeowners as to the procedures and documents required to save their homes from foreclosure. Banks must also follow certain strict timelines when a homeowner seeks help. Complaints filed with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office indicated that these standards were not being followed. The loan modification process was still taking too long and homeowners were having trouble with banks recognizing the documents that they had submitted in applying for a loan modification.
Throughout the summer, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, along with the entire monitoring committee and the independent monitor met separately with the banks to work through these problems. This new testing was necessary to quickly respond to the problems that continue to plague borrowers. In addition to this more rigorous testing, which applies to all four of these banks to the settlement, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have agreed to undertake even more specific undertakings for a homeowner trying to fight off foreclosure. Bank of America and Wells Fargo added new review systems that are expected to be more responsive to homeowners who contact them about a loan modification. These improvements are designed to quickly assess whether a homeowner is eligible for a modification and get them through this process quicker.
“Despite recent improvements in the housing market, some Coloradans are still struggling to keep their homes. The settlement is one factor that has helped Colorado realize a lower foreclosure rate and a more stable housing market.” said Suthers. “There are still areas of Colorado struggling with foreclosure, however, and I am committed to seeing that the National Mortgage Settlement works for them as well,” Suthers concluded.
The settlement has helped create more resources throughout Colorado for homeowners who are struggling to save their homes. Homeowners who are behind on their mortgages or facing foreclosure are encouraged to contact the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline at 1-877-601-4673 (HOPE). The free hotline works with homeowners in or facing foreclosure. Homeowners who call the hotline may speak with a housing counselor about their options.
More information about the National Mortgage Settlement is available at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. Further information about Joseph Smith and the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight is available at www.mortgageoversight.com.
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