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Attorneys General Probe Highlights Illegal Practices of Mortgage Servicers
Mar 14, 2011

Responding to widespread evidence of improper accounting, unwarranted fees, false documentation, and arbitrary foreclosure decisions, the 50 state Attorneys General are crafting a long-overdue plan to hold the mortgage servicing industry accountable. The plan would address accusations that banks and servicers have engaged in illegal and negligent servicing practices that have been a continued drag on the U.S. housing market and economy. "When unnecessary foreclosures flood the market, taxpayers end up picking up the tab," said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center of Responsible Lending (CRL). "Loan servicers have repeatedly broken the law to push foreclosures through, even when loan modifications made more sense financially for everyone, including lenders and investors." Based on information that has been made public, the AGs' plan is sorely needed to fix the broken mortgage servicing industry. The bulk of the provisions are common-sense measures that require servicers to obey the law, stop losing documents, stop giving homeowners the runaround, and prevent unnecessary foreclosures. However, some proposed provisions raise concerns that the plan may be inadequate. For example, there has been discussion of a monetary fine of $20 billion, which represents only a fraction of the damage caused by the banks. Other key parts of the proposal remain under consideration or have not yet been made public. So far, banks and mortgage servicers have objected to the plan, but they ignore the extraordinary damage they inflicted on homeowners, the housing market and the overall economy, and they also ignore the extensive aid they received from taxpayers. "The sooner banks and servicers can move forward and begin to rebuild trust with the public," said Calhoun, "the sooner we can start to stabilize the housing market and build a more robust economy."
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