Joseph A. Smith Jr. monitor of the national mortgage servicing settlement, has announced the launch of an online tool for consumer advocates to report their clients’ mortgage servicing complaints. Smith recently announced the development of this Web site to attendees of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) annual conference. Last month, Smith officially assumed his position as Monitor of the mortgage servicing settlement among 49 states, the federal government and five major banks. In this role, Smith works to ensure that the banks comply with the requirements outlined in the settlement agreement.
The agreement does not charge Smith with assisting individual consumers with their complaints, but the information gathered from this online tool will inform Smith how the servicers are treating their customers. As Monitor, Smith will look for trends in servicing complaints as the banks move forward with implementing the agreement.
“Lawyers, caseworkers and other consumer advocates are the eyes and ears on the ground who will know first, and know intimately, what kind of difference these payments, adjustments and programs are making," said Smith. "That’s why we’ve created this dedicated tool—to see what they’re seeing. This allows me, as Monitor, to hear complaints and learn more about advocates’ impressions of how the settlement is working. Although I’ll extensively review reports and monitoring from the banks and my own team of auditors, it is still critical for me to receive information from the heart of each community this settlement serves.”
Smith will use the information gathered from these recorded complaints to investigate any notable trends. To report a complaint, professionals will visit the site, fill out information about themselves and their clients, and select from choices on which servicing issues their clients have experienced. The options on the form cover the more than 200 servicing standards outlined in the agreement.
“I believe that the settlement will bring relief to distressed borrowers and help communities across the country,” Smith said. “To do so, we need to be certain that the agreement’s servicing standards are being adhered to, and professionals who fill out this form will help inform me of any recurring issues that need to be addressed. I appreciate all who participate, as they will help ensure that this settlement makes a difference in mortgage servicing standards for all borrowers.”