Mortgage servicers participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review have launched an expanded outreach effort to increase awareness of the opportunity for eligible borrowers to request a free, impartial review of their foreclosure by neutral, independent consultants. The deadline to submit a Request for Review Form by mail or online is Dec. 31, 2012.
Eligible borrowers may request an independent review of their mortgage foreclosure file if they believe that they were financially injured as a result of servicer errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. If an error is found, borrowers may be eligible for compensation or other remedy such as refunded fees, stopping of a foreclosure, or payments up to $125,000 plus equity. The remedy will be based on financial remediation guidance developed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
“The servicers are coordinating a final outreach effort to ensure that borrowers who may be eligible for the independent foreclosure reviews have an opportunity to submit a request before the Dec. 31 deadline,” said Paul Leonard, vice president of The Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council, a trade organization speaking on behalf of the participating servicers. “This includes print and broadcast advertising in multiple languages targeting more than 70 major metropolitan areas hard hit by foreclosure, as well as direct mail, telephone and email outreach, and grassroots efforts through funding and materials provided to housing counseling agencies and faith-based groups.”
These impartial reviews are being provided at the direction of the Federal Reserve and the OCC as required in consent orders with the servicers that were issued in April 2011. Eligible borrowers include those whose primary residences were in the process of foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 and whose mortgages were serviced by a participating mortgage company.
Initial outreach began in late 2011, when more than 4.3 million borrowers were notified by a letter explaining the review process and how to participate. Borrowers also received a Request for Review Form, along with a postage-paid return mailer. A national print advertising campaign ran several times during 2011 and 2012 and a follow-up mailing to borrowers who had not responded was sent in April 2012. There is no charge to eligible borrowers for a review and requesting a review will not affect any other options a borrower may pursue related to their foreclosure. Throughout this process, servicers will continue their efforts to help homeowners who have not yet gone through a foreclosure sale stay in their homes, where possible.
Servicers (and their successors and affiliates) participating in the program include: America’s Servicing Company, Aurora Loan Services, BAC Home Loans Servicing, Bank of America, Beneficial, Chase, Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, EMC, EverBank/Everhome Mortgage Company, Financial Freedom, GMAC Mortgage, HFC, HSBC, IndyMac Mortgage Services, MetLife Bank, National City Mortgage, PNC Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Wilshire Credit Corporation.