$3 Million Fine for MetLife’s Foreclosure Abuses

In the most recent ongoing federal effort to address fraud and abuses within the foreclosure processing and mortgage servicing industry, the Federal Reserve has hit MetLife with a $3.2 million fine. pocketcoins.jpg

Miami foreclosure lawyers understand that the Fed issued a statement saying the firm had been party to unsafe and unsound practices with regard to its foreclosures and mortgage servicing.

Although MetLife has been scrambling to try to unload its banking subsidiary, GE Capital, ever since the financial crisis hit, it didn’t do so fast enough to avoid the sanctions. It was close though, as the planned sale was supposed to be sealed on June 30. However, it was delayed due to issues with obtaining certain regulatory approval.

MetLife wasn’t part of the $25 billion settlement reached recently among the country’s five largest banks and attorneys general from 49 states. However, the Fed noted that if it did come to some kind of settlement with state attorneys general, it would be allowed to subtract that settlement amount from the $3.2 million fine. Whatever the difference, it would be required to pay it by August 2014.

That money would then be funneled into a pot for independent foreclosure reviews and individual foreclosure counseling.

Following the multibillion-dollar settlement reached in April, the Fed has been combing through financial institutions one-by-one seeking compensation for the industry-wide abuses.

While it’s encouraging anytime efforts are made to hold these firms accountable, they are often drops in the bucket – especially considering the time given to pay them off and the profits these institutions are already turning. Consider that the profit at MetLife actually doubled in the second quarter this year, amounting to $2.25 billion, primarily resulting from falling interest rates that prompted a gain on derivatives.

MetLife, which is primarily an insurance company, is seeking to sell off the banking aspect of its business, in part, because it will allow the company to escape the oversight of the Fed.

The Fed indicated that the fine doesn’t even require MetLife to admit wrongdoing. The banking regulator actually praised the company for taking steps to correct its practices and comply with the law.

To step outside of the box for a moment and compare this scenario to another: A 19-year-old convicted of grand theft auto. Under Florida statute, that teenager will be facing five years in jail and a $5,000 fine – and that’s even if he’s only charged with the crime as a low-tier felony. Yet, huge financial institutions that commit widespread fraud, and spark a housing crisis that robbed millions of their homes and sunk us all into a deep recession – are patted on the back because they’re doing the right thing now.

This is what you are up against when you are facing a foreclosure in Miami. That’s why hiring a lawyer with extensive experience in this area of law is so critical.

One positive aspect of all these various settlements is that you may be entitled to loan modification that will lessen your principal balance and allow you to remain in your home.

We can help.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.

Additional Resources:
MetLife fined $3.2 mln for “unsound” foreclosures – Fed, Staff Report, Reuters

More Blog Entries:
State Officials Protect Banks Over Homeowners Facing Miami Foreclosure, June 26, 2012, Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog