Review of Foreclosure Reviews: OCC Official Testifies Before Congress

Democrats in the Senate put federal regulators with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under scrutiny for failing to reveal more details about what those so-called “independent” foreclosure reviewers found in their short-lived roles.
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Our Miami foreclosure lawyers understand a hearing was held recently before a Senate subcommittee.

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) noted, “People want to know that their regulators are watching out for the American public – not for the banks.”

She said that not only was there a “cozy” relationship between the outside review firms and the banks, there was also a tight-knit relationship between the banks and the regulators.

The only way to ensure that the OCC did its job correctly, she said, is for the OCC to provide detailed information regarding what those reviewers initially found and what was reported back to the OCC – even though the OCC and the federal reserve ended up doing away with the review process in favor of a $9.3 billion settlement — with $3.6 billion going straight to borrowers.

Of course, the primary reason for that latter action was the fact that many had not only raised significant questions about the efficiency of those review firms, but also their integrity. Inside information had been leaked that the review firms, which were being handsomely paid by the banks, were more often than not tipping the scales in favor of the banks.

Despite lawmakers’ anger with both the OCC and the Federal Reserve, both agencies absolutely refused to turn over more information about what was uncovered in the two years those reviews were ongoing. The OCC’s deputy chief counsel said the agency would agree to reveal details about the foreclosure review process – but only PRIVATE, with a stipulation that a report would later be submitted for public review. The deputy chief counsel posited that the details of those reviews aren’t for public consumption because they are part of the regulators’ bank supervision process, something they say is confidential.

Why are our taxpayer-funded federal regulators shielding the banks – the same ones we know ripped us all off?

The deputy chief counsel did concede that his agency had underestimated what it was going to take to carry out these reviews, and, given the chance to do it over again, regulators would move forward differently.

However, our Miami foreclosure lawyers have grave concerns about offering this agency the opportunity to “do it over again,” if the situation unfortunately arose again – especially when it has failed to be forthcoming about what went so wrong this time.

The OCC has revealed that roughly $2 billion total was given to these firms to review foreclosures nationwide, and to ferret out those cases in which wrongdoing was inflicted on the borrower in the form of failed home loan modifications or wrongful foreclosure.

It’s important to know exactly what those reviewers found because the media has been reporting vastly different error rate figures than the banks.

For example, while JP Morgan Chase & Co. was reporting the rate of errors worth of compensation for foreclosure abuses was just 0.06 percent, the Wall Street Journal, citing those who had actually conducted the reviews, reported error rates that were closer to 12 percent. Meanwhile, regulators were giving an overall error rate of 6.5 percent.

So, which is it?

Until the OCC starts providing some answers, we won’t know.

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. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

Additional Resources:
Here’s How the Foreclosure Reviews Could Have Been Done Much Faster and Cheaper, April 16, 2013, By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism
Senate Democrats Blast Regulators on Foreclosure Reviews, April 11, 2013, By Alan Zibel, The Wall Street Journal
More Blog Entries:
Florida Foreclosures Rank No. 1 in U.S., March 1, 2013, Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog