Servicers must improve loan modifications, say state AGs

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As part of a probe into loan servicers' foreclosure practices, state attorneys general want banks to revamp their procedures and stop foreclosure proceedings on homeowners seeking loan modifications.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who has been leading a 50-state probe into loan servicers' foreclosure practices since October, revealed to lawmakers Tuesday some of the goals of the investigation.

The 50 state AGs are broadening their scope beyond allegations of improper documentation and into the handling of delinquent borrowers looking for help.

Servicers have to make better decisions when it comes to modifications and pour more resources into the process, Miller testified before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

"A lot more modifications should be made that aren't being made," said Miller.

One practice the attorney generals want stopped is servicers pursuing foreclosures on homeowners who are in the loan modification pipeline. Homeowners can get very confused and upset when they receive foreclosure notices at the time when servicers have agreed to reduce their payments to more affordable levels.

The so-called dual-track system is allowed under President Obama's loan modification program. But banks are not allowed to actually sell the home until determining that the homeowner is not eligible for a modification.

In addition, the state officials want servicers to assign one person to each homeowner's case to make the modification process smoother. And they want an oversight system that could assign a monitor or levy penalties for servicers who are not complying with the rules.

Miller told lawmakers it could be months before the probe is finished. His office denied reports Tuesday that a settlement is near.

The investigation began when court proceedings revealed that bank officials had signed thousands of foreclosure affidavits without reading them, a practice known as robo-signing.

The attorney generals are talking to federal agencies, the administration, and mortgage investors, in addition the banks. They have had two sessions recently with Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500).

BofA, the nation's largest servicer, is looking into halting the foreclosure process, said Barbara Desoer, head of the bank's home loan division, at Tuesday's hearing. However, contracts with investors stand in the way.

The servicer has revamped its foreclosure practices in the wake of the paperwork scandal. Among the changes is assigning a representative to each borrower seeking a modification.

"We know we need to provide greater clarity to our customers, who are going through the process," she said. To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.98%4.08%
15 yr fixed3.09%3.11%
5/1 ARM3.20%3.22%
30 yr refi4.06%4.16%
15 yr refi3.17%3.20%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in: New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,810.06 91.06 0.51%
Nasdaq 4,712.97 11.10 0.24%
S&P 500 2,063.50 10.75 0.52%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.02 -0.86%
Data as of 8:00pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.12 0.12 0.71%
Kinder Morgan Inc 39.75 -0.17 -0.43%
Apple Inc 116.47 0.16 0.14%
Intel Corp 35.59 -0.36 -1.00%
Microsoft Corp 47.98 -0.72 -1.48%
Data as of Nov 21

Sections

This arrangement, announced Friday, illustrates how the lines have blurred between traditional TV networks and newfangled options like Netflix. More

The Obama administration is touting that its immigration action will boost wages. But the hike amounts to only $170 a year by 2024. More

Obama doesn't have the authority to create a startup visa, but part of his reform announcement could include a workaround for entrepreneurs: 'parole status.' More

Nearly half of all Americans say there's a chance they'll have to work during a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to a new poll. And one in four say they'll have to work whether they want to or not. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.