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Miller: States’ foreclosure probe targets five servicers


The 50 state attorneys general probing U.S. foreclosure practices will first settle with the five largest loan servicers – Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. – Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller told Bloomberg.

Miller, the leader of the 50-state investigation, said the five have 59 percent of the market. He said no settlements have been reached yet.

“What we’re looking at is five separate agreements with the five largest servicers,” Miller said. “We’re still a ways away” from reaching agreements, he said. “We’re working very hard to figure out what should be in the settlement.”

All 50 states are investigating whether banks and loan servicers used false documents and signatures to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. The probe, announced Oct. 13, came after JPMorgan and Ally Financial’s GMAC mortgage unit said they would stop repossessions in 23 states where courts supervise home seizures, and Bank of America, the largest U.S. lender, froze foreclosures nationwide.

The probe has since widened to include other mortgage practices, with attorneys general suggesting that a potential resolution should include improving the loan modification process, barring foreclosures when people are modifying loans and creating a general fund to compensate homeowners who may have been victims of wrongful foreclosures.

The group isn’t pursuing a criminal investigation, Miller said. “Our focus is to reform the servicing process, and that’s inherently civil, not criminal.”

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