OCWEN Mortgage, the largest non-bank mortgage lender in the United States, recently agreed to a settlement with 49 different states that is similar to a settlement entered into in 2012 by five lenders including Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Included in the settlement is the state of California, where our offices are located. Under the settlement, OCWEN is paying $2 billion in consumer relief. The mortgage relief under the bank settlements is broken down as follows:
- 37% to reducing the balances on first mortgages
- 17% to refinancing assistance
- 31% to short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure
- 15% to second mortgage forgiveness
No word on the final breakdown of the OCWEN $2 billion yet, but we expect to see a similar breakdown. California's share of the settlement is $268 million, and consumers are likely to see $23 million go to homeowners whose houses were sold in foreclosure proceedings between 2009 and 2012.
Despite the settlement, the Wall Street Journal reports that OCWEN's fourth quarter earnings jumped 60%. It also reports that earlier this month, the New York Superintendent of Financial Services halted a deal between OCWEN and Wells Fargo to allow OCWEN to service $39 billion in Wells Fargo mortgages, because the superintendent was concerned about whether OCWEN would be able to service that volume of mortgages. This is indicative of the higher scrutiny OCWEN faces, and should face, as a result of questionable mortgage dealings.
According to the Press-Enterprise, in California, OCWEN was accused of "improperly turning down loan modifications, failing to honor modifications granted by previous servicers and charging unauthorized fees...[and] 'robo-signings,' a process where documentation was signed off on without any thorough investigation." If you had a mortgage financed by OCWEN and you believe you may have a claim against the company and are entitled to part of this settlement, contact us for a consultation.