Explainer: What the multi-billion dollar Ocwen enforcement action means for you
Along with authorities in 49 states, and the District of Columbia, we’re filing an order requiring the largest nonbank mortgage loan servicer in the country, Ocwen Financial Corporation, to pay for years of systemic misconduct in mortgage servicing. The misconduct included unfair shortcuts, unauthorized fees, deception, illegal foreclosures, and other illegal practices. Ocwen will be required to provide $2 billion in loan modification relief to its customers and $125 million in refunds to consumers whose homes were foreclosed.
Since 2009, Ocwen has been taking advantage of homeowners with shortcuts and unauthorized fees and deceiving consumers about loan modifications. We have mortgage rules that will take effect in January 2014 that establish strong protections for struggling homeowners facing foreclosure.
We have answers to some of your questions about this case:
Q: What is a mortgage servicer and how do I know if Ocwen services my loan?
A: The company that you make your monthly payment to is your mortgage servicer. Many of the loans administered by servicers are owned by third-party investors, so they may or may not be a lending institution and may or may not own your loan. A mortgage servicer administers mortgage loans, including collecting and recording payments from borrowers. A servicer also handles loan defaults and foreclosures, and may offer programs to avoid foreclosure to assist delinquent borrowers.
You can find out whether your mortgage is serviced by Ocwen by calling (800) 337-6695 or emailing your question to ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.
Q: How will I know whether this settlement affects me?
A: This settlement involves Ocwen and two companies recently purchased by Ocwen: Litton Loan Servicing LP and Homeward Residential Holdings LLC (previously known as American Home Servicing, Inc. or AMHSI). If your loan was serviced by Ocwen, Litton, or Homeward, you lost your home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2012, and if you meet other criteria, the settlement administrator will mail you a notice letter and claim form.
For loan modification options, you may be contacted directly by Ocwen. You can also contact Ocwen for information about specific loan modification programs and find out if you will be impacted by this settlement. You can reach Ocwen by calling (800) 337-6695 or emailing ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.
Q: Will there be payments to foreclosure victims?
A: Yes. The settlement administrator will mail Notice Letters and Claim Forms to borrowers who lost their home due to foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, whose loans were serviced by Ocwen, Homeward, or Litton, and who meet other criteria. Borrowers who receive payments will not have to release any claims and will be free to seek additional relief in the courts.
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for payment as a foreclosure victim?
A: You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- Your home was foreclosed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.
- At the time of foreclosure, the loan was serviced by Ocwen, Homeward, or Litton.
- You made at least three payments on the loan.
- You lived or intended to live in the property as your principal place of residence at the time of the origination of the loan.
- The property was a one-to-four unit residential property.
- The unpaid principal balance of the first-lien did not exceed $729,750 for a one-unit property, $934,200 for a two-unit property, $1,129,250 for a three-unit property, or $1,403,400 for a four-unit property.
- You make a valid claim.
Q: If I am eligible for foreclosure relief, how much will I get?
A: That depends. All consumers who successfully file eligible claims will receive an equal payment based on the total number of successful claims.
Q: What about those borrowers who continued making payments?
A: Borrowers who are current on their payments but are nonetheless struggling to make their payments and are “underwater” on their mortgages may qualify for loan modifications that will result in reductions in principal.
For loan modification options, borrowers may be contacted directly by Ocwen.
Borrowers can also contact Ocwen themselves to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and inquire whether the borrower may be impacted by this settlement. You can reach Ocwen by calling (800) 337-6695 or emailing ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.
Q: What laws did Ocwen violate?
A: Ocwen is charged with engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act and state laws. Ocwen’s unlawful conduct has resulted in injury to consumers who have had home loans serviced by Ocwen, Litton , and Homeward. The harm includes payment of improper fees and charges, unreasonable delays and expenses to obtain loss mitigation relief, and improper denial of loss mitigation relief.
We have some more answers to specific questions about the Ocwen settlement .