Thursday, January 18, 2018
Business

3 big banks still violating national mortgage settlement

WASHINGTON — A government report has found that three of the nation's biggest banks have again violated the terms of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement, a charge that mirrors an earlier study on the landmark agreement to clean up shoddy foreclosure practices.

The court-appointed monitor of the settlement, Joseph Smith Jr., said Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup continued to mishandle homeowners' requests for lower monthly loan payments through the first half of the year. The report illustrates that Americans still face hurdles in hanging on to their homes, despite government efforts to help them.

Of the 29 metrics the monitor used to measure compliance with the 304 servicing standards outlined in the settlement, Bank of America failed three and JPMorgan and Citigroup failed two.

All three institutions provided inaccurate information to borrowers before starting a foreclosure, according to the monitor. Bank of America and Citigroup also were cited for failure to notify homeowners of missing documents in their modification requests within five days of receipt.

Each bank must put in place a plan approved by the monitor to correct the problems. The report said all of the banks are complying. If the problems recur within six months, the monitor can take legal action and seek fines of up to $5 million.

"The banks still have additional work to do in their efforts to fully comply and to regain their customers' trust," Smith said in a statement.

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