Ocwen to pay NC $26 million for mortgage wrongs, AG Cooper says
Release date: 12/19/2013
$2.1 billion national agreement to help homeowners, prevent foreclosures
Raleigh: A national settlement with Ocwen Financial Corporation worth $26 million to North Carolina will bring relief to homeowners and prevent future mortgage and foreclosure abuses, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday.
The funds are North Carolina’s share of a $2.1 billion combined state and federal agreement, the result of a massive civil law enforcement investigation and initiative by Cooper, 48 other state attorneys general, state mortgage regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into Ocwen’s mortgage servicing and foreclosures.
“Some foreclosures can’t be avoided, but when they happen they must be done right,” Cooper said. “This agreement helps homeowners who were wronged in the past and prevents mortgage and foreclosure problems in the future.”
Approximately $2 billion of the national settlement will go to assist struggling homeowners including an estimated $26 million to those in North Carolina through first-lien principal reduction on their mortgage loans. Another $125 million will go directly to nearly 184,000 Ocwen borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, including an estimated $679 to $1,235 each to nearly 3,500 Ocwen borrowers who were foreclosed upon in North Carolina.
North Carolinians who are eligible for relief under today’s agreement should contact Ocwen to obtain more information about principal reductions and whether they qualify under terms of this settlement by calling Ocwen at 1-800-337-6695 or emailing their questions to ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com. A settlement administrator will contact qualified borrowers who suffered foreclosure regarding cash payments.
In the past four years, North Carolinians filed 105 consumer complaints about Ocwen. Complaints included issues with foreclosures, fees, payment errors, loan modifications and collection practices.
According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, misconduct by Ocwen resulted in premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violations of homeowners’ rights and protections, and the use of false and deceptive documents and affidavits.
The settlement terms address servicing misconduct by Ocwen and two companies later acquired by Ocwen: Homeward Residential Inc. and Litton Home Servicing LP. Ocwen specializes in servicing high-risk mortgage loans.
The final agreement will be filed as a consent judgment with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Today’s settlement follows a 2012 national settlement negotiated by Cooper with the then-five largest mortgage servicers, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The National Mortgage Settlement resulted in new standards to prevent unnecessary and improper foreclosures and has so far provided more than $51 billion in relief to distressed homeowners. In North Carolina, the settlement has provided $338 million for housing counselors, legal help, fraud detection and prosecution, and economic improvement as well as $33.57 million in direct payments to foreclosure victims.
Joseph A. Smith, Jr., Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement and former North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, will oversee the Ocwen agreement’s implementation and compliance through the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight.
“Today’s agreement together with our previous settlement mean money back to deserving homeowners and stronger standards to to protect even more homeowners,” Cooper said.
Media contacts: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413