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Backlog of foreclosures under review

Homeowners who faced foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 may be eligible for a review to determine if their foreclosure was unlawful or if they were charged with excessive fees. More than 4 million foreclosure cases nationwide could be eligible for this review.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency indicates that anyone who is eligible for a review and asks for one prior to April 30, 2012 will receive one. More than 4 million letters were mailed out to homeowners informing them of their right to request a review of their foreclosure along with claim forms to fill out. To date, the OCC said that it has received approximately 61,000 claim forms.

In April 2011, regulators ordered the review of some foreclosures because of inconsistencies, inflated fees and complaints from consumer groups. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases that are being reviewed, but it is going to take longer than expected to get everything processed.

The reviews cover 2009-2010 foreclosure actions taken by the nation's 14 largest mortgage companies. These companies handle the payments for approximately 65 percent of all mortgages nationwide. Enforcement orders by federal regulators are requiring this review and their original deadline was this month.

Independent consultants have been hired by the servicers to review the foreclosures, but the high volume, detail, scope and complexity of the reviews is delaying action by at least a few months. The consultants hired to review the cases feel that they need to be thorough rather than quick when going through the files.

As the foreclosures are completed, the OCC will not wait until all reviews are completed, but process them as they come in. This should help the homeowners who have been waiting for a response, put this behind them. And for some, compensation will be awarded to them for errors found on their foreclosure.

Source: USA Today, "Foreclosure reviews to take longer than expected," Julie Schmit, Jan. 13, 2012

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