The Check Is in the Mail
If you are an active agent that works in the distressed property arena, you will undoubtedly receive phone calls or emails from past and present clients about an interesting little mailer that just hit mailboxes across America. The mailer is one piece and sealed on three sides; it’s small and white and looks a bit like a piece of junk mail that you’d throw away without opening. The thing is… it’s not junk mail. And for many folks that were involved in a loan modification, a short sale, or a foreclosure, it’s an alert stating that “the check is in the mail” (in about eight more weeks).
On March 18, 2013, approximately 4.2 million people were sent notices that they will receive remuneration as a result of an agreement between federal banking regulators and 13 mortgage servicers. The mailer comes from the paying agent, Rust Consulting (1-888-952-9105), and Rust Consulting is the only agency that should be contacted if (previously) distressed borrowers have any questions or concerns.
What Is Independent Foreclosure Review?
As you may recall, the Independent Foreclosure Review is part of the settlement associated with the robo-signing debacle of 2010 (title my own). As part of this review, thirteen mortgage servicers and their affiliates identified customers who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence during the period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.
These 13 mortgage servicers sent solicitation letters to 4.2 million potential victims of robo-signing and other foreclosure-related (and potentially fraudulent) matters. These letters provided homeowners the opportunity to request an independent review of their foreclosure process (a.k.a. Independent Foreclosure Review). If the review found that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the customer might receive compensation or another remedy.
The deadline to request an independent review was December 31, 2012.
Eligibility for Independent Foreclosure Review
According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, borrowers were eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review if they met the following criteria:
- the property securing the loan was the borrower’s primary residence
- the mortgage was in the foreclosure process (initiated, pending, or completed) at any time between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010
- the mortgage was serviced by one of the following mortgage servicers: America’s Servicing Company, Aurora Loan Services, BAC Home Loans Servicing, Bank of America, Beneficial, Chase, Citi (Bank, Financial and Mortgage), Countrywide, EMC Mortgage Corporation, EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company, Financial Freedom (OneWest), GMAC, HFC, HSBC, IndyMac Mortgage Services, National City Servicing Company, PNC Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, US Bank, Wachovia Mortgage, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, and Wilshire Credit
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Distressed borrowers did not have to hire an attorney or other consultant to assist them in their completion of the Independent Foreclosure Review paperwork. In fact, there were no costs associated with being included in the review; the review was a free program. According to Rust Consulting, “borrowers should beware of anyone requiring payments for assistance in connection with the Independent Foreclosure Review or any other foreclosure assistance program.”
As scams seems to arise under just about every rock, it’s a good idea to assure that your past clients that may be receiving a check in the mail are aware of what’s about to come. In fact, why not give your past clients a call and let them know. Since it’s been a few years since they were distressed borrowers, maybe they are ready to buy again?