I mentioned earlier today that Shaun Donovan tried to sell the weak $2,000 pittance provided to foreclosure victims in the recent servicing settlement by saying that the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) reviews still offer the opportunity for individuals who were wrongly foreclosed upon to reap restitution. I scoffed at this because those OCC reviews are widely seen as ineffectual and designed to whitewash the problem, with the banks self-reporting their own reviews through “independent consultants” they hire and pay.
As it turns out, Martin Andelman, with excellent timing, got an insider at Wells Fargo to expose just what a sham these foreclosure reviews are.
I was hired as one of those “Independent File Review Specialist” at a company called Promontory working on Wells Fargo Bank. I have 15 years industry experience in all facets of the mortgage & title industry, and just needed a job at the moment. I must say the whole project is a mess, and a terrible joke on the victims of foreclosure and the American people. It’s a total sham.
I have found errors that should be moved up through the ranks, but am told “quit digging so deep”…”put your shovel away”…Focus on the questions “in scope”… The review forms are set up so no harm could ever be found. It’s equivalent of an attorney presenting his case to a judge with just 20% of the evidence.
I would also like to mention that I was brought in through a temp agency…..some of the people brought in with me do not know the difference between a truth in lending statement, and a note. It’s a shame, these are your reviewers!!! The supervisors don’t want any trouble…they are mostly temps too, just trying to get a promotion to full time. Does this sound like a fair and impartial review to you? Since we’re temps I suppose that’s impartial, not to mention they made us “affiant notaries” so we can so-called “notarize each others reviews.
The foreclosed victims don’t realize if they do not provide specific dates on the intake forms… their complaints are considered “general comments” out of scope. They should specifically ask for a “full file review” and hopefully their info has not been scrubbed or purged… I could go on and on, but I just felt I needed to share this.
You can read on and on at Martin’s place. This individual was brought in through Promontory Compliance Solutions, hired to be the “independent” consultant looking through Wells Fargo foreclosure data. As you can see, they’re staffing this with “robo-reviewers” who don’t have detailed knowledge of the industry and who are notarizing each other’s reviews. There is a sea of loopholes and ways to minimize loss exposure on the part of the banks. And this is all perfectly within the boundaries of the OCC reviews, since the “independent” consultant determines how the reviews proceed. Martin actually grabbed a copy of the agreement between Promontory and Wells in this case.
And sure enough, they’re getting the results they wanted. According to the whistleblower, of the 10,000 files submitted to Promontory, “only 4 were found to be in question, and upon final review by Wells, no harm was found.”
Foreclosure victims will get absolutely no relief from the sham OCC reviews. And I’m pretty sure that everybody knows that. So for the HUD Secretary to list those reviews as a way foreclosure victims can get justice and accountability is really revolting.