Complaints

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Complaints.

August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

NYDFS Accuses Veterans United of Overcharging Vets on VA Loans

The Mortgage Research Center, which does business as Veterans United Home Loans and/or VA Mortgage Center, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to New York regulators to resolve allegations of overcharging veterans on loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans United was the second largest VA lender in the country in the second quarter, with a 5.4 percent share of the VA market, according to the Inside FHA/VA Lending database. The settlement agreement is part of a consent order entered into recently by Veterans United with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The settlement stemmed from an investigation which found that the Columbia, MO-based company did not refund “surplus lender credits” on 322 VA loans originated from Jan. 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014. According to the consent order, borrowers obtained a credit from ...


August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Wells Fargo, PHH Reach Separate Settlements to Resolve FCA Suits

Wells Fargo and PHH Mortgage have reached separate settlements with the Department of Justice and three other federal agencies to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The DOJ, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency will rake in $182 million from the settlement of lawsuits involving FHA and VA loans, as well as loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Wells Fargo denied the allegations in the whistleblower lawsuit but agreed to pay $108 million to resolve the claims. It admitted to no fault or liability. Filed in 2006 and unsealed in 2011, the lawsuit alleged that the bank overcharged veteran borrowers by masking ineligible fees in order to obtain VA guarantees on certain Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans, or streamlined refi mortgages. At the same time, Wells allegedly falsely certified to the VA that it ...


August 4, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

U.S. Announces Settlements with Contractor, Condo Complex Owner

A property management contractor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development has agreed to pay $4.3 million to resolve allegations that it billed the agency for FHA-related work it did not perform in violation of the federal False Claims Act. Cityside Management Corp. of Manchester, NH, allegedly failed to inspect the work of third-party vendors that it hired to perform termite inspections, treatments and repairs on repossessed houses in HUD’s real estate-owned inventory, as required by its contract with HUD. HUD’s inspector general investigated the case and referred it to the Department of Justice. Following the financial crisis, HUD held title to a large number of foreclosed homes acquired by borrowers with FHA financing. HUD contracted with various field service managers, including Cityside, to prepare the REO properties for resale. According to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the ...


July 31, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Spike in Mortgage Servicing Complaints Belies Mixed Results

As previously reported, the only area of mortgage-related consumer complaints that saw an increase in the second quarter was servicing, which saw a jump of 17.5 percent. But a deeper dive into the data shows a more complex and nuanced performance by the industry during that period of time, one perhaps dominated by extremes. As the chart on the following page illustrates, a handful of companies saw triple digit increases from the first quarter to the second, with Bayview Loan Servicing leading the way with a 152.6 percent surge. There was also a second tier of big increases in the upper double digits, led by TD Bank, which registered a leap of 90.9 percent...


July 31, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

OIG Plans to Review CFPB’s Internal Sharing of Complaint Data

The CFPB Office of Inspector General has taken on a new planned project to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts by the bureau’s Office of Consumer Response to share complaint data within the regulatory agency, according to the latest OIG work plan, released last week. “Specifically, this project will examine the extent to which [the Office of] Consumer Response is achieving its objective to share useful complaint data and analysis with internal stakeholders and Consumer Response’s controls over access and distribution of shared complaint data, which can contain sensitive consumer information,” the OIG said. The Office of Consumer Response is responsible for sharing complaint data with internal stakeholders within the CFPB in order to help the bureau supervise companies, enforce federal ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Clarifies, Underscores Use of Tidewater Process in Appraisals

The Department of Veterans Affairs is ratcheting up enforcement of its so-called Tidewater process to prevent veterans from paying more than the appraised value of the property when using a VA loan. In recent guidance, the VA reaffirmed its 2003 Tidewater Appraisal Initiative to help reduce the number of cases where appraisers have been asked to reconsider their initial appraisal, which had come in below the sales price. The guidance emphasizes procedures for improving communication of new sales data to VA fee and staff appraisers for a reevaluation of the low initial appraisal. “These guidelines should help limit the number of cases that reach the reconsideration-of-value phase and also provide a more timely response to those cases that are submitted for reconsideration,” the VA explained. The Tidewater procedure provides a designated “point of contact” (POC) the opportunity to ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

MRB Suspends Lender’s Authority To Originate, Service FHA Loans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s lender disciplinary arm, the Mortgagee Review Board, has suspended a Pennsylvania FHA lender from originating or underwriting any new agency-insured loans. In addition, HUD’s enforcement center suspended owner John Seckel from doing business with the federal government. According to HUD, Seckle Capital of Newton, PA, and its owner submitted statements and certifications purporting to show the firm was properly audited by independent certified public accountants, when, in fact, it was not. The MRB said Seckel and his firm engaged in a “years-long pattern” of deceit and falsehoods. The action is the result of HUD’s ongoing effort to hold the mortgage industry accountable for the loans it originates, underwrites or services. According to HUD’s Neighborhood Watch website, Seckel Capital has a compare ratio of 164 percent. Of the 557 loans the ...


July 17, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Most Mortgage Complaints Plunge, But Gripes About Servicing Jump

Based on plunging consumer gripes sent to the CFPB, the mortgage market looks like it’s in great shape – with one glaring exception: mortgage servicing. According to a new analysis by Inside the CFPB of second quarter data from the bureau’s consumer complaint database, mortgage servicing saw a 17.5 percent jump in borrower grousing during the second quarter, but a milder 1.4 percent uptick from the first half of 2016. That latter level would be barely perceptible were it not in such stark contrast to the double-digit drop-offs seen in all other mortgage-related areas tracked by this publication. For instance, kvetching about loan modifications plummeted 81.5 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second, and [With exclusive data charts]...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Chicago HECM Lender Arraigned on Fraud Charges. Mark Steven Diamond, a mortgage loan originator with offices in Chicago and Calumet City, IL, was arraigned on fraud charges in connection with a $7 million reverse mortgage scheme that targeted elderly homeowners and FHA lenders. According to the Department of Justice, Diamond deceived lenders into making FHA-insured reverse mortgage loans to homeowners who did not apply for a loan or had been beguiled to do so by the smooth-talking suspect. Diamond allegedly pocketed title-company checks intended for the borrowers, with the help of an unindicted co-schemer. Cynthia Wallace, who posed as a representative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was indicted along with Diamond. Using at least three aliases, Wallace allegedly collected money from victims for home repairs, which she claimed Diamond would ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Lender Pays $4.2 Million to Resolve False Claims Allegations

Prospect Mortgage of Sherman Oaks, CA, this week joined a growing list of FHA lenders that have opted to settle federal false claims allegations arising from flawed underwriting and poor quality control. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorneys Offices for the Northern Districts of Georgia and California announced a $4.16 million settlement with Prospect stemming from alleged fraudulent FHA lending practices at two of its Southeastern branches. An FHA direct endorsement lender, Prospect’s branches in Florida and North Carolina allegedly violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying compliance with FHA underwriting and quality control requirements. Consequently, the FHA suffered substantial losses in claim payments when the loans defaulted. HUD’s Atlanta Home Ownership Center reported that Prospect had a 12.29 percent default rate, well in excess of the national average, between December 2007 and ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

DOJ, HUD Expand FCA Scrutiny to FHA Servicing, Reverse Mortgages

Mortgage compliance experts are cautioning FHA servicers to tread carefully around loss mitigation, annual certifications and reverse mortgages, which could be a potential minefield for False Claims Act lawsuits. While FHA lenders’ exposure to FCA risk remains, the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have increased their scrutiny of FHA servicing practices for potential violations, according to Phil Schulman and Krista Cooley, both partners in Mayer Brown’s Washington office. In a recent podcast, Schulman warned of increasing DOJ and HUD scrutiny of FHA servicing practices in the last 18 months, a worrisome shift from the origination side, which has seen an estimated $5 billion in settlements and penalties since 2011 for violations of the FCA and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. Since 2008, mortgagees participating in ...


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