The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Housing and Urban Development, along with 49 state attorneys general, filed their joint $25 billion agreement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers in court Monday.
The finalized documents provide insight into the specifics of the settlement that addresses allegations that mortgage servicers — including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial and Citigroup — engaged in servicing and foreclosure abuses.
The agreement was first announced in February, but was not final until the documents were filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. The complaint filed includes agreements with the top five servicers, including BofA and its Countrywide Financial Corp. subsidiary. Oklahoma was the only state whose attorney general did not participate in the settlement.
The court documents detail the new standards the servicers will be required to implement, which address robosigning and other document irregularities, require mandatory loss mitigation evaluation for all delinquent borrowers ahead of a foreclosure filing — including an appeals process for borrowers who are denied loan modifications — and the creation of a single point of contact for borrowers seeking information about their loans.
According to the DoJ, the consent judgments provide the details of the servicers' financial obligations under the agreement, which include payments to foreclosed borrowers and more than $20 billion in consumer relief; new standards the servicers will be required to implement regarding mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure practices; and the oversight and enforcement authorities of the independent settlement monitor, Joseph A. Smith Jr.
Smith will oversee the implementation of the servicing standards and consumer relief activities required by the agreement and publish regular public reports that identify any quarter in which a servicer fell short of the standards imposed in the settlement, the DoJ said. Servicers will be required to remediate any harm to borrowers that are identified in quarterly reviews. Violations of the requirement are subject to penalties of up to $1 million per violation or up to $5 million for certain repeat violations.
The servicers will dedicate $20 billion toward various forms of financial relief to homeowners, including principal reductions and mortgage refinancing for underwater borrowers at risk of default, forbearances for unemployed borrowers, short sales and other programs.
In addition, the judgments require the servicers to pay $5 billion in cash to the federal and state governments. The DoJ said servicers are required to complete 75% of their consumer relief obligations within two years and 100 percent within three years.