The head of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) delivered a strong defense of the industry Monday, saying the number of loans called into question by the recent foreclosure documentation scandal is "a very small minority" of the 2.3 million mortgages currently in foreclosure.
"We do need to fix the documents; we do need to fix the processes and procedures," said John Courson, president and chief executive of the MBA at the start of the organization's annual meeting in Atlanta.
But it's also important to keep the crisis in perspective, he said. "We've seen facts that are inaccurate," he added.
"If you want the definition of a feedy frenzy this is probably a pretty good example," Courson said. "It's enough to make your head explode."
The documentation crisis that surfaced in late September has dealt the mortgage industry another black eye just as it's trying to regain its stature following the subprime lending crisis, all the while dealing with increased regulatory scrutiny.
Several of the country's largest servicers, including Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase, have slowed down their foreclosures while they review and revamp their processes to ensure no errors were made in the filing of court documents. The companies contend that so far they have not found any evidence of a foreclosure that should not have been initiated.
At the end of the day, those who can't pay for homes need to move through the foreclosure process, Courson said.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of in our industry," he said. "Home ownership, despite what some people will say, is a good thing."
Also Monday, the MBA elected Michael Berman, president and CEO of CWCapital in Needham, Mass., as its 2011 chairman of the board.