Mortgage servicers are making a push to remind homeowners who may be facing foreclosure they have roughly 48 days to request independent reviews.
The servicers are expected to promote the reviews via TV, radio, print and online ads that remind eligible borrowers of a Dec. 31 deadline to request reviews, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Tuesday.
The outreach, which also will include contact with borrowers by email, U.S. mail and phone, follows an August directive by regulators that servicers take steps to boost awareness of the review program.
The program itself stems from an April 2011 enforcement action that required 14 mortgage servicers to retain independent consultants to review their foreclosure activities in 2009 and 2010. The effort is aimed at identifying borrowers who may have suffered financial injury as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other flaws in the foreclosure process.
The reviews are expected to be free to homeowners and to be monitored by regulators to ensure they are thorough and impartial. However, ASR sister publication American Banker has reported that the cost of operating the review programs has mushroomed to several times the amount that homeowners are expect to receive in benefits.
Borrowers whose reviews reveal evidence of injury may be eligible for payments, suspension of foreclosure proceedings or other relief. Requests for review must be submitted online or postmarked no later than Dec. 31.
The advertising and outreach efforts reflect input from community groups and other experts in outreach to minority communities, regulators say. In addition to English, outreach will occur in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Hmong, Russian, Creole and Filipino.