Federal Reserve Encourages Foreclosure Review

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County residents who went through home foreclosure processes in 2009 and 2010 have an extended deadline to request an independent assessment of whether they are due compensation for foreclosure processing deficiencies.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – one of 12 Federal Reserve banks across the nation, which serves Montana – the deadline for an Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) has been moved to Dec. 31. The original deadline was April 30.

Patti Lorenzen of the Federal Reserve Bank said the bank initially identified 911 households in Flathead County that may be eligible for review, and sent letters to those addresses. Of that group, only 83 have gone to the Federal Reserve’s website to fill out the forms necessary to qualify.

IFR is part of the Federal Reserve’s and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s enforcement action against 14 major mortgage servicers, Lorenzen said, which began in April 2011.

“There are 828 households (in Flathead County) who could qualify for this,” she said. “That’s not to say they will or they won’t; there might have been some issue with their foreclosure process.”

Dorothy Bridges, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said residents whose mortgages were serviced by one of the 14 servicers in question between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010 could qualify.

“These reviews are not just for those who lost their homes to foreclosure,” Bridges wrote in a prepared statement.

The process includes a review from an impartial, third-party expert, who will examine each case, the bank said. The reviewer will then recommend whether monetary compensation is due for servicer deficiencies “that resulted in financial harm to the borrower.”

“You have nothing to lose,” Bridges said. “There is absolutely no charge of any kind for these reviews, and you don’t sign away any rights to pursue separate legal actions.”

Lorenzen said she believes the low turnout from the previous mailing is likely due to most people overlooking the letter. Currently, the 828 households in Flathead County that could qualify for this review have not entered their information on the website, she said.

A resident can see if they qualify by visiting www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm. The website provides an informational video as well, Lorenzen said.

Lorenzen stressed that there is no cost for this review, and residents should stick to the Federal Reserve’s website to avoid getting scammed. The mortgage servicers are listed on the website as well, so residents can check if they qualify.

“We’re encouraging anybody who might be eligible,” she said.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.