This report provides tons of accessible information, lots of clear graphics. Includes a detailed timeline, and state-by-state bank compliance data.
Last February, the federal government and 49 states (all but Oklahoma) entered into a settlement with five banks (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo) which contained three major components:
In April this settlement was formalized with a federal court’s entry of consent judgments for each of the banks. Under the terms a total of about $25 billion was to be paid by the banks—directly and indirectly, in the form of:
The settlement also established a detailed set of nationwide reforms to mortgage servicing standards, which would require better communication with borrowers, appropriate staffing levels and training, and strict standards for documentation in foreclosure and bankruptcy cases.
The settlement also created the position of a Monitor, who oversees the banks’ compliance with certain major portions of the settlement during the three years that it is to be implemented. Specifically, the Monitor determines whether and to what extent the banks are following the above-stated $17 billion and $3 billion portions of the settlement, as well as the reformed mortgage servicing standards. The banks are to send regular compliance reports to the Monitor, who reviews and audits them (through his attorneys and accountants), and then makes his own reports to the court and to the parties.
Last March, the parties to the settlement selected a state bank regulator, Joseph A. Smith, Jr., to be the Monitor.
This first report is not one that is required by the court judgments, but was prepared “to inform the public about the nature of the settlement, the steps that have been taken to implement it and the results to date.”
The 9-page main body of the report makes for an excellent, reasonably detailed but not overwhelming, summary of those points. It’s worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the settlement and how it is supposed to work.
The remaining 70 or so pages of the report consist of a set of 10 appendices, including these interesting ones:
This report explains the mortgage settlement and its required implementation probably better than just about anything else that has been available. Mr. Smith is showing that he wants his role in the process to be transparent. He’s also encouraging participation in various ways. His website, www.mortgageoversight.com, provides an opportunity for homeowners to report mortgage problems with their bank related to the settlement, “to help the Monitor better understand how servicers are treating their customers across the country.” He is also asking anyone who works with homeowners on their mortgages to inform him about problems they encounter in which a bank is not implementing the requirements of the settlement. He sponsors webinars to help those professionals “inform the oversight process.” He even has active YouTube and Twitter (@MSOversight) accounts as additional ways of distributing his news and information. Regardless what one thinks of the terms of the mortgage settlement itself, Mr. Smith seems committed both to providing a lot of information about the settlement’s ongoing implementation, and to inviting homeowners and their helpers to tell him about any possible problems with that implementation.