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More transparency is needed in foreclosure practices

In 2011, an official Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) process was created in response to widespread questionable and illegal practices utilized by a number of American mortgage servicing companies and servicing affiliates. The IFR process allowed homeowners who faced foreclosure in 2009 and 2010 to request an independent review of their specific foreclosure process. The original intent of the IFR process was to compensate homeowners who had been harmed by errors or unsavory practices on the part of servicing companies. However, this original intent was thwarted before any homeowners received rightful compensation.

In essence, an agreement between 13 major mortgage servicing companies and federal banking regulators halted the IFR process for all homeowners save for a select few. In response to this injustice, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) initiated a study of the IFR process and corresponding agreement. Ultimately, the GAO determined that the IFR mess was flawed in design, implementation and lack of transparency.

Partially in response to the GAO study, a number of federal lawmakers have requested information about this scandal and about specific illegal practices that have essentially been swept under the rug. Rather than release requested information and documentation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve have refused to do so.

It is critical for the benefit of all American homeowners that foreclosure practices are transparent and that rightful compensation is granted to those homeowners who have been harmed financially due to illegal foreclosure practices. Rather than righting wrongs done, certain federal offices and agencies are making the process even more secretive than it has been. It may be in the best interest of the public that Congress demands that relevant information be handed over and that the original intent of the IFR is honored.

Source: Taunton Daily Gazette, "What we don't know about foreclosure practices may still hurt us", Amy Bennett and Angela Canterbury, Aug. 7, 2013

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