Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky's office at the Department of Financial Services have raised certain concerns about Ocwen's ability to service mortgages and have halted indefinitely a $2.7 billion deal by Ocwen Financial Corp. to purchase mortgage-servicing rights from Wells Fargo.
Ocwen typically acquire loan servicing rights from lenders like Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Chase, HSBC etc. and by acquiring companies like Homeward, Litton etc. who possess such loan servicing rights. The consumer has no ability to prevent his loan from being serviced by Ocwen.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigated Ocwen in the year 2013 and came to the conclusion " that Ocwen violated federal consumer financial laws at every stage of the mortgage servicing process" and "Ocwen made troubled borrowers even more vulnerable to foreclosure."
You may wonder what a loan servicer could possibly gain from a foreclosure. According to Ron Faris it would be an account lost! In order to understand this you need to understand that a company by the name Altisource Portfolio Solutions shares common ownership with Ocwen. Ocwen's Chairman William Erbey is also the chairman of Altisource and its single largest individual shareholder. Altisource sell foreclosed properties through their website www.HUBZU.com. In most cases these properties are listed through Altisource or Real Home Services and Solutions which is, no prizes for guessing, owned by Altisource. Altisource are also responsible for maintenance of these properties and provide title and escrow services to real estate transactions. In fact their Purchase and Sale Agreement states that the seller offers to pay the title insurance fees should the buyer elect to use Premium Title as BOTH an escrow and title company, thereby ensuring that escrow fees can be earned by Premium Title, who are an Altisource company! So Altisource and entities associated with and owned by Altisource earn from selling and servicing foreclosed homes in the following manner:
1. Real Estate commissions (usually up to 3% of the net purchase price).
2. Buyer's Premium (usually 3-5% of the offer price, can be very high in some cases).
3. Web Technology Fee.
4. Escrow fees.
5. Title Insurance fees.
6. Property Preservation fees.
7. Closing coordination fees (if applicable).
In addition to this, Western Progressive, Altisource's wholly owned trustee subsidiary, processes residential non-judicial foreclosures in California, Nevada and Arizona.
So, while Ocwen do not stand to gain from these foreclosure related activities, Altisource do and thereby benefit the "common ownership".
You are vulnerable to foreclosures if:
1. You do not receive your statements on time.
2. If the payments you make are not credited to your loan account on time.
3. If your mortgage repayments rise due to higher insurance or other fees after the loan was transfered to Ocwen.
4. If your refinance/short sale/loss mitigation request was not given appropriate consideration or was rejected on flimsy grounds or was delayed while Ocwen were simultaneously attempting to foreclose on your loan.
If you are noticing early signs of such symptoms, it is better to take preventive measures. It is your right to approach regulatory authorities with your concerns. Please carry out due diligence to your satisfaction and don't just take my word for anything.
There is no place for foreclosures in a humane society.
While I strongly believe that as a responsible organization, Ocwen genuinely wish to help its customers, here is the link to submit your complaint to the DFS should you need to:
(The author, Saurabh Singh, is a student of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a Foreclosure Prevention Activist and a vegan. He is also a member of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals(India), Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate, UNITES Professionals and supports charitable causes and crowdfunding.)