BofA Finds Foreclosure Document Errors

28 Oct

BofA Finds Foreclosure Document Errors

 

By DAN FITZPATRICK

Bank of America Corp. for the first time acknowledged finding some mistakes in foreclosure files as it begins to resubmit documents in 102,000 cases.

The Charlotte, N.C., lender discovered errors in 10 to 25 out of the first several hundred foreclosure cases it examined starting last Monday. The problems included improper paperwork, lack of signatures and missing files, said people familiar with the results. In certain cases, information about the property and payment history didn’t match.

Some of the defects seem relatively minor, according to the bank, and bank officials said they haven’t uncovered any evidence of wrongful foreclosures. There was an address missing one of five digits, misspellings of borrowers’ names, a transposition of a first and last name and a missing signature on one document “underlying” an affidavit, a bank spokesman said.

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But the bank uncovered these mistakes while preparing less than 1% of the first foreclosure files that it intends to resubmit to the courts in 23 states. As the nation’s largest mortgage lender, the bank is under pressure to show that its mortgage process isn’t flawed amid revelations that many banks used “robo-signers” to approve large numbers of foreclosure documents without reading them closely.

State and federal agencies launched investigations into the allegations, and some officials, including Iowa’s attorney general, said they wouldn’t necessarily trust the banks’ self-assessments.

Several statements from bank officers about foreclosure practices have come under scrutiny. Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive John Stumpf on Oct. 20 said: “I don’t know how other companies do it, but in our company the affidavit signer and the reviewer are the same team member.” Days later a deposition emerged from a bankruptcy case indicating that Wells Fargo had in fact used a robo-signer who didn’t verify documents she approved.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said “we don’t believe any of those cases or depositions should be taken out of context. If we find some errors and need for improvements we will take that action.”

Bank of America in several recent public comments about the foreclosure issue hadn’t previously acknowledged even minor errors. Yet last week it uncovered a group of mistakes as it prepared to resubmit the first batch of documents and shared the information internally, according to people familiar with the matter. Executives are briefed twice daily about what was found.

When the bank announced Oct. 18 that it would lift a freeze on foreclosure sales in 23 states, it emphasized the accuracy of its internal review. “Our initial assessment findings show the basis for our foreclosure decisions is accurate,” the company said in a statement.

That conclusion, it turns out, was based on an earlier sample of fewer than 1,000 files. The bank found no mistakes in the sample, a spokesman said, but it decided to make changes to its affidavit approval procedures before going through all 102,000 cases. Now, for example, a notary will sit next to the signer of the affidavit as the documents are being reviewed.

The day after the bank began its comprehensive review of all documents, CEO Brian Moynihan told analysts on an Oct. 19 conference call that “the teams reviewing the data have not found information which was inaccurate, which would affect the plain facts of the foreclosure” such as whether the customer was actually delinquent on the loan. The errors uncovered so far support Mr. Moynihan’s statement, bank officials said, and all mistakes are being corrected before the bank resubmits documents to the courts.

Barbara Desoer, president of home loans for Bank of America, said Sunday that Mr. Moynihan’s Oct. 19 comments were “consistent” with the review findings. “The basis for the foreclosure decisions have been accurate and correct,” she said.

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2 Responses to “BofA Finds Foreclosure Document Errors”

  1. Zinger October 28, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Mistakes I can understand… but over and over repetition of mistakes and not addressing the problems and following back to do the full accountings and further to go back to the original paperwork (which BAC purchased) and make sure of everything is reckless… People were targetted for these loans knowing they could not repay…

  2. Collene Collins October 29, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    I really need to be able to speak to someone with knowledge over the phone. Our case is eligible for the new Project Economy. We are victims of an illegal sale of our home. Please Help

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