The Expert Blog
Jason D Koontz, CRC Opinions for All
The role of mortgage loan servicers
Mortgage loan servicers play a key role in the mortgage loan industry. Securitization of mortgage loans has changed the sector; sourcing, origination, closing, ownership, servicing, and collection of these loans typically are handled by different market participants.
Mortgage loan servicers are responsible for managing mortgage loans, and most servicers provide this service efficiently. They collect and process payments from borrowers, handle loss mitigation, and are generally responsible for the day-to-day mortgage loan administration. A mortgage loan may be transferred to different servicers multiple times over the life of the loan. The consumer who pays the mortgage may or may not be aware of which company owns the mortgage itself and in fact, may not need to know its name.
After the loan has closed, mortgage loan servicers have the most direct contact with borrowers. They are often third parties, remote from the loan owner. As a result, borrowers commonly find it difficult to understand the role such a company plays in their loans. This lack of transparency can become a basis for certain predatory practices, such as refusing to acknowledge agreements with a previous loan servicer.
Mortgage servicers must maintain transparency concerning their services as much as possible. They owe several obligations to borrowers, including:
Common abuses of mortgage loan servicers
Alleged mortgage loan servicer abuse refers to a wide range of unfair or abusive practices through which mortgage servicers compromise borrowers' rights. The allegations may include charging unreasonable fees, improper payment application, unfair collection practices, or any other acts that make default or foreclosure more likely.
Predatory mortgage loan servicing has long been regarded as a problem in the US financial services system. Laws such as the Real Estate Procedures Act (RESPA) were designed to combat these practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to protect consumers.
Mortgage loan abuses can occur in a wide range of circumstances. These include the following:
While a borrower may feel that they are being mistreated with servicing practices that they deem too harsh, the servicer may, in fact, be following the terms under the originating loan documents or the servicing agreement. In litigation or other dispute resolution procedures between the parties, a mortgage loan servicing expert can be retained to conduct an investigation and provide an opinion regarding the mortgage loan servicer's practices and whether their methods would be consistent with industry standards.
However, the occurrence of any of these actions may not be conclusive evidence of improper mortgage loan services abuses. Determining if a breach has occurred may require the involvement of a mortgage loan servicing expert witness.
Unfair mortgage servicer practices can quickly cross the line into abusive or exploitative practices that are improper and not in compliance with regulatory rules. Borrowers who discover that they have been exposed to these practices may want to pursue redress through the courts.
A mortgage loan expert can assist in evaluating the mortgage servicer's actions regarding regulatory guidelines and industry standards.
Jason D Koontz
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