New York claims more proof of bank mortgage abuses
By Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said there is mounting evidence that Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Quote), Wells Fargo and Co (WFC.N: Quote) and other banks violated the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses.
Schneiderman - who has said he plans to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo for failing to live up to their obligations under the deal - said other states had found similar problems.
"Several other states have identified similar recurring deficiencies by the participating servicers," Schneiderman said in a letter dated May 23 to the monitor for the settlement, former North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith. The letter was obtained by Reuters on Friday.
The $25 billion settlement was brokered last year between five banks and 49 state attorneys general. The other banks are JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote), and Ally Financial Inc GKM.N. The banks agreed to provide relief to homeowners and comply with a set of servicing standards to atone for foreclosure misconduct.
In his letter, Schneiderman did not identify which other states had provided evidence of banks failing to abide by the settlement. Nor did he identify the banks with recurring deficiencies.
He said receipt of his letter to Smith and a concurrent one to a monitoring committee would start the clock on a waiting period before lawsuits could be filed against the banks. The settlement authorizes the monitor to first work with a mortgage servicer to correct any potential violations and sue if the servicer does not fix the errors.
Schneiderman said on May 6 he planned to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo after the waiting period was over, although he did not mention the possibility of a lawsuit in Thursday's letter.
At the time, Schneiderman said that, since last October, his office had documented 339 violations of standards - 210 by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America - dictating the timeline for banks to process mortgage modification applications. Continued...