A major part of the $25 billion settlement between the state attorneys general and the nation’s five largest banks officially went into effect Oct. 2, the Washington Post reported.
While most of the attention had been focused on the banks’ agreements to reduce mortgage loan balances and promote refinancings, the settlement also called for more than 300 new changes concerning how banks service mortgages.
Among the most significant new standards is the elimination of “robo-signing,” the practice that led to the foreclosure paperwork scandal of 2010.
Banks also no longer are allowed to foreclose on borrowers while simultaneously negotiating a loan modification, and they also must provide homeowners with a single point of contact at the bank rather than shifting them from one employee to another, the Post reported.
Banks also must use foreclosure as a last resort — only after all alternative options have been exhausted.
Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Ally Financial and Citigroup all said they had implemented the necessary changes and told Joe Smith, the former North Carolina banking commissioner hired to enforce the settlement, that they are in compliance. Smith told the Post that he will rely on independent review groups at each bank to continue to monitor compliance and also will be monitoring homeowner complaints.