I’m not one for fairy tales, for shining white knights, and magical rescues.
I’m not cynical, but I am a realist. When it comes to fixing the housing market, and righting the wrongs of the fraud-closure crisis, there is no magic wand.
If you’re waiting for the government ‘cavalry’ to ride in and make everything alright, I’m sad to say you’ll be waiting a long time.
Time and time again homeowners have looked to government programs for justice, but with a decidedly mixed bag of results.
Maybe that is why I was not all that surprised at some of the glaring omissions that I found with the Independent Foreclosure Review program.
It has not received the same amount of press as the servicing settlement that the attorneys general agreed to, but this Independent Foreclosure Review is also supposed to rectify the ‘errors’ committed by servicers, if you were in foreclosure between 2009 and 2010.
Any homeowner is eligible to apply for the review process, which bank regulators have promised will be free from the banks’ grips, despite the fact that the banks are PAYING the consultants who are performing the reviews.
That’s Strike One.
And of course the regulators, not the banks, are still referring to fraud as an ‘error.” Yet another undersell of the banks’ illegal activities. Strike Two.
Oh and there is no appeal process if the consultants rule against you. Strike Three.
Last week the Officer of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, the two agencies behind this program, announced an extension for homeowners who want to file for one of these so-called independent reviews, and for the first time laid out the specifics of the ‘errors’ done by the banks and penalties and what type of ‘errors’ these penalties would cover.