News from New York State Banking Department
For Immediate Release: September 1, 2011
For more information contact: David Neustadt, 212-480-5262
NEW YORK, NY (09/01/2011)(readMedia)-- Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin M. Lawsky today announced that New York's Department of Financial Services and Banking Department have entered into an agreement with Goldman Sachs Bank, Ocwen Financial Corp. and Litton Loan Servicing LP to adhere to landmark new Mortgage Servicing Practices. The agreement was required by the Superintendent as a condition to allowing Ocwen's acquisition today of Goldman Sachs' mortgage servicing subsidiary, Litton. With the Litton acquisition, Ocwen's mortgage servicing entity, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, will become the 12th largest servicer in the nation, handling a very large number of customers in foreclosure or facing possible foreclosure.
"This agreement provides important consumer protections for homeowners who have found themselves in dire straits due to the financial crisis," Superintendent Lawsky said. "Our agreement sets a new higher standard for the residential mortgage servicing industry, whose troubling foreclosure and servicing practices we have been investigating along with other regulators across the country. Goldman Sachs, Ocwen and Litton have now all agreed to put the rights of homeowners ahead of their profit margins by implementing these changes."
As a further condition to his issuance of a "No Objection" letter on the Litton acquisition, Lawsky obtained a commitment from Goldman Sachs to assist affected homeowners by writing down approximately $53 million in unpaid principal. Goldman's commitment will forgive 25 percent of the principal balance all 60-day delinquent home loans in New York serviced by Litton and owned by Goldman Sachs as of August 1.
Importantly, the agreement today is a condition of the acquisition and does not preclude any future investigations of past practices or release any future claims or actions whatsoever.
The new Agreement on Mortgage Servicing Practices that Goldman, Ocwen and Litton have signed makes important changes in the mortgage servicing industry which, as a whole, has been plagued by troublesome and unlawful practices. Those practices include: "Robo-signing," referring to affidavits in foreclosure proceedings that were falsely executed by servicer staff without personal review of the borrower's loan documents and were not notarized in accordance with state law; weak internal controls and oversight that compromised the accuracy of foreclosure documents; unfair and improper practices in connection with eligible borrowers' attempts to obtain modifications of their mortgages or other loss mitigation, including improper denials of loan modifications; and imposition of improper fees by servicers.
The Agreement makes the following changes:
Ocwen and Litton are immediately taking steps to implement these servicing practices. Goldman, which is exiting the mortgage servicing business with the sale of Litton, has agreed to adopt these servicing practices if it should ever reenter the servicing industry.