Back in 2010, regulators learned that the nation’s largest mortgage servicers — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — were using so-called “robosigners” to expedite foreclosures on the growing number of houses with delinquent mortgages. These untrained employees had no understanding of the documents they were supposed to be reviewing, and merely rubber-stamped them regardless of their accuracy.
As a result, both homeowners and courts received information that banks swore was true, but which didn’t always stand up to scrutiny.
In 2011, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency brought enforcement actions against several of these servicers, including Chase [PDF], directing them to put an end to these practices and to bolster protections for borrowers.
Two years later, the OCC reached a deal with these banks [PDF] that resulted in a settlement worth a total of $9.3 billion ($3.6 billion in cash payments, plus $5.7 billion in other assistance — loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments — to borrowers).
Yet this wasn’t enough for Chase to hit the brakes on its bad behavior.
In a consent order [PDF] released this morning, the OCC alleges that, between Dec. 2011 and Nov. 2013, Chase filed thousands of problematic documents with bankruptcy courts.
• 460 inaccurate Payment Change Notices (PCNs) that did not provide the borrower with the correct payment change amount or the correct date that the new payment change would go into effect;
• 4,380 PCNs bearing the signature of bank employees who no longer worked for Chase at the time the PCNs were filed;
• 2,285 PCNs signed by Chase employees who no longer worked in the bank’s bankruptcy department at the time they were filed.
The OCC says that such practices are unsafe and unsound, and violate the earlier agreements made by Chase, which now must fork over $48 million, even though it neither admits nor denies the allegations made by the government.