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Federal Reserve Board of Governors

What You Need to Know: Independent Foreclosure Review: Payment Agreement
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Payment Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Independent Foreclosure Review agreement?
In 2013, 15 mortgage servicing companies subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing reached an agreement in principle with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to provide approximately $10 billion in cash payments and other assistance to help borrowers. The sum included $3.9 billion in direct cash payments to eligible borrowers and $6.1 billion in other foreclosure prevention assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments. The servicers that participated in the Payment Agreement include Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, EverBank, GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and certain of their affiliated mortgage companies. All participating servicers and their affiliated mortgage companies are listed below:

America's Servicing Company EMC Mortgage Corporation PNC Mortgage
Aurora Loan Services

EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company

Saxon Mortgage
BAC Home Loans Servicing GMAC Mortgage Sovereign Bank
Bank of America Goldman Sachs SunTrust Mortgage
Beneficial HFC U.S. Bank
Chase HSBC Wachovia Mortgage
Citibank Litton Loan Servicing LP Washington Mutual (WaMu)
CitiFinancial MetLife Bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
CitiMortgage Morgan Stanley Wilshire Credit Corporation
Countrywide National City Mortgage  

For the participating servicers, fulfillment of the agreement would satisfy the foreclosure review requirements of enforcement actions issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Thrift Supervision in April and September 2011 and April 2012. As a result of the Payment Agreement, the participating servicers have ceased the Independent Foreclosure Review, which involved case-by-case reviews, and replaced it with a broader framework allowing all of the borrowers of the participating servicers covered by the agreement to receive compensation significantly more quickly. The Independent Foreclosure Review Process was completed for the one servicer that did not enter into the agreement (OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services).

2. What are the details regarding the redistribution of funds planned for 2016 to those borrowers of Federal Reserve supervised servicers who cashed or deposited their checks by March 31, 2016?
In a press release dated November 19, 2015, the Federal Reserve Board announced a plan to redistribute unclaimed funds under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement to eligible borrowers who cashed or deposited their checks by March 31, 2016.

The redistribution plan covers borrowers of mortgage servicers supervised by the Federal Reserve, which includes GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs/Litton Loan Servicing, Morgan Stanley/Saxon Mortgage Services, SunTrust and some borrowers of HSBC and JPMorgan Chase. If your servicer was HSBC or JPMorgan Chase, please call the paying agent, Rust Consulting, Inc. (Rust Consulting) at 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET to determine whether you are covered by the redistribution plan. The redistribution of funds does not cover borrowers of servicers supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Those borrowers should refer to the OCC's website for more information.

On August 8 and 15, Rust Consulting will mail redistribution payments to nearly 650,000 eligible borrowers of Federal Reserve supervised servicers who cashed or deposited their initial checks from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement by the March 31, 2016 deadline. Under the redistribution, every eligible loan will receive a payment of $124.30. Unless borrowers have provided an updated address, Rust Consulting will mail the redistribution check to the last address on the record.

For questions specific to a redistribution payment, please call Rust Consulting at 1-877-456-1188.

3. Why did the Federal Reserve elect to redistribute the unclaimed funds from the initial Independent Foreclosure Payment Agreement?
As stated in our November 19, 2015 press release, the Federal Reserve intends to distribute the maximum amount of funds to borrowers potentially affected by deficient servicing and foreclosure practices. The redistribution of funds remaining from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will provide payments totaling over $80 million to eligible borrowers.

4. The check I received from the Independent Foreclosure Payment Agreement has now expired, what do I do?
All outstanding checks from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement initial distribution for Federal Reserve supervised servicers expired as of March 31, 2016 and will not be honored if presented for payment. In November 2015, the Federal Reserve Board announced a plan to redistribute unclaimed funds under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement to eligible borrowers who cashed or deposited their checks by March 31, 2016. The redistribution plan covers borrowers of mortgage servicers regulated by the Federal Reserve, which includes GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs/Litton Loan Servicing, Morgan Stanley/Saxon Mortgage Services, SunTrust and some borrowers of HSBC and JPMorgan Chase. If you were not able to cash or deposit your check by March 31, 2016, the deadline has passed. Your expired initial check cannot be reissued and you will not be included in the redistribution.

If you cashed or deposited your initial distribution check and your servicer was supervised by the Federal Reserve, you will receive a payment from the redistribution. All payments mailed as a result of the redistribution will expire on December 31, 2016 and will not be honored if presented for payment after December 31, 2016.

5. For the redistribution payment, is there an opportunity for borrowers to request a name on a check to be changed or to have a payment split among different borrowers on the loan? If so, when is the deadline to submit such a request?
Borrowers receiving a redistribution payment will have an opportunity to request to have a name on a payment changed, a payment split, or a payment reissued. A Payee Change Request Form is included in the envelope with the payment and must be completed and returned to Rust Consulting. All request forms, with supporting documentation as applicable, must be received by Rust Consulting no later than September 30, 2016. In early-November, there will be a one-time mailing of redistribution check reissuances to accommodate all reissue, payee change, and split check requests. All redistribution checks will expire on December 31, 2016.

6. Where can I find a copy of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reached agreements in principle with the participating servicers. The agreement was memorialized into an amendment to the consent order for each of the first 13 servicers on February 28, 2013, for GMAC Mortgage on July 26, 2013, and for EverBank on August 23, 2013. The amendments to the consent orders are available on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's website, www.occ.gov, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System's website, www.federalreserve.gov.

7. How do I know the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is legitimate?
You can find the joint press release the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issued regarding the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement here. You can find the amendments to the consent orders that memorialize the agreement in principle here. Information regarding GMAC Mortgage can be found here. Information regarding the redistribution of unclaimed funds can be found here.

8. What servicers are included in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The servicers participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement included: Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, EverBank, GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and certain of their affiliated mortgage companies (collectively the "participating servicers"). Participating servicers and their affiliated mortgage companies are listed below:

America's Servicing Company EMC Mortgage Corporation PNC Mortgage
Aurora Loan Services

EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company

Saxon Mortgage
BAC Home Loans Servicing GMAC Mortgage Sovereign Bank
Bank of America Goldman Sachs SunTrust Mortgage
Beneficial HFC U.S. Bank
Chase HSBC Wachovia Mortgage
Citibank Litton Loan Servicing LP Washington Mutual (WaMu)
CitiFinancial MetLife Bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
CitiMortgage Morgan Stanley Wilshire Credit Corporation
Countrywide National City Mortgage  

9. Did the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System conclude that all borrowers eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement were the victims of financial harm?
No. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System entered into the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement because it provided the greatest benefit to consumers subject to unsafe and unsound mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices at the participating servicers during the relevant period in a more timely manner than would have occurred under the review process.

10. Will I be prevented from taking other action against my mortgage loan servicer if I receive a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
No. Receiving a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not prevent you from taking any action you may wish to pursue related to your foreclosure. Servicers are not permitted to ask borrowers to sign a waiver of any legal claims they may have against their servicer in connection with receiving payment.

11. How will the Paying Agent contact me if I have moved?
You can contact Rust Consulting, the Independent Foreclosure Review Paying Agent, at 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET to provide your updated contact information. Information provided to Rust will only be used for purposes related to the agreement.

Epiq Systems is the Paying Agent for the EverBank agreement. For questions related to the EverBank agreement, please visit www.EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com or call 1-877-819-9754.

12. Can I appeal the determination of the compensation amount I receive as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement if I am dissatisfied with the payment?
No. The initial payment amount and the redistribution payment amount received is considered final, and there is no process to appeal the payment amount distributed to you as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement. However, receiving a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not prevent you from taking any other action you may wish to pursue against your servicer regarding your foreclosure. Your servicer is not permitted to ask you for a waiver of any legal claims you may have against your servicer in connection with receiving a payment.

13. I have been told that I am not eligible to receive a payment, but I think I should be eligible. What can I do?
In order to be eligible, your primary residence needed to have been in any stage of the foreclosure process at any time between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, with one of the participating servicers. In order to be eligible for a redistribution payment, your loan must have been serviced by one of the mortgage servicers regulated by the Federal Reserve and you must have cashed your initial Independent Foreclosure Review payment by March 31, 2016.

If you believe you meet these eligibility requirements, contact Rust Consulting, who can check your eligibility status against their records, at 1-888-952-9105. If your servicer is supervised by the Federal Reserve--GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs (Litton Loan Servicing LP), Morgan Stanley (Saxon Mortgage Services), SunTrust, HSBC (HBIO), or JPMC (EMC)--and Rust Consulting has told you that you are not eligible, you may contact the Federal Reserve's Consumer Help Line if you wish to file a complaint regarding your mortgage loan.

14. If I'm currently going through foreclosure, will the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement affect, stop, or delay my foreclosure action?
No. Accepting a payment under the agreement will not affect, stop, or delay your pending foreclosure sale date. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System encourage you to continue to work directly with your servicer. The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not affect any other efforts you are making with your servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale, and it is not intended to replace your current active efforts with your mortgage loan servicer.

15. I am currently working with my mortgage loan servicer on a loan modification. How will the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement affect my work with my mortgage loan servicer related to a loan modification?
The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not affect any options you may be pursuing with your servicer. The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is not intended to replace your current active efforts with your servicer.

16. How will my tax obligations or public assistance benefits be affected by the payment I receive from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
Any payments received as a result of the IFR Payment Agreement may affect your taxes or public assistance benefits. The Paying Agent, Rust Consulting, will report any income that is required to be reported. If required, tax documentation, such as a Form 1099, will be sent according to the timeline mandated by the IRS. If you received a check from the initial Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement distribution, but you have not received any tax documents, you may call Rust Consulting at 1-888-952-9105 so they can tell you if you should be expecting tax documents. In most cases, tax documents will not be issued for payments that are less than $600.

Please note that if a borrower of a Federal Reserve supervised servicer did not cash or deposit their check by March 31, 2016, the Federal Reserve has instructed Rust Consulting to correct any applicable tax reporting from that payment with the IRS and mail the borrower a corrected tax reporting document. Corrected tax reporting documents are expected to mail in August to borrowers who did not cash or deposit their initial Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement check.

The redistribution payment of $124.30 is below the Internal Revenue Service’s reportable threshold, therefore, the paying agent will not be providing tax documents for the redistribution payment. However, the payment may be subject to taxes depending on a borrower’s individual circumstances. If you have questions about the impact of the initial payment or the redistribution payment on your tax liabilities or public assistance benefits, you may wish to consult a qualified tax advisor, individual or organization. Additional tax information is available at www.independentforeclosurereview.com and www.irs.gov.

17. What happens if I am not covered by the Payment Agreement?
If you are having difficulties with your mortgage, please call or write your servicer directly. However, if you are not satisfied with the response from your servicer, you may also contact the servicer's regulator. For more information, visit the OCC site at www.helpwithmybank.gov or the Federal Reserve site at http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov. Additionally, homeowners may contact a HUD-approved nonprofit organization that helps homeowners in distress. Information about HUD-approved nonprofit organizations that can provide free assistance is available at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-answers/Pages/get-answers-how-to-find-housing-counselor.aspx or by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

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Last update: August 8, 2016