Independent Foreclosure Review Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment 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 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. 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 satisfied 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 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 is the status of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
As of January 2017, the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) Payment Agreement has concluded. All outstanding checks expired on December 31, 2016. At least three years have passed since the initial checks were mailed to borrowers, which began in April 2013. During that period, at least two and in most cases three attempts were made to reach each eligible borrower. The Paying Agent, Rust Consulting, Inc. has advised that the efforts undertaken to locate borrowers covered by the payment agreement have exceeded efforts in similar payment distributions.

3. What were the details regarding the redistribution of funds mailed in August 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 initial payment checks by March 31, 2016.

The redistribution plan covered borrowers of mortgage servicers supervised by the Federal Reserve, which included GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs/Litton Loan Servicing, Morgan Stanley/Saxon Mortgage Services, SunTrust and some borrowers of HSBC and JPMorgan Chase. The redistribution of funds did 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.

In August 2016, Rust Consulting mailed 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 (IFR) Payment Agreement by the March 31, 2016 deadline. Under the redistribution, every eligible loan was mailed a payment of $124.30. All redistribution payments expired on December 31, 2016 and the IFR Payment Agreement has now concluded.

4. Why did the Federal Reserve elect to redistribute the unclaimed funds from the initial Independent Foreclosure Payment Agreement?
As stated in the November 19, 2015 press release, the Federal Reserve intended to distribute the maximum amount of funds to borrowers potentially affected by deficient servicing and foreclosure practices. The redistribution of funds that remained from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement resulted in payments totaling over $80 million being mailed to eligible borrowers. Approximately $60 million of the $80 million mailed to eligible borrowers was cashed or deposited by the December 31, 2016 deadline.

5. The check I received from the Independent Foreclosure Payment Agreement has now expired, what do I do?
The IFR Payment Agreement has concluded. All outstanding checks from the IFR Payment Agreement initial distribution and the redistribution for Federal Reserve supervised servicers expired as of December 31, 2016 and will not be honored if presented for payment.

6. What happens to the funds remaining now that the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement has concluded?
As stated throughout the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement program, no funds will be returned to the servicers. Once a final reconciliation of the Qualified Settlement Funds has been completed, any remaining funds attributable to Federal Reserve supervised servicers will be remitted to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury.

7. 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.

8. What servicers were included in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The servicers that participated 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 received 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 were 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. 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.

12. 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 did not affect, stop, or delay a 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 did not affect any other efforts you are making with your servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale, and was not intended to replace your current active efforts with your mortgage loan servicer.

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

14. How will my tax obligations or public assistance benefits be affected by the payment I received 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 timelines 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 initial check by March 31, 2016, the Federal Reserve 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 should have been mailed to borrowers who did not cash or deposit their initial Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement check.

The redistribution payment of $124.30 was 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.

15. What happens if I was 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).

Related Links

Press Release

November 19, 2015
Federal Reserve Board announces plan to redistribute unclaimed funds under Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement

Press Release

July 26, 2013
Federal Reserve releases an amendment to the enforcement action against GMAC Mortgage

Press Release

May 8, 2013
Federal Reserve provides additional information on borrowers whose mortgages were serviced by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley

Press Release

April 29, 2013
Payments to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley borrowers covered by foreclosure agreement to begin May 3

Press Release

April 17, 2013
Federal Reserve provides information on checks sent under Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement

Press Release

April 9, 2013
Payments to 4.2 Million Borrowers Covered by Foreclosure Agreement to Begin April 12

Press Release

February 28, 2013
Amendments to Consent Orders Memorialize $9.3 Billion Foreclosure Agreement

Press Release

January 18, 2013
OCC and Federal Reserve reach agreement with HSBC to provide $249 million in payments and assistance

Press Release

January 16, 2013
Federal Reserve Board reaches agreements in principle with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to provide $557 million in payments and other mortgage assistance to borrowers

Press Release

January 7, 2013
Independent Foreclosure Review to Provide $3.3 Billion in Payments, $5.2 Billion in Mortgage Assistance

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Last Update: January 03, 2017