[Ed. Note. This post was updated in May 2017 with important information for homeowners with loans serviced by Ocwen.]
Merriam Webster defines the term “spin doctor” as “a person responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view.” Usually when we think of spin doctors we think of politicians. Both major political parties seem to have elevated “spinning” to an art form. The political types have nothing on Wall Street, however. If they awarded a prize for deceitful commercial speech, it would surely go to Ocwen.
Ocwen Financial Corporation is a publicly traded company that servicers loans. In 2014, the company reported $18 billion in revenues and had 15,610 employees.
So, what is our beef with Ocwen? Where do we start??
Ocwen issued a press release last week to claim how it “helped” 75,000 homeowners in 2016 avoid foreclosure. The help came in the form of loan modifications. Of those modifications, approximately half were through the government’s HAMP process. (HAMP is short for the Home Affordable Modification Program, a Treasury Department initiative.) The other half of the modifications were termed “proprietary modifications.”
Let’s unpack those claims.
Did Ocwen do 75,000 modifications? They probably did. But that statistic is misleading and just a part of the story.
We hear from dozens of homeowners each week. They tell us horror stories about Ocwen and their loan modification process. Of having to submit paperwork not once, not twice but often five or six or more times. Of modifications where the modification is approved, trial payments made but then nothing. No modification. We hear of dual tracking where Ocwen continues to foreclose even though the borrower is participating in the modification process.
We also have borrowers tell us they were told they qualified for a favorable HAMP program but suddenly forced into a more expensive proprietary modification.
Why? Servicers like Ocwen make more money on proprietary mods.
When the banks demanded hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout monies, Congress simply asked that they use some of that money and help homeowners. That help was supposed to be through HAMP.
Even if 42,000 homeowners received HAMP modifications from Ocwen last year, the story still isn’t complete.
In December of 2013, Ocwen settled with the State of California and 48 other states. The company agreed to a $2.1 billion settlement over alleged mortgage servicing misconduct. We say “alleged” because the company was allowed to settle without admitting any wrongdoing.
The settlement was announced by California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris. In a prepared statement, Harris said, “This settlement will help homeowners who’ve been misled while trying to modify their Ocwen mortgages. But our work isn’t done. Too many California families are still coping with uncooperative banks and mortgage service providers.”
The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, was blunter in his words, “Deceptions and shortcuts in mortgage servicing will not be tolerated. Ocwen took advantage of borrowers at every stage of the process. “
Under the terms of the settlement, California homeowners were eligible to receive an estimated $268 million in loan principal reductions. An additional $23 million was in the form of cash payments.
In summary, Ocwen is trying to generate positive press for simply doing what it was ordered and paid to do. And half of the homeowners they claimed to have help received a proprietary modification. From our experience, those mods are more beneficial to Ocwen than most homeowners.
Seeking an “Insider” Ocwen Whistleblower
The HAMP program expired at the end of 2016. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners never received their modification. To listen to their stories, they were ignored, forced to send in paperwork multiple times and given the run around.
The $2.1 billion, 49 state enforcement action doesn’t seem to have worked. We need an Ocwen whistleblower to step forward, someone with inside information about the fraud, greed and corruption inside the organization.
From what we here, most of the rank and file workers are wonderful people. Management has made it impossible for them to help homeowners, however.
Under the federal False Claims Act, multimillion dollar whistleblower awards are available for information about wrongdoing. If the wrongdoing impacts a federal program, awards of up to 30% of what the government collects are available. Because most residential mortgages are backed by the feds, information about improper HAMP denials, dual tracking and wrongful tracking may qualify.
Worried about retaliation? The False Claims Act makes whistleblower retaliation against the law too.
We all know that the law is only as good as those backing it. The whistleblower lawyers at MahanyLaw can help you collect and award and defend you against retaliation such as wrongful termination.
Ready to Be an Ocwen Whistleblower?
The next step is yours. Give us a call. It’s confidential and covered by the attorney – client privilege. And we never charge a fee or costs unless we recover money on your behalf.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). If leaving a voicemail, please be clear as to why you are calling. We get dozens of calls each day from people looking for a foreclosure defense lawyer. Unfortunately, that is not work we do and we often cannot return those calls.
Whistleblowers are the new American heroes. Please, let us help you stop wrongdoing and help millions of homeowners.
May 2017 – Are you a homeowner with a loan serviced by Ocwen? You may have important legal claims against the company for a wide variety of wrongdoing. Please visit our Ocwen refund and investigations page to learn more.]
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers