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Michael Waldron, a partner at financial law firm Ballard Spahr, asked a conference room of roughly 60 REO brokers if they were familiar with the terms in the $25 billion robo-signing settlement.
Two hands went up.
Waldron looked at the other servicing members of an REO Expo regulatory affairs panel for a long moment, then turned back.
"This will involve everyone. Make no mistake about it. You will begin to feel the effects of this settlement," Waldron warned. "If you're involved in this process in anyway, there will be examinations."
The five major servicers Bank of America ($7.58 0.08%) , JPMorgan Chase ($34.32 0.02%) , Wells Fargo ($31.76 0.18%) , Citigroup ($27.91 0.24%)  and Ally Financial settled charges of past foreclosure abuses and mishandled documentation with the 49 state attorneys general and federal prosecutors in March.
Servicers are adjusting to a slew of new requirements, including for third-party oversight. These provisions will hold the banks accountable for fees they pay to firms who handle everything from documentation to asset management and REO. Servicers will have to justify why they are paying someone and for what.
"Servicer shall not pay volume-based or other incentives to employees or third-party providers or trustees that encourage undue haste or lack of due diligence over quality," according to language in the settlement guidelines .
This can apply, Waldron said, to REO agents and brokers who handle the listings, and take fees for things like broker-priced opinions, trash-outs, inspections and other services.
In some instances, agents take the money and either don't do the work or do not do it well enough. The AGs are specifically looking to crack down on BPOs, because poor valuations on foreclosed properties harm values for surrounding homes.
"If it goes bad for the servicer," Waldron said, "it's only going to go downhill."
Jim Taylor, who handles REO management for Wells Fargo was also on the panel. He agreed with Waldron and warned agents to sure up their businesses personally.
"If you're required to do something like an inspection, and you had someone else do it, you're at risk," he said. "Anyone who touches an REO transaction will be affected."
Some agents complained to the panel that the settlement came about because of the servicer's problems, not theirs. Still, some of the consequences will still land on the shoulders of these real estate agents, the panel said.
"It's not a deflection. It's a reality," Waldron said.
Thanks for the repost, I don't think any agents......99% of them, have a clue as to how the AG settlement is going to affect them, I didn't. I started reading more and more about it and visiting other blogs and forums and I think it's going to be much far reaching than any of us can imagine for one simple reason....politics.
The settlement opens the door for incredible political influence but, that is typically true with any new regulation / settlements however, given this political, economic and housing climate I have a scary feeling, we could see a lot of politicians looking for scape goats or re-election on the back of those big bad banks and Realtors.
Hello ,Jesse and to all of the others reply’s and comments on the repost I'm beginning to think all of this is stemming from another article put out by Housingwire on June 14,2012 about
The Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency will conduct a wide-scale audit of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO management practices,
But with legislative actions, servicing problems and other delays, the foreclosure timelines lengthened across the country, driving up costs for each REO department. According to the FHFA IG, Fannie and Freddie spent more than $8.5 billion managing their REO inventories since 2007. The height came in 2010, when the GSEs spent more than $2.3 billion that year alone
Full link for that article:http://www.housingwire.com/news/inspector-general-audit-fannie-fred...
All of this trickling is down
All the more reason to do an outstanding, hands on, highly detailed job, extremely transparent job.
Brokerages and agents who work their business as a business, and have clean & auditable records, should have a much easier time with the "scrutiny". Those who do nothing but collect the money and have all types of friends and family do their work (i.e., non-licensed!!) may want to truly think about what this means.
Amen to that, Pam!
I dont know how they would go about digging to see if a trash out was incompletely done..( after the fact)... or if an inspection was not completed, this would have generated comments from buyers as well as other agents during the sales process....as well, I would think most of the properties are sold and rented or occupied by owners at this point.... who would know now??
Regarding BPOS.... they are all backed by appraisers that end up superceding the importance of our bpo values...
I believe this is just another concoction to try to displace some of the responsibility. What does an reo agent do that is not checked in triplicate by other agents, outside preservation and even appraisers.... nothing is done in total darkness......
Maybe I need to read a little more about this... but based on the above article, I dont see anything to worry about.... but then again... my inspections were completed and time stamped w/ fotos... my trash outs were also completed and verified w/ time stamped fotos plus an appraiser (eventually)... and my bpo's never went unsupported without an appraisal at list time.........maybe some unscrupulous realtor got away w/ billing for what he didnt do... or not doing his own bpos..... or coming in low..... but, I dont see how they would last long enough to do too much damage.....hmmmmm, Thank You for the article, will have to dig my heels a little deaper into that one!!
I know of an REO Broker who lost an account because he billed to rekey 3 doors when the house only had 2. I think this may help push some of the "Fraud" out the door. Now, if they can only do something about the "Short Sale Fraud".
Bogus invoices, no property inspections, non-licensed people doing the work for $10/hr (sometimes less), while licensed Realtor(r) is taking vacations out of state and collecting commissions. Oh but I did forget, the licensed agent is talking with the Asset Manager stating "things are great".
Sad sad sad
Was at the REO Expo last week, heard that very same message from Jim Taylor.
(On the plus side) do you think this scrutiny will do anything about the Title Servicers who are charging 37% to the Listing side for REO assignments?
(no, I don't think so either...)
I for one am very glad that the Attorney General (s) are taking a look at the agents that overbilled for their services or they did not do the services. I have run into a few myself. Now that Realtors are under the microscope is the Attorney General going to dicipline the BPO company that does not pay you for your reports? Evaluation Solutions in Florida or Evaluonline.net is one such company. If they don't like your market value they make up an excuse to reassign the report to someone who will give them bigger numbers. Then they give you a small pittance for the photos, and nothing for the completed report. To add insult to injury you end up waiting months for payment if at all. This is unethical and unprofessional and criminal. AGs where are you?
I do not reccommend doing work for them either....Have not been payed by them from work I did in 2010 and the amount is substantial.
Hello Katy: Have you thought about filing a complaint with the Attorney General in your state for your compensation. That should get their attention, and you should get your money. It is a RESPA violation.