A Florida-based loan servicing company has agreed to pay $84,000 to cover attorneys fees, penalties and costs associated with improper foreclosures it initiated in Maine, the state said Tuesday.
A consent agreement between the office of Attorney General and the state’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection and Ocwen Loan Servicing means the company will pay roughly $2,000 to about two dozen former homeowners. Of the 24 Mainers swept up in the case, eight went through the entire foreclosure process. State officials were unsure of the status of the other 16.
In the agreement, Ocwen acknowledged that it did not have the right to start the foreclosure process because it relied on a power of attorney granted by other companies that no longer existed, and continued to make illegal foreclosure filings until as recently as January 2019, two months after Ocwen assured state regulators that the practice would stop. Ocwen acknowledged the facts of the case, but admitted no wrong-doing.
Under a decision by Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court, lenders must establish that they have the legal right to pursue foreclosures before the actions may proceed in court, said Will Lund, superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Credit Protection.
“Those requirements were not followed in this case,” Lund said in a statement.
The payments represent roughly $50,000 in attorneys fees that Ocwen charged to the borrowers during the foreclosure process. Ocwen also agreed to pay the state $24,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 for costs associated with investigating the improper foreclosures.
The consent agreement focuses on Aegis Lending Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007, and as part of the bankruptcy process, Aegis sold servicing rights to Ocwen for a group of loans it originally owned. The company later was completely dissolved in another, subsequent bankruptcy process.
Loan servicers buy the right to collect payments or pursue action against a borrower on behalf of the original lending company.
Tribune Content Agency