Published April 29, 2011
Nobody likes to be told what to do, and that is especially true for banks. After bearing much of the blame for the financial crisis - and getting bailed out as punishment—banks have seemingly been slapped with regulation reform after regulation reform.
According to the wall street journal - banks are facing a new deadline - of about six weeks. Fourteen mortgage servicers have until mid-June to come up with a plan to clean up their operations and until August to implement them.
This is a result of the foreclosure fiasco that erupted a few months ago, you know - where robo-signers were caught, notes were lost, and many homeowners were being foreclosed upon by banks that no longer held their mortgage. In other words it was a mess.
U.S. regulators have now told these banks of three requirements. They must have a "single point of contact" for borrowers to help them through the process. They must have "appropriate deadlines" on when a borrower can get their loan worked out, and they must meet certain "staff requirements" - making sure enough people are on hand to deal with all of their customers.
The Journal points out some banks - as you would expect - are farther along than others, mainly because of increased costs associated with following all of these new rules.
But there are some successes. Let's start with Wells Fargo - the nation's top mortgage originator.
According to the paper - they are in fact assigning a "single contact" and apparently a backup - for each homeowner looking to modify their loans. They've also succeeded in the "deadline" department. They say six out of every ten borrowers get loan modification decisions within five days... up from 45 percent last year.
And Wells Fargo says they don't need to add more staff - they are already well equipped.
JP Morgan says it offers a "relationship manager" to advise borrowers on their loans, and it will add 3,000 more workers in their home-lending department. JP Morgan says it's working on the deadlines, and Citigroup offers the "single point of contact" - but hopes to roll out a "concierge" system for delinquent borrowers to help them with the process.
Plus it's also hoping to get final answers about loans to customers within three weeks.
And Citi will soon add 500 employees to their loan modification unit. So plans are in place for the next few weeks there.
Bank of America and Ally Financial are also making huge strides to clean house, and I say it's about time homeowners become more of a priority at financial institutions across the country.
It's no fun being just a number.