Companies handling troubled mortgages appear to skirt new US rules to prevent abuses

Companies overseeing millions of mortgage loans appear to be skirting new federal regulations and legal settlements intended to stop them profiteering at the expense of troubled homeowners.

They are selling or have sold nearly nonexistent insurance agencies in multi-million dollar deals. In some cases there are no offices, no websites and only a single registered agent.

The deals illustrate how regulators are still wrestling with messy banking practices years after the housing market's collapse. They also mean that newly sold insurance agencies have an incentive to compel struggling homeowners to buy costly policies, to justify the high sales prices commanded when the insurance agencies were sold.