Independent Foreclosure Review. Frequently asked questions and answers  

1. WHAT IS THIS AGREEMENT ABOUT? I JUST HEARD/READ SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT COMPENSATION MAY BE PROVIDED TO CONSUMERS. WHERE CAN I GET OR FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGREEMENT AND PAYMENTS THAT I READ ABOUT IN THE PRESS?

In January 2013, an Agreement between 13 mortgage servicers and federal banking regulators was reached that ended the Independent Foreclosure Review program for those servicers. In July 2013, GMAC Mortgage also reached an agreement with the Federal Reserve Board that ended the Independent Foreclosure Review. In August 2013, EverBank reached an agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to end the Independent Foreclosure Review for that servicer. At this time, the Independent Foreclosure Review continues for OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services.

The Agreement reached in January includes an estimated $3.6 billion dollars in cash payments to be distributed to borrowers whose primary residence was involved in a foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 at one of the participating servicers. The Agreement includes an additional $5.7 billion dollars in other foreclosure prevention assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.

The Agreement reached in July with GMAC Mortgage added more than 232,000 borrowers and required $198 million in direct cash payments to those borrowers as well as a commitment to provide approximately $317 million in other foreclosure prevention assistance. GMAC Mortgage will satisfy its requirement for foreclosure prevention assistance with an additional $32 million in direct borrower payments because it no longer owns a significant residential mortgage portfolio.

The Agreement reached in August with EverBank added more than 30,000 borrowers and required a minimum of $37 million in direct cash payments to those borrowers as well as a commitment to provide approximately $44 million in other foreclosure prevention assistance. EverBank will satisfy its requirement for foreclosure prevention assistance with an additional $6 million in payments to organizations who have a principal mission of providing affordable housing, foreclosure prevention and/or educational assistance to low-and-moderate income individuals and families.

You can find additional information about the Agreement on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s website, www.occ.gov or the Federal Reserve’s website, www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm.

2. HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM COVERED BY THE AGREEMENT AND WILL RECEIVE A PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

You are covered by the Agreement and will receive a payment if your primary residence was involved in a foreclosure action between the dates of January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 while your mortgage was serviced by one of the servicers participating in the Agreement. The participating servicers are: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, EverBank, GMAC Mortgage, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs/Litton Loan Servicing, MetLife Bank, PNC, Morgan Stanley/Saxon Mortgage Services, Sovereign (now known as Santander Bank), SunTrust, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.

3. WHAT KINDS OF FORECLOSURE ACTIONS WERE PART OF THE INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW? DO I QUALIFY FOR THE AGREEMENT EVEN IF MY HOUSE DID NOT GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH A FORECLOSURE SALE?

Foreclosure actions include any of the following events that took place related to a primary residence between the dates of January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010:

Your mortgage loan may be covered by the Agreement even if your property did not go all the way through foreclosure sale.

4. AM I COVERED BY THE AGREEMENT EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR REVIEW FORM? IS IT TOO LATE TO REQUEST A FORM?

Under the Agreement, borrowers whose mortgage loans were serviced by one of the 15 participating servicers and who were involved in a foreclosure action between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 will receive compensation even if a request for review form was not submitted by the December 31, 2012 deadline.

5. DOES RECEIVING AN AGREEMENT PAYMENT PREVENT ME FROM TAKING OTHER ACTION AGAINST MY SERVICER?

No. Receiving a payment under the Agreement will not prevent you from taking any other actions against your servicer regarding your foreclosure.

6. DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO BENEFIT FROM THIS AGREEMENT?

No. If you are covered by the Agreement, no further action is required on your part. The paying agent will distribute the payments to borrowers on behalf of the servicers.

7. WILL THIS BE THE ONLY CHECK?

Generally, the full payment amount will be sent in one check for each mortgage loan eligible to receive a payment under the Agreement.

8. I DID NOT RECEIVE A CHECK BECAUSE I RECENTLY MOVED. CAN I HAVE THE PAYMENT SENT TO MY NEW ADDRESS?

You can call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to discuss the change of address process.

9. I DID NOT RECEIVE A CHECK. HOW CAN I VERIFY IF I WAS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

You can call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to verify if you are eligible to receive a payment.

10. HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE IF I DID NOT SUBMIT A FORM? WILL I BE COVERED BY THE AGREEMENT EVEN IF I DID NOT SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR REVIEW FORM?

Under the Payment Agreement, borrowers who were identified as having a mortgage loan on a primary residence with one of the 15 participating servicers, and who were involved in a foreclosure action between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 will receive a payment even if a request for review form was not submitted by the December 31, 2012 deadline. Federal banking regulators have published the categories and payment amounts for each category for all servicers but EverBank on their websites—www.occ.gov and www.federalreserve.gov. The OCC expects to publish payment amounts for EverBank in the first quarter of 2014.

11. WHAT CAN I DO IF I DISAGREE WITH THE PAYMENT AMOUNT I RECEIVED UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

The payment amount received is considered final, and there is no process to appeal the payment amount distributed to you as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Agreement. However, receiving a payment under the Agreement will not prevent you from taking any other action you may wish to pursue related to your foreclosure. Your servicer is not permitted to ask you for a waiver of any legal claims you may have against your servicer in connection with receiving this payment.

12. CAN I OBJECT TO THIS SETTLEMENT?

There is no appeal process of the payment amounts distributed to you as a result of the Agreement. However, receiving a payment under the Agreement will not prevent you from taking any other option you may pursue related to your foreclosure. You are also under no obligation to accept the payment.

13. CAN I STILL GET MY HOUSE BACK AS A RESULT OF THIS REVIEW?

The Agreement provides for cash payments to eligible borrowers. Other forms of compensation or remediation are not available under the Agreement. Receiving a cash payment will not prevent you from taking any other actions against your servicer regarding your foreclosure.

14. HOW WERE MILITARY SERVICEMEMBERS AFFECTED BY THE AGREEMENT?

All service members whose mortgage loan was serviced by one of the 15 participating servicers and whose primary residence was in a foreclosure action in 2009 or 2010 were included under the Agreement even if a Request for Review Form was not submitted by the December 31, 2012 deadline.

15. WHAT IS THE SCRA (SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT)? HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I QUALIFY AS HAVING SERVED ON “ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE” UNDER THE SCRA?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides a range of protections for individuals entering or called to active duty in the military and for deployed servicemembers. To learn more you can visit the government website: militarypay.defense.gov/benefits/SCRA.

16. I’M STILL WORKING WITH MY BANK TO PREVENT A FORECLOSURE SALE. DOES ACCEPTING THIS PAYMENT AFFECT MY BEING ABLE TO WORK WITH THEM?

No. Continue to work with your servicer. Receiving a payment under the Agreement will not impact any other actions you are taking with your mortgage servicer, including other efforts to prevent a foreclosure sale. The Agreement is not intended to replace current active efforts with your servicer.

17. WILL ACCEPTING A PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT AFFECT/STOP/DELAY MY FORECLOSURE DATE?

Accepting a payment under the Agreement will not affect, stop, or delay the foreclosure sale date. Continue to work directly with your servicer. Accepting a payment will not affect any other effort you are making with your servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale. The Agreement is not intended to replace current active efforts with your Servicer.

18. WHAT IF I AM WORKING WITH MY SERVICER ON A MODIFICATION OR ANOTHER OPTION TO AVOID FORECLOSURE?

The Agreement will not affect any other options you may be approved for or may be pursuing with your Servicer.

19. HOW DO I KNOW THIS PAYMENT/CHECK I RECEIVED IS LEGITIMATE?

You can visit both the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve websites, which provide more information on the Independent Foreclosure Review and announces the Agreement. The websites are: www.occ.gov and www.federalreserve.gov.

20. WHEN WILL I GET A CHECK AS PART OF THE AGREEMENT?

Borrowers began receiving checks in April 2013. The majority of checks for the 13 mortgage servicers who reached the Agreement in January 2013 have been mailed with the remaining initial checks expected to be sent in early 2014. If a borrower has requested a check to be split amongst borrowers or a change of payee, those checks take longer to process and are expected to be sent by mid‐year 2014. Payments to the majority of GMAC Mortgage borrowers were mailed at the end of January 2014. The remaining payments, which required additional information from borrowers in order to process, are expected to be mailed over the coming months.

EverBank borrowers should expect to receive their payments shortly after the first quarter of 2014. EverBank borrowers will receive their payments from the EverBank Paying Agent, Epiq Systems.

21. IS THIS A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT?

No, this is not a class action settlement. This payment resulted from an agreement reached between banking regulators and your servicer. You can find additional information about the Agreement on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s website, www.occ.gov or the Federal Reserve’s website, www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm.

22. DOES THE AGREEMENT MEAN THAT MY MORTGAGE LOAN FILE WILL NOT BE REVIEWED BY A NEUTRAL PARTY OR INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT?

With the Agreement in place, mortgage loan file reviews being conducted by independent consultants for the participating servicers have stopped. The file review process was replaced with a payment framework allowing eligible borrowers to receive payment more quickly. At this time, the Independent Foreclosure Review continues only for OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services.

23. I DID NOT KNOW I WAS IN FORECLOSURE, WHY DID I RECEIVE A PAYMENT?

You may be covered by the Agreement, and received a payment even if your property did not go all the way through to a foreclosure sale. For example:

If you have questions about the current status of your mortgage loan, we encourage you to call your servicer directly about your mortgage concerns.

24. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGREEMENT?

You can find more information about the Agreement at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Systems’ website, www.occ.gov or www.federalreserve.gov.

25. MY SERVICER WAS PART OF THE INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW. WHY WAS MY SERVICER NOT INCLUDED IN THE AGREEMENT?

Certain servicers did not participate in the Agreement. The Independent Foreclosure Review continues for OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services.

26. WHAT IS THE INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW ADMINISTRATOR GOING TO DO WITH THE INFORMATION ALREADY PROVIDED? WILL THEY BE DESTROYING THE RECORDS, OR SENDING THE RECORDS BACK TO THE CONSUMER? WILL THE PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED INFORMATION BE USED TO DETERMINE PAYMENTS?

Information previously submitted by borrowers will be handled according to the Independent Foreclosure Review Privacy Policy that is available at www.independentforeclosurereview.com/PrivacyPolicy.aspx. The handling of all information is subject to the direction of federal banking regulators. The Independent Foreclosure Review Administrator will not destroy any information.

27. HOW WILL THIS PAYMENT AFFECT MY TAX OBLIGATIONS OR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFITS?

Any payments received under the Agreement may affect a borrower’s taxes or public assistance benefits. If you have questions, we suggest you consult a tax advisor or qualified individual or organization. You can also go to www.independentforeclosurereview.com/taxinfo and review the Statement to Eligible Borrowers for some additional tax information.

28. HOW WERE PAYMENTS DETERMINED?

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, the federal banking regulators overseeing this process, validated the process by which servicers categorized borrowers. Federal banking regulators then determined the payment amount for each category, incorporating input from various consumer groups.

29. CAN I GET A COPY OF THE DOCUMENTS USED IN THE DETERMINATION?

Borrowers were placed into categories based on objective loan attributes and the stage of foreclosure in a process overseen by federal banking regulators. Federal banking regulators, then, determined the payment amount for each category. Further information regarding borrower payment categorization is not available from the paying agent, Rust Consulting, Inc.

30. MY MORTGAGE SERVICER WAS LITTON OR SAXON AND I DID NOT COMPLETE A REQUEST FOR REVIEW FORM. SHOULD/CAN I DO THAT STILL?

Litton Loan Servicing and Saxon Mortgage Servicing did not conduct a Borrower Outreach program similar to the other servicers where borrowers were able to submit a request for review form. Borrowers whose primary residence was in a foreclosure action in 2009 or 2010 and whose loan was serviced by Litton Loan Servicing or Saxon Mortgage Servicing are included under the terms of the Agreement even though a request for review form was not submitted.

31. IF I PARTICIPATE, IS THERE A COST?

There is no cost to receive payment under the Agreement. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service related to the Agreement.

32. IS A MORTGAGE SERVICER THE SAME AS A BANK?

A mortgage servicer is the company that services, or processes, your mortgage loan. The mortgage servicer can be a bank that offers many services, including mortgages, personal finance, checking, or investments. The mortgage servicer can also be a company that offers only mortgage-related services.

33. HOW DO I KNOW WHO SERVICED MY MORTGAGE?

The company you send your monthly mortgage payments to is your mortgage servicer. It is not necessarily the company whose name is on the actual foreclosure documents, although in most cases, it is. If your property has gone through a foreclosure sale and you don’t remember who your servicer was, we suggest you look for canceled checks, bank and mortgage statements or other records to find the name of your servicer.

34. WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM NOT COVERED BY THE AGREEMENT?

You can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly. If you are not satisfied with the response from your servicer, you may also contact the servicer’s regulator – for more information visit the OCC site at www.helpwithmybank.gov or the Federal Reserve site at http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov . Homeowners may also contact a HUD-approved nonprofit organization that helps homeowners in distress. Information about HUD-approved nonprofit organizations that can provide free assistance is available at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-started/housing-expert or by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

35. WHO IS THE PAYING AGENT FOR THIS MATTER?

Rust Consulting is the paying agent for all the participating servicers under the Agreement except EverBank. Epiq Systems is the paying agent for EverBank. Rust Consulting is a neutral third‐party independent administrator that focuses on processing requests and answering questions you may have.

EverBank borrowers can visit EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com for more information about the EverBank Payment Agreement, or can contact Epiq Systems at 1‐877‐819‐9754, or send an email to: info@EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com, or send a letter to: EverBank IFR Payment Agreement, PO Box 2730, Portland, OR 97208‐2730.

36. WILL THE SERVICER TAKE ANY ACTION AGAINST ME OR CAN THE SERVICER DO ANYTHING TO ME IF I ACCEPT PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

Accepting payment under the Agreement in no way authorizes a participating servicer to take action against a borrower covered by the Agreement.

37. WILL MY CREDIT BE HURT BY ACCEPTING THE AGREEMENT PAYMENT?

No, accepting a payment under the agreement will not impact your credit report or any other options you might be pursuing related to your foreclosure.

38. WHAT IS DEFINED AS A “PRIMARY RESIDENCE”?

A primary residence is the place where a person lives or resides the majority of the calendar year. A primary residence is also the address that would appear on your federal income taxes, your voter registration or any type of license. A person can only have one primary residence at any given time.

39. ARE THE SERVICERS PAYING FOR THIS?

As part of the Agreement with federal banking regulators, the participating servicers are required to pay all administrative costs associated with the Agreement, and the servicers also funded the payments to borrowers.

40. WHAT OTHER DOCUMENATION WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ME TO GET A PAYMENT?

For most borrowers covered by the Agreement, no additional information will be required for you to receive a payment. In some situations, the paying Agent, Rust Consulting, may need to verify some tax related information with you. If additional information is needed, you will receive a letter from Rust Consulting requesting the information.

41. I JUST READ SOMETHING CALLED THE FINANCIAL REMEDIATION FRAMEWORK. DOES THAT APPLY TO MY SERVICER?

That Framework generally applies to the servicers who are continuing with the Independent Foreclosure Review. The Agreement replaced the Independent Foreclosure Review for those servicers participating in the Agreement.

42. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO CASH MY CHECK?

You must cash or deposit the check you receive within 90 days of the date it is issued or the check will be void. All borrowers listed on the check must sign it to cash or deposit it.

43. I DON’T TRUST MY BANK. CAN I CASH MY CHECK AT ANOTHER BANK?

Yes. You are not restricted to cashing your check at any particular financial institution.

44. I LOST, MISPLACED OR DESTROYED MY CHECK. HOW CAN I HAVE MY CHECK REISSUED/GET A NEW CHECK SENT TO ME?

The reissue process requires that you submit a written request for reissuance. Please call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to request a form for reissuance of the check.

45. I CHANGED MY NAME, HOW CAN I UPDATE THAT ON THE CHECK?

Checks are issued to the name or names we have on record. Once you receive the check, if you are unable to negotiate it with your bank, we will have a process established to request a form for reissuance of the check. Please call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to request a form for reissuance of the check.

46. THE PERSON LISTED ON THE CHECK IS DECEASED. HOW CAN I HAVE A CHECK REISSUED TO ME AS THE BENEFICIARY/EXECUTOR/POWER OF ATTORNEY/ETC.?

The reissue process requires that you provide documentation regarding the deceased borrower’s estate and that you are a beneficiary. Please call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to request a form for reissuance of the check.

47. WILL THIS PAYMENT AFFECT MY BANKRUPTCY?

You should contact the attorney assisting you with your bankruptcy filing, if any, to discuss your individual situation.

48. WE’RE DIVORCED, WHO GETS THE CHECK? WHAT ADDRESS DO YOU USE?

All borrowers on the loan will be listed on the check. We will mail the check to the address in our files as of March 1, 2013.

49. WE’RE DIVORCED OR SEPARATED; CAN WE GET SEPARATE CHECKS?

If you are unable to negotiate the payment as it was issued, please call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET to request a form to split the payment between borrowers as separate checks.

50. HOW WILL CASHING THIS PAYMENT AFFECT MY TAX REPORTING?

All payments received in connection with the IFR Payment Agreement may be subject to taxes depending on the borrower’s individual circumstances. We cannot advise you on your tax liability. Please consult a tax advisor. Rust Consulting will report any income that is required to be reported. For checks mailed out in 2013, you may receive a 1099 or other tax documents in February 2014, as applicable. If you do not receive any tax documents by mid‐February, you may call us at 1-888-952-9105 so we can tell you if you should be expecting tax documents. In most cases, tax documents will not be issued for payments that are less than $600. More information is available on this website at www.independentforeclosurereview.com/taxinfo.

51. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T CASH THE CHECK?

You are under no obligation to cash the payment. The federal banking regulators will determine what will be done with payments that are not cashed or deposited. We do not have any additional details at this time on what will happen with those funds.

52. IF I DON’T CASH THE CHECK, CAN IT STILL AFFECT MY DISABILITY/OTHER BENEFITS?

Cashing or depositing the check may affect your disability or other benefits. If you have questions, we suggest you consult the organization from which you receive benefits for further information.

53. DID YOU SEND ME A 1099 FORM WITH THIS CHECK? WILL YOU SEND ME A 1099 FORM?

Rust Consulting will report any income that we are required to report. You may receive a 1099 or other tax documents in February as applicable. If you received a check dated in 2013, but you do not receive any tax documents by mid‐February, you may call us at 1-888-952-9105 so we can tell you if you should be expecting tax documents. In most cases, tax documents will not be issued for payments that are less than $600. However, all payments received in connection with the IFR Payment Agreement may be subject to taxes depending on the borrower’s individual circumstances. More information is available on this website at independentforeclosurereview.com/taxinfo.

54. WHAT IS THE STATEMENT TO ELIGIBLE BORROWERS?

The Statement to Eligible Borrowers can be found at www.independentforeclosurereview.com/taxinfo. It provides information that may help you assess the possible federal income tax consequences of your payment. If you require advice regarding your individual situation, please consult a tax professional because we cannot provide individual tax advice.

55. WHEN WILL EVERBANK BORROWERS BEGIN TO RECEIVE PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

At this time, it is expected that EverBank borrowers will begin to receive payment shortly after the first quarter of 2014. Epiq Systems is the Paying Agent for the EverBank agreement. If you have any questions, you can call them at the toll free number 1-877-819-9754, or you can send a letter to EverBank IFR Expedited Payment Agreement, PO Box 2730, Portland, OR 97208-2730, or email to info@EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com.

56. WHEN WILL GMAC BORROWERS BEGIN TO RECEIVE PAYMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

Payments to the majority of GMAC Mortgage borrowers were mailed at the end of January 2014. The remaining payments, which required additional information from borrowers in order to process, are expected to be mailed over the coming months.