There is no stopping them. It’s going to take a President with some guts to put an end to fraud and corruption inside the government itself.
In These Times-
On October 24, Ron Faris, CEO of Ocwen Financial, made an unusual move for the head of a $2 billion-a-year corporation: He apologized. Specifically, he sent out a mea culpa-filled open letter addressing the 2.7 million homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Ocwen, apologizing for a glitch that backdated time-sensitive letters. “Letters were dated when the decision was made to create the letter versus when the letter was actually created,” Faris confessed. The missive came on the heels of well-publicized allegations by New York’s Dept of Financial Services (DFS) accusing the company of doing just that, and suggesting that the delayed loan modification letters may have resulted in foreclosures. At first, Faris claimed that only 283 New York homeowners had been impacted. However, he quickly retreated from that number after DFS said the number could be higher, way higher—perhaps in the “hundreds of thousands”—and not confined to New York.
The Faris letter was clearly damage control, an attempt to staunch the bleeding and send a message to the investment community following a Moody’s credit downgrade and a precipitous drop in Ocwen stock, which dropped to $19.04 on October 23 and fell again to $18.55 on October 27, the lowest price since June 2012.
This isn’t the first time that Ocwen has had to circle the wagons in response to jabs and uppercuts by New York DFS Superintendent Ben Lawsky, who’s developed a reputation as somewhat of a regulatory Popeye, taking on the servicing industry with a zeal matched only by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a few other left-minded Congress members. Lawsky’s prime targets have been non-bank servicers like Ocwen—companies that saw a cash cow in the growing desire of mega-banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America to shed their so-called “toxic” sub-prime mortgage portfolios in the wake of litigation and regulation from 2010’s “Foreclosuregate.” As Lawsky noted in an address earlier this year to the New York Bankers Association, these non-bank mortgage servicers have bought up a significant share of U.S. mortgages:
[In 2011, all of the ten largest mortgage servicers were traditional banks. Today, four of the top ten are non-banks. And those four non-bank firms alone service more than a trillion dollars of loans—10 percent of the residential mortgage market, and climbing.