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What You Need to Know: Independent Foreclosure Review: Payment Agreement
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Payment Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Independent Foreclosure Review agreement? 
In January 2013, 13 mortgage servicing companies subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing reached an agreement in principle with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to provide more than $9.3 billion in cash payments and other assistance to help borrowers. The sum includes $3.6 billion in direct cash payments to eligible borrowers and $5.7 billion in other foreclosure prevention assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments. The servicers participating in the Payment Agreement include Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and certain of their affiliated mortgage companies. In July 2013, GMAC Mortgage also reached an agreement with the Federal Reserve Board that required an additional $230 million in direct cash payments to borrowers.  The $230 million to be paid by GMAC Mortgage includes $32 million that will satisfy GMAC Mortgage’s obligation to provide loss-mitigation assistance. In August 2013, EverBank also reached an agreement that requires approximately $37 million in cash payments to be paid to more than 32,000 eligible mortgage borrowers. All participating servicers and their affiliated mortgage companies are listed below:

America's Servicing Company EMC Mortgage Corporation PNC Mortgage
Aurora Loan Services

EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company

Saxon Mortgage
BAC Home Loans Servicing GMAC Mortgage Sovereign Bank
Bank of America Goldman Sachs SunTrust Mortgage
Beneficial HFC U.S. Bank
Chase HSBC Wachovia Mortgage
Citibank Litton Loan Servicing LP Washington Mutual (WaMu)
CitiFinancial MetLife Bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
CitiMortgage Morgan Stanley Wilshire Credit Corporation
Countrywide National City Mortgage  

For the participating servicers, fulfillment of the agreement would satisfy the foreclosure review requirements of enforcement actions issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Thrift Supervision in April and September 2011 and April 2012. As a result of the Payment Agreement, the participating servicers have ceased the Independent Foreclosure Review, which involved case-by-case reviews, and replaced it with a broader framework allowing all of the borrowers of the participating servicers covered by the agreement to receive compensation significantly more quickly. The Independent Foreclosure Review Process continues for the servicer that did not enter into the agreement (OneWest Bank).

2. Where can I find a copy of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?  
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reached agreements in principle with the participating servicers. The agreement was memorialized into an amendment to the consent order for each of the first 13 servicers on February 28, 2013, for GMAC Mortgage on July 26, 2013, and for EverBank on August 23, 2013. The amendments to the consent orders are available on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's website, www.occ.gov, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System's website, www.federalreserve.gov.

3. How do I know the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is legitimate?  
You can find the joint press release the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issued regarding the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement here. You can find the amendments to the consent orders that memorialize the agreement in principle here. Information regarding GMAC Mortgage can be found here

4. What servicers are included in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The servicers participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement include: Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, EverBank, GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and certain of their affiliated mortgage companies (collectively the “participating servicers”). Participating servicers and their affiliated mortgage companies are listed below:

America's Servicing Company EMC Mortgage Corporation PNC Mortgage
Aurora Loan Services

EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company

Saxon Mortgage
BAC Home Loans Servicing GMAC Mortgage Sovereign Bank
Bank of America Goldman Sachs SunTrust Mortgage
Beneficial HFC U.S. Bank
Chase HSBC Wachovia Mortgage
Citibank Litton Loan Servicing LP Washington Mutual (WaMu)
CitiFinancial MetLife Bank Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
CitiMortgage Morgan Stanley Wilshire Credit Corporation
Countrywide National City Mortgage  

5. What servicers are not included in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The servicer not participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is: OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services. For this servicer, the Independent Foreclosure Review continues.

6. How many borrowers are included in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
For the agreements reached in January, nearly 4.2 million eligible borrowers will receive a cash payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement. The agreement reached with GMAC Mortgage added more than 232,000 additional borrowers, and the agreement with EverBank added an additional 32,000 eligible borrowers.

7. Does the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement mean that an independent consultant will not review my mortgage loan file?
Yes. Under the terms of the agreement, the individual mortgage loan file reviews being conducted by each of the independent consultants for the participating servicers have stopped. This will allow borrowers of the participating servicers covered by the agreement to receive compensation significantly more quickly. At this time, the Independent Foreclosure Review continues for the mortgage loan servicer not participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement: OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services.

8. Did the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System conclude that all borrowers eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement were the victims of financial harm?
No. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System entered into the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement because it provides the greatest benefit to consumers subject to unsafe and unsound mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices at the participating servicers during the relevant period in a more timely manner than would have occurred under the review process.

9. Who will receive payments as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
Borrowers whose primary residence was in foreclosure at any time between the dates of January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, with one of the participating servicers, will receive a cash payment under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement.

10. What happens if I did not submit my Independent Foreclosure Review Request for Review form by the December 31, 2012 deadline?
Under the Payment Agreement, borrowers whose mortgage loans were serviced by one of the 13 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. 

11. How much will I receive as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System have published the categories and payment amounts for each category for all servicers but EverBank on their websites. Payments range from $300 to $125,000 plus equity. Additional information about payments to borrowers whose mortgage was with Everbank will be announced by the OCC in the near future.

12. Will I be prevented from taking other action against my mortgage loan servicer if I receive a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
No. Receiving a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not prevent you from taking any action you may wish to pursue related to your foreclosure. Servicers are not permitted to ask borrowers to sign a waiver of any legal claims they may have against their servicer in connection with receiving payment.

13. Do I need to do anything to receive a payment from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement? When will I be contacted about my payment resulting from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
No further action on the part of borrowers needs to be taken to be eligible to receive a payment under the agreement. For most borrowers covered by the Payment Agreement, no additional information will be required for you to receive a payment. Rust Consulting is the Paying Agent for all servicers but EverBank. Rust Consulting will administer the cash payments on behalf of its participating servicers. In some situations, 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. Epiq Systems is the Paying Agent for the EverBank agreement. For questions related to the EverBank agreement, please visit www.EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com. If you have a specific question, you 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. More information about EverBank can be found on the OCC's website.

14. When will I receive my check as part of the Payment Agreement?
The Paying Agent--Rust Consulting, Inc.--began sending payments to borrowers covered by the Payment Agreement beginning in April 2013. The majority of payments have now been sent, including payments to most borrowers whose mortgages were serviced by GMAC Mortgage, which were sent at the end of January 2014. The remaining payments are expected to be mailed by the summer of 2014. If a borrower has requested a check to be split amongst borrowers or a change of payee, those checks take longer to process.

15. How long do I have to cash the check?  
You must cash or deposit the check 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.

16. How do I verify that I'm covered by the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement and will receive a cash payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
To verify whether you are covered by the Payment Agreement, you can contact Rust Consulting, the Independent Foreclosure Review Paying Agent, at 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET. Epiq Systems is the Paying Agent for the EverBank agreement. For questions related to the EverBank agreement, please visit www.EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com or call 1-877-819-9754.

17. How will the Paying Agent contact me if I have moved?  

You can contact Rust Consulting, the Independent Foreclosure Review Paying Agent, at 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET to provide your updated contact information.  Information provided to Rust will only be used for purposes related to the agreement. Epiq Systems is the Paying Agent for the EverBank agreement. For questions related to the EverBank agreement, please visit www.EverBankIndependentForeclosureReview.com or call 1-877-819-9754. Beware of scams and anyone asking you to call a different number or to pay a fee to receive payment under the agreement.

18.
How were payments determined?
Borrowers were placed into categories according to the stage of their foreclosure process and the type of possible servicer error. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board then determined amounts for each category using the financial remediation matrix published in June 2012 as a guide, incorporating input from various consumer groups. Regulators have published the payment amounts and number of people in each category for all servicers but EverBank on their websites at www.occ.gov/independentforeclosurereview and www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review-payment-agreement.htm. Additional information about payments to borrowers whose mortgage was with Everbank will be announced by the OCC in the near future.

19. Can I appeal the determination of the compensation amount I receive as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement if I am dissatisfied with the payment?
No. 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 Payment Agreement. However, receiving a payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not prevent you from taking any other action you may wish to pursue against your servicer regarding 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 a payment.

I have been told that I am not eligible to receive a payment, but I think I should be eligible. What can I do?
In order to be eligible, your primary residence needed to have been in any stage of the foreclosure process at any time between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, with one of the participating servicers. If you believe you meet these eligibility requirements, contact Rust Consulting, who can check your eligibility status against their records, at 1-888-952-9105. If your servicer is supervised by the Federal Reserve--GMAC Mortgage, Goldman Sachs (Litton Loan Servicing LP), Morgan Stanley (Saxon Mortgage), SunTrust, HSBC (HBIO), or JPMC (EMC)--and Rust has told you that you are not eligible, you may contact the Federal Reserve's Consumer Help Line if you wish to file a complaint regarding your mortgage loan.

20. If I'm currently going through foreclosure, will the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement affect, stop, or delay my foreclosure action?
No. Accepting a payment under the agreement will not affect, stop, or delay your pending foreclosure sale date. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System encourage you to continue to work directly with your servicer. The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not affect any other efforts you are making with your servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale, and it is not intended to replace your current active efforts with your mortgage loan servicer.

21. I am currently working with my mortgage loan servicer on a loan modification. How will the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement affect my work with my mortgage loan servicer related to a loan modification?
The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement will not affect any options you may be pursuing with your servicer. The Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is not intended to replace your current active efforts with your servicer.

22. I submitted a Request for Review form with attached documentation and my mortgage loan servicer is one of the participating servicers. What will happen to the records that I provided? Will the records and documentation that I submitted be destroyed or returned to me?
Rust Consulting, as the Independent Foreclosure Review Administrator responsible for processing the submission of Request for Review forms, will not destroy any information you submitted nor will they return the information you submitted. Any information that you previously submitted will be handled according to the Independent Foreclosure Review Privacy Policy posted here. The handling of all Independent Foreclosure Review information is also subject to the direction of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

23. How will my tax obligations or public assistance benefits be affected by the payment I receive from the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
Any payments received as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement may affect your taxes or public assistance benefits. 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 Rust Consulting at 1-888-952-9105 to determine whether you should expect tax documents.  In most cases, tax documents will not be issued for payments that are less than $600. If you have questions about the impact of this payment on your tax liabilities or public assistance benefits, you may wish to consult a qualified tax advisor, individual or organization. Additional tax information is available at www.independentforeclosurereview.com and www.irs.gov.

24. If my servicer is not participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement and I filed a Request for Review form, when will I receive notice of the outcome of my file review?
The independent consultant for the servicer not participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement is continuing to review mortgage loan files for financial injury. As of July 26, the Independent Foreclosure Review has ended at all mortgage servicers supervised by the Federal Reserve Board that were subject to foreclosure-related enforcement actions. Please refer to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s website at www.occ.gov for information regarding the servicers under their supervisory authority and specifically, the agreement with EverBank and the continuing review at OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services.

25. How are military servicemembers affected by the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement?
All servicemembers whose mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating servicers and whose primary residence was in a foreclosure action in 2009 or 2010 will be included under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement even if a Request for Review form was not submitted by the December 31, 2012 deadline.

26.  What happens if I am not covered by the Payment Agreement?
If you are having difficulties with your mortgage, please call or write your servicer directly. However, 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. Additionally, homeowners may 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).

27. The check I received from the Independent Foreclosure Payment Agreement has now expired, what do I do?
Checks issued as part of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement expire 90 days after they are issued as a means to limit fraud. If your check has expired and you would like to have the check reissued, please contact the paying agent, Rust Consulting, at 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET.

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Last update: February 5, 2014