Banks Must Repay Homeowners

The 14 largest U.S. mortgage servicers must pay back homeowners for losses from foreclosures or loans that were improperly handled following the housing collapse, according to a consent decree issued Wednesday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision, and the FDIC. The banks must review all the loans that went into foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. bank when measured by assets, was charged $1.1 billion and may add up to 3,000 employees to comply with the consent agreement. Additionally, the banks have to hire outside consultants to identify borrowers who improperly lost homes or experienced other problems because of mistakes by the mortgage servicers. Regulators penalized the companies for “unsafe and unsound” practices, according to acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh. These are the first sanctions to result from the state and federal investigations into mortgage servicers’ problems with foreclosure procedures.