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Continued: Administrator in mortgage settlement working to fix payment glitch

  • Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 10, 2013 - 8:43 PM

Rust has done about 40 jobs for the federal government in the last five years under various contracts, government documents show.

Holland characterized Rust as a “neutral third party” in the settlement. He said it is administering a complicated settlement whose terms were set in negotiations between the mortgage servicers and federal regulators.

Rust has been on the foreclosure review job since October 2011, and was hired under individual contracts with the 13 mortgage servicers. According to OCC spokesman Bryan Hubbard, Rust was chosen to handle the payments “in large part, because Rust already had the borrower data information from their work as the [Independent Foreclosure Review] administrator.”

Regulators and the 13 mortgage servicers reached the settlement in January, largely ending a slow case-by-case review of foreclosure paperwork, a process widely regarded as a costly fiasco. The settlement includes $3.6 billion in payments and $5.7 billion in additional foreclosure prevention help. (Three mortgage servicers did not enter the payments agreement.)

The foreclosure settlement is distinct from the landmark $25 billion national mortgage settlement the state attorneys general and regulators struck with five major servicers in early 2012. Rust is handling claims administration for both settlements.

So far, more than 3.9 million checks totaling $3.4 billion have been mailed in the foreclosure settlement, and more than 2.2 million have been cashed or deposited. Rust has set up a call center dedicated to handling questions about the payments that alone employs 1,100 people in Minneapolis and Faribault, Holland said.

The center has fielded more than 600,000 calls since the settlement. “It’s as many as we’ve ever put on a project,” he said.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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