New York’s attorney general criticized the bank’s “incomprehensible communications” with borrowers.
NEW YORK – Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo and Bank of America Corp. were accused by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of violating the provisions of the national accord by continuing to impose unnecessary delays on borrowers seeking to modify the terms of their loans.
Schneiderman filed the suit Wednesday in federal court in Washington in the form of a motion to enforce the settlement against San Francisco-based Wells Fargo. Bank of America has agreed to changes aimed at bringing the Charlotte, N.C.-based lender into compliance with the deal, Schneiderman said at a news conference in New York.
“We’re here because we need some extra help from the banks to make sure the national mortgage settlement is doing what it is intended to do,” Schneiderman said. The banks took “radically different courses” in response to the attorney general’s efforts, he said.
In 2012, a coalition of 49 states and the U.S. reached the settlement with five of the country’s largest mortgage servicers, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc., in an effort to stop abuses such as “robosigning” of documents used in foreclosure proceedings and to lower barriers to modifications of loans.
Wells Fargo is one of the most difficult banks for distressed homeowners to deal with, Schneiderman said at the news conference. The bank sends “incomprehensible communications” to borrowers, he said, reading aloud from an April letter sent by the bank to an upstate New York homeowner that stated “urees are present on 2011 taxes IAO $4250. Is B1 claiming ureeduring the year? If so, how much per pay period.”
After months of discussions with both banks, Wells Fargo “refused to acknowledge there’s a problem,” Schneiderman said.
Vickee Adams, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, said in a statement that “it is very disappointing that the New York attorney general continues to pursue his course, given our commitment to the terms of the national mortgage settlement.”
“Wells Fargo is proud of its track record of providing important relief to borrowers in New York and nationwide,” she said, describing the company as a “leader in preventing foreclosures, helping families maintain homeownership with more than 880,000 modifications nationwide and 26,000 in New York over the last four years.”