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Independent Foreclosure Review Form is too complex

Jeannie Hill - Sunday, July 08, 2012

Independent Foreclosure Review Form is Too Complex: "Regulators and servicers are missing opportunities to enhance communication with consumers", the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report. Independent foreclosure review form is too complex

The report, released June 29, evaluated the efforts of servicers to notify homeowners who may be eligible for an independent foreclosure review that they could do so. One major problem identified with current communication materials is that they are too complicated for the average reader to understand.

The June 29th 2012 GAO report reads, "Readability tests found the initial outreach letter, request-for-review form, and website to be written above the average reading level of the U.S. population, indicating that they may be too complex to be widely understood. Regulatory staff noted limitations to such readability tests and told us they discussed using plain language, but that the use of some complex mortgage and legal terms was necessary for accuracy and precision."

GAO Points Out Flaws in Regulator, Servicer Outreach Materials

A Q1 survey conducted by California housing counselors, states, "The federal Independent Foreclosure Review process represents a poor federal response to abusive foreclosure practices. 65% of counselors reported that homeowners did not know what the notice was, 53% reported that homeowners thought it was a scam, and 43% reported that homeowners either did not know what they stood to gain or did not know how to fill out the form." According to the April 12, 2012 report, a huge gap has become glaringly clear that banks making more promises to policymakers and consumers seemed to lack clear accountability on bank’s failures. The survey highlights the need for strong enforcement of the National Mortgage Settlement.

Independent Foreclosure Review Communications Have Included:

Communication materials developed by mortgage servicers with input from regulators and consultants included information about:
Information correctly included the purpose
Independent Foreclosure Review the scope
Independent Foreclosure Review Information that the process for the foreclosure review suggested that borrowers may be eligible for compensation

Independent Foreclosure Review Communications Have Missed:

Independent Foreclosure Review help specific information about remediation so that homeowners feel like they know what to do
Independent Foreclosure Review help analyzing trends in borrowers who have not responded
Independent Foreclosure Review help if needed, taking additional steps to reach underrepresented groups.

GAO Report Summary

With strong urges from the Federal Reserve to help stop foreclosures, it is a matter much in the forefront of today's headlines that homeowners need specific information for remediation in order to proceed with requesting an Independent Foreclosure Review. The GOE's best practices strongly suggest that clarity and readability are very important. This feature is missing in many notification examples the GOE reviewed. The GOE has determined that "without informing borrowers what type of remediation they may receive, borrowers may not be motivated to participate".

NOTE: The GOA conducted their performance audit from February 2012 through June 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that the GOE plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for findings and conclusions based on audit objectives.

Jenna Thuening, a Jenna Thuening, owner of Home Destination Certified Distressed Property Expert guides homeowners through the Independent Foreclosure Review process .

11200 W. 78th St
Eden Prairie, MN 55334
Phone: 612-396-7832
Jenna's home page: homedestination.com

If I'm out in the field, you may quickly reach me by email: jenna@homedestination.com and note how I can help you, or leave a message on my voicemail and I will return your call as quickly as possible.

About the Author

Anil Detecy commented on 09-Jul-2012 12:13 AM
Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information .I really appreciate your work, keep it up.
Anonymous commented on 09-Aug-2012 09:51 PM
nice post, it's very useful for me, thanks for sharing!
Anonymous commented on 01-Jan-2013 06:14 PM
I really like it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great website, continue the good work!
Karen McDermott commented on 07-Apr-2013 04:10 PM
I find the Independent Foreclosure Review Form is too complex. And, if you could write on additional details, I'd like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post.
Lorenzo Magnuson commented on 15-May-2013 10:02 PM
Very nice write-up. I certainly appreciate this help to simplify things.
Greg Conroy commented on 16-May-2013 12:03 AM
Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying this information about the complexities of the Independent Foreclosure Review.
Anonymous commented on 27-May-2013 10:25 PM
Thanks for finally writing about >Independent Foreclosure Review Form is too complex <Loved it!
Anonymous commented on 17-Jul-2013 08:06 PM
Thanks very interesting blog!
Anonymous commented on 20-Aug-2013 09:34 AM
Excellent post. I definitely appreciate this website as I am still following the results of the Independent Foreclosure Review.

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