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Government ordered individual foreclosure reviews begin

The first batch of letters was mailed Tuesday to some former homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure informing them of their right to have the foreclosure procedure reviewed. The long-awaited foreclosure review process kicked off this week with the formal mailing that was ordered by the federal government. The foreclosure review process is generally available for prior foreclosures conducted in 2009 and 2010 by 14 mortgage servicing companies and their affiliates.

Foreclosures have had a significant impact on many Cincinnati and Ohio residents, both directly and indirectly. Many experts agree that the foreclosure debacle not only adversely affected homeowners who lost their homes, but added strife to the overall economy as well. Federal banking regulators ordered the federal foreclosure review in April after an investigation uncovered weaknesses and discrepancies in the foreclosure process.

The review process may allow some former homeowners to receive compensation in the form of restitution. It is important to note that not all former homeowners in the country will have the right of review and a foreclosure review will not necessarily result in any amount of compensation for some former homeowners. The formal review will be conducted by independent consulting firms that the mortgage services have hired with government approval. The consulting firms will conduct the analysis and decide on the amount of restitution, if any, a former homeowner may be entitled to receive if improprieties harmed the former homeowner.

Some consumer advocates have voiced strong concerns over the foreclosure review process itself. The consumer groups did not have a voice in how the reviews have been set-up. The groups have concerns that the foreclosure reviews are not transparent enough. The groups also object to having the mortgage servicers do the hiring of the independent consulting firms.

The initial mailing informing consumers of the process went out Tuesday. The letters inform consumers of their right to a foreclosure review and include forms to apply. The mailings will continue for the rest of the year, with the mailings expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Source: USA Today, "Foreclosure review process affecting 4.5M consumers begins," Julie Schmit, Nov. 2, 2011

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