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OCC Removes Servicing Restrictions from U.S. Bank, Santander—For a Price

american-moneyThe Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has terminated mortgage-servicing related enforcement actions against U.S. Bank and Santander, the agency announced Tuesday.

According to the OCC, the agency has levied a $10 million civil penalty against U.S. Bank and a $3.4 million civil penalty against Santander. The termination of the orders ends business restrictions that the banks were operating under since last June and completes the enforcement process that began with OCC (and its Office of Thrift Supervision) orders against the banks in April 2011.

U.S. Bank issued the following statement on Tuesday's action by the OCC: "The Office of the Comptroller (OCC) today announced that U.S. Bank, N.A., has met the requirements of its amended Consent Order related to its residential mortgage servicing activities and the Consent Order has been terminated in full. We are pleased to have this matter with the OCC resolved and remain committed to providing exceptional service to our residential mortgage customers.

"Our employees have worked very hard over the past few years to implement improvements to our processes that will enhance our customers’ experiences, should some of our residential mortgage borrowers experience hardships, such as bankruptcy or loan default. U.S. Bank embraces the highest standards of compliance and we continuously explore ways to improve our processes in all aspects of our mortgage business, and across the entire enterprise, to benefit all of our customers."

Santander issued the following statement:

“The announcement from the OCC reflects the progress we have made to enhance all aspects of how we support our customers. We have implemented a significant number of practices to improve how our mortgages are serviced, particularly in support of customers facing financial hardship. This builds on our work across Santander US to further meet the expectations of customers, shareholders and regulators.”

The OCC had already terminated mortgage servicing-related orders against Bank of America, Citibank, PNC Bank, One West, EverBank, JPMorganChase, Aurora Bank, FSB, and MetLife Bank. Wells Fargo and HSBC continue to operate under enforcement actions restricting certain business process, according to the OCC.

Last June, the OCC announced that by the end of 2015, eligible borrowers and their heirs would be able to claim uncashed payments made pursuant to the 2013 Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement through their respective states' escheatment processes.

According to the OCC then, more than $2.7 billion had been distributed to more than 3.2 million eligible borrowers from OCC-supervised institutions as a result of the IFR Payment Agreement, representing about 90 percent of the amount available for distribution. The agency estimated that roughly $280 million from OCC-supervised institutions would go unclaimed by the end of 2015, after all efforts to find remaining eligible borrowers had been exhausted.

At the time, the OCC determined that Bank of America, Citibank, and PNC Bank have complied with the orders the agency issued in 2011 and the amendments it issued in 2013 and therefore the consent orders against them were terminated.

The restrictions included limitations on the acquisition of residential MSR portfolios, new contracts to perform residential mortgage servicing for other parties, the outsourcing or sub-servicing of new residential mortgage servicing activities to other parties, off-shoring new residential mortgage servicing activities, and new appointments of senior officers responsible for residential mortgage servicing.

About Author: Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.

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