The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chairman, Sheila Blair, has asked the Financial Stability Oversight Control (FSOC) to lead the pack in addressing problems in mortgage servicing and foreclosure paperwork. Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on an alleged mishandling of foreclosure processes by lenders, Ms. Blair said such mortgage problems do not initially seem to pose systemic risks, but it would surely develop to become a larger and national financial issue.
The newly formed council last week openly looked at current mortgage servicing issues. But it is yet to devise or reveal any strategy it could suggest and implement to help tackle the problems. Market observers are positive that involvement of the FSOC in the issue would further help identify problems and put up ideal solutions.
FSOC was recently instituted to provide comprehensive monitoring to make sure the US financial system is remaining stable. It is tasked to identify potential threats in the short term to long term for overall financial stability of the country, to promote market discipline, and to appropriately respond to emerging risks.
As a council, FSOC has up to 10 voting members. It is headed by Timothy Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary. FSOC includes various representatives from major financial watchdogs like the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Fed.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has ordered major mortgage banks to temporarily suspend their respective foreclosure proceedings, especially on borrowers who are still in the process of modification negotiations. The regulator of national lenders said it agrees with mortgage industry critics that the so-called 'dual track' process is unnecessary and is only making distressed homeowners more confused.
Dual track is a process wherein banks continue or proceed to foreclosure activities while still evaluating borrowers' qualifications for loan assistance programs. Market observers assert that the practice is adding to the stress of owners of distressed properties.
However, Comptroller of the Currency office also acknowledges that mortgage banks' abilities and action could be limited. It is because the lenders are mostly acting upon the dictates of their investors, who usually have a say on when foreclosure proceedings must take place for the sake of profitability.
Regulators promise to continue monitoring and helping resolve the problem involving the foreclosure practices of mortgage servicers.
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