Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Promontory will review BofA's mortgage practices

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released an interim report Tuesday detailing the methodology of the forthcoming review of foreclosure practices at a number lending institutions mandated by a settlement with federal regulators.

The OCC also released the engagement letters outlining the agreement between several big banks and the firms that will review them.

Bank of America's review will be conducted by Promontory Financial Group, a Washington, D.C.- based consulting firm that the bank has engaged on numerous occasions. One of the more recent was to help design Project New BAC, the company-wide cost-cutting initiative, several media outlets reported at the time.

In the engagement letter posted by the OCC (PDF), the firm's past engagements with Bank of America were redacted. The letter also states that Promontory does not have another relationship with the bank at this time.

Promontory will also conduct the review for Wells Fargo. That bank has also regularly engaged the firm.

The terms of the agreements require that Promontory act independently, with no direction from bank executives. The consulting firm will bill the banks monthly depending on how many workers it uses.

The review will include foreclosures in the works in 2009 or 2010. Eligible mortgage holders can request a review. For information on how to do that, visit IndependentForeclosureReview.com.

The settlement spurring the review came after a multi-agency inquiry into questionable foreclosure practices like robo-signing. The banks did not admit or deny wrongdoing as part of the settlements.

Across the board, the OCC said that improvements to foreclosure processes and oversight are farthest along, but that most of the work will be done in 2012.