Poor bankers, they accidentally used inadequate/falsified information on at least 55,000 foreclosures! But don’t you worry, they won’t get so much as a slap on the hand. Instead, the powers that be will kiss the boo-boo and make it better:
Wells Fargo said on Wednesday it will re-file documents on 55,000 foreclosures, drawing immediate fire from one of the state attorneys general most critical of banks in the continuing home foreclosure crisis.
The announcement was the first admission of possible problems in the way the San Francisco-based bank repossesses homes.
Wells Fargo – the second largest U.S. home mortgage servicer – has continued to foreclose on delinquent borrowers in recent weeks, even as its rivals instituted moratoriums amid a public furor over whether banks cut corners in the foreclosure process with so-called “robo-signers” of legal documents used to justify taking homes.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray – who filed a lawsuit against Ally Financial earlier this month over affidavit problems – said he was “pretty unhappy” about the Wells Fargo announcement.
“We had talked to them and they assured us they didn’t have any of these problems,” said Cordray in an interview with Reuters.
He added that the Wells Fargo admisssion “makes it hard to believe any of the big financial firms in terms of what their process has been.”
Attorneys general in all 50 U.S. states are investigating whether lenders rushed through foreclosures and evicted borrowers from their homes without properly checking documents.
Lawsuits have already begun to trickle in and banks may also face fines or be forced to repurchase faulty loans.
Wells Fargo found problems with foreclosure affidavits in 23 U.S. states where the final internal review or the notarization of the documents did not meet company standards. The bank plans to re-file the affidavits by mid-November.
In cases where the foreclosure is imminent, the bank will ask for an extension from the local courts.
“We found human errors, and we are fixing those errors,” said Teri Schrettenbrunner, Wells Fargo spokeswoman, who declined to discuss the nature of the errors the bank found.
But they told us nothing was wrong!
“Are you sure you didn’t take the cookies from the cookie jar, Joey?”
“No, Mom, I swear!”
“But you have crumbs around your mouth and the front of your shirt, and there’s a trail of crumbs that leads back to the cookie jar.”
“God, Mom, I told you I didn’t do it! You’re always picking on me!”
Little Joey lies on the kitchen floor, sobbing. Mommy brings him some chocolate milk and what’s left of the cookies, and everything’s fine!