Investments Lending Servicing

Ocwen accuses CFPB of playing politics with lawsuit, vows to defend itself

Claims suit is "politically motivated attempt by the CFPB to grab headlines"

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Ocwen Financial took the gloves off in responding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s allegations that the nonbank “failed borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process,” arguing that the CFPB’s lawsuit is politically motivated and vowing to defend itself.

In a lengthy statement released Thursday, Ocwen said that the CFPB filed the lawsuit against the company to serve as a distraction from the political climate surrounding the bureau and said that the CFPB’s claims are “inaccurate” and “unfounded.”

The CFPB, in its lawsuit, claims that Ocwen illegally foreclosed on borrowers, ignored customer complaints, mishandled borrowers’ money, and screwed up even the most basic of mortgage servicing actions.

Ocwen, on the other hand, claims that the CFPB is simply trying to change the messaging about the agency and is using Ocwen to further its own agenda.

“Ocwen strongly disputes the CFPB’s claim that Ocwen’s mortgage loan servicing practices have caused substantial consumer harm. In fact, just the opposite is true,” Ocwen said in its statement.

“Ocwen believes its mortgage loan servicing practices have and continue to result in substantial benefits to consumers above and beyond other mortgage servicers. The substantive allegations in today’s suit are inaccurate and unfounded,” Ocwen continued. 

“Indeed, the company is unaware of the CFPB conducting any detailed review of Ocwen’s loan servicing files,” Ocwen added. “Rather, the CFPB suit is primarily based on the CFPB’s flawed review of data and its self-serving conclusion about isolated instances where Ocwen self-identified ways we can do better.”

In its statement, Ocwen said that the company “fully cooperated” with the CFPB’s inquiries and tried to find a “fair and reasonable solution” to what the CFPB identified as legitimate concerns.

“Indeed, Ocwen continued to work with the CFPB until the suit was filed,” Ocwen said in its statement. “Under these circumstances, Ocwen has a responsibility to its customers, shareholders, and employees to vigorously defend the Company against these unfounded claims.”

Ocwen claims that, despite what the CFPB said, a borrower “has a much better chance of avoiding foreclosure” if their loan is serviced by Ocwen rather than by any other large mortgage servicer.

Ocwen also notes that the company granted approximately 75,000 loan modifications in 2016, and said that it is responsible for 20% of all modifications under the Department of the Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

But, the company said that the CFPB is choosing to “completely ignore” the positive impact that the company has.

“The alleged penalties and relief the CFPB seeks, if awarded, would likely harm the very consumers whom the CFPB is sworn to protect because they would needlessly divert money and time which would be better spent on helping our customers better afford and remain in their homes,” Ocwen said. “This unreasonable action is an unfortunate example of overreaching by the CFPB.”

According to Ocwen, many of the issues brought up by the CFPB were previously addressed by the company as part of its participation in the National Mortgage Settlement.

“In addition, Ocwen believes the CFPB’s allegations concern only a small percentage of Ocwen’s 1.3 million customers, and Ocwen has repeatedly assured the CFPB that it will remediate, and in many instances already has remediated, any legal harm experienced by these customers,” Ocwen said.

Then, Ocwen drops the hammer.

“Given these facts, today’s suit can only be viewed as a politically-motivated attempt by the CFPB to grab headlines in reaction to the change of administration and recent scrutiny of the CFPB’s activities,” Ocwen said.

The scrutiny Ocwen speaks of is in relation to the various issues facing the CFPB, from pending legislative efforts to defang the bureau to pending legal matters that could eliminate the bureau entirely.

In the eyes of Ocwen, it appears that the CFPB is attempting to use the nonbank as a shield from the firestorm currently surrounding the agency.

And Ocwen will apparently not stand for that.

“Ocwen fully supports government regulation that promotes principles designed to protect the best interests of our customers and promote consistent best practices across the marketplace,” the company concluded. “Ocwen believes this suit does not advance any of those principles.”

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