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FTC opens investigation into Ocwen Financial

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The Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the operations and foreclosure practices of mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial (OCN). A spokesman for the FTC confirmed to HousingWire that an investigation of Ocwen is taking place, but said the agency cannot provide additional details beyond that. Ocwen Executive Vice President Paul Koches also confirmed an investigation is underway. Ocwen bills itself as one of the largest servicers in the U.S. The total unpaid principal balance of the mortgages it services reached $73.9 billion at the end of 2010, up from $50 billion the year before. The company acknowledged the FTC investigation in an filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, along with the industry wide investigation launched by the 50 state attorneys general. The FTC requested documents and information concerning Ocwen's servicing activities. "A number of our competitors and others in the industry have paid significant sums to resolve investigations initiated by the FTC and/or settle lawsuits brought against them that raised claims similar to those raised in the lawsuits brought against us and our affiliates," Ocwen said in the SEC filing. However, the firm said it received no notification of alleged wrongdoing from either the FTC or the AGs. Rumors of the probe began circulating on Twitter Wednesday. The investigation was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal Thursday. Kerri Panchuk contributed to this report. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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