Last week, a group of 22 states sanctioned Ocwen Financial and Ocwen Loan Servicing for alleged widespread issues with consumer escrow accounts and allegations that the companies were conducting “willful and ongoing unlicensed activity” in some states.
The states, led by North Carolina, took action against Ocwen varying from suspending the company’s ability to acquire new mortgage servicing rights to halting Ocwen’s ability to foreclose, with one state going so far as to suspend the company’s operations in the state altogether.
But those states aren’t the only ones that are taking action against Ocwen.
Maryland, Michigan and Indiana also took various disciplinary actions against Ocwen for the servicing issues at the company.
Maryland’s action, taken by the state’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation, is, in the words of a HousingWire tipster, a “doozy.”
Maryland’s cease-and-desist order, which can be read in full here, presents a laundry list of Ocwen’s supposed failings, including the company’s “failure to cooperate” with examiners from the Multi-State Mortgage Committee, Ocwen’s alleged unlicensed servicing activity in Maryland, issues with the REALServicing platform that Ocwen uses (issues with REALServicing were also cited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took its own action against Ocwen last week), various states’ enforcement actions against Ocwen, and a cavalcade of other issues.
Because of these issues, Maryland partially “summarily suspended” the mortgage lender licenses of Ocwen Mortgage Servicing, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Ocwen Financial Solutions Private Limited, Ocwen Business Solutions, Homeward Residential, Liberty Home Equity Solutions.
Under those suspensions, Ocwen and its related companies are prohibited from acquiring new mortgage servicing rights for Maryland mortgages. The companies must also suspend “any and all” new agreements to subservice Maryland mortgages and is also ordered to not retain the servicing for any newly originated Maryland mortgages.
One of the most significant stipulations of the Maryland action is that Ocwen is ordered to “immediately begin the process of migrating loans off the REALServicing platform,” and is required to provide a report to the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation on its progress on a monthly basis.
Ocwen and the related companies are also ordered to suspend “any and all” stock repurchases “during the course of this administrative action.”
Ocwen is also required to provide a written plan to the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation that demonstrates how the company will remain a “going concern” for one year.
Ocwen is also orders to develop new payment plans for its executives that “better align with performance.”
Ocwen is also ordered to prepare a wind-down plan that illustrates what will happen if the company is no longer able to operate moving forward. According to Maryland’s order, that plan is required to provide details on the “orderly transfer” of all Maryland servicing rights should Ocwen fail.
Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services also issued a cease-and-desist order of its own.
“To address the mishandling of Michigan consumer escrow accounts and a deficient financial condition, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services has issued a cease and desist order to Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC,” the Michigan regulator said. “The order prohibits further violations of the Mortgage Broker, Lender, and Servicer Licensing Act.”
In Michigan, Ocwen has had difficulty keeping accurate records and with properly crediting payments, which can cause significant harm to consumers, the state said.
“Ocwen has a history of issues involving improper servicing and handling of escrow accounts,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin. “Previous efforts to work with Ocwen to correct these problems have not been successful. That is why Michigan, along with other states, decided it was necessary to take this action.”
The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions also issued its own series of sanctions against Ocwen Loan Servicing, including suspending the company’s license to operate in the state.
Indiana’s order states that Ocwen “has engaged in, or is engaging in, acts or practices which warrant the belief that the company is not operating honestly, fairly, soundly, and efficiently in the public interest and/or m violation of standards governing licensing, including violations of state and federal laws.”
Given the “severity of the alleged violations” of federal and state law, the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions issuing an “emergency order of revocation” for Ocwen Loan Servicing’s first lien mortgage lending license and its subordinate lien mortgage lending license for a period of 90 days.
For a look at Ocwen’s response to the previous states’ allegations, click here.