Politics & MoneyMortgage

Foreclosure settlement monitor hires consulting firm

Joseph Smith, the monitor of the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement, hired BDO Consulting to help oversee homeowner relief and compliance to the new standards.

Smith took the role in February to oversee how Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) Ally Financial and Citigroup (C) will correct foreclosure abuses and documentation problems of the past.

In an April interview with HousingWire, Smith said he has a staff of two but plans to retain auditing and accounting firms to assist with the effort.

He sent out a request for qualifications to more than 40 firms and vetted 20 to help oversee the settlement. Over the next month, Smith, his team and BDO will develop a plan to oversee the banks. Meanwhile, the servicers are already doing mortgage principal reductions and providing other relief. But foreclosures remain far from restarting in some states.

“I am now in the process of engaging secondary professional firms, which will provide additional support,” Smith said. “This blend of experts will provide me the benefit of various perspectives and proficiencies while ensuring we have the boots on the ground necessary to do our work.”

BDO has 41 offices nationwide, and 30 of its employees will be dedicated to the settlement monitor. Smith will pay the firm from a budget funded by the servicers involved in the settlement.

According to the company website, BDO does some advisory work, including investigative and litigation risk, for some “financial services entities.” A BDO spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests to identify those entities.

For a break down of how the monitor system will operate, click the image below.

“We at BDO are honored and gratified to have been selected by the monitor for this important work,” said Carl Pergola, partner-in-charge of BDO’s consulting services. “BDO will work closely with the monitor and the secondary professional firms to facilitate compliance with the agreement.”



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