Homecomings' Servicing Practices Subject of Class-Action Lawsuit
Homecomings Financial, LLC is the lastest servicer to undergo class-action scrutiny over its servicing practices, with a lawsuit filed against it last week alleging that the Minneapolis-based servicer engages in so-called 'predatory servicing.' The law firms of Mehri & Skalet and Sprenger + Lang, who filed the multi-claim lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, charge in a complaint obtained by Housing Wire that Homecomings collects "improper fees and charges from homeowners." The plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit are residents of California, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida, who claim that their loans were improperly assessed late fees, or were wrongly assessed charges for force-placed insurance, unnecessary and unauthorized property inspections, and the use of Homecomings' electronic payment processing service. "Homecomings treats borrowers as if they are in default even when they have complied with the terms of their mortgage agreements," according to the complaint. â€œWith the state of today's economy and housing market, it's all people can do to pay their mortgages in the first place,â€? said Steve Skalet of Mehri & Skalet, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, in a press statement. â€œThe last thing people need is hurdles that keep them from making their mortgage payments, or, even worse, not getting credit for the payments they do make.â€? Without knowing the particulars of this case, or commenting on its merit, it should be noted that large servicers routinely are sued by borrowers claiming the servicer willfully pushed them into foreclosure and charged bogus fees. These sort of 'predatory servicing' lawsuits are traditionally more common among large subprime servicing shops, and are probably likely to become much more prevalent as more borrowers enter into default. Homecomings' servicing operations were recently integrated by corporate parent Residential Capital, LLC with similar operations at GMAC Mortgage and GMAC-RFC.