House committee considers subpoenas to mortgage servicers
Top members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform may subpoena six major mortgage servicers under investigation for mishandled foreclosures. The ranking member of the committee Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) Tuesday requesting Issa to issue the subpoenas. Cummings began his own investigation in February to examine if any wrongful foreclosures were completed after problems arose late last year. Cummings said six of the servicers refused to comply and send him documents relating to the foreclosures and possibly inflated fees charged to homeowners. He said four of the targeted companies provided the committee with at least some information related to the document requests. The six respondents are MetLife (MET), PHH Mortgage (PHH), SunTrust Bank (STI), U.S. Bank (USB), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of America (BAC). Cummings said in the letter five of these companies wrote back to him, refusing to comply. For example MetLife, he said, explained it would not provide the documents unless subject to a subpoena. These and other mortgage servicers already signed settlements with federal regulators over foreclosure issues, and continue to negotiate terms from another investigation from the 50 state attorneys general. In a statement sent to HousingWire Wednesday, Issa said the subpoena request from Cummings comes "as a bit of a surprise." "Until last night, neither [Cummings] nor his staff had indicated that their investigation had stalled and felt that a subpoena from the chairman was necessary," according to the statement from Issa's office. Issa asked Cummings for more information about the investigation before deciding on whether or not to issue the subpoenas. "Foreclosure has been the subject of a full committee hearing this Congress and is an issue of clear bipartisan concern," according to Issa's statement. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.