Ohio AG, Carrington settle mortgage servicing suit
[Update 1: Adds Carrington statement] The Ohio Attorney General and Carrington Mortgage Services settled a lawsuit last week, establishing new servicing standards in the state and providing mortgage relief to homeowners. In 2008, Carrington committed to make good faith efforts to provide more workouts after its servicing practices were called into question by the Ohio AG. In 2009, then Ohio AG Richard Cordray and the Ohio Department of Commerce filed a joint complaint against Carrington, alleging it did not provide modifications in the state as required under that 2008 agreement. According to last week's settlement, Carrington will assign a single point of contact at the firm to work with borrowers who apply for a modification. The servicer will also implement a specific timeline for all requests, and it will suspend the foreclosure process while a loan is being evaluated for a workout. Internal reviews will also be set up for denied modifications. Carrington also agreed to provide relief to 60 Ohio homeowners that involve loans to which Carrington acquired the servicing rights to in 2007. "Ohio consumers benefit from mortgage servicers that work proactively to avoid foreclosures. This settlement will allow Ohio homeowners to benefit from higher standards of customer service and responsiveness," said Ohio Department of Commerce Director David Goodman. "The benefits of this agreement multiply," he said. Goodman said that working with homeowners to modify loans instead of foreclosing on them also helps neighborhoods that are impacted when homes are left empty and unattended. Carrington admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement. In a statement released Monday, Carrington Chief Operating Officer Dave Gordon said the agreement with the sate of Ohio "makes sense." "Instead of focusing our energies on litigation, we will be working together to continue what we have been accomplishing for our consumers all across the country: offering best-in-class servicing and providing a loan modification and loss mitigation process that is as simple and seamless as possible," Gordon said. Carrington did not sign consent orders with either the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve or the Office of Thrift Supervision, as these agencies did not have regulatory jurisdiction. However, negotiations between mortgage servicers and the 50 state AGs and state regulators remains ongoing. "This agreement will help Ohioans obtain affordable modifications to allow them to stay in their homes," current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "We are pleased that Carrington Mortgage Services has worked with our office and is committed to helping Ohio homeowners avoid foreclosure." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.