Smaller, regional banks are joining their national brethen in seeking to regain consumer confidence in their foreclosure practices. Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. on Tuesday defended its practices during its earnings release. Regions said a committee of key managers in a “solid and tested” method approves the decision to proceed with foreclosure and that the process is the same whether loans are owned by Regions or an investor. All mortgage foreclosure affidavits are signed by a department manager in the presence of a notary, it said, in reference to news reports over the last month that “foreclosure mills” are pushing thousands of foreclosure affidavits through the system without reviewing them for accuracy or without properly notarizing the documents. The practice has been termed “robo-signing.” Regions, with $133 billion in assets, is a mid-level player, serving customers in 16 states that span portions of the South, Southwest and Midwest. The bank has a relatively low foreclosure volume: 100 Regions-owned loans per month and 160 investor-owned loans per month are foreclosed, according to data released Tuesday. Regions said 16,500 consumer real estate loans have been restructured and more than 30,000 homeowners have received some type of assistance. As a result, Regions’ foreclosure rate is less than half the national average, it said. The bank’s $41.2 billion residential mortgage servicing portfolio includes $16.3 billion in mortgage loans owned by Regions and $24.9 billion owned by investors. Regions narrowed its loss for the third quarter, reporting a loss of 17 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to a loss of 37 cents per share a year ago. Regions said it made 35,478 consumer loans, including home loans, totaling $2.9 billion during the third quarter. Write to Kerry Curry.
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