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Settlement with mortgage firm for questionable foreclosure practices may affect 300 N.H. residents 

  • PHH Motgage logo



Monitor Staff
Thursday, January 04, 2018

Around 300 Granite Staters may be in line for some money now that New Hampshire has joined most other states in a legal settlement with PHH Mortgage Co. over questionable home mortgage foreclosure practices during the Great Recession.

The settlement is similar in approach, if not size, to the national mortgage settlement of 2012, in which five huge mortgage firms agreed to pay more than $50 billion for mishandling mortgages and foreclosures during the frantic days of the housing bubble that helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. The alleged misdeeds of PHH are similar.

“They grew very quickly, and they outsourced their responsibility as the servicer of mortgages all across the country,” said Gerald Little, the state’s banking commissioner. “They didn’t do enough to monitor the performance of the third parties they outscourced to, and there were a significant number of complaints about the way it proceeded.”

As an example, he pointed to “robo-signing,” the mass production of inaccurate or even false documents related to mortgage foreclosures. “They participated, apparently, in that. I say ‘apparently’ because PHH has not admitted anything,” Little said.

The settlement covers the period 2009 to 2012. PHH estimates that about 300 New Hampshire mortgage holders were affected.

PHH has agreed will pay more than $30 million to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure or were referred for foreclosure during the time period in question.

According to reports, borrowers whose homes were lost in foreclosure during that period will qualify for at least $840, while borrowers who faced foreclosures but did not lose their home will receive at least $285.

The settlement totals $45 million, including $1 million for claims administration, $5 million to the lead states that headed up the investigation and negotiations, and a separate $8.8 million payment to state mortgage regulators.

Little said people in New Hampshire “who were sending a check to PHH Morgage Corp.” for their mortgage and who went through a foreclosure or were notified that they were being sent to foreclosure may be eligible.

Such people should contact the Banking Department, at 271-3561, for more information.

“The process for applying for restitution has not been set up yet,” Little said.

He noted, also, that the settlement “doesn’t shut down any opportunities for any other legal response” against PHH covering other periods.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek)