Iowa, 48 states settle with mortgage servicer

Hundreds of Iowans are eligible for a payment under the settlement

(File Photo) Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller talks about a rebate agreement for the opioid overdose antidote Naloxone Hydrochloride during a news conference at the Cedar Rapids Fire Department Central Fire Station in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

A few hundred Iowans are eligible for payments after attorneys general from Iowa and 48 other states reached a settlement with a New Jersey-based mortgage lender.

The attorneys general, including Iowa’s Tom Miller, announced the settlement with PHH Mortgage Corp. Wednesday. The states had complained PHH Mortgage dealt improperly with mortgage loans from January 2009 through the end of 2012.

Claims from the attorneys general include that PHH Mortgage charged unauthorized service fees, failed to respond to borrower complaints and threatened foreclosure to borrowers who were going through loss mitigation, among other issues.

Under the settlement, PHH Mortgage has agreed to pay $45 million to the states. That includes $30.4 million in payments to borrowers, Miller’s office said.

About 739 Iowa borrowers are eligible for a payment. Borrowers who went through a foreclosure and lost their home, about 363 in Iowa, are eligible for a payment of at least $840. Borrowers who faced a foreclosure but did not lose their home are eligible for a payment of at least $240.

PHH Mortgage said in a statement it was not admitting liability or law breaking because of the settlement.

“Our decision to resolve this legacy matter under the terms of the settlement agreement and consent orders is not an admission of liability or that we violated any applicable laws, regulations or rules governing the conduct and operation of our Servicing business during the relevant time frame. In fact, the Servicing Standards that we are required to adopt under the terms of the settlement are largely PHH’s servicing standards today,” the company said.

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