Lessons Learned from the Foreclosure Crisis

The recent foreclosure crisis is just another chapter in the financial meltdown that began in 2007.  As a result of the frenzy to securitize mortgage loans back in the middle of the decade, the required paperwork to foreclose on a property is difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve. Now, financial institutions are finding that the outsourced foreclosure work is faulty at best and fraudulent in many cases. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal reported today.

In recent days, some lenders named in the foreclosure inquiries have said they would no longer use the services of some of these law firms for new foreclosures. Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage has pulled business and dispatched executives and a new team of lawyers to Florida to ensure foreclosure cases are being handled correctly, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The law firms and a Lender Processing unit, Docx LLC, which did work at a suburban Atlanta office, handled the nitty-gritty paperwork necessary to verify key document batches, including ownership transfer of a loan, known as an assignment, and the amount owed by a borrower losing his home. That paperwork processing at the law firms and lenders allegedly didn’t review all information needed, such as who owned the loan or borrower financial information, the Florida attorney general claims. The Florida attorney general’s office is looking at possible use of “fabricated documents” used in foreclosure actions in court, according to the attorney general.

This situation provides a few lessons in risk management. First, it demonstrates the lingering effects of poor controls when dealing with massive amounts of transactions complicated by a highly complex securitization process. Second, it also shows that the operational risks to a given company extend well beyond its walls to its outsourcing partners’ ability to properly control its business.  Finally, with the crisis today clearly rooted in the actions of the past, it demonstrates the need for more forward-looking risk management programs.


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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