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Posted On: 08/08/2012

ANSWER:

The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have set up an independent foreclosure review process to address wrongful foreclosure “actions” that took place between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. Only claims involving a primary residence can be made; investment properties are not covered.

There is no cost to file a claim, but you must do so before September 30, 2012. For details, go to the website, IndependentForeclosureReview.com.

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This is a big program. The government has sent out more than 4.4 million letters to potential claimants. By the end of May, more than 190,000 review requests had been filed. In addition, about 145,000 cases will be reviewed as a result of sampling.

Awards can range from $500 to as much as $125,000 plus lost equity, however, the review process will have to examine each case individually and getting a check is not guaranteed. Claims not meeting award guidelines will be rejected.

So what are the standards? Awards can arise from such situations as:

• Foreclosing on a borrower in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,

• Foreclosing on a borrower who was not in default on the mortgage,

• Failing to convert a qualified borrower to a permanent modification after successful completion of a written modified payment plan that was supposed to lead to permanent modification, and

• Committing errors that did not result in foreclosure, but resulted in other financial injury.

Individuals who have faced foreclosure should visit the independent review website to read the full list of possible claims and to see whether or not your servicer is participating in the program. If you do make a claim, be prepared to supply supporting paperwork to reviewers.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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