The Independent Foreclosure Review has sent $2.8 billion in compensation checks to more than 4 million borrowers to remedy foreclosure or mortgage-modification abuses, but along this settlement’s long and winding road there have been many bumps and potholes.
Now you can add another dubious distinction to the IFR.
A jury this week found a top executive at Bank of America’s Countrywide unit, Rebecca Mairone, liable for at least some of the fraud related to selling bad mortgages, which were later bundled into investments and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis and housing meltdown.
ProPublica had previously reported that Marione left Bank of America (the nation’s second-largest bank) last year for a job in the mortgage unit of JP Morgan Chase (the largest bank), where she helped with the Independent Foreclosure Review.
The IFR has been a source of anger and frustration among victims who feel they were under-compensated and given few, if any, details about the reviews of their own foreclosures. Meanwhile, high-profile Democratic lawmakers are trying to get regulators to be more transparent about the IFR process.
A JPMorgan spokeswoman has confirmed that Mairone now works in another unit of the bank, and is no longer in mortgage banking.
Bank of America was also found liable on Wednesday for having purposely sold defective mortgages, a bit of a victory for the federal government as it tries hold big banks accountable for their role in the housing crisis.
Through a program officially known as the High Speed Swim Lane, or “Hustle,” Countrywide (which Bank of America now owns) processed risky loans, which in turn were backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, prosecutors alleged.