Home Ownership:

Mortgage Servicing Transfers Are Increasing and Causing Borrower Concern

RCED-90-62: Published: Nov 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 22, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed home mortgage servicing transfer practices.

GAO found that 1985 mortgage servicing transfer estimates of $80 to $90 billion increased to $150 billion in 1988, because economies of scale, accounting and tax advantages, and income generation needs made servicing buying and selling profitable. GAO also found that borrowers were adversely affected by the servicing transfers, because: (1) escrow account changes were considerable and unanticipated; (2) servicers were unresponsive to written complaints or information requests; (3) telephone communications with new, out-of-state servicers were difficult; and (4) more servicers incorrectly or untimely issued monthly payment credit, escrow-funded tax and insurance payments, and payment coupon books. In addition, GAO found that: (1) real estate attorneys made complaints regarding settlement problems, because documents were lost during the transfers, and payoff balances were incorrect or difficult to obtain; and (2) the extent of transfer servicing problems was unknown, because regulatory agencies were not correlating servicing problems with the transfer process, and no central clearinghouse existed for borrower complaints.

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