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Senators meet on mortgage servicers

The shadow of a house key falls over a mortgage application form.

Bob Moon: When you pay your mortgage, the money usually goes to a mortgage servicer -- which you might not even pay attention to if everything's going OK. Fall behind, though, and you'll probably have to go through that servicer. Today the Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing today on new national standards for servicers.

Here's Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer.


Nancy Marshall-Genzer:At the height of the housing crisis, some mortgage servicers hired robo-signers who approved foreclosures without checking the paperwork. Consumers couldn't figure out who to call to get a loan modification to prevent foreclosure.

John Taylor heads the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a consumer group. He says new national rules would force mortgage servicers to communicate better and more clearly with borrowers.

John Taylor: So people know what to expect.

Servicers would have to provide borrowers with one contact person. They'd have to make a good faith effort to avoid foreclosures. Steve O'Connor is a senior vice president at the Mortgage Bankers Association. He's OK with the idea of national standards.

Steve O'Connor: When you get to the finer details there may be some differences of opinion on how you actually implement some of the pieces.

Like, whether servicers can negotiate a loan modification and file for a foreclosure on the same borrower at the same time. There are plenty of other sticking points, but O'Connor agrees with Taylor that national standards would level off foreclosures. And stabilize the housing market.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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