I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from people struggling with a lender called PHH.
PHH is a servicer who has taken over the servicing of several thousand Ocwen mortgages within the last 5 months. To be frank, the transfer did not go well and many homeowners around the country are experiencing issues. PHH seems to be completely overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the new loans they’ve taken over.
What is a Service Release?
A mortgage servicer is a company (like Ocwen) that processes mortgage payments on behalf of entities (like Fannie Mae) that own loans. When the owner of a loan decides to move the loan to a new mortgage servicer, that transfer is called a “service release.”
Below are a list of problems currently going on with PHH:
- No Notice of Transfer: PHH is not adequately informing homeowners that they have taken over the servicing of the loan. I’m speaking with homeowners who are (and have been) making payments to Ocwen per their normal procedure but PHH is not getting the payments. Essentially, homeowners are making payments to Ocwen, unaware that PHH is even involved, and then suddenly – they receive a foreclosure notice or a notice of delinquency in the mail. The worst part is that it seems Ocwen is keeping the payments and not sending them to PHH. If this is happening to you, I recommend calling an attorney for help immediately before the issue gets any worse.
- Accounting Errors: PHH is failing to give homeowners an accurate accounting of their payment history. Suddenly, with PHH involved, homeowners’ payment histories are showing missing payments or additional fees that don’t quite make sense.
- Communication Issues: Communication with PHH has proven challenging for homeowners. Homeowners are being given conflicting information about what number to call and where to send documents. Homeowners are being shuffled between uninformed customer service representatives and, at times, hung up on.
- Quick Foreclosure Movement: In addition to all the problems listed above, PHH also seems to be quick to move homes to foreclosure. Instead of taking responsibility for their disorganization and working with homeowners to resolve issues prior to assuming the home is rightfully in foreclosure, PHH seems to be pretty fast in partnering with law firms and starting the foreclosure process.
If you currently have Ocwen as your servicer and have not received any information about PHH, you should definitely call Ocwen as soon as possible and ask them if your mortgage is one of the ones that went to PHH. I always recommend that when getting information from the bank, call two different times and speak to two different representatives before you can rely on the information. You should also ask open-ended questions, not yes or no questions. This will force them to actually check the system. If asking if your loan has gone to PHH, say:
“Can you please read me and all notes made to my account in the last 30-days?”
It’s unclear at this time whether Ocwen is still behind the scenes on these mortgages. I am hearing conflicting things as to Ocwen’s status but it sounds like, at this time, PHH may be assisting Ocwen in the servicing instead of taking the servicing over in full. It’s confusing right now and requires individual attention on a daily basis to get issues resolved.
It’s also important to understand that, in situations like this, there are no issues too minor to address. It may feel like it’s not a big deal to you – maybe you know you’re current and you know the document you got must be a mistake. Even if this is the case, you should still get help because PHH probably does not have your loan on the forefront of their mind. And since they’re proving to be so disorganized, the more you wait to correct the mistake, the more your home may be at risk.
There is some good news if you are having troubles with PHH or Ocwen. In Washington, both PHH and Ocwen are lenders that are required to attend Foreclosure Mediation under the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act. NOTE -It is critical that you request mediation at the appropriate time as there is a limited window of eligibility. If you are someone who has been moved to foreclosure by PHH or by Ocwen and you have a Notice of Default, you’re likely eligible and should give me a call so we can talk about your options.
The worst thing you can do in this situation is to let your foreclosure get too far without getting help. If you miss your opportunity to file for mediation, your ability to quickly get resolution on your matter is greatly decreased.
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