“Wells Fargo is not planning to initiate a moratorium on foreclosures. Our affidavit procedures and daily auditing demonstrate that our foreclosure affidavits are accurate,” said Wells Fargo spokesman Chris Hammond. “As a standard business practice, we continually review and reinforce our policies and procedures. If we find an error or if an improvement is needed, we take action.”
Wells and other major lenders are under growing political pressure to put the brakes on foreclosures. This week, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper publicly called on Wells and 14 other lenders to halt home seizures.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said Friday that he will hold a hearing on Nov. 16 to investigate allegations of improper and fraudulent mortgage servicing and foreclosure proceedings.
Lenders face mounting criticism over how they’re handling home foreclosures, often using automated processes to speed completion of the documentation needed to recover possession of homes from delinquent borrowers.
“American families should not have to worry about losing their homes to sloppy bureaucratic mismanagement or fraud,” Dodd said.
Last week, BofA (NYSE: BAC) — along with JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). and GMAC Mortgage — had stopped foreclosures in the 23 states where foreclosures require a judge’s approval, but said those in other states would proceed. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)said last week it would not halt foreclosures. On Friday, PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC) joined the list of lenders putting a moratorium on foreclosures, though limiting the stoppage to those 23 states. PNC picked up troubled, Cleveland-based National City Bank, among the most aggressive lenders in California and elsewhere during the housing boom.
Wells said Friday it’s trying to work with troubled borrowers.
“Wells Fargo works hard to do all that is possible to keep homeowners in their homes,” Hammond said. “We work with our borrowers to find an alternative to foreclosure where possible.
“We have been successful in encouraging 80 percent of our customers who are 60 days or more delinquent to work with us and when customers work with us, we are successful in helping seven of every 10 avoid foreclosure,” Hammond said. “For those homeowners in foreclosure, we continue to stress the importance of thorough communication with their servicer throughout the foreclosure process.”
Wells is the largest bank in New Mexico.
Mark Calvey of the San Francisco Business Times, an affiliated publication, compiled this report.