Where to turn when having problems with mortgage lender or servicer

If you’re having trouble with your mortgage company, you’re not alone. Prior to the housing market crash, many consumers complained about originating practices and predatory lending; however these days complaints are increasingly due to servicing, mortgage modifications, and foreclosures. If you’re having issues with your mortgage company, it’s sometimes not easy to figure out where to turn for answers or to file a complaint.

One of mandates of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law last year, was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (consumerfinance.gov). Although the “Bureau” does not just regulate the mortgage industry, the focus of the CFPB will be on consumer protection and compliance: education, enforcement, and research. It’s akin to “one stop shop” for consumer protection.

Some of the Bureau’s functions are described by the CFPB as follows: “conduct rule-making, supervision, and enforcement for Federal consumer financial protection laws; restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices; Promote financial education; research consumer behavior; monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers; enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance; and create a center to take consumer complaints.” Many of the CFPB’s functions will go into effect July 21, 2011.

So until the CFPB is fully operational, you’re left to decide where to direct inquires and/or complaints. However, as the CFPB slowly implements its authority, the Bureau is still offering assistance and information. The CFPB website has a page dedicated to directing consumer inquiries (click the “Get Help Now” tab at the top of the page); the CFPB has an interactive questionnaire that is meant to decide what financial sector you are inquiring about and then directs you to the appropriate agency (click on the “Consumer Question and Complaint Assistance”).

At present, if you’re having trouble with your mortgage company, you’ll have to decide what regulatory agency to direct your questions and/or complaints. Your lender could be regulated by one of the many state or federal financial regulatory agencies. Maryland’s financial regulatory agency, the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, is limited to regulating financial institutions that are chartered in Maryland. If your lender meets the criteria, then the agency may accept your inquiries and/or complaints.

If the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation does not regulate your lender, it may be regulated by another state, or a federal agency – such as; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (www.occ.treas.gov), which regulates and supervises all national banks; the Office of Thrift Supervision (www.ots.treas.gov), which regulates and supervises savings associations; or the National Credit Union Administration (ncua.gov), which supervises national credit unions. The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation posts a list of entities that it does not regulate on their website (www.dllr.state.md.us/finance/consumers/compmort.shtml); you can call their office if you need further assistance.

Additional resources include the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov), which offers information and assistance if you have mortgage servicing issues (such as problems with your payments, escrow accounts, RESPA, collection practices, etc.); and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General (www. oag.state.md.us), which may help resolve your problem as well as collect your complaint.

Until the CFPB is fully operational, you’ll have to contact the appropriate agencies to help you seek a resolution if you’re experiencing issues with your mortgage lender.

by Dan Krell
© 2011

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.