Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. home lender, said it will file supplemental foreclosure affidavits to courts in about 55,000 proceedings after finding some statements “did not strictly adhere to the required procedures.”
The bank, which has proceeded with home seizures while rivals including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. delayed theirs, said yesterday in a statement that it found some lapses during a review of its processes. The lender will begin filings immediately in 23 states and aims to complete them by mid-November, subject to local laws, according to the statement.
“The issues the company has identified do not relate in any way to the quality of the customer and loan data,” the San Francisco-based bank said in the statement. “Nor does the company believe that any of these instances led to foreclosures which should not have otherwise occurred.”
Attorneys general in all 50 states started a probe into foreclosure practices after court documents surfaced showing employees signed papers without ensuring their accuracy. Bank of America, JPMorgan and Ally Financial Inc. temporarily suspended some foreclosure sales or evictions, pending reviews. Wells Fargo reiterated in the statement that it doesn’t intend to stop foreclosure sales.
“The company has identified instances where a final step in its processes relating to the execution of the foreclosure affidavits (including a final review of the affidavit, as well as some aspects of the notarization process) did not strictly adhere to the required procedures,” it said in the statement.
Wells Fargo has assigned 160 employees in four offices to be part of the review, said Teri Schrettenbrunner, a spokeswoman for the company, in a phone interview. One of the procedural errors included a notary who failed to complete a logbook in the manner required by certain states, she said.
In the third quarter, Wells Fargo reduced reserves to buy back soured mortgages to $1.3 billion from $1.4 billion in the second quarter. The affidavit “issues” don’t affect the estimated repurchase liabilities as of Sept. 30, the bank said in the statement.
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