Independent Foreclosure Review – Here’s the 4-1-1

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(Read the first few lines to the tune of Harry Chapin’s song, Cats in the Cradle.)

A client called me just the other day, she received a letter in the most usual way. However, this one was surprising to her. It was a letter about the Independent Foreclosure Review process.

As you may recall, the Independent Foreclosure Review is part of the settlement associated with the robo-signing debacle of 2010 (title my own). As part of this review, fourteen mortgage servicers and their affiliates are identifying customers who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence during the period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

These 14 mortgage servicers have now begun to send out letters to 4.3 million potential victims of robo-signing and other foreclosure-related (and potentially fraudulent) matters. These letters will provide homeowners the opportunity to request an independent review of their foreclosure process (a.k.a. Independent Foreclosure Review). If the review finds that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the customer may receive compensation or another remedy.

Here is a copy of the letter that potential victims may receive. Not everyone who receives the letter is eligible. In the case of the client who contacted our office, she successfully completed a short sale and did not believe that the terms of the review applied to her specific situation. Anyway, check out the lettersince it was sent to 4.3 million homes, you likely have a client who has received one.

(photo credit)


  1. Melissa, thanks so much for sharing the Independent Foreclosure review letter with us…i have not seen this as of yet. Great information to be on top of for those who have gone through short sales or foreclosure in our areas. I am looking forward to more follow up in blog posts from you on this one. One thing about the Short Sale Expeditor is that you get the latest & best information going on in the short sale field. Escondido CA is lucky to have you…
    btw, you got me at the kitties….

    Ginny Lacey Gorman
    Phillips Post Road Realty
    North Kingstown RI 02852
    North Kingstown short sale agents

  2. Mitchell

    I am very confused with this letter:-/ The fact that they won’t give a strait answer is very shady. All of this legal jargon makes my head spin and scares me half to death. I have no idea what other type of shenanigan they will pull on me this time. I was in a modification process for 1 1/2 years. They took so long with the process my balance went from 3,000. To 18,000. PNC purchased National City in the middle of my modification process and then said my balance was too big and that I did not qualify for modification. Even though we supposedly had been approve by National City and been in the trial run for so long. I had to declare bankruptcy. When that happened they quickly called saying that they will work with us after I spent hours on the phone crying and begging asking for some sort of solution to keep my primary Residence. They said repeatedly “there is nothing we can do for you; the house will go into the foreclosure process”. My mother, my children, my brother and I were officially homeless. We had to sell 80% of our belongings because we could not take it with us. We also needed the money to pay for a place to live. It was horrible. I think it’s cruel of them to give us hope. They hired their own people to investigate! I don’t know how that even allowed! They could never repay the damage they did. If they compensated all 4 million+ people these banks basically raped, they would go bankrupt. There is no way they would do that so yes I believe nothing they say.

    Scared Scared Scared….

    • Diane Strickland

      The same here..they took (PNC Mortgage) thier time, never called us back. The next thing we knew a realtor was at our door telling our family we had 30 days to move….They keep saying they were doing a work-out plan….Looks as if it worked our for them really well..we ended up moving and they sold our house…. what a rip-off….

  3. Here’s the truth about the independent foreclosure review. You send in you docs to Rust Consulting. They inturn send it to the Bank, not the independent firm but the Bank. The Bank then has the option of pulling out what they want to be reviewed. I have also learned from an article on that a Temp was hired to review the files and not to dig so deep. I have also learned that ADDECCO in NJ is hiring people to work for BOA to review their files. They are paid by BOA and trained by them also. How how is this fair. There is on consultant on site to oversee this process. Now here it is the banks that have been doing their you know what to us for years is continuing to do so by this so called “INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW.’ Write your state officials and tell them about your concerns.

      • Melissa,
        I hope you can help me, I am a veteran of the U.S Army who did two tours in Iraq. Wells Fargo in a nut shell stole my home from me. I was expecting a large check from Rust based on the payout criteria instead I received a 300 dollar slap in the face. I filed a complaint with the O.C.C. as told by the Fed Res…
        and received a letter with basic information i already knew. I called the O.C.C today and was asking for them to send me my actual case as well as the findings from my reveiw. O.C.C told me that they did not have this info and that the IFR has it. So i asked who was the IFR and how to contact them, In which she refused to answer who the IFR was or who conducted the IFR. I was under the beleif that either the OCC, Fed Reserve, or Rust conducted my reveiw. Can you tell me who the IFR is, who was on the board, or who the 3rd party representative was.

        thank you

        • Melissa Zavala

          I’ll look into it. If I get any information, then I will make sure to let you know. Based on all of the comments on the post, lots have felt the same “slap in the face”.

  4. scott g.

    I fell ill and got a little behind on my mortgage , my parents helped us get caught up. Then I got pneumonia, which put me down for a couple of months (my parents were unable to help us financially again) and my wife has a long term illness.So I called the bank for help, they told me to quit paying my mortgage for three months,then I would qualify for a loan modification.I waited approximately four months to hear from the banks loan mitigation department,then to hear they would lower my monthly payment by only $1.75,yes one dollar and seventy five cents!!!!!! Then I tried the short sale,with a reputable real estate company in our town.In about six weeks we had a contract for $ 85,000. After waiting five months for the banks approval, the buyers backed out of the contract.So the bank foreclosed on our house,and quickly sold it for $75,000. THANKS, SCOTT FL.

    • Melissa Zavala

      So sorry to hear your awful story. Not sure whether it’s too late, but you may want to see whether you qualify for remuneration via the Independent Foreclosure Review (or maybe you already have…)

  5. Ginger

    Thanks for the 411 Melissa!
    I received my little “postcard” from
    the “Rust Consulting Incorporated
    office today… They are full of it!
    Shred…! Shred…! Shred!

  6. Brandon

    We received one a letter today, and I search to see if it was scam…turns out to be a real service… we are still in our home…I’m optimistic…Im going to give them a call tomorrow.

  7. emily

    I received my post card today – from what I am reading every where it seems completely legit. People don’t think we are going to receive? I find it hard to believe that they can send these letters out if it is not true

  8. Claire

    I received the postcard from Rust yesterday too. I did send in paperwork over a year ago for an Independent Review on my mortgage with Wells. I don’t know what to believe, but am hoping that there is some truth in this. My husband is not so optomistic. I did read several places that home owners who sent in the paperwork for a review will receive more from the settlement than those home owners who did not ask for a review. We were forced out of our home….I even tried to pay cash for it before the foreclosure and was told I could buy it after it was foreclosed. Anyway, it was sold for one third of what I was willing to pay in cash to Wells before the foreclosure sale. My brain goes numb from all of this.

  9. Christine valverde

    hello. I to received a postcard to I hope this is a true lost house. due to illness and mortgage company was one suggest this modification dragged me along almost two years then said I owe to much. I am renting so hard fined a place since my credit was so ruined I have kid .I real hope this is true I love a second chance for child’s sake and for everyone else that deserve second Chance.

  10. Christine valverde

    hello I need some information I original filled out paperwork sent it to independent foreclosure review I never heard back since I received this postcard one do you know we half prove we filled out and sent it and number two is was this postcard their answer. can some one help me.

    • Melissa Zavala

      According to the Federal Reserve, the postcards were mailed out on the 18th of March, and this is a legitimate offer. Watch your mailbox in 6-8 weeks.

  11. KB

    Glad I found this… received the postcard this week saying I will receive a payment in approx 4-8 weeks. Very curious to see how this plays out. Glad to see I am not the only one questioning this…

  12. Martha

    Hi Melissa… Back in 2009, i lost 15% of my monthly income.. My exhusband also decided to stop paying his child support.. Needless to say i found myself in a big financial bind.. I was raisinf 3 children and was drowning in bills.. So I called mortgage company and explained my situation and asked for loan modification… They said i didnt qualify, because i was not behind in my mortgage… After a few months i felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as i received bills i wasnt able to pay… I was going crazy… I cried myself to sleep every night… I continued to pay my mortgage and used my credit cards to pay for food and utilities… I would use one credit card to pay another one… I was pretty much robbing Peter to pay Paul… Lol, i think thats what people say… Anyways, a friend referred me to an attorney for help on getting modification… [the remainder of Martha’s comments have been sent directly to Short Sale Expeditor as they contain confidential information….]

    • Kimberly Carr

      Well as I see I’m not alone. Let me tell my story, my husband died, me and our oldest son was put out of our home. Keep in mind I have the orignal Deed Trust, plus the Check Stub that our mortage loans are paid in full.

      When my husband died; someone marked my father-in-law dead; instead and my husband; they have the same name, Theodore Andrew Carr Jr, I had to call the VA to get that straighten out, for my dad: he’s a retired Federal Marine, his sister’s put my father in-law in a nursing home, against his will, stealing all his money. [The remainder of Kimberly’s comment has been forwarded to Short Sale Expeditor for review and feedback.]

    • Melissa Zavala

      What I really admire is your persistence in this matter, and you should keep up with that. I would call and call until they can confirm that you $$$ will be mailed to you at the right address. Next time you call, ask if you can email your written request as an attachment directly to the person that answers the phone. Then, they can confirm (before you hang up) that they have your current address. Just an idea–maybe it will work!

  13. Kimberly Carr

    Well as I can see, I’m not alone!!! Let me share my story. (Keep in mind as you read my story that I have the original Deed plus the Check stub, stating our home was paid in full.

    When my husband died; Dec.29th 2010.Compton Courts plus Ron Edison owner of Tower Realty Investment broker put me and our oldest son out of our home.
    I have letters stating that Ron Edison owned our home, after my husband died (he stated he worked for Chase Bank) Yes I have the original trust deed plus the check stub stating our home is paid in full. Ron Edison owner of Tower Realty Management; Westcoast realty; Reo management Inc, sold our home, I have all the documents!
    I had to go to the Federal Building in Long Beach to prove who I was. Also I was informed that(I’m suppose to have a mortgage in my name since 1986,(not me)also someone in Manhattan Beach is using my name. We paid our home off through Bank Of America! I closed my husbands account in Feb. 2011. Bank of America kept one of my husbands accounts open without my knowledge, and closed it in June 2011
    Truly tired of sleeping in my car and not eating properly.
    (November 2012) The congressman Mr. A. Fraizer (from Compton) (Laura Richardson Office )claims he would get back to me with the results.
    Spoke to Ms Laverne, a rep. from Laura Richardson’s office) I was informed on November 14 2012; that Mr. Fraizer did nothing!
    Mr Fraiser made copies of my social security card plus copy of my Driver’s license.

    Someone marked my father-in-law dead; instead of my husband; My father in law is (Sir) husband JR. I had to call the VA to get that straighten out, for my daddy in law: he’s a retired Marine. His sister’s put my father in-law in a nursing home, against his will, stealing all his money. Bonita Brown of Aurora Colorado made herself the power of attorney over his accounts, without my father- in-law consent; Ileana Brothers in Los Angeles Ca, Alice Lawson in Santa Monica Ca, plus Andrea Sutton in Des Moines Ia. I have had enough of these fraudulent people and their unGodly behavior.
    March 26 2013 we are still homeless! My family and I deserve a lump sum, just for being disrespect, for 1’s greed. The sad part about all this; Know one can bring back my husband of 35 years

  14. r

    I received this too. Father passed and house went into foreclosure but was able to sell it.
    citi charged us so much for “pre-foreclosure” fees, so my thinking was that yea, maybe I will receive something. but im not going out and spending any money thinking I will receive anything. I doubt it though. Stuff like that doesnt happen. What does happen is that people lose their homes and bank execs get fat bonuses.

    • Nadirah Smith

      I received my little post card in the mail too indicating payment in 4 to 8 weeks. I originally received the letter telling me about the Foreclosure review board in May 2011 it said for me to fill it out and send in any supporting documentation that may show I was financially harmed. I didn’t hear anything else from them until 9/2012 they sent a second letter saying that my file is now in review. I’ve been in foreclosure since 2009 did three modifications and completed it all!!! I’m tired have no more fight in me …

  15. jr

    i i received a nod in 2009 i attempted to do a mod and was jerked around lied too paperwork was lost over and over again. this is 2013 and i am finally in a trial mod with a principal reduction of 50,000.00 on my property in california. i fit within the timeframe of individuals under the protected activity. i found out today by looking up county records my loan deed information was recorded incorrectly. i use to have countrywide then boa now services the loan. county records show wells fargo….the nod that was recorded was cancelled and it shows a modification was in effect. This is a lie. Something is wrong. Now i have to call around to get to the bottom of it. I call the mortgage review phone number and my name did not appear on their list!

    Any suggesstions

    • Melissa Zavala

      While I cannot be sure what is going on, I can tell you that B of A does service loans for Wells Fargo sometimes. So, I would not rule that out. Maybe what you think is screwed up is not screwed up after all. If you are stuck, I would contact your title insurance company and ask them to help you with the research. After all, they insure your loan!

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