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Ocwen Sued, Shut Down in Multiple States

There are bad days, and worse days, and there are days like Ocwen Financial Corporation (OFC) had on Thursday. The company was not only sued on multiple grounds by both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the State of Florida, but saw its operations effectively shut down by the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks....First, the North Carolina commissioner, Ray Grace, issued a cease and desist order against the company after a determination that it "has engaged in, or is engaging in, or is about to engage in, acts of practices constituting violations of state and federal law and applicable regulations." ... On February 28, 2015, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, and Washington conducted a multi-state examination of the company covering operations from January 1, 2013 to the examination date. That examination identified several violations of state and federal law including consumer escrow accounts that could not be reconciled and willful and ongoing unlicensed activity in certain states. The examination also found that the company's financial condition was deteriorating. The order alleges the company subsequently failed to respond to requests for information on its apparent unlicensed activity and company executives were warned the violations were unacceptable and would not be tolerated. OFC partially addressed these violations after a lapse of two years, but the Commissioner's order states that unlicensed activity is believed to continue in some jurisdictions. ...In December 2016 OFC and state regulators entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which required OFC to retain an independent auditing firm to perform a comprehensive audit and reconciliation of all escrow accounts with a report submitted to and approved by the MMC by January 13, 2017.  On that date, the company informed the MMC that the $1.5 billion cost of that audit was beyond its financial capability and asked to sample 457 accounts out of the 2.5 million it had serviced over the initial audit period.  The company has also failed to provide a suitable going-forward business plan to address its financial condition. The Cease and Desist Order requires OFC to immediately cease acquiring new mortgage servicing rights and acquiring or originating new residential mortgages until it provides a sufficient analysis of its financial condition and provides state regulators with a reconcilement of its escrow accounts showing that consumer funds are appropriately collected, accounted for, and distributed.  OFC has 20 days in which to request a hearing.

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