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Obama Administration To Withhold Bank Incentive Payments

By Alan Zibel Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Obama administration is taking the first steps to punish mortgage companies for poor performance in its loan assistance program, withholding incentive payments for three of the nation's largest banks. An administration official said Thursday that Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) need "substantial improvement" in how they process requests for mortgage modifications. The three companies, which received $24 million in government incentive payments last month, won't get any more payments until their performance improves. The U.S. Treasury Department found deficiencies in each company's process for assisting homeowners in danger of foreclosure as part of the government's Home Affordable Modification Program. The companies also had deficiencies in following the program rules--including how they evaluate homeowners for help and communicate with them. A fourth company, Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN), was also found to be in need of improvement, but Treasury officials decided not to penalize the company because its problems stemmed from an acquisition of loans serviced by another company, HomEq Servicing, which Ocwen purchased last year. The action addresses a longstanding complaint from consumer advocates that the Treasury has failed to effectively police the more than 100 participating companies in the HAMP program. The Obama administration launched the HAMP initiative in early 2009 as an attempt to reverse the rising number of home foreclosures by reducing families' mortgage payments, typically by lowering the interest rate and extending the term of a loan. Mortgage servicing companies receive incentive payments to enroll borrowers, but the program has fallen far short of initial expectations. As of May, it has helped about 587,000 U.S. homeowners avoid losing their homes through permanent loan modifications, with the goal being to help 3 million to 4 million borrowers. The Treasury's decision to withhold payments was reported in Thursday's Washington Post. -By Alan Zibel; 202-862-9262; alan.zibel@dowjones.com

Stock News for Ocwen (OCN)
DateTimeHeadline
05/04/201517:24:33Current Report Filing (8-k)
05/04/201510:52:00NAACP Kicks-Off Multi-City "Help & Hope For Homeowners" Tour...
05/01/201511:29:46Why Ocwen Financial Corp. Shares Jumped Today
05/01/201510:18:36Ocwen Financial Corp Price Target Increased to $11.00 by Analysts...
05/01/201504:09:56Ocwen Financial Corp PT Lowered to $6.50 (OCN)
05/01/201503:51:37Ocwen Financial Corp Upgraded to Buy at Sterne Agee CRT (OCN)
04/30/201517:40:23Ocwen's Profit Slides 43%
04/30/201516:32:10Ocwen Financial Announces Preliminary Operating Results for First...
04/29/201506:08:48Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/28/201520:19:51Ocwen Financial Corp Stock Rating Lowered by Vetr Inc. (OCN)
04/24/201519:00:02Why Ocwen Financial Corp Is Getting Rid of this $89 Billion Portfolio
04/23/201517:21:43Why Shares of Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. Surged Today
04/23/201513:46:21Ocwen Financial Corporation Schedules Conference Call - 1st Quarter...
04/20/201511:00:00Ocwen Hosts Sixth Annual Housing Advocacy Forum and Policy Luncheon
04/20/201508:20:02Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/17/201517:42:25Ocwen Financial Announces Amendment to Senior Secured Term Loan
04/14/201523:01:19Ocwen Reports Preliminary $598.4 Million Loss
04/14/201508:15:31Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/14/201507:54:05Ocwen +2.3% after preliminary results, positive outlook
04/14/201507:30:00Ocwen Financial Announces Preliminary Operating Results for Fiscal...

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