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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;

Stock News for Ocwen (OCN)
03/27/201716:41:36Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/24/201717:15:55Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
03/20/201706:07:40Current Report Filing (8-k)
02/28/201716:54:24Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/23/201708:16:41Annual Report (10-k)
02/22/201716:33:42Current Report Filing (8-k)
02/22/201716:20:00Ocwen Financial Announces Operating Results for Fourth Quarter...
02/21/201718:41:19Ocwen, NID, and NAACP Team Up to Help Borrowers in Los Angeles...
02/17/201719:18:29Ocwen Enters Into Comprehensive Settlement With California Department...
02/16/201707:30:00Ocwen Financial Corporation Schedules Conference Call - 4th Q...
02/14/201717:57:36Statement of Ownership (sc 13g)
02/14/201715:11:06Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
02/14/201713:10:30Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
02/10/201706:13:45Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
01/30/201715:55:24Statement of Ownership (sc 13g)
01/30/201715:44:18Statement of Ownership (sc 13g)
01/24/201717:04:29Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
01/20/201717:01:43Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
01/11/201707:37:14Ocwen Helps 75,000 Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure In 2016
01/09/201717:05:28Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)

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