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SNL Financial:JP Morgan,BofA,Wells Fargo Tops In Foreclosed Home Loans

By Liz Moyer Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The banks with the largest dollar amounts of foreclosed home loans on their books are J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), according to analyst firm SNL Financial. Several large banks, including J.P. Morgan and Bank of America, have instituted widespread foreclosure halts due to worries about documentation problems. The halts come at a time when many of the biggest lenders are struggling to work through the non-performing assets still weighing on their books. J.P. Morgan has $19.5 billion, or 7.5% of its 1- to 4-family mortgage loans, in foreclosure, according to data from SNL. Bank of America has $18.7 billion, or 4.39%, and Wells Fargo has $17.5 billion, or 4.74%. The three big mortgage lenders have billions more in servicing rights on loans in foreclosure. Bank of America has $88 billion of loans it services for other lenders where the properties are in foreclosure; J. P. Morgan has $54.5 billion and Wells Fargo has $36.4 billion. The data are as of June 30. State regulators and federal lawmakers are demanding banks halt foreclosures while they probe allegations of abusive practices by lenders and loan servicers, including improper reviews of borrowers' files and problems with documentation. The Wall Street Journal reported that as many as 40 state attorneys general are set to announce an investigation into the mortgage servicing industry on Wednesday. Bank of America has already agreed to stop the process in 50 states. J.P. Morgan stopped foreclosures in 23 states and will expand it to a few other states. Wells Fargo and USBancorp (USB) said last week they would not stop foreclosures. Ally Financial has suspended evictions and foreclosure sales in 23 states. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which doesn't appear in SNL's data, has suspended foreclosures through its Litton Loan Servicing unit in an undisclosed number of states until it completes a review of its documents. A J.P. Morgan spokesman said, "We have requested that the courts not enter judgements in pending matters until we complete our review" of foreclosure documents. An Ally spokeswoman confirmed the suspensions. A Litton Loan spokeswoman would not provide more details. Spokesmen for Bank of America and Wells Fargo did not have an immediate comment. A spokesman for USBancorp, in an email, said, "We do not have plans to halt foreclosures." SNL ranked Barclays (BCS, BARC.LN), New York Private Bank & Trust Corp. and Ally as the lenders with the highest percentage of their 1- to 4-family home loans in foreclosure. According to its data, Barclays has $495 million, or 17.7% of its 1- to 4-family loans in foreclosure proceedings, New York Private Bank has $378 million, or 12.05%, and Ally has $2.1 billion, or 10.16%. Barclays says it sold its HomeEq mortgage servicing operation to Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) last month, making Ocwen the third largest U.S. subprime servicer. A spokesman for New York Private Bank, which is controlled by real estate investor Howard Milstein and family, said the company expects losses on its portfolio to be minimal, and added, "we do not service any securitized debt, but only mortgages which we originated for our own portfolio." Others in the top ten with the largest percentage of foreclosed loans are HSBC North America, with 9% of its 1- to 4-family loans in foreclosure, and MetLife Inc. (MET), with 6.44%. Several of the top ten were focused on Puerto Rico, where the economy began slipping before it did in the U.S.: Doral GP Ltd. (DRL) has 8.58% of its 1- to 4-family loans in foreclosure; First BanCorp Puerto Rico (FBP) has 7.06%; Oriental Financial Group (OFG) has 6.42%, and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.'s (BBVA) Puerto Rico operation has 6.21%. JP Morgan is also in the top ten with the largest percentage of foreclosed loans. -By Liz Moyer, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2512; liz.moyer@dowjones.com

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