This article from the Wall Street Journal today talks about the potential problem of a defunct loan servicer (in this case, American Home Mortgage). American Home quit making payments to tax authorities and insurance companies Aug. 24.
Freddie Mac said 4,547 loans valued at nearly $797 million are at stake. It said it doesn't have the loan files necessary to pay insurance premiums and property taxes on them, however. "Therefore, there is the imminent risk that borrowers' insurance policies may lapse for nonpayment, subjecting the borrowers to a risk of loss of their mortgaged properties," Freddie Mac said.
Property-tax bills will go unpaid, Freddie Mac said, "resulting in increased tax liabilities and possible tax-foreclosure sales." It added it needs a court order allowing it to seize American Home's loan files "to avoid these serious consequences stemming from AHM's inability to service the Freddie Mac mortgage loans."
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Just days before American Home's bankruptcy filing, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae terminated the company's loan-servicing rights. They also sent representatives to collect loan files from American Home's servicing facility in Irving, Texas.
In court documents, American Home said Ginnie Mae representatives "stood in a line in front of the doors and sat on the stairs, preventing AHM Servicing employees from entering the office." Freddie Mac said American Home "had its security personnel escort the Freddie Mac representatives out."
In addition to Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, several Wall Street banks are fighting to extract their loans from American Home's servicing operation. The list includes Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group and EMC Mortgage.
In an interview last week, Ginnie Mae's senior vice president, Theodore B. Foster, said Ginnie Mae had seized from American Home some of the insurance and tax payments collected from homeowners. "What's occurred is that we have the money, but AHM hasn't been able to or willing to pay the taxes and insurance, and they have the loan records," Mr. Foster said. "Therefore, we don't know who to pay, and we don't know how much."