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The record-making $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement Agreement that was signed earlier this year involved five major lenders, like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Ally Financial. According to officials, the eight firms that will be recommended for fines due to irregularities in the foreclosure process include HSBC, SunTrust Bank, MetLife, EverBank, Goldman Sachs, OneWest, U.S. Bancorp, and PNC Financial Services.
The addition of Goldman Sachs is a bit surprising to some for several reasons. For starters, Goldman Sachs was never a major player in the mortgage processing industry like the original Big Five in the settlement and some of the newer additions. In fact, Goldman Sachs sold its loan processing unit to Ocwen Financial Corp in 2011 for roughly $264 million.
Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is because Goldman Sachs has largely survived the near-collapse of the U.S. financial system and foreclosure crisis relatively unscathed. Where other instigators of the crash have either disappeared altogether or have been penalized, Goldman Sachs continues to turn in staggering profits with a minimum of legal troubles from the feds or state governments.
Goldman Sachs did agree, however, to leave itself open to future penalties and fines due to its role in creating wrongful foreclosure properties across the country when it sold Litton Loan Servicing in 2011. This agreement leaves the case open for penalties that could come close to – but probably not meet or exceed – the fines levied on JPMorgan Chase, et al., in the original agreement.
The previous five owed $5 billion each, on average, but these eight lenders are much smaller, so the amount of money they would owe would similarly be less. Plus, the percentage of wrongful foreclosure homes caused by these lenders across the nation is less than those caused by the Big Five, which is why these eight lenders were not previously targeted in the first round of allegations and charges.