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Pick-a-Payment Mortgage Investigation Settled In New Jersey
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has reached a settlement of a state investigation into whether mortgages sold by Wachovia Corp., Golden West and World Savings, which were bought by Wells Fargo in 2008, violated the Consumer Fraud Act. They were sold as 'Pick-a-Payment' mortgages and had low monthly payment options.
The investigation alleged that the subsidiaries deceptively marketed adjustable-rate mortgages, and that the companies did not warm borrowers that the minimum payment option frequently failed to cover the loan interest, which resulted in an increase in the loan's principal balance and a greater chance of homeowners going into foreclosure.
Wells Fargo will pay New Jersey $3.98 million, while a further $67 million in loan modifications will be distributed among 900 residents. Of the $3.98 million Wells Fargo will pay the state, up to $2 million will be distributed as restitution to consumers with Pick-a-Payment mortgages who became delinquent and left their homes due to foreclosure or short sale between Jan. 2, 2005 and Dec. 18, 2010. The remainder will be used for the state's programs to combat mortgage and loan modification fraud, and to prevent foreclosures.
Wells Fargo also will forgive accrued interest and late fees for eligible delinquent borrowers in homes carrying Pick-a-Payment mortgages.