Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Democrats and consumer advocates pushing federal banking regulators to release more details about an abandoned review of past foreclosure abuses have a new ally: Darrell Issa.
Congressional Democrats, led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings , have raised questions about why the reviews were scrapped in January in favor of a $9.3 billion settlement the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency struck with 13 mortgage servicers, many of them large U.S. banks. The deal is intended to provide relief to homeowners who might have been harmed when banks took shortcuts in the foreclosure process in 2009 and 2010 — the so-called robo-signing scandal.
Hill Democrats have complained that the regulators are not providing enough details about what the reviews, conducted by consulting companies, revealed before they were shut down for Congress to determine if the settlement is a fair deal.
Issa is now putting the weight of his chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee behind the effort, signing onto letters last month with Cummings, which were previously not made public, urging regulators to comply with the earlier requests. Cummings is the panel’s top Democrat.
The letters followed a private meeting the California Republican and panel members had with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on May 15, where he “pledged” to work with the committee, according to Issa and Cummings. The letter to the Fed is dated May 15 while the request to the OCC was sent on May 22.
The committee is requesting a tally of how many files contain evidence of abuse, performance reviews the agencies conducted of the consultants hired to search through the loan files, the average time spent searching through each file and all documents describing the review process.
Issa and Cummings gave the Fed until May 21 and the OCC until May 30 to provide the information, and while those deadlines have been missed, spokesmen for both regulators said their agencies are working to comply with the committee’s request.