In an update on consumer relief activities from Sun Trust Mortgage and Ocwen Financial, two parties to the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, independent settlement monitor Joseph A. Smith Jr. said he will continue to investigate Ocwen over the possibility of noncompliance with terms of the NMS. In what was Ocwen's second report on consumer relief under the NMS, the Atlanta-based servicer reported that through the end of the fourth quarter in 2014, more than 21,000 borrowers had completed first-lien modifications and benefited from 1 point 9 billion dollars in consumer relief.
Smith, who is overseeing Ocwen's compliance with the terms of the NMS, said his team launched an investigation in May 2014 after hearing from an employee about "serious deficiencies in Ocwen's internal review group process" and issues relating to erroneously dated foreclosure notices to about 7,000 borrowers. Smith said he was “encouraged by Ocwen’s consumer relief progress, but I continue to investigate issues of potential noncompliance with the NMS servicing standards."
Policymakers of the Federal Open Market Committee, looking to maximize employment and stabilize the economy, debated whether to raise interest rates in June or September, or even wait until June 2016, according to the March FOMC minutes released Wednesday. While some policymakers argued that raising interest rates at the end of the fiscal year would help normalize the economy as inflation creeps back to 2 percent, others argued that declines in energy prices and the growing strength of the dollar would curtail inflation and that a later rate hike would make more sense.