UCI Law Professor Katherine Porter Issues Final Report for California Monitor Program


Image of Prof. Porter

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 7, 2014 — Mortgage servicing has improved because of the National Mortgage Settlement, but lawmakers must look at reforming their own approaches to regulating the industry, says the California Monitor. In her final report, Katherine Porter, a professor at UC Irvine School of Law, proposes significant technology investments and the implementation of cutting-edge communication tools.

The report examines the last few years of government efforts to help struggling homeowners, most notably the National Mortgage Settlement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mortgage servicing rules, and state laws called “Homeowner Bills of Rights.” The report analyzes how many recent reforms have replicated past strategies from the National Mortgage Settlement without examination of their effectiveness. For example, as a result of a new rule requiring more information in loan modification denial letters, homeowners receive notifications up to 20 pages long with very technical language, rather than customized and clear explanations.

Drawing on her two-and-a-half years as Monitor, the report is replete with examples of the ongoing challenges in mortgage servicing. Porter concludes that simply adding more regulations may create confusion and operational burdens. She advocates for novel approaches, including an industry-wide platform for default servicing and consumer testing to ensure effective communication.

The California Monitor Program was created by California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to oversee implementation of the National Mortgage Settlement and to assist homeowners. The Program ended on September 30, 2014. In its two-and-a-half years, Program attorneys and staff assisted more than 5,000 California families who faced foreclosure. A collaboration between the office of the California Attorney General and the University of California, Irvine School of Law, the Program won a 2013 InnovAction Award from the College of Law Practice Management.

About UC Irvine School of Law

UCI Law, which received full accreditation from the ABA effective June 6, 2014, is an innovative law school focused on educating talented and passionate lawyers driven by professional excellence, intellectual rigor and a commitment to enrich our communities through public service. UCI Law is a collegial environment, and our faculty is comprised of accomplished, nationally-ranked thought leaders from around the country with a broad range of expertise. More about the Law School is available at law.uci.edu.

University of California, Irvine School of Law Contact: Colleen Taricani, Assistant Dean for Communications, (949) 824-3063, ctaricani@law.uci.edu