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Loan-servicing company crashes after regulator says big errors cost borrowers their homes (OCN)

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The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday sued Ocwen Financial Corp and its subsidiaries, alleging the mortgage loan servicer's "years of widespread errors, shortcuts, and runarounds cost some borrowers money and others their homes."

Ocwen plunged more than 50% in trading and was the biggest percentage loser on the New York Stock Exchange. 

The bureau said in a statement that it had uncovered evidence that Ocwen, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, had "engaged in significant and systemic misconduct at nearly every stage of the mortgage servicing process."

"Ocwen strongly disputes the CFPB's claim that Ocwen's mortgage loan servicing practices have caused substantial consumer harm," the company said in a statement. 

"Today's suit can only be viewed as a politically-motivated attempt by the CFPB to grab headlines in reaction to the change of administration and recent scrutiny of the CFPB's activities," the company added. 

Regulators from Wisconsin and more than 20 other state regulators have also issued regulatory orders or charges against Ocwen subsidiaries to address violations of state and federal laws, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions said in a separate statement on Thursday.

Ocwen is one of the country's largest nonbank mortgage servicers. It serviced almost 1.4 million loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance of $209 billion at the end of 2016, according to the CFPB statement.

The bureau said some of Ocwen's alleged violations included illegally foreclosing on homeowners, failing to credit borrowers' payments, servicing loans using error-riddled information, and deceptively signing up and charging borrowers for add-on products.

"Ocwen has repeatedly made mistakes and taken shortcuts at every stage of the mortgage servicing process, costing some consumers money and others their homes," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said.

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