Over the course of this year, I have written about the Independent Foreclosure Review several times. In February, I wrote about the job postings for file reviewers.Just last month, I wrote about the auditors who are making some serious profits off of the process. I have also discussed the process in other posts.
Just when you thought that the process couldn't get any worse, ProPublica reports that Bank of America has been at it again. Until just last month, Bank of America was providing its preferred responses to file review questions to file auditors. The auditors were free to change those responses via a drop-down menu, but simply accepting Bank of America's answers would clearly be the easiest way to get the job done.
This reminds me of polls that pose their questions in a weighted manner. Although it is possible to answer the questions in a way that reflects what you actually think, the wording of the question suggests that one response is better than another. This not-so-subtle means of skewing data is exactly what Bank of America was doing. Given that the auditors are expected to review a large volume of files in a short amount of time, simply accepting the default response to each review question is the obvious method for speeding up the process.
Even if each auditor does his or her job diligently, this kind of behavior gives an appearance of bias. Since most of this process is hidden from the general public, it makes the Independent Foreclosure Review look unreliable. Without transparency, each of these revelations simply tarnishes the reputation of the process.
The last that I checked, very few people were found to have been harmed by improper foreclosure practices. However, there are millions of Americans who would beg to differ. Since the process lacks transparency, and since we know that very few people have been awarded cash payouts, it would appear that the review is nothing more than a sham.