Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday it would refile paperwork in 55,000 foreclosure cases because of mistakes in some of the documents but said it wouldn't suspend efforts to seize borrowers' homes as some other mortgage firms have done.
Mike Heid, co-president of the San Francisco bank's home lending unit, said Wells had identified potential problems with the final sign-offs by bank employees and notaries on legal affidavits. That is the same problem reported by three major rivals in the mortgage customer-service business.
The paperwork is submitted to judges to justify foreclosures without trials in states in which courts authorize lenders to seize homes. Those states do not include California. Wells said it would file supplemental affidavits in foreclosures pending in those 23 states — about 55,000 in all.
Wells Fargo, the largest originator of home loans and a big player in servicing mortgages, wouldn't say how many improperly certified affidavits it had found. Heid said the paperwork had been handled correctly in most of the 55,000 cases in which supplemental affidavits are being filed.
A bank spokeswoman, Teri Schrettenbrunner, said the foreclosure timeline wouldn't be affected in most of the 55,000 cases because the supplemental affidavits will be completed before the judges hear summary judgment motions.
In a small minority of cases, Wells Fargo will ask judges to delay the proceedings until the affidavits are refiled, she said.
Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and servicer GMAC Mortgage have acknowledged that employees signed affidavits attesting to the facts underlying foreclosures without first reading the documents. Of the top five servicers, only Citigroup Inc. has yet to disclose such problems.
BofA, Chase and GMAC recently put foreclosures on hold in the 23 judicial foreclosure states, with Chase later expanding that halt to 41 states (not including California) and Bank of America to all 50 states. BofA has since begun pursuing foreclosures with revised affidavits in more than 100,000 cases in the judicial states, but is continuing a review of its procedures in states that don't require court orders.