Chairman Rockefeller's Statement on Historic Countrywide Mortgage Settlement

June 7, 2010

JDR Head ShotWASHINGTON, DC — Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today applauded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its prosecution of two Countrywide mortgage servicing companies that overcharged Americans who were struggling to stay in their homes.

The FTC’s investigation has resulted in Countrywide’s agreement, announced today, to pay $108 million to settle the case. In addition, the settlement order prohibits Countrywide from taking advantage of borrowers who have fallen behind on their payments. The $108 million represents one of the largest judgments imposed in an FTC case, and is the largest mortgage servicing case. The money will be used to reimburse overcharged homeowners whose loans were serviced by Countrywide.

Chairman Rockefeller’s statement follows:

“Countrywide’s practice of piling on inflated fees for Americans who were trying to keep their heads above water and save their homes was just plain wrong. This historic settlement should serve as a warning to any company that tries to make money by scamming the American consumer — if you break the law, you will pay the price.

“As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I am proud of the FTC’s work on this important issue. For nearly 100 years, the FTC has been at the forefront of protecting Americans from unfair and predatory practices. That’s why I fought to preserve the FTC’s authority to bring enforcement actions against companies offering financial products and services that cheat and defraud consumers. I believe the FTC needs strong authority to pursue wrongdoers.” 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Chairman Rockefeller has been a longtime fighter for increased consumer protections. His very first hearing as Chairman of the Commerce Committee focused on protecting struggling homeowners from predatory mortgage practices. Chairman Rockefeller has also led the fight to give the FTC the authority it needs to go after companies for unfair and deceptive mortgage loan practices that hurt consumers.