Wells Fargo Admits to Foreclosure Mistakes

The company plans to refile documents for 55,000 pending foreclosure cases but will not halt its foreclosure proceedings.

Wells Fargo & Company said Wednesday that it has made mistakes in thousands of foreclosure affidavits.

The San Francisco-based company, which has major operations in Minnesota, said that it will refile documents in order to fix the mistakes-but it has no plans to stop foreclosure proceedings.

The company said that it has identified instances in which a final step in its foreclosure process-including a final review of the affidavit and “some aspects” of the notarization process-“did not strictly adhere to the required procedures.”

The company has elected to refile documents for 55,000 pending cases in the 23 states where a judge's approval is required to complete a foreclosure but added that not all of those cases included errors. The company said that the refiling process will begin immediately, and the goal is to have it completed by mid-November.

Wells Fargo said that it does not believe that any of the mistakes led to foreclosures that should not have otherwise occurred.

Despite the mistakes-and widespread concern about flawed paperwork being filed by mortgage lenders across the country-Wells Fargo made clear that it does not plan to halt foreclosure sales.

“At Wells Fargo, foreclosure is a last resort,” Mike Heid, co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, said in a statement. “In September 2010, borrowers who have completed foreclosure were on average 16 months delinquent on their payments. When all options have been exhausted, we believe foreclosures should not be delayed.”

In early October, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson asked 15 of the country's largest mortgage lenders to voluntarily stop home foreclosures within the state until they demonstrate that they are adhering to the proper legal process.

The group of lenders includes Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Minneapolis-based GMAC Mortgage. It's unclear whether Wells Fargo is one of the remaining 12 because their names have not been released.

Swanson aims to ensure that mortgage firms aren't allowing employees to sign off on foreclosure affidavits without fully reviewing them or verifying the information contained within them. Some firms across the country have been accused of “robo-signing”-or letting individuals sign off on as many as 10,000 affidavits within a month.

Two weeks ago, all 50 states launched a joint investigation of the mortgage industry. State attorneys general from across the nation are exploring allegations that some banks and loan servicers used false documents to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

Wells Fargo employs about 20,000 people within Minnesota, making it Minnesota's ninth-largest employer.