Florida banking regulators and Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. executives met Tuesday to hammer out details of who will take over the former lending giant's mortgages after it closed its doors for business earlier this month.
Terry Straub of the Florida Division of Financial Regulation said members of his agency met with Taylor Bean executives to help finalize the transition of nearly 150,000 of the Ocala-based mortgage company's former loans. Straub, who is the agency's director of the finance division, said that part of the meeting also included getting Taylor Bean to update its Web site to explain to its former customers the fate of their mortgages.
That Web site is http://www.taylorbean.com/.
State regulators also met with Taylor Bean executives to make sure money held in escrow and earmarked to pay home insurance and taxes would be used only for those purposes.
Many former Taylor Bean customers have contacted the Star-Banner complaining their home insurance payments had not been paid from their escrow accounts or were nearly due and yet unpaid.
"The principal thing we were interested in was that escrow money," Straub said. "We were concerned the money wasn't going to be available for payment."
The problem was that Taylor Bean's escrow accounts were held by Montgomery-based Colonial Bank, which was taken over Friday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and bought by BB&T. The bank was at the brink of failure, which triggered FDIC to step in to secure the bank's deposits.
What that did, Straub said, was essentially freeze those escrow accounts.
But Straub said Freddie Mac will make the escrow payments for its mortgages when they are due, if that escrow money is still unavailable. Straub said his office has yet to meet with Ginnie Mae over the same issue but thinks Ginnie Mae will do the same for its loans that were underwritten by Taylor Bean.
And as soon as those escrow accounts become available again, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae would be reimbursed, he said.
Meanwhile, Straub said that banks are working to break up Taylor Bean's mortgage portfolio and spread the accounts to various other mortgage companies.
For the most part, Bank of America will take over Taylor Bean's Ginnie Mae-insured loans, which accounts for about $26 billion in mortgages. The bank also will send letters to its new customers letters telling them of the takeover, assign them new account numbers and mailing addresses for their mortgage and escrow payments. Bank of America said the letters should arrive at people's homes within two weeks.
Taylor Bean customers who have Freddie Mac-backed mortgages will have their loans serviced by Cenlar, a federally chartered savings bank which specializes in servicing loans, Straub said. That bank will take over nearly 50,000 of Taylor Bean's 150,000 loans.
Cenclar also will send letters to its new customers with the information they'll need to make their payments.
Freddie Mac mortgages that are not current will be serviced by Saxon Mortgage Servicer or Ocwen Financial Corp. Those are mortgage companies that specialize in distressed or delinquent mortgages.
They will take over nearly 35,000 of Taylor Bean's mortgages.
All told, Taylor Bean once serviced nearly $80 billion in mortgages.
Non-federally insured loans will be serviced by as many as 21 other financial institutions, Straub said. But for now, those loan payments should continue to be sent to Taylor Bean.
Telephone numbers and addresses to the banks and mortgage companies taking over Taylor Bean's loans are listed on Taylor Bean's Web site.
While the new Web site and Straub's announcement over how Taylor Bean's mortgages will be divvied up will be helpful, many Taylor Bean customers say they are frustrated with how slowly banks and state regulators are moving.
Taylor Bean ceased most of its business after federal agents raided its Ocala headquarters, removing boxes of financial records. Shortly thereafter, Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac pulled their accounts with Taylor Bean, taking away most of the mortgage company's business.
For Angela Paxton, there's no shortage of blame to go around for the confusion many customers, including herself, experienced after Taylor Bean closed its doors.
The 36-year-old Paxton wasn't alone in not knowing where to send her mortgage checks. She said that the banks tapped to take over Taylor Bean loans should have contacted customers immediately and state regulatory officials should have made an effort to keep the public informed. "This is my first experience [owning] a house and it hasn't been a good one," she said. "It's been a hassle."
The waitress and mother of two said she would have liked more information distributed by the banks taking over her loans and by state regulators overseeing the transition.
"I would have felt a lot better and a lot more secure if that had done that ... all along," she said. "At least ... I would have known what was going on."