State ID’s 10 Worst Firms Holding Back Sandy Funds

Ten banks and mortgage service companies have been identified as the worst at paying out insurance claims to Superstorm Sandy victims in New York, state officials said.

The state Department of Financial Services said this week that the companies are holding back more than 1,100 checks totaling nearly $41 million. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the 10 financial institutions are lagging far behind others and “it’s well past the time for them to pick up the pace” so homeowners can get the funds they need to rebuild and recover.

On average, the 10 banks are holding back nearly half of the Sandy insurance claims they have received, according to DFS officials.

Selene Finance is retaining 71 percent of the insurance funds that it has received, the highest percentage among the “bottom 10” banks and mortgage services identified by DFS. OneWest Bank had the highest amount withheld, $14.3 million, or 39 percent of the amount it has received, the Cuomo administration said.

DFS has been helping speed the insurance claim process for victims of the October superstorm that devastated parts of New York City and Long Island. Last month, DFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said the money still wasn’t getting to homeowners as quickly as needed despite a December agreement with servicers that resulted in a portion of insurance funds being freed up.

“Homeowners deserve much better treatment from their banks and we will keep fighting to make sure these funds get released to speed the recovery,” Lawsky said in a statement released Tuesday by Cuomo’s office.

A representative for Houston-based Selene couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. Pasadena, Calif.-based OneWest didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. 

Source: http://www.crownheights.ch/blog/blog.php?bid=11997

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