Coalition of major public pension systems calls for foreclosure review

In 2010, many consumers faced challenges of prolonged unemployment, mounting debt and the prospect of foreclosure on their homes.

The foreclosure process was further complicated by the fact that many banks may have improperly filed paperwork that led to many avoidable foreclosures. Now, some investors may face the inability to retire as a result.

This week a coalition of seven major public pension systems announced they were calling on lenders such as Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo to take independent steps to review their foreclosure practices.

“The banks’ boards cannot continue to pretend the foreclosure mess is the result of technical glitches and paperwork errors,” said New York Comptroller John Liu. “There is a fundamental problem in their procedures that endangers not just homeowners, but shareholders, and local economies.”

The coalition, which has invested $5.7 billion in pension funds with the lenders, say this would reassure many of the companies’ shareholders that the pensions of New Yorkers would be unharmed by any legal actions.

The Congressional Oversight Panel has estimated that the banks’ liability for the improper foreclosures could top $52 billion, potentially putting the retirement funds of many state residents in jeopardy.