Mnuchin lied to Senators about robo-signing: report

Steven Mnuchin during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 19 (Credit: Getty)
Steven Mnuchin during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 19 (Credit: Getty)

Steve Mnuchin lied to Senators on the Finance Committee, denying that his Pasadena bank OneWest ever “robo-signed” mortgaged documents in written responses to their questions, according to a report by the Columbus Dispatch.

Analyzing nearly four dozen foreclosure cases in Franklin County, Ohio, the newspaper found that the bank had in fact “frequently used robo-signers,” a popular practice in the mortgage industry in which hundreds of foreclosures are signed without required scrutiny.

Mnuchin’s tenure as CEO of OneWest between 2009 and 2014 is the crux of his reproach as Senators prepare to vote on his confirmation as Treasury secretary Monday afternoon. In addition to robo-signing, the bank has been accused of housing discrimination and violating foreclosure proceedings in more than 800 lawsuits and at least six state and federal reviews, The Real Deal reported earlier this month.

The New York Attorney General’s office, for instance, is now looking into whether the bank employed predatory tactics to push elderly homeowners into foreclosure through the use of reverse mortgages.

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Mnuchin blamed much of his dismal foreclosure track record on the bad loans that he inherited when he bought OneWest from IndyMac.

The Dispatch corroborated its robo-signing claims with a 2009 deposition in which OneWest vice president Erica Johnson-Seck said she signed an average of 750 documents a week. But Mnuchin’s spokesperson Barney Keller said the courts had dismissed these allegations.

In written questions to Mnuchin, Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) asked if OneWest engaged in robo-signing.

“OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents,” Mnuchin said in his written response to Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who asked if OneWest engaged in robo-signing.