A hacker group that calls itself Anonymous released a trove of e-mails Monday from a Bank of America unit in which employees discuss altering information in loan files.
The e-mails, which were related to loans originated by GMAC and managed by Bank of America, concern “forced-place” insurance, which are insurance policies that are forced on mortgage borrowers who don’t have their own policy on their homes. This practice has been controversial because some mortgage servicers own insurers—creating a conflict of interest that may create incentives for the mortgage companies to inflate fees.
The data released by Anonymous appear to contain internal e-mails from Balboa Insurance, which was acquired by Bank of America in 2008 when it purchased Countrywide Financial. In the correspondence, the employees discuss changing loan numbers and maybe even deleting them in their records. In one exchange, an employee said the changes may raise “huge red flags” for auditors. “It just doesn't seem right to me,” the employee allegedly wrote.
Anonymous claims that the changes were tantamount to “knowingly hiding foreclosure information from federal auditors.”
Bank of America could not be reached for comment on Monday, but a spokesman told Reuters on Sunday that the e-mails concern clerical and administrative errors. “We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue,” the spokesman said, according to Reuters.
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange has repeatedly promised to release documents in early 2011 that “could take down a bank or two” and that the documents will show “flagrant violations” and “unethical practices” at the executive level. Assange has not identified the banks in question but has said in a media interview that he is “sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives.”