Mortgage Lender Dispute? Try Consumer Bureau's New Hotline

Now when you want to complain about your mortgage, the federal government is there to listen.

Without much publicity, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has just launched a hotline to help resolve disputes that borrowers have with lenders.

In a recent column that tipped us to the service, Kenneth R. Harney reports that the agency has avoided promoting the mortgage complaint hotline in order to find its feet before potentially receiving an avalanche of complaints. (That's the same agency that's under fire by Republicans in Congress, who have been leading a fight to change the bureau by refusing to confirm President Obama's nominees to lead it.)

But if things keep going the way they have, the attention the hotline -- launched Dec. 1 -- is getting could change fast. Reportedly, the only concern with the promising service is that it may not have the infrastructure to handle complaints, if they begin to snowball. That could result in "an investigatory black hole," according to president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David H. Stevens, who spoke to Harney for his article.

But for now, the program continues to fly under the radar. That contrasts with another government initiative also aimed at rectifying improper lending practices. The program started by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in November allows more than 4 million borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2009 and 2010 to request independent reviews of their mortgages. The findings of each review could result in remediation for the complainant.

However, some aren't so sure that program offers borrowers a fair deal, since many of the independent auditors have longstanding relationships with the lenders who will be most closely scrutinized under the program.

To file a complaint with the new hotline, visit it online at https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/mortgage/ask or call (855) 411-2372.

Do you feel you were you illegally booted from your home or unfairly refused a much-needed modification? AOL Real Estate wants to hear your stories of foreclosure or lending abuses. Tweet at us (@AOLRealEstate), post on our Facebook wall, or email this reporter at teke.wiggin@teamaol.com to start the conversation.