Foreclosure Relief? Don’t Hold Your Breath
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON | December 24, 2011
THROUGHOUT the foreclosure crisis, Washington has done little to help people hang on to their homes. All those programs that were supposed to help — HAMP, HARP, Hope for Homeowners — have mostly failed.
So many were skeptical when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced yet another program in April. This one was intended to provide reparations to homeowners who’d been hurt financially by foreclosure abuses at banks.
As the details trickle out, the program looks like more of the disappointing same. “This is just the next program that’s getting people’s hopes up,” said Alys Cohen, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Washington. “Not only will it not help people, it could easily harm them.”
New Questions about Banks' Force-Placed Insurance Deals
The first time Luis Juarez heard of force-placed insurance was when he receiveda $25,000 bill for it in the mail.
A Florida doctor and homeowner, Juarez had been dropped by his previous insurerover a roofing issue. Though that lapse violated his obligation under themortgage to maintain coverage on the property, he was current on his loan payments and heard nothing from the servicer Wells Fargo & Co. for more than a year.
Then on May 10, 2010, Juarez got a note from QBE Specialty Insurance, a partner of Wells. It said that QBE was retroactively charging him $25,000 for a policy that had expired two months earlier, according to court filings.
By Abigail Caplovitz Field | December 2, 2011
At Naked Capitalism Michael Olenick detailed how easy it is to spot the industrialization of document creation and execution–really, evidence manufacture–by looking at where people signing the documents are. Based on his analysis of Palm Beach County records, there’s factory floors in:
“35 different states, and 101 different counties…
“…California overall notarized 815 Florida assignments, 32.6% of the total. Florida, which you’d expect, came next with 610 assignments, or 24.4% of the total, followed by Minnesota (9.3%), Texas (7.3%), Ohio (4.8%), Georgia (4.5%), Louisiana (2.8%), and Nebraska (2.6%). All other states had less than 2%.
Banks and their vendors like LPS run these knock-off document factories, producing documents that are just like those cheap purses with fake luxury labels sold in Chinatown. That is, the documents look right but couldn’t be more false.
New Jersey foreclosures wait in the wings as court deliberates key case
Hundreds of New Jersey foreclosure cases are waiting in the wings for the state’s Supreme Court to issue what will be a landmark decision in the Garden State.
Legal scholars suggest lenders are waiting to see what the court will do with the U.S. Bank National Association v. Guillaume case before moving forward with thousands of pending foreclosures.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES MORE COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST THREE NOTARIES IN ROBO-SIGNING CASE
Jennifer M. Lopez | Monday, December 05, 2011 12:30 PM
Las Vegas, NV – The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced today that complaints have been filed against three more notaries in the State’s ongoing massive robo-signing investigation. Meghan Shaw, Jennifer Lowe and Joseph Noel have all been charged with notarization of the signature of a person not in their presence.
BRYLLAW LITIGATION: First Quiet-Title Order in Virginia Voiding Deed of Trust (by default)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2011
On November 21, 2011, a Northern Virginia Circuit Court entered an order granting plaintiff homeowner a default judgment in a quiet title action, voiding the deed of trust.
Mass. AG sues five major banks over foreclosures
By Patrick Rizzo
Massachusetts' top law enforcement official has sued five top U.S. banks, charging they foreclosed illegally on homes in the state and used deceptive loan servicing practices, including robo-signing.
Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit against Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and GMAC.
“The single most important thing we can do to return to a healthy economy is to address this foreclosure crisis,” Coakley said in a statement. “Our suit alleges that the banks have charted a destructive path by cutting corners and rushing to foreclose on homeowners without following the rule of law. Our action today seeks real accountability for the banks illegal behavior and real relief for homeowners.”
Coakley's 59-page complaint alleges that the five banks violated Massachusetts law by using fraudulent documentation, including "robo-signing," foreclosing without holding the actual mortgage and failing to uphold loan modification promises to homeowners in the state.
California attorney general's office subpoenas Fannie, Freddie
By Alejandro Lazo and Jim Puzzanghera, L.A. Times | November 16, 2011, 6:27 p.m.
Investigators with the California attorney general's office have subpoenaed information from mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into lending and foreclosure practices in the state.
The subpoenas ask the government-controlled finance companies to answer a series of questions about their activities in California, including their roles as landlords who own thousands of foreclosed properties. The attorney general's office is also seeking details of Fannie and Freddie's mortgage-servicing and home-repossession practices, according to a person familiar with the matter.
In addition, investigators want to learn more about the companies' purchases and sponsorship of securities holding "toxic mortgages" in the Golden State, said the person, who was not authorized to speak on the matter and requested anonymity.
Foreclosure activity picks up in October
By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times | November 10, 2011
Banks are reasserting themselves against troubled borrowers, sending close to 78,000 properties into the first stage of the foreclosure process in October after a nearly yearlong slowdown brought on by increased scrutiny from regulators.
Foreclosure actions were filed on 230,678 U.S. homes in October, up 7% from the month before, according to a report by RealtyTrac of Irvine. The tally spans the major steps required for a lender to take back a home: sending a notice of default, filing the alert that a bank auction has been scheduled and repossessing the house.
A total of 77,733 U.S. properties entered the foreclosure process by receiving a notice of default, a 10% increase from the previous month. Lenders repossessed a total of 67,624 homes, a 4% increase from September.
"The October foreclosure numbers continue to show strong signs that foreclosure activity is coming out of the rain delay we've been in for the past year as lenders corrected foreclosure paperwork and processing problems," RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio said.
State AGs target mortgage mess
By ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN & BEAU BIDEN | 11/6/11
America’s free markets work only when there is one set of rules for everyone — and everyone plays by those rules.
It is now clear, however, that many in the mortgage finance industry ignored the rules over the past decade. This led to a breakdown in our housing market and in the market for mortgage-backed securities.
These two markets are inextricably linked. Any real effort to repair the damage caused by the collapse of the housing bubble must address the injury in both sectors. Tens of millions of homeowners and millions of investors — including retirees with money in pension and mutual funds — were devastated by this manmade catastrophe.
We recognized early this year that, though many public officials — including state attorneys general, members of Congress and the Obama administration — have delved into aspects of the bubble and crash, we needed a more comprehensive investigation before the financial institutions at the heart of the crisis are granted broad releases from liability.