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‘These Are People’s Lives You’re Playing With:’ The Fight To Curb Debt Collector Lies

The lawyers who enable an abusive business model for collecting consumer debts are now on the hook for their clients’ screwups. The post ‘These Are People’s Lives You’re Playing With:’ The Fight To Curb Debt Collector Lies appeared first on ThinkProgress. Read entire story.

Source: ThinkProgress

‘These Are People’s Lives You’re Playing With:’ The Fight To Curb Debt Collector Lies

In New Jersey, the going rate for lawyers to handle a foreclosure in court is as low as $1,300 per case.

Making a profit off such a relatively small fee requires firms to process cases very quickly. Anything that slows a collections effort down – any measure of due process for the debtor – ups the costs of handling the file for these “foreclosure mill” attorneys. Speed is imperative, and errors are rampant as a result.

“They’re not taking the time to investigate whether or not the information is accurate, because how can you afford to?” attorney Adam Deutsch of the consumer defense firm Denbeaux & Denbeaux said in an interview. “The law firm is accepting a low [payment per case] assuming that a large handful of the cases will never be contested and they won’t have to file motions or do appearances.”

The collections mills that Deutsch battles in New Jersey typically rely on back-room staffers with no formal legal training to draft all the paperwork that goes into winning a formal judgment against a debtor. A standard mill might have 50 non-professional support staff and just five attorneys who are barred to argue in court, he said.

Click here for the rest of the story

 

Good News for NJ Homeowners $1.1 Trillion Bill Adds $2 Billion to Hardest Hit Fund , HAMP Extended Through 2016

omnibus-spending-treeThe $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that will keep the federal government running until September 16, 2016 will also help homeowners fighting foreclosure by increasing the Hardest Hit Fund and extending the Home Affordable Modification Program through next year, December 31, 2016.

The program that is begin extended is the Hardest Hit Fund, which Congress is allocating another $2 billion to help homeowners who couldn’t keep up mortgage payments. The program has been used in 18 states in the past including New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan, hit hardest by the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

The New Jersey HomeSaver program uses the Hardest Hit Fund allocation to facilitate a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan, and offers eligible homeowners impacted by unemployment and underemployment up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help bring their household monthly payment to an affordable level.

In New Jersey, the allocation of funds is currently tagged at $300,548,144 according the U.S. Department of Treasury website for information about the Hardest Hit Fund program. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) is the official administrator of the program for the State of New Jersey.

4 SEC. 709. EXTENSION OF HARDEST HIT FUND; TERMINATION OF MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE INITIATIVE.

Pages 1,983-1,984

7 (a) EXTENSION OF HARDEST HIT FUND.—Section 8 120(b) of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 9 2008 (12 U.S.C. 5230(b)) is amended by inserting after 10 the period at the end the following: ‘‘Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Secretary may further extend the authority provided under this Act to expire on December 31, 2017, provided that (1) any such extension shall apply only with respect to current program participants in the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets, and (2) funds obligated following such extension shall not exceed $2,000,000,000.’’

 

The program that is being terminated is the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP, which will end at the end of next December 31, 2016.

Page 1,983 (b) TERMINATION. (1) IN GENERAL.—The Making Home Affordable initiative of the Secretary of the Treasury, as authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (12 U.S.C. 5201 et seq.), shall terminate on December 31, 2016. (2) APPLICABILITY.—Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any loan modification application made under the Home Affordable Modification Program under the Making Home Affordable initiative of the Secretary of the Treasury, as authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (12 4 U.S.C. 5201 et seq.), before December 31, 2016.

NEW JERSEY FORECLOSURE TRENDS & MARKET INFO November 2015

nj boa foreclosureOne in every 553 homes in New Jersey is in foreclosure, according to the Realty Trac data for November 2015. The top five counties in New jersey with foreclosures are: Camden County 1 in every 302 properties, Atlantic County 1 in every  307 properties, Sussex 1 in every 330 properties, Cumberland County 1 in every 331 properties, and Mercer County 1 in every 346 properties

In November, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in NJ was 15% lower than the previous month and 13% lower than the same time last year.

Home sales for October 2015 were down 41% compared with the previous month, and down 99%compared with a year ago. The median sales price of a non-distressed home was $220,000. The median sales price of a foreclosure home was $160,000, or 27% lower than non-distressed home sales.

JPMorgan Chase to Pay $100M in Illegal Debt Collection Settlement

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed Monday to shell out $100 million to settle a two-year-old lawsuit brought by California’s attorney general over the bank’s consumer credit card debt collection practices, including allegations it was robo-signing thousands of court documents.

One of the nation’s largest banks will pay $100 million to settle a California lawsuit alleging it used illegal methods to collect debts from more than 125,000 credit card holders, California attorney general Kamala Harris announced Monday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay an estimated $10 million to consumers in California as part of a previously announced $50 million national agreement, and will pay another $50 million in penalties to the state to settle a 2013 lawsuit.

It is agreeing to change practices that the state says violated California law and led the company to file thousands of debt collection lawsuits between 2008 and 2011. They include collecting incorrect amounts, selling bad credit card debt, and running what Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office calls a debt collection mill that “robo-signed” court documents.

The deal includes reimbursing military members in California in cases where the company improperly obtained default judgments. The state says the company failed to check if customers were on active military duty but falsely swore it had done so.

Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris' office said JPMorgan used illegal threats and sued borrowers based on insufficient evidence, betting that they wouldn’t challenge the lawsuits.

Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office said JPMorgan used illegal threats and sued borrowers based on insufficient evidence, betting that they wouldn’t challenge the lawsuits. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“This settlement provides real relief to tens of thousands of Californians, including servicemembers, and prevents JPMorgan Chase from continuing these deceptive and illegal debt collection practices,” Harris said in a statement.

JPMorgan Chase spokesman Paul Hartwick said the company reached a similar settlement with 47 other states’ attorneys general in July. He provided a statement from that settlement that says the company stopped the practices years ago.

Among other allegations, the state said the company used illegal threats; sued borrowers based on insufficient evidence, betting that they wouldn’t challenge the lawsuits; and failed to tell customers they were being sued while swearing they had been properly notified.

Harris said the company frequently “robo-signed” legal documents including sworn declarations without first reviewing the files as it rushed to obtain court judgments and wage garnishment orders.

The state said the company also provided 30,000 robo-signed sworn statements backing lawsuits filed by outside debt-collectors. Those accounts were often inaccurate or not collectable because the debt had been settled, discharged in bankruptcy or wasn’t owed, the state said.

Robo-signing was also widely used in mortgage foreclosures until it was outlawed. JPMorgan Chase is one of five major national banks thatsettled with California and other states over such practices after the housing market collapsed.

As part of the lawsuit, the company is required to permanently stop attempting to collect more than 528,000 customer accounts valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

He Built Houses For Years. Now Housing Speculators Are Trying To Hound Him Out Of His Home.

 

FROM THINK PROGRESS.ORG
ECONOMY

rabolli-lawsuit-housing-speculators/ AP PHOTO MATT YORK

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MATT YORK

 

For decades, Bill Rabolli built firehouses, family homes, and just about anything else people wanted made out of wood in northern New Jersey. A reputation for quality workmanship helped grow his carpentry business large enough that he needed a staff of 15 to keep up.

Then it all went to hell. Business had been slowing for a couple of years when the market crash cratered the broader economy in 2008. Suddenly clients were delaying payments or cancelling jobs entirely.

“It was shockingly quick,” Bill said in an interview. “My crew went down to like three other people and myself. The people that worked for me had families, and I wanted them to get a paycheck. But it got down to where it was costing me money to pull out of my own driveway and go to work.”

Bill says he was up front with his mortgage company about his hardships. “I told them I was going to miss that payment and it doesn’t look good for the next, either,” he said. After defaulting on the loan in August 2008, he struck a forbearance agreement: the Rabollis wouldn’t face foreclosure while they made up the missed payments gradually in future months.

It seemed, for a time, like the carpenter and his family would weather the worst of the recession and come out of it something close to intact. In arrears, maybe, but still in the Allendale, NJ home they have shared for decades.

But the company that gave Bill a forbearance decided to cut bait on him and sell his mortgage to another firm, which tried and failed to foreclose on the family before reselling the loan to yet another firm.

A stranger knocked on the back door in the spring of 2012, Bill said, and told him whatever deal he’d been promised to keep re-finance his loan and keep the house was no longer on the table. Over the next two-plus years, according to a lawsuit filed this fall, a trio of tiny New York companies milked him for cash and tried to take possession of his home using a dizzying mixture of charm, cajoling, and outright harassment.

That’s not how the housing market is supposed to work, even in these last-resort situations. But after wave upon wave of foreclosures and defaults around the country, the kinds of companies that actually operate as mortgage finance firms with incentive to keep people in their homes whenever possible have retreated. And a crop of new buyers that act more like debt collectors than housing companies is springing up to fill the void, often taking care to stay small enough to stay off the federal government’s radar.

These new entrants fracture the incentive structure of the housing marketplace, bringing in different kinds of profit motive that too often run counter to homeowners’ interests. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the country as a whole, or for Bill Rabolli.

Now the man who supported his family by building houses for others is struggling to keep hold of the home where he, his wife Terri, and their teenage daughter have lived since 1997.

The lawsuit targets three separate companies, but Bill’s lawyers at the firm Denbeaux & Denbeaux are pretty sure the trio were in cahoots throughout the carpenter’s nightmare. The man at the helm of the alleged conspiracy is Cornerstone Realty Partners President Frank Rizzo, who first walked through their side yard to knock on their back door.

“There’s no modification coming, but don’t worry, this is better. You’re gonna be happy I bought this,” Terri says Rizzo told them that day. But “the first thing he did was try and get money from us.”

It was an even heavier blow because they’d thought they were on the verge of finally striking a deal with the company that had just sold their loan to Rizzo. Kondaur Capital almost never does modifications. It’s part of a new class of companies on the housing finance scene who operate as debt collectors rather than dealmakers.

Rizzo allegedly told them to expect a call from Christopher McElroy of Fort Funding Corp., another of the companies the Rabollis are suing. “Fort Funding absolutely denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and looks forward to clearing it up,” attorney Joseph Armstrong told ThinkProgress. Rizzo did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Shaken by the sudden evaporation of their deal with Kondaur, the plan McElroy allegedly proposed sounded like a giant relief to the Rabollis. They would send him their financial documents along with three checks for over $2,500 each, dated for the next three months. That would let McElroy get started figuring out what kind of modification might be possible, they say he told them.

In fact, according to the Rabollis’ attorneys, both Rizzo and McElroy never had any intention of saving the family’s mortgage. They were acting as debt collectors, looking to wring enough money out of the family and the house to exceed the cut-rate price they’d paid to buy the loan from Kondaur.

That’s the opposite of what’s supposed to happen with struggling mortgage, Center for American Progress housing finance expert Sarah Edelman told ThinkProgress.

“The best outcome for a neighborhood is, whenever possible, for the homeowner to stay in their home,” Edelman said. “If home retention can’t be achieved, companies need to do something that helps stabilize the neighborhood, not destabilize it. That means avoiding foreclosure at all costs.”

Traditional housing finance companies stand to make more money by keeping the original occupant in place, even if it means modifying a loan in ways that dramatically slow the flow of cash back to the lender. But with a massive number of mortgages underwater in the wake of the financial crisis, these traditional industry actors were eager to get all that bad paper off their books.

Enter the speculators. Much like uncollected credit card and medical debts get resold for pennies on the dollar to collections agents who will hound debtors into repaying a larger share of the debt than what they paid to buy it, distressed mortgages are flooding into the collections industry’s hands. Unlike traditional housing companies that make money by preserving the value of a home, these actors profit by getting more out of both homeowner and property than they paid to buy a loan.

The first thing you hear when you call Kondaur Capital is a recorded warning that the company is a debt collector. The people the Rabollis are suing never offered such a disclosure, according to the lawsuit, even though it is required by federal law.

The fallout from all this speculation is still taking shape. It doesn’t always produce the kind of horror story the Rabollis are accusing Rizzo of engineering. Wall Street firms are buying up huge numbers of family homes in order to rent them out, creating a frightening new type of landlord-tenant relationship and the potential for a new kind of housing bubble. And the government isstruggling to ensure that distressed loans go to buyers who will try to preserve homeowners’ rights and communities’ economic wellbeing.

READ: Why A Bank Was Allowed To Plunder Family Heirlooms That Escaped The Nazis

“I don’t think it’s quite as simple as all these companies are total deadbeats,” Edelman said. “[It’s not] always worse for the consumer to have one of these companies buy your loans.” There are small servicing companies out there with strong records of producing good outcomes for homeowners and neighborhoods, she said.

But there’s no good data out there to assess the overall performance of this new class of housing speculators. “Their portfolios are growing very rapidly and we don’t know much about them or their capacity to do good work,” she said.

The Rabollis gave McElroy his three checks, and later a fourth. Fort Funding allegedly cashed a total of $10,268 in ostensible mortgage payments from the couple, furnished mostly by the job Terri found when demand for Bill’s trade dried up.

They never got a mortgage statement in return, according to the complaint. They say they asked Rizzo and McElroy repeatedly to mail them documents showing where their money was going and how far they still had to climb out of the hole that threatened to swallow their home. Nothing was delivered.

Without proof of the four monthly payments from Rizzo or McElroy, they had no hope of getting any kind of re-financing from a traditional mortgage broker.

“It was like we were in fucking purgatory,” said Terri. By the fall, Rizzo had offered them $20,000 plus a sliver of any profit Cornerstone would make by selling their home if they would the house and renounce ownership. Over the following months, the lawsuit alleges, “several people came to Plaintiffs’ home and could be seen inspecting the home from the outside.” The Rabollis said that multiple people interested in buying a house from Frank Rizzo harassed both their downstairs tenant and, on one occasion when they were not home, their young daughter.

“Jen had already told him, my parents are not home, but he wanted to come in,” Terri said. “After that we told her don’t answer the door. We felt like prisoners in our own house.”

Months later a man named Carmine Masullo showed up in Allendale. Masullo told the couple he could almost certainly get them a modification to save their home, for a modest fee.

But like every previous attempt, the couple say, Masullo’s efforts mostly amounted to wheel-spinning and eventually they stopped believing his claims.

Soon Masullo was texting and calling Bill and Terri at all hours. Sometimes it was with an encouraging word about his promised modification. Other times it was to threaten them with imminent foreclosure if they didn’t agree to a payoff that same day.

Neither Masullo nor Rizzo have the proper business registrations for their Staten Island firms to conduct business in New Jersey, according to the lawsuit. Yet “you have the cojones to go door to door, to the back door, to send other people there.” plaintiffs’ attorney Adam Deutsch said. “It really feels a little Sopranos-esque at times.”

Reached by phone briefly, Masullo told ThinkProgress that “most of [these claims are] not accurate.”

“What you’re gonna need to do is speak to Frank Rizzo, because he’s the one that’s actually involved in this and I’m not,” Masullo said, before hanging up.

The Rabollis remain in their house, but that doesn’t mean it feels like home. “It does in one way, and in another it really doesn’t,” Bill said. “I wake up in the middle of the night in a ball of sweat. It’s like a living nightmare.”

“The stress was unbelievable,” Terri said. “I went on meds. My nerves were shot, I couldn’t work.”

Just a few years ago they wouldn’t have had much ability to fight back against the alleged harassment and the scheme that Denbeaux & Denbeaux believe they’ve uncovered. The Dodd-Frank legislation that overhauled financial industry regulation across the board included some rules for the mortgage industry that give homeowners new rights.

“That means you don’t have to rely on federal regulators to go ahead and prosecute something,” Deutsch said.

Bill says the whole thing nearly knocked the fight out of him before he ever knew the law provided a chance to go on the attack. “I’m a pretty principled person. I really feel this whole thing is not right,” he said. “But I had thought– I mean, it’s been very detrimental to both my wife, my daughter and myself– maybe it’s the wrong call.”

“Maybe I should’ve thrown my keys on the counter and walked, even if I didn’t know where I was gonna be walking to.”

 

NJ Attorney Fights Foreclosure with Federal Laws

In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. In light of CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s recent remarks regarding “mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses”, Joshua Denbeaux explains how his firm combats this growing problem, by using federal laws enforced by the CFPB to protect NJ homeowners in foreclosure.

Director, Richard Cordray

Director, Richard Cordray

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray delivered remarks to the Consumer Advisory Board last week “arbitration’s role in resolving consumer complaints.”

“Companies have been able to use these obscure clauses to rig the game against their customers to avoid group lawsuits. Group lawsuits can result in substantial relief for many consumers and create the leverage to bring about much-needed changes in business practices. But by inserting the free pass into their consumer financial contracts, companies can sidestep the legal system, avoid big refunds, and continue to pursue profitable practices that may violate the law and harm consumers on a large scale, ” Directory Cordray went on to say in prepared comments.

Nowhere else are consumers being harmed on as large scale as in New Jersey where the foreclosure rate is the highest in the U.S., according to a report released by Realty Trac on October 15, 2015. In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. To combat this growing problem, Joshua Denbeaux explains why Denbeaux and Denbeaux proactively fights for the rights of consumers in concert with the CFPB.

“The new regulatory provisions of TILA (Truth in Lending Act), RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) and the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act) have each established numerous obligations lenders must comply with in their lending and debt collection practices. Additionally, each acknowledges a private rights of action should lenders fail to abide by those terms. For a distressed homeowner, the opportunity to challenge improper lending and debt collection practices is a welcome reprieve from a system otherwise content to rubber stamp a lender’s foreclosure action”, says Joshua Debneaux.

Denbeaux says I have a transcript where a judget in New Jersey says fraud is not a defense to foreclosure

Homeowners have an opportunity to ensure enforcement of their rights under federal law, that provides leverage in their foreclosure fight

“Now though, the various causes of action available to homeowners via TILA, RESPA, and the FDCPA have provided not only an opportunity to ensure enforcement of their rights under federal law, but may also provide leverage in their foreclosure fight. If you come to see me, you are not going to get a free house, but you are going to get honest, aggressive advice on how best to take advantage of the situation in which you find yourself”, Josh Denbeaux concludes.

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675. Tel: 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux is a family operated law firm with a tradition of excellence in consumer rights and family law. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record.

The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts. The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in , consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation, and mortgage foreclosure defense.

Our Homes, Our Newark Foreclosure, Toxic Mortgages and Blight in the City of Newark

Foreclosure, Toxic Mortgages and Blight in the City of Newark

A new report from professors at Hofstra University and the City University of New York has found that underwater Private Label Security (PLS) mortgages are contributing to blight in the City of Newark. The study looked at 1,151 of these mortgages and found a sharp increase or elevated levels of vacant housing in seven of the nineteen census tracts in Newark. All told, seventeen census tracts demonstrated signs of distress related to PLS mortgages.

The report will be presented at a forum sponsored by NJ Communities United called “Newark’s Housing Crisis: A People’s Uprising to Protect Our Homes.”

“Too many Newark homeowners are struggling to save their homes from foreclosure,” said Trina Scordo, executive director of NJ Communities United. “But the crisis doesn’t stop at their front doors. This research demonstrates that toxic PLS mortgages are destabilizing Newark’s communities and contributing to blight.”

OUR HOMES, OUR NEWARK Foreclosures, Toxic Mortgages, and Blight in the City of Newark A Report by Christopher Niedt, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology Academic Director, National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University® Stephen McFarland, Visiting Assistant Professor, Queens College Department of Urban Studies, City University of New York

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/unitednj/pages/1/attachments/original/1438268156/Our_Homes_Our_Newark_Final_Report.pdf?1438268156

 

Poor Loan Servicing is Why NJ Leads Nation in Foreclosures

NJ law firm Denbeaux & Denbeaux says continued mortgage-servicing problems, such as breached loan modification agreements, play a major role in why the state leads the nation in foreclosures, and is the cause for the recent RealtyTrac report which revealed that NJ has highest foreclosure rate in the U.S.

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

“I have noticed a large increase in the number of homeowners with loan modification problems. Clients believe they have resolved their foreclosure issues by agreeing to a loan modification, only to discover that after a few months their servicer has breached the agreement. Some servicers stop accepting loan modification payments; others manipulate the rate payments so that the homeowners are paying more than agreed upon. A third pattern is that servicing of the loan is transferred and the new company refuses to honor the agreement.” – Adam Deutsch

 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

NJ law firm Denbeaux & Denbeaux says continued mortgage-servicing problems, such as breached loan modification agreements, play a major role in why the state leads the nation in foreclosures, and is the cause for the recent RealtyTrac report which revealed that NJ has highest foreclosure rate in the U.S.

 

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

New Jersey consumer rights and foreclosure defense lawyer, Adam Deutsch, Esq., of the law firm Denbeaux and Denbeaux has noticed a significant increase in the number of homeowners pushed into foreclosure and collections due to the conduct of the mortgage servicer rather than the borrower’s ability to pay.

A recent report by RealtyTrac reveals that as of the third quarter of 2015, New Jersey has again claimed the highest foreclosure rate in the United States. The report also states that foreclosure activity in New Jersey has increased 27% from this time last year. Among those not surprised by the RealtyTrac findings is Denbeaux & Denbeaux Senior Associate Attorney Adam Deutsch.

“I have noticed a large increase in the number of homeowners with loan modification problems,” said Deutsch. “Clients believe they have resolved their foreclosure issues by agreeing to a loan modification, only to discover that after a few months their servicer has breached the agreement. Some servicers stop accepting loan modification payments; others manipulate the rate payments so that the homeowners are paying more than agreed upon. A third pattern is that servicing of the loan is transferred and the new company refuses to honor the agreement.”

Deutsch surmises that the 27% jump in NJ foreclosures since this time last year may also have something to do with the recent increase in mergers in the mortgage servicing industry. The changing business models brought on by the mergers could be forcing homeowners into foreclosures that did not exist previously. Regardless of the issue Deutsch instructs homeowners to seek legal counsel sooner than later.

“Time is on the side of the homeowners, but only if they take action. In the past, I saw many borrowers talking to their loan servicer and passively trusting that wrongful conduct would be corrected. They would only come to us after years of being misled. Amendments to federal laws that became effective in early 2014 have resulted in new opportunities to obtain meaningful relief for borrowers who have been lied to, injured, or otherwise harmed in the loan servicing and collection process. Unfortunately, the banking industry continues to abuse borrowers, and borrowers have not been made aware that they can sue the bank to enforce their rights.. These federal laws can have major impacts on a homeowner’s case, from issues relating to loan origination, misapplication of interest rates and escrow charges in loan servicing, and improper debt collection efforts. Relief has to be sought quickly, with some statutes having time limits as short as one year. This is why it is so important to keep good records and speak to a knowledgeable attorney as soon as the borrower thinks there is a problem.” Deutsch concluded.

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675. Tel: 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux is a family operated law firm with a tradition of excellence in consumer rights and family law. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record.

The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts. The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in , consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation, and mortgage foreclosure defense.

Let us be clear, that the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street, where fraud is a business model, helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people.

Let us be clear, that the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street,

where fraud is a business model,

helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people.

Bank Repossessions Up 66 Percent From Year Ago Nationwide;
Third Quarter Foreclosure Starts Down 14 Percent From Year Ago to 10-Year Low

IRVINE, Calif. – Oct. 15, 2015 — RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its Q3 and September 2015 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows a total of 327,258 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — in the third quarter of 2015, down 5 percent from the previous quarter but up 3 percent from the third quarter of 2014.

The annual increase in the third quarter marked the second consecutive quarter where U.S. foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis following 19 consecutive quarters of year-over-year decreases.

A total of 133,811 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in the third quarter, down 12 percent from the previous quarter and down 14 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2005.

There were a total of 123,040 U.S. properties repossessed by the lender (REOs) in the third quarter, down less than 1 percent from the previous quarter but up 66 percent from a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase in bank repossessions since RealtyTrac began tracking quarterly foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2008.


“The widespread rise in foreclosure activity in the third quarter compared to a year ago is the result of two starkly different trends taking place,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York, a flood of deferred distress from the last housing crisis is finally spilling over the legislative and legal dams that have held back some foreclosure activity for years. That deferred distress often represents properties with deferred maintenance that will sell at more deeply discounted prices, creating a drag on overall home values. On the other hand, in states such as Texas, Michigan and Washington, the third quarter increases are a sign that the foreclosure market has settled into a normalized pattern close to or even below pre-crisis levels, and in those states the overall housing market should easily absorb the additional foreclosure activity with little impact on home values.”

New Jersey posts top state foreclosure rate, Florida rate drops to second highest

New Jersey foreclosure activity increased 27 percent from a year ago, boosting the state’s foreclosure rate to the nation’s highest foreclosure rate: one in every 171 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the quarter — more than twice the national average of one in every 404 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the quarter. New Jersey foreclosure starts were down 28 percent from a year ago, but scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 61 percent, and bank repossessions jumped 351 percent.

N.J. foreclosure rate is highest in U.S., report shows

By Erin O’Neill | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
New Jersey’s foreclosure rate was the highest in the nation in the third quarter of 2015, edging out Florida for the top spot, according to a new report released on Thursday.

One in every 171 housing units had a foreclosure filing in New Jersey in the third quarter of this year, the report from the Irvine, Calif.-based housing firm RealtyTrac shows. That’s more than double the national average.

In New Jersey, foreclosure activity increased 27 percent in the last three months compared to the same quarter last year. The number of foreclosure starts in the state dropped from a year ago but scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions jumped in the state.

Foreclosure activity nationwide was up 3 percent from the same quarter last year and the country experienced the largest year-over-year increase in bank repossessions since RealtyTrac started tracking quarterly data in the beginning of 2008.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, attributed the rise in foreclosure activity to “two starkly different trends taking place.”

“In states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York, a flood of deferred distress from the last housing crisis is finally spilling over the legislative and legal dams that have held back some foreclosure activity for years,” Blomquist said in a statement. “That deferred distress often represents properties with deferred maintenance that will sell at more deeply discounted prices, creating a drag on overall home values.”

But Blomquist said increases in other states, like Texas, Michigan and Washington, are a sign of a foreclosure market that “has settled into a normalized pattern close to or even below pre-crisis levels” and that additional activity should not have a significant impact on home values.

New Jersey, which has a judicial foreclosure process, has consistently ranked near or at the top of recent rankings based on foreclosures rates and distressed mortgages.

The state also has the highest number of vacant homes in the foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac, a problem that has led Gloucester and Atlantic counties to pursue registration programs for abandoned properties.

 

Erin O’Neill may be reached at eoneill@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LedgerErin. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

 

 

House delays consumer mortgage protection

 

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

On Oct. 7, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan bill 3192 which could provide the mortgage origination industry with a four-month window (through Feb 1, 2016) in which it will be immune from liability in civil actions by aggrieved consumers and regulatory actions by governmental agencies including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for failures to comply with new standards governing the disclosure of accurate information to consumers in the mortgage origination process.

By including a four-month grace period in the Homebuyers Assistance Act, Congress is providing a window of opportunity for mortgage originators to make inaccurate disclosures of loan terms, use bait and switch tactics and other wrongful conduct that caused the economy to grind to a halt in 2008.  This time there is one major difference.  Today, consumers have meaningful federal statutes enacted as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that provide consumer relief and serve as a deterrent to would be wrongdoers.  Now, Congress has voted to allow the bankers to act with complete immunity from the consumer protection statutes it enacted only a few short years ago.

The new mortgage origination disclosures commonly referred to as TRID are intended to eliminate confusion in the loan origination process and improve transparency.  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) claims “without this bill, homebuyers could encounter delays and difficulties when they try to close on their homes.”  We are told expediency is trumping the financial future of individual Americans.  Missing from the quotes of politicians is recognition that the industry has known about the new disclosure rules since November 2013 and were originally scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2015.  During the early summer of 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published formal guides for the mortgage lending industry to rely upon in preparing for TRID taking effect.  After concern from the industry and members of Congress were brought to the attention of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in June 2015, Cordray delayed the August 1, 2015 implementation of TRID to the start of October, 2015.  Accordingly, the industry has already had years of preparation and extra months added to the date upon which it must increase transparency in the lending process.

We must not allow short memories to place the future of individual Americans, and the financial recovery of the nation at risk.  On Oct. 6, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy setting forth the intention of President Obama to veto H.R. 3192 should it be presented to the president for signature.  Knowing the legislation is likely to be blocked is a relief, but a bitter taste lingers that Congress seeks to place the consumer at risk and grant immunity to the mortgage banking industry for it to repeat the ills of loan origination during the 2000s.

Deutsch is senior associate attorney at Denbeaux & Denbeaux.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux Says Passage of H.R. 3192 Puts Foreclosure Victims Rights at Risk

According to New Jersey law firm Denbeaux and Denbeaux, Congress buckling to pressure from industry lobbyists when recently passing H.R. 3192 the “Homebuyers Assistance Act” to give lenders immunity from loan origination abuses for several months, signals consumer’s rights at risk in the future.

On Oct. 7, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan bill H.R.3192 which could provide the mortgage origination industry with a four-month window (through Feb 1, 2016) in which it will be immune from liability in civil actions by aggrieved consumers and regulatory actions by governmental agencies including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for failures to comply with new standards governing the disclosure of accurate information to consumers in the mortgage origination process.

“Consumer victims of lending abuses have failed to assert their rights in large numbers under the new statutes enacted in connection with the Dodd Frank Wall Street and Mortgage Reform Act. Now those rights are at risk, ” says NJ foreclosure defense attorney, Adam Deutsch Esq.

This is especially the case in New Jersey where only a small number of foreclosure cases are contested. “Nearly 95 percent of those cases are uncontested, despite evidence in the flaws in the foreclosure process,” said New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the February 4th, 2015 story in NJ Spotlight, “New Foreclosure Procedures Put to Test as Number of Cases Climbs in New Jersey.”

“Buckling to pressure from industry lobbyists, Congress recently voted to give lenders immunity from loan origination abuses for several months. Industry efforts to roll back consumer rights and the enforcement powers of the CFPB demonstrate just how potent the protection statutes are and emphasize that if consumers don’t use it, they may lose it,” Mr. Deutch continued.

“Homeowners may not be contesting their foreclosure for a number of reasons,” said Denbeaux & Denbeaux Senior Associate Attorney Adam Deutsch. “Fear is certainly at the top of the list, as is how overwhelming and confusing the entire situation can be. Homeowner trust in their loan servicing companies is another cause. Homeowners report that they continue to work with their loan servicing company in the belief that their loan will be modified and their home saved without the foreclosure being completed. By the time the homeowner finds out the loan servicer will not modify their home, the foreclosure is complete and the homeowner has effectively waived their right to contest the judicial process. The earlier into the process a homeowner knows their rights and the loan servicers and lenders obligations under the law, the better the outcomes,” Mr. Deutsch went on to say.

“Time is on the side of the homeowners, but only if they take action. There are numerous situations in which a homeowner has rights that a lender, bank or loan servicing company must follow. However, there is a much larger issue at stake which the lender, the homeowner, and the loan servicing company are often unaware of involving consumer protection laws enacted by Congress. These federal laws can have major impacts on a homeowner’s case, from issues relating to loan origination, misapplication of interest rates and escrow charges in loan servicing, and improper debt collection efforts. This is why it is so important to keep good records and speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can see the violations in the paperwork,” Mr. Deutsch concluded.

Briefly, these are six of the most obvious situations that homeowners may find themselves in where their rights have been violated and are in need of an attorney’s understanding of federal and NJ state laws.

  • Payments are not being accepted by a loan servicing company
  • Payments are not being recorded correctly by a servicing company or lender
  • Homeowner instructed to go into default in order to get a refinance.
  • Denial of a loan modification without proper explanation
  • Inaccurate charges of interest, penalties, and escrow fees
  • The bank falsely repeats claims that the homeowner has not provided all documents requested as part of the loan modification application process.

Request a download the whitepaper provided by the law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux,“The Six Warning Signs of a Possible Consumer Protection Law Violation”, for greater insight on how consumer protection laws enacted by Congress can help you.

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The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675. Tel: 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux is a family operated law firm with a tradition of excellence in consumer rights and family law. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts.The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in mortgage foreclosure,consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation.

Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record.

House delays consumer mortgage protections

By Adam Deutsch, Esq. as published in The Hill

October 12, 2015, 07:00 am

On Oct. 7, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan bill 3192 which could provide the mortgage origination industry with a four-month window (through Feb 1, 2016) in which it will be immune from liability in civil actions by aggrieved consumers and regulatory actions by governmental agencies including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for failures to comply with new standards governing the disclosure of accurate information to consumers in the mortgage origination process.

By including a four-month grace period in the Homebuyers Assistance Act, Congress is providing a window of opportunity for mortgage originators to make inaccurate disclosures of loan terms, use bait and switch tactics and other wrongful conduct that caused the economy to grind to a halt in 2008.  This time there is one major difference.  Today, consumers have meaningful federal statutes enacted as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that provide consumer relief and serve as a deterrent to would be wrongdoers.  Now, Congress has voted to allow the bankers to act with complete immunity from the consumer protection statutes it enacted only a few short years ago.

Do we really have such short memories?  The nation only recently has approached the back end of a recession brought on by inappropriate and often fraudulent mortgage origination practices.  Yet 303 members of Congress voted in favor of giving mortgage originators a four-month period to wreak havoc on American consumers entering into what is likely the single largest financial transaction of their lives.  Who do the congressmen represent?  For those who voted yes, it is clear they do not represent the voting public.  As passed, the Homebuyers Assistance Act places the public at great risk, consumers, businesses and financial markets alike.  There is little doubt the grace period will be abused if it goes into effect.

The new mortgage origination disclosures commonly referred to as TRID are intended to eliminate confusion in the loan origination process and improve transparency.  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) claims “without this bill, home buyers could encounter delays and difficulties when they try to close on their homes.”  We are told expediency is trumping the financial future of individual Americans.  Missing from the quotes of politicians is recognition that the industry has known about the new disclosure rules since November 2013 and were originally scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2015.  During the early summer of 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published formal guides for the mortgage lending industry to rely upon in preparing for TRID taking effect.  After concern from the industry and members of Congress were brought to the attention of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in June 2015, Cordray delayed the August 1, 2015 implementation of TRID to the start of October, 2015.  Accordingly, the industry has already had years of preparation and extra months added to the date upon which it must increase transparency in the lending process.

We must not allow short memories to place the future of individual Americans, and the financial recovery of the nation at risk.  On Oct. 6, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy setting forth the intention of President Obama to veto H.R. 3192 should it be presented to the president for signature.  Knowing the legislation is likely to be blocked is a relief, but a bitter taste lingers that Congress seeks to place the consumer at risk and grant immunity to the mortgage banking industry for it to repeat the ills of loan origination during the 2000s.

Adam Deutsch is senior associate attorney at Denbeaux & Denbeaux.

NJ Borrowers Only Contest 4% of Foreclosure Cases

99 homes poster

“99 Homes” dramatizes what happens in the eviction and foreclosure process in Florida. Overall one in every 539 housing units in New Jersey had a foreclosure filing in August, the third highest rate in the country.

With over 95% of foreclosure cases going uncontested many homeowners may feel New Jersey’s housing recovery is still in crisis mode despite CFPB’s Richard Cordray’s optimistic testimony to the House Committee on Financial Services on September 29, 2015.

  • N.J. foreclosure rate again ranks among top in U.S. as repossessions spike to 295% in August
  • Nearly 1,800 properties in New Jersey were repossessed by lenders in August.
  • Homeowners who are unaware of their rights, and overwhelmed by the process don’t contest a foreclosure complaint.
  • New Jersey borrowers are contesting only 4 percent of foreclosure cases, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

Homeowners may also be unaware that foreclosures completed in New Jersey during the second quarter of 2015 took an average of 1,206 days to be resolved, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine, CA, real-estate analytics firm. Time is on the side of the homeowner, but only if they take action. There are numerous situations where a homeowner has rights that a lender, bank or loan servicing company must follow.

These are some of the situations that homeowners may find themselves in where their rights have been violated and an attorney’s understanding of  NJ state law as well as Federal laws would be needed.

      • Payments not being accepted by a loan servicing company
      • Payments not being recorded correctly by a servicing company or lender
      • Being told to go into default in order to get a refinance.
      • Denial of  a loan modification without proper explanation.

Just as every family and every home is different, so are the circumstances that have led to the financial hardship leading up to default and foreclosure. This is why it is important for a homeowner to get a consultation with an attorney to learn what they don’t know. Many intelligent and educated people make the mistake of finding blogs, articles on the web and in trying to make sense of them, operate out of a false sense of fear or hope.

It is important to get the facts about your specific case, so that you can make the best decision and be able to get past a difficulty from which may people don’t recover. Below are three articles to read at length with relevant details excerpted.

Written Testimony of CFPB Director Richard Cordray Before the House Committee on Financial Services

CFPB Director, Richard Cordray

CFPB Director, Richard Cordray

“Congress created the Bureau in response to the financial crisis with the purpose and sole focus of protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. We understand our responsibility to stand on the side of consumers and ensure they are treated fairly.

As we continue our work, consumer financial markets are showing increasing signs of health. For example, the latest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, released by federal agencies last week, shows increasing numbers of consumers are taking out mortgages. In 2014, the first year of our new mortgage rules, mortgage originations for owner-occupied home purchases increased between four and five percent. The upward trend appears to have accelerated over the first half of this year.”

N.J. foreclosure rate again ranks among top in U.S. as repossessions spike – By Erin O’Neill | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 

nj boa foreclosure“While the number of homes entering the foreclosure process in New Jersey fell in August from a year ago, data released on Thursday shows that overall foreclosure activity still rose in the state because of a big spike in bank repossessions.

The state’s foreclosure rate again ranked near the top in the country last month, according to report from the Irvine, Calif.-based housing firm RealtyTrac. Only Nevada and Maryland posted higher rates in August.

More than 2,760 properties in New Jersey started the foreclosure process in August, a 38 percent decrease from a year ago. But, meanwhile, nearly 1,800 properties in New Jersey were repossessed by lenders last month. That’s an increase of 295 percent from a year ago, according to the RealtyTrac data.

Overall one in every 539 housing units in New Jersey had a foreclosure filing in August, the third highest rate in the country. New Jersey, which has a judicial foreclosure process, has consistently ranked near or at the top in the country for its foreclosure rate in recent reports.”

Foreclosures Continue to Ensnare NJ Families – – Along with at least One Law Firm By  | NJspotlight.com  SEPTEMBER 17, 2015

“Foreclosures completed in New Jersey during the second quarter of 2015 took an average of 1,206 days to be resolved, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine, CA, real-estate analytics firm. That was almost twice the national average, which itself was the longest since the company began keeping the statistic eight years ago.

The process can be wearing on families, especially those who feel they have been defrauded. Those with financial resources remaining can fight in the state courts, which must approve foreclosures. The action is not complete until a foreclosing lender conveys the property at a sale administered by the county sheriff.

But borrowers are not the only ones who can be ground down if a case crawls.

 Zucker, Goldberg & Ackerman

In August, Zucker, Goldberg & Ackerman of Mountainside followed through on a previous warning and filed for bankruptcy.

One of New Jersey’s pre-eminent foreclosure law firms had been handling the current cases against Evans on behalf of JP Morgan Chase, and against Turner on behalf of Wells Fargo. But in August, Zucker, Goldberg & Ackerman of Mountainside followed through on a previous warning and filed for bankruptcy.

The attorney representing the firm in bankruptcy, Daniel Stolz of Wasserman, Jurista & Stolz of Basking Ridge, blamed complications in foreclosure cases, including although not limited to “the extent of the robo-signing.”

The complexities of documenting cases “caused additional delays and expenses that substantially harmed Zucker, Goldberg,” Stolz said.

Since home ownership peaked in the United States in 2014, foreclosures have taken more than 7.8 million houses, according to RealtyTrac. That has meant big business for law firms representing lenders and investors. Last year, Zucker, Goldberg generated $30 million in gross revenue.

But the flip side is that the firm normally took those cases for a flat fee. When they moved promptly, that was a safe play. So far this year, New Jersey borrowers are contesting only 4 percent of foreclosure cases, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.”

Black Knight’s August Mortgage Monitor: Cash-Out Refinances Up 68 Percent Year-Over-Year; Average Borrower Tapping $67,000 in Equity

Though at highest volume since 2010, cash-out refinances still nearly 80 percent below 2005 peak levels

– Post-cash-out refinance loan-to-value (LTV) ratios are at lowest level in over 10 years.

– Over one-third of all Q2 2015 rate/term refinances included term-length reductions.

– Average Q2 2015 refinances see lowest average payment savings in nine years; lowest rate savings in five years.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: BKFS) released its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based on data as of the end of August 2015. This month, leveraging an enhancement in the company’s Property Module for its McDash loan-level mortgage performance database, Black Knight analyzed refinance transactions to compare resulting mortgages to the prior loans they replaced. As Black Knight Data & Analytics Senior Vice President Ben Graboske explained, borrowers have been capitalizing on increased equity available in their homes and still historically low rates.

“In the second quarter of 2015, we saw cash-out refinance volumes rise almost 70 percent from the same period last year,” said Graboske. “While this is the highest volume in cash-out refinances we’ve seen in five years, it’s still nearly 80 percent below the peak in Q3 2005. Even so, it’s clear that borrowers have been capitalizing on the increased equity available to them. As we reported in last month’s Mortgage Monitor, total equity of mortgage holders has risen by about $1 trillion over the last year, and ‘tappable’ equity stands at$4.5 trillion. Borrowers today are pulling out an average of $67,000 of equity through cash-out refis, nearly the levels we saw back in 2006. What’s really interesting though, is that even after pulling out that equity, resulting average LTVs are at 68 percent, the lowest level we’ve seen in over 10 years. During this same time span, we’ve seen second lien HELOC lending rise, albeit at a lesser rate; that volume is up 40 percent from last year. However, as interest rates rise, we could see an increase in HELOC lending and corresponding slowing in first lien cash-out refis, as borrowers will likely want to hang on to lower rates for their first mortgage while still being able to tap available equity.”

In its analysis of refinance transactions in comparison to prior loans, Black Knight also found that the distribution of cash-out refinances is highly concentrated geographically, with over 30 percent of all such transactions occurring in California alone. Texas is second among states in terms of cash-out refinance volume, at just 7 percent of the nation’s total. Looking at Q2 2015 refinances in general, the data shows that borrowers are saving an average of $136 in principal and interest each month through refinance and cutting their interest rates by just over one percent; the lowest such reductions in nine and five years, respectively. These low averages are primarily due to the fact that borrowers refinancing are either lower unpaid balance (UPB) borrowers that haven’t yet taken advantage of low rates (and who will see lower monthly savings), or higher UPB borrowers that are taking advantage of low rates for a second or third time, and so are seeing incremental savings as compared to earlier reductions. Black Knight also observed increased interest among borrowers in securing term reductions through refinancing, with 34 percent of rate/term refinances in Q2 2015 including a term length reduction.

Of particular interest to banks and mortgage servicers, this month’s Mortgage Monitor also looks at the increased foreclosure timelines introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the potential impact those extensions have had on compensatory fee exposure.  In addition to the 34 states where extensions have been introduced, the compensatory fee moratorium currently in place in New York, New Jersey,Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., was extended from June until Dec. 31, 2015. New York and New Jersey alone carry two-thirds of the country’s compensatory fee exposure, even though these states only account for 27 percent of active GSE foreclosure inventory. All totaled, the states covered by the existing moratorium account for 74 percent of remaining compensatory fee exposure, and the foreclosure timeline extensions result in roughly a 38 percent reduction of gross compensatory fee exposure in non-moratorium states. Lifting the moratorium — with timelines remaining as they stand now — would result in nearly a quadrupling of mortgage servicers’ compensatory fee exposure.

 

     As was reported in Black Knight’s most recent First Look release, other key results include:

     Total U.S. loan delinquency rate:                                                    

4.83%

     Month-over-month change in delinquency rate:                                

2.47%

     Total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate:                                 

1.37%

     Month-over-month change in foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate:      

-2.17%

     States with highest percentage of non-current* loans:                        

MS, NJ, LA, ME, NY

     States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans:                  

MT, SD, MN, CO, ND

     States with highest percentage of seriously delinquent** loans:           

MS, LA, AL, RI, AR

*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.

**Seriously delinquent loans are those past-due 90 days or more.

Totals are extrapolated based on Black Knight Financial Services’ loan-level database of mortgage assets.

About the Mortgage Monitor
The Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services manages the nation’s leading repository of loan-level residential mortgage data and performance information on approximately two-thirds of the overall market, including tens of millions of loans across the spectrum of credit products and more than 140 million historical records. The company’s research experts carefully analyze this data to produce a summary supplemented by dozens of charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations for the monthly Mortgage Monitor Report. To review the full report, visit:http://www.BKFS.com/CorporateInformation/NewsRoom/Pages/Mortgage-Monitor.aspx

About Black Knight Financial Services, Inc.
Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: BKFS), a Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF) company, is the mortgage and finance industries’ leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the mortgage lifecycle.

Black Knight Financial Services is committed to being the premier business partner that lenders and servicers rely on to achieve their strategic goals, realize greater success and better serve their customers by delivering best-in-class technology, services and insight with a relentless commitment to excellence, innovation, integrity and leadership. For more information on Black Knight Financial Services, please visit www.bkfs.com.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150712/235391LOGO

SOURCE Black Knight Financial Services, Inc.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.bkfs.com

One of the reasons we are focusing on Laura Dern in “99 Homes” is that she discusses the emotional devastation that many people have felt when going through the process of protecting their rights when faced with forelcosure. In preparing for the role , Ms. Dern says how she felt pretty knowledgeable about the forelcosue crisis but that when actually in character having her life disrupted whilebeing evicted exclaims “it steals your breath away.”

“Not since It’s a Wonderful Life has Hollywood produced a full theatrical look at the real impact of foreclosure and financial crises on family lives,” says Adam Deutsch, NJ financial counsumer rights attorney at the law firm of Denbeaux and Debneaux and host of the podcast, Financial Consumer Rights Talk.

“We are hopeful the film will reduce stigma, bring increased awareness to the problems facing New Jersey homeowners and people in debt, and the unscrupulous behavior often taken by debt collectors,” said Josh Denbeaux, foreclosure defense attorney at the law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux of Westwood, N.J.

“99 Homes” Actress Laura Dern

NJ Foreclosure Attorney Compares “99 Homes” to “It’s A Wonderful Life”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Westwood, N.J. Monday, October 5, 2015

George Bailey of Bailey Building and Loan in "It's a Wonderful Life."

George Bailey of Bailey Building and Loan in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“Not since It’s a Wonderful Life has Hollywood produced a full theatrical look at the real impact of foreclosure and financial crises on family lives, ” says attorney Adam Deutsch.

“We are hopeful the film will reduce stigma, bring increased awareness to the problems facing our clients, and the unscrupulous behavior often taken by debt collectors,” continues Mr. Deutsch.

The movie 99 Homes is being lauded by critics for the depiction of the housing and foreclosure crisis in Florida and the impact it has had on families.99 homes poster

 

 

 

 

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux, is a firm who has developed unique foreclosure defense strategies that have helped thousands of NJ families protect their rights, stay in their homes, and have chances at better outcomes.

  • Homeowners can call Josh Denbeaux at (201) 664-8855 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss loan modifications and other loan related problems that they may be having with banks, lenders, debt collectors and loan servicing companies.

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NJ Mortgages Subject to New Mortgage Rule Effective October 3, 2015

The CFPB’s mortgage initiative is designed to help consumers understand their loan options, shop for the mortgage that’s best for them, and avoid costly surprises at the closing table.

July 15, 2015, the CFPB posted this to their website, ” Today we’re issuing a final rule delaying the effective date for the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule to October 3, 2015. The Know Before You Owe rule will improve the way you’ll receive information about mortgage loans, both when applying for a loan and when you’re getting ready to close.

We’ve been talking about the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule for a while, and we’ve also been hard at work to provide helpful information for the mortgage industry to understand what the requirements are, including how to fill out the disclosure forms.

You can check out more information about the project that got us here and what the Know Before You Owe rule means for consumers like you.

We want it to be easier for you to shop effectively for mortgages and to make the decisions that work for you and your family. We want consumers to be confident in the information they receive, the lenders they work with, and their ability to make good comparisons. The Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule is a key part of that effort, so we’ve spent a lot of time testing the new disclosure forms with consumers. We’re confident that the new disclosures will make information clearer and easier to use, and we look forward to their implementation starting October 3.

To learn more about the effective date, including why there was a delay, read our press release.,(see below)

 

CFPB Finalizes Two-Month Extension of Know Before You Owe Effective Date

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a final rule moving the effective date of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, to October 3, 2015. The rule requires easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of a mortgage for a homebuyer. The Bureau issued the change to correct an administrative error that would have delayed the effective date of the rule by at least two weeks, until August 15, at the earliest.

The Bureau is finalizing Saturday, October 3 as the effective date. The Bureau believes that moving the effective date may benefit both industry and consumers with a smoother transition to the new rule. The Bureau further believes that scheduling the effective date on a Saturday may facilitate implementation by giving industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems. A Saturday launch is also consistent with industry plans tied to the original effective date of Saturday, August 1.

The final rule issued today also includes technical corrections to two provisions of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule.

A copy of the final rule is available here:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201507_cfpb_2013-integrated-mortgage-disclosures-rule-under-the-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-regulation-x-and-the-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z-and-amendments-delay-of-effective-date.pdf

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.

Financial, emotional turmoil surrounds family of mom accused of killing 17-year-old son

The 42-year-old mother of a Gresham family that was in apparent financial and emotional turmoil will be arraigned Monday on murder charges, officials say. Dianne Michelle Davidoff is accused of shooting her 17-year-old son in the back on Thursday night.

Davidoff was booked into the Multnomah County Justice Center Jail at 8:40 a.m. Friday following questioning by Gresham police detectives at their headquarters. She is held without bail at the jail on one count of murder and one count of unlawful use of a weapon.

Gresham police were called at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to the 2800 block of Southeast Rosefinch Drive, a quiet, winding suburban street in the Kelly Creek neighborhood.

Inside, police found Jacob Davidoff suffering from a gunshot wound. Attempts by police to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, said Officer Malaka Kerbs, a Gresham Police Department spokeswoman.

Gresham-Barlow School District spokeswoman Athena Vaadnais said Jacob Davidoff was registered as a freshman at the Metro East Web Academy, a charter school sponsored by the district, during the 2013-14 school year. It was the last year he attended school in the district, Vaadnais said.

Kerbs said at the time of the shooting that Dianna Davidoff and her son were in the home, but that when police arrived there was a third person present. Kerbs said she did not know who that person was.

“We don’t know what led up to (the shooting)” Kerbs said. “But it’s always unfortunate when a life is lost.”

Gresham mom accused in shooting death of her 17-year-old sonA 42-year-old Gresham mom is accused of murder in the shooting death of her 17-year-old son. Gresham police said the boy was shot in the back and died at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at a home in the 2800 block of SE Rosefinch Drive.

Davidoff, whose criminal record is limited to a minor vehicle infraction in 2008, had just lost a fight to keep her home after Wells Fargo Bank initiated a foreclosure case in 2012.

A judge approved the foreclosure in November 2014, court records show. A sheriff’s auction of the four-bedroom, 3,345-square-foot home is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association website.

In 2003, Davidoff sought temporary restraining order against her husband, Ryan Davidoff, as part of a divorce case against him, court records show. The divorce case was dismissed eight months later.

The couple appear to have been experiencing money problems. Both had debt collection agencies chasing them in small claims court and had been ordered to pay back-dues to the neighborhood homeowners association.

Kerbs said the Davidoff family was in the process of moving from the home when the shooting occurred. A portable moving container was parked on the street outside the house on Friday.

Throughout Friday morning, police investigators, crime scene investigators and friends of the family were seen entering and leaving the home.

Strobe flashes could be seen behind closed blinds in an upstairs room facing the street as neighbors left for work and school buses made their neighborhood rounds.

Kelly House of The Oregonian/OregonLive staff contributed to this report.

— Stuart Tomlinson

stomlinson@oregonian.com
503-221-8313
@ORweather

The Government Is Selling Thousands of Homes to Hedge Funds Without Their Owners’ Knowledge

When the Federal Housing Administration takes over a mortgage, homeowners often have little say about what happens next.

Julius Uwansc was in trouble with his mortgage after refinancing in 2009, just after the real estate bubble popped. Like millions of others, he found himself owing more on his house than it was worth.

The Nigerian-born father of four moved into his house on Richardson Road in Gwynn Oak, Maryland, in 2005. “We loved it because it has this big yard where the kids can play,” Uwansc says.

But soon after closing on the loan, Uwansc began having trouble making payments. He believed he had worked out a loan modification with Bank of America in 2011 after signing paperwork, but the bank disputed the terms Uwansc thought he had secured. When he didn’t pay the amount the bank said he owed, it claimed he was in default.

 

FULL STORY HERE

Government wants you to think it helps you at every turn.

by Josh Stossel

Every time you make a decision, a purchase, government wants to be there, looking essential.

But it’s a trick. Most government “help” creates new problems.

Students once went to private banks to get college loans. Banks, since they had their own money on the line, tried to lend only to students who were likely to succeed and then pay them back. Politicians then said, “Banks don’t lend enough, so we’ll guarantee loans or make loans ourselves! After all, college is essential for success.”

Colleges responded by raising tuition at seven times the rate of inflation. It’s a spiral in which taxpayers are forced to give money to colleges — which then charge high tuition, so students graduate deep in debt, and then politicians demand that taxpayers forgive that debt.

President Obama said, sure, just pay back 10 percent or, after 20 years, nothing! Taxpayers will pay the rest, which goes to schools that employ professors who demand more government programs. It’s a spiral that makes government bigger.

The same thing happened with housing. People once borrowed from private banks, which applied market discipline. If they thought you wanted to borrow more than you would likely repay, banks wouldn’t lend you the money.

But now government — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration — guarantee nearly every loan. That helped create the last housing bubble. After it burst, and taxpayers were charged nearly $2 billion to bail out the FHA, the politicians assured the public they would fix this to make sure it never happened again.

But they didn’t. Today, once again, more than 90 percent of home loans are backed by taxpayers, and after briefly raising down-payment requirements, the FHA will again make loans to people who make down payments of as little as 3 percent.

A sensible solution would be to get government out of the home loan business, but even Republicans claim government support for homebuilding is needed.

It isn’t. Canada has no Fannie, Freddie or FHA, and no housing bubble. In Canada, lenders and homeowners risk their own money, yet just as many people are able to buy homes.

Finally, Obamacare makes the same arrogant assumption about healthcare: Without government, people can’t afford health care and won’t make good decisions. But healthcare is bureaucratic and costly because of government.

For decades, government encouraged us to pay for health care — even routine procedures — with insurance. But insurance is designed for large, rare expenditures, like your house catching fire or a heart attack.

When everything from head colds to backaches is paid for through insurance, neither the customer nor service provider pays much attention to what anything costs. I’m on Medicare now. I’m amazed that when I go to a doctor, no one even mentions price.

If we paid for everything that way — clothing, groceries, computers — everything would cost much more. No one would know when to shop around, when they were getting a great deal, or when to say: enough.

The more we enshrine the idea that “everyone must have health insurance,” the more big insurance companies can raise prices without worrying about customers fleeing. Forced government insurance steers everyone into a few big plans instead of letting individuals make decisions that foster competition. Hospitals and insurance companies are the ones really being helped.

President Eisenhower addressed a similar problem when he complained about a “military-industrial complex.” Today we have a broader “government-industrial complex.”

It shouldn’t surprise us when big companies start out opposing regulation but then announce that they wholeheartedly support government’s latest “reform.”

By the time legislation is passed, the major players in the industry have had a role in writing the laws, ensuring that they are guaranteed a profit.

I don’t think government makes my life easier by being around me all the time. Instead, it makes it harder and harder to imagine life without government. Perhaps that was their goal.

John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on Fox News and author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.” For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

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Sinister visions of America in crisis: Hollywood finally gets foreclosures right in “99 Homes”

The new film, starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, goes where too few movies have been willing

 

by David Dayen

 

TOPICS: FORECLOSURE CRISIS, 99 HOUSES, ANDREW GARFIELD, MICHAEL SHANNON, FINANCIAL CRISIS, AOL_ON,,

Sinister visions of America in crisis: Hollywood finally gets foreclosures right in "99 Homes"(Credit: Broad Green Pictures)

For all the impact of the financial crisis, we’ve seen only rare glimpses into its effect on popular culture. Hollywood has largely shrunk from depicting anxiety in the age of inequality, the pain of the recession on ordinary Americans caught in its wake.

But in “99 Homes,” director Ramin Bahrani offers the most authentic portrait of the foreclosure crisis ever committed to film. Bahrani spent weeks in Florida researching the subject, immersing himself in every facet of the sprawling foreclosure industry. And he found people at the mercy of an economy beyond their control, from homeowner victims living in transient motels along Highway 142 to real estate brokers forced to become agents of misery to survive.

The movie, which premiered at the Venice and Telluride film festivals last year, stars Andrew Garfield as Dennis Nash, an Orlando construction worker struggling to find work after the housing bubble collapses. One day, real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), oozing sinister charm (having him vape throughout the film is a genius touch), appears at his door with a local sheriff, a clean-out crew and an order: You have two minutes to gather your belongings and leave the property. Nash leaves and finds a hotel to stay in; he says it’ll only be a couple days, and one of the residents replies, “That’s what I said two years ago.”

Before long, Nash begins working for Carver, learning how to become the enforcer of evictions on the other side. As he begins to profit from suffering, Nash must figure out how much he will sacrifice his ideals to keep his family (Laura Dern as his mother, and newcomer Noah Lomax as his son) free from desperation.

Incredibly, in talking to homeowners in Florida, Garfield met a day laborer who was evicted and then started performing evictions, the exact plot of the already-written movie. The man stopped after having to evict one of his best friends, but six months later the friend came to him and said he was forced into doing the same thing.

Bahrani heightened the emotional tumult of foreclosures by using a real sheriff who conducts evictions, a real clean-out crew who empties foreclosed homes, and in many cases, real homeowners having trouble paying their bills. “We had to make these headlines into real people, not a statistic,” Bahrani told Salon. “Every other victim was not an actor and I never told Andrew who was real.” The scenes pull no punches: real estate agents carry a gun into evictions, and the film opens on the bloodied bathroom of a man who would rather kill himself than leave his home.

Foreclosure suicides are distressingly commonplace. In fact, many of the film’s core scenes come out of Bahrani’s experiences in Florida. The director connected with activists like Lynn Szymoniak, the foreclosure victim, anti-fraud specialist and whistleblower who helped the government win $95 million from banks in 2012.

Szymoniak showed Bahrani Florida’s “rocket docket” foreclosure courts, where defendants get 60 seconds to save their homes, and toured abandoned properties full of mold and buckling roofs. (Full disclosure: Lynn has taken me on this tour, which I wrote about for Salon, and she is a main character in my non-fiction book about the foreclosure crisis, “Chain of Title,” coming out next spring.) When actors would ask how their characters got into trouble, Bahrani had Szymoniak write them detailed backstories, loosely based on the experiences of other homeowners.

“The court scenes mirror what he saw,” Szymoniak said. “It’s very gratifying that we saw the rocket docket and dual tracking (when mortgage servicers simultaneously negotiate modifications with homeowners and pursue foreclosure) in the first three minutes of the film. A lot more people are going to understand that you did get 60 seconds of justice.”

Bahrani chose to make a real estate broker the villain of the film rather than a bank executive, arguing that it was the only way to get homeowners and their tormentors into the same room. Michael Shannon’s character Rick Carver snaps up homes and manages them for financial firms like Bank of America or government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And he commits small-time scams to stay ahead, from manipulating the “cash for keys” program to acquire homes or unbolting air conditioners and charging the bank to re-install them. He teaches Dennis Nash his unseemly methods, which can be lucrative but emotionally searing.

But Shannon also gives this corrupt profiteer a soul, muddying the good-versus-evil dynamic. In a memorable speech, Carver says that he got into his business to put people into homes, not take them out. When greedy banks and an inattentive government created the bubble and the crash, he had to adapt. “I have two daughters, I wasn’t going to let them live in some hotel,” Carver thunders. “America doesn’t bail out losers, America was built by bailing out winners.” By the end you may not agree with Carver’s methods, but you understand his worldview, the same one that Nash must grapple with.

“As Michael Shannon says, the real devil is the system that created him,” Ramin Bahrani said. “When the Libor scandal hit and banks were fined billions, they still made ten-fold more and nobody went to jail. When figures run the biggest for-profit banks involved in this corruption, then go into public office, then back into the banks? You don’t need an MBA to know this system is rigged.”

Hints of the larger corruption dance around the fringes of the movie. One character is modeled after David J. Stern, Florida’s impossibly wealthy “foreclosure mill” law firm magnate whose firm handled 70,000 cases at the height of the crisis. The Stern-based character fabricates a critical mortgage document to execute a foreclosure, leading to the film’s climax. “They got an amazing amount of stuff into a non-documentary film,” said Lynn Szymoniak.

“99 Homes,” whose name comes in part from the 1 percent-versus-99 percent slogan popularized by Occupy Wall Street, intends to elevate as well as inform. Through a social campaign called 99 Good Deeds, screenings of the film will coincide with efforts to raise money for services for the homeless. Bahrani mentioned that an anonymous donor gave $20,000 to Lynn Szymoniak’s anti-foreclosure non-profit, the Housing Justice Foundation, after seeing the film’s trailer. “I already feel like the movie’s done something to raise money for people who need it,” Bahrani said.

More than that, Bahrani wants the film to raise awareness of how most Americans uncomfortably sit within an unpalatable economic plight. While the tug of war between Dennis Nash and Rick Carver dominates the film, underneath it all it a sense of how unseen forces push people into impossible choices, years after the foreclosure crisis began.

Bahrani related it to the famous Elia Kazan Oscar-winner “On the Waterfront.”

“That film was based on serious journalism about the corruption of longshoremen,” he said. “They drew people in with great characters and great scenes so you can say, this is an exciting film and here’s what’s behind it.” He rattled off the statistics: homeownership at nearly a 50-year low, bulk buying giving many renters a Wall Street landlord, people dropping out of the middle class and into despair every day. Finally, that unflinching reality has been preserved in celluloid.

 

Why Subprime Borrowers Didn’t Cause the Foreclosure Crisis

Wharton study details why the foreclosure crisis caused by the US housing market bust may have been “more of a prime, rather than a subprime, borrower issue.”

Published on 6/5/15 by Fernando Ferreira and Joseph Gyourk of the The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and NBER

A New Look At The U.S. Foreclosure Crisis: Panel Data Evidence Of Prime And Subprime Borrowers From 1997 To 2012

Fernando Ferreira and Joseph Gyourko

The Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania and NBER

Abstract

Utilizing new panel micro data on the ownership sequences of all types of borrowers from 1997-2012 leads to a reinterpretation of the U.S. foreclosure crisis as more of a prime, rather than a subprime, borrower issue. Moreover, traditional mortgage default factors associated with the economic cycle, such as negative equity, completely account for the foreclosure propensity of prime borrowers relative to all-cash owners, and for three-quarters of the analogous subprime gap. Housing traits, race, initial income, and speculators did not play a meaningful role, and initial leverage only accounts for a small variation in outcomes of prime and subprime borrowers.

Most economic analysis of the recent American housing market bust and the subsequent default and foreclosure crises focuses on the role of the subprime mortgage sector.1 Roughly three-quarters of the papers on the crisis reviewed in the next section use data only from the subprime sector and typically include outcomes from no later than 2008. For example, Mian & Sufi (2009) use mortgage defaults aggregated at the zip code level from 2005 to 2007 to conclude that a “salient feature of the mortgage default crisis is that it is concentrated in subprime ZIP codes throughout the country.” However, subprime loans comprise a relatively small share of the complete housing market–about 15% in our data and never more than 21% in a given year. In addition, we document that most foreclosures in the United States occurred after 2008. These two issues raise questions about the representativeness of results based on selected subprime samples.

In this paper we provide new stylized facts about the foreclosure crisis and also empirically investigate different proposed explanations for why owners lost their homes during the last housing bust. We use micro data that track outcomes well past the beginning of the crisis and cover all types of house purchase financing – prime mortgages, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)/Veterans Administration (VA)-insured loans, loans from small or infrequent lenders, and all-cash buyers — not just the subprime sector. The data (described below in Section III)) contain information on over 33 million unique ownership sequences in just over 19 million distinct owner-occupied housing units in 96 metropolitan areas (MSAs) from 1997(1)-2012(3), resulting in almost 800 million quarterly observations. It also includes information on up to three loans taken out at the time of home purchase, and all subsequent refinancing activity. Thus, we are able to create owner-specific panels with financing information from purchase through sale or other transfer of the home.

These data show that the crisis was not solely, or even primarily, a subprime sector event. It started out that way, but quickly morphed into a much bigger and broader event dominated by prime borrowers losing their homes. Figure 1 reports the raw number of homes lost via foreclosure or short sale for the five different types of owners we track each year across all 96 metropolitan areas in our sample. There are only seven quarters, 2006(3)-2008(1) at the beginning of the housing market bust, in which there were more homes lost by subprime borrowers than by prime borrowers, although the gap is small as the figure illustrates. Over this time period, which is the focus of much of the previous literature in this area, 39,094 more subprime than prime borrowers lost their homes. This small difference was completely reversed by the beginning of 2009, as 40,630 more prime borrowers than subprime borrowers lost their homes just in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters of 2008. An additional 656,003 more prime than subprime borrowers lost their homes from 2009(1)-2012(3), so that twice as many prime borrowers lost their homes than did subprime borrowers over our full sample period.

One reason for this pattern is that the number of prime borrowers dwarfs that of subprime borrowers (and the other borrower/owner categories we consider). Table 1 lists the absolute number and share of all our borrower/owner categories over time. The prime borrower share varies around 60% over time and did not decline during the housing boom. Subprime borrower share nearly doubled during the boom, but only up to 21%. Subprime’s increasing share came at the expense of the FHA/VA-insured sector, not the prime sector.

On this day in 2008, the U.S. government took over control of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee about half of U.S. mortgage debt, in an attempt to ease the financial crisis that followed the housing collapse.

From the Congressional Research Service Report “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Conservatorship” by  Mark Jickling Specialist in Financial Economics Government and Finance Division :

On September 7, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that play a critical role in the U.S. home mortgage market, in conservatorship. As conservator, the FHFA has full powers to control the assets and operations of the firms. Dividends to common and preferred shareholders are suspended, but the U.S. Treasury has put in place a set of financing agreements to ensure that the GSEs continue to meet their obligations to holders of bonds that they have issued or guaranteed. This means that the U.S. taxpayer now stands behind about $5 trillion of GSE debt. This step was taken because a default by either of the two firms, which have been battered by the downturn in housing and credit markets, could have caused severe disruptions in global financial markets, made home mortgages more difficult and expensive to obtain, and had negative repercussions throughout the economy. This report provides basic information on the GSEs, the government intervention, and the potential cost to the taxpayer. It will be updated as events warrant.

Full report is can be viewed by clicking on this link.

THINK PROGRESS.ORG 

ECONOMY

Why A Bank Was Allowed To Plunder Family Heirlooms That Escaped The Nazis

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Authority has launched a program to help homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgages.

New Jersey HomeSaver Program

The New Jersey HomeSaver Program is administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

The New Jersey HomeSaver Program is in place to prevent families from going into foreclosure. The program is federally funded from the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, which is awarded to states hardest hit by unemployment and underemployment.

To apply for the Homesaver program, homeowners must first contact their mortgage servicer directly to find out if they are voluntarily participating in the program. Loan servicers are not required to participate in the NJ Homesaver program.

The New Jersey HomeSaver Program offers eligible homeowners up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help bring their household monthly payment to an affordable level by using Hardest Hit Fund funds to facilitate a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan.

Click here to read the article that appeared in the Trentonian News “NJ Home Saver Program Offers Financial Assistance to Prevent Foreclosure”

Click here to learn more about the Hardest Hit Fund.

Click here to visit the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency website for more information.

 

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS DIRECTLY FROM THE NJ HOMESAVER PROGRAM WEBSITE

The program is funded through a federal grant from the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, awarded to states most impacted by unemployment and underemployment. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) is the official administrator of the program for the State of New Jersey.

Do I Qualify?

You may be a good candidate for this program if you are a homeowner who:

  • Has severe negative equity*
  • Has or will be facing a significantly higher mortgage payment (due to a rate increase), or
  • Has suffered a financial hardship (such as unemployment or a severe loss of income through no fault of your own) that has caused or will cause you to fall behind on your mortgage payment**

*Severe negative equity is defined as a first mortgage loan-to-value (“LTV”) ratio that is 115% or greater.
**You do not need to be presently behind on your mortgage payments to be eligible for the HomeSaver Program.

How To Apply

If you can answer YES to ALL of the following questions, contact your mortgage servicer to find out if they are participating in the New Jersey HomeSaver program or call the NJ Hardest Hit Fund toll free at 1-855-647-7700.

Can you answer YES to ALL of these questions?

  1. Is your home located in the State of New Jersey?
  2. Is your home your primary residence?
  3. Is your home a one, two or three-unit residential property?
  4. Do you owe no more than $429,619 in total mortgage debt (or, if you have a two-unit or three-unit home, no more than $550,005)?
  5. Is your home the only residential real estate that you own?
  6. Are you clear at this time of any involvement in any bankruptcy application or proceeding?

If your servicer is not participating or you cannot answer YES to ALL six questions above, we encourage you to learn about other New Jersey foreclosure assistance programs that may be able to help you.

Denbeaux_Denbeaux_Law_Logo (1)

Law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux helps NJ home owners with problems related to foreclosure

Using the July RealtyTrac report , an article was written NJ.com by  Erin O’Neill NJ Advance Media writer for NJ.com that indicated foreclosures in New Jersey reported a 76 percent increase over last year, making New Jersey the state with the third highest foreclosure rate among all of the states.

Unfortunately, our state is bucking the national trend of falling foreclosure starts. Only Maryland and Florida reported higher foreclosure rates that New Jersey in July.

On a county by county breakdown of the RealtyTrac data, this chart shows a ranking of the New Jersey counties by rate of foreclosure:

County  July 2015 Foreclosure Rate
Sussex County 1 in 245
Atlantic County 1 in 258
Cumberland County 1 in 274
Salem County 1 in 343
Camden County 1 in 370
Essex County 1 in 427
Passaic County 1 in 442
Burlington County 1 in 447
Gloucester County 1 in 462
Union County 1 in 505
Ocean County 1 in 509
Warren County 1 in 518
Monmouth County 1 in 524
Mercer County 1 in 589
Bergen County 1 in 720
Middlesex County 1 in 735
Hudson County 1 in 787
Morris County 1 in 809
Cape May County 1 in 835
Hunterdon County 1 in 1032
Somerset County 1in 1238

The RealtyTrac report also indicated that bank repossessions on the national level increased 81 percent from a year ago. What the report doesn’t include are any statistics on illegal break-ins by representatives of banks which has become an increasing problem.

Click here for the full report.

One of the areas of interest to lawyers and consumers alike is whether a federal law supersedes a state law. Law 360 News published a story delving into this issue on August 10th, 2015. It is relevant because of the role mortgage backed securities plays in the area of real estate. Click on the title of the story below to read the entire story below as reported by Y. Peter Kang

5th Circ. Revives Gov’t’s MBS Suit Against Goldman, Others

Law360, Los Angeles (August 10, 2015, 11:29 PM ET) — The Fifth Circuit on Monday revived a securities fraud suit brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. against Goldman Sachs & Co. and others in connection with the sale of $2.1 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities, saying the FDIC’s so-called extender statute preempts all state limitations periods.

A three-judge Fifth Circuit panel said the district court judge made a mistake by dismissing the consolidated suit accusing Goldman, Deutsche Bank AG and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC of making false and misleading statements in selling and underwriting. Click here for the full story.

The Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might need more government bailouts if housing markets decline. The problem: lack of capital reserves to serve as a buffer against future losses.

By Jonathan Stempel and Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) – A New York judge this week dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general that accused HSBC Holdings Plc of ignoring a law designed to protect homeowners from foreclosure.

The lawsuit, filed in 2013 by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleged HSBC violated a state law requiring lenders to file paperwork, known as a request for judicial intervention, which entitles homeowners to settlement conferences within 60 days to negotiate loan modifications. (reut.rs/1xVcVHL)

Justice John Michalski of New York State Supreme Court in Buffalo dismissed the case on Monday, ruling that HSBC’s delay or failure in filing the administrative paperwork was procedural, not substantive, and did not qualify as an “illegal act,” according to a copy of the decision seen by Reuters.

“The mere possibility” that HSBC might have violated the law “cannot serve as the basis” for the lawsuit, Michalski said.

Rob Sherman of the media relations team at HSBC told Reuters: “We of course agree with the court’s decision to dismiss the case, and remain committed to ensuring that struggling homeowners are treated fairly.”

The decision could not immediately be located in court records.

Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for the New York attorney general, said the office had not decided whether to appeal. “Despite this ruling, Attorney General Schneiderman will continue to fight for families struggling to recover from the housing crisis,” he said. (Writing by Shubhankar Chakravorty and Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Wills and Anupama Dwivedi)

Attorney Adam Deutsch, Esq. discusses the recent HUD report regarding the success of a program in which it claims to have sold $16.7 billion in nonperforming mortgage loans.

Attorney Adam Deutsch, Esq. discusses the recent HUD report regarding the success of a program in which it claims to have sold $16.7 billion in nonperforming mortgage loans.

Written by – Adam Deutsch, Esq., Denbeaux and Denbeaux

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (“HUD”) issued a report on Friday March 13, 2015 touting the success of a program in which it claims to have sold $16.7 billion in nonperforming mortgage loans.  In all, HUD states that it sold 79,029 loans and that 16,700 homes avoided foreclsoure.  This sounds great, but the numbers don’t add up.  According to Bloomberg.com only 16% of the delinquent loans have been modified into performing loans.  Sixteen percent of 79,029 is roughly 12,644.64  leaving a difference of 4,000 loans.  Having carefully chosen to assert that 16,700 homes avoided foreclosure it is plausible that HUD believes any resolution other than a judgment and forced eviction is an avoided foreclosure and a net positive.

 

The bigger story is that HUD is acknowledging in the press that it owns and sells mortgage loans.  This is not a new fact, however I have never seen a single situation in which HUD has notified a homeowner that it is selling a loan.  Nor am I aware of any situation in which an entity purchasing a loan from HUD has notified a homeowner that it has acquired ownership of the loan from HUD.  Under the Truth in Lending Act 15 U.S.C. 1641(g) within “30 days after the date on which a mortgage loan is sold or otherwise transferred or assigned to a third party, the creditor that is the new owner or assignee of the debt shall notify the borrower in writing of such transfer.”  Such notices typically set forth the prior owner of the loan, in this case HUD.  In fact, I have only seen one circumstance in which HUD even executed an assignment of mortgage, and in that case the assignment was not recorded with the county but was instead kept confidential by HUD and the loan servicing company.

 

What makes this important is that homeowners who have loans owned by HUD are often entitled to rights not otherwise guaranteed.  Rights include access to loan counseling and modification programs.  An example of such rights is the requirement that the owner of most FHA insured loans conduct a face-to-face interview with a delinquent borrower prior to the loan becoming three months past due and before commencing any foreclosure proceeding.  12 CFR 203.604.  As with any rule there are exceptions, however in almost all circumstances the creditor must make  a minimum of “reasonable effort” to conduct the meeting.  I am unaware of any client having been contacted by an FHA lender or by HUD to conduct a face to face interview.

 

The fact that I have not seen HUD and its loan servicing companies abide by its own rules is problematic.  Denbeaux & Denbeaux has many clients with FHA loans, this is not an issue of scarcity within the sampling pool.  These days it seems that only the CFPB has an interest in enforcing federal regulations relating to loan ownership and servicing.  If HUD does not make sure it abides by the federal law, it is no wonder the marketplace continues to be filled with blunders by loan servicing companies and secondary market creditors.

 

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

Senior Associate Attorney
Denbeaux & Denbeaux
366 Kinderkamack Road
Westwood, NJ 07675
(Main Firm) 201-664-8855
(Direct Line) 201-664-9167
(Fax Line) 201-666-8589

 

 

Attorney Adam Deutsch, Esq. discusses the recent HUD report regarding the success of a program in which it claims to have sold $16.7 billion in nonperforming mortgage loans.

The recent HUD report claims to have sold $16.7 billion in nonperforming mortgage loans.

HUD Says $16.7 Billion of Loan Sales Reduced Foreclosures

  

(Bloomberg) — The sale of $16.7 billion in nonperforming loans by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department helped the owners of about 16,700 homes avoid foreclosure, the agency said.

Almost half of the 79,029 loans for which HUD has received reports were resolved as of Feb. 6, meaning they are no longer considered nonperforming after having gone through foreclosure or another outcome, the department said in a report released Friday. About 44 percent of resolutions resulted in the prevention of home seizures, and 16 percent of resolved loans were reperforming, with borrowers making timely payments.

The program “is meeting its intended goal of minimizing losses” to the mortgage-insurance fund, HUD said in the report. “Without the note-sale program, all of these loans might be foreclosed upon.”

HUD started auctioning groups of delinquent mortgages in 2010 as increasing foreclosures led to losses in the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage-insurance fund. Friday’s report is the second to assess the results of the loan sales, following an initial report last August. The sales, aimed at reducing taxpayer losses, have garnered interest from Wall Street firms competing to buying housing debt after a rebound in real estate prices.

A total of 98,007 loans have sold since the program began in 2010, with $13 billion of debt in national pools and $3.7 billion in local portfolios, HUD said on Friday.

Rising Values

Climbing home values have prompted bidders for delinquent loans to raise their offers. Increased interest in the debt has also spurred mortgage company Freddie Mac and lenders such as Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. to accelerate their sales of soured debt this year.

The biggest buyers of HUD’s national loan pools have been Lone Star Funds, founded by billionaire John Grayken; Bayview Asset Management LLC, a Coral Gables, Florida-based company backed by Blackstone Group LP; and Selene Finance LP, founded by mortgage-bond pioneer Lew Ranieri. The largest buyers of local pools, with stricter requirements to meet goals that help stabilize neighborhoods, have been Bayview, Los Angeles-based investment company Oaktree Capital Management and Corona Asset Management, a Redondo Beach, California-based investment group.

‘Best Outcome’

“We’ll continue to bid,” Scott Shultz, managing director of 25 Capital Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm that has bought about $1 billion of nonperforming loans since 2013, said in a telephone interview. “For us, the best outcome is to get the borrower to reperform and get back on their feet.”

As of December, about 38 percent of the borrowers in a pool of 641 Chicago loans that 25 Capital Partners purchased in 2013 were performing after modifications, Shultz said.

Friday’s HUD report leaves important questions unanswered about the auction program’s impact on communities and the performance of investors who purchased most of the debt, said Julia Gordon, an analyst with the Center for American Progress in Washington.

“To improve the program’s impact on families and communities, HUD should ensure greater involvement of community-based nonprofits in the sales, require buyers to prioritize home-retention solutions over other foreclosure-prevention alternatives, and track loan outcomes even if the loan is sold to another investor,” Gordon said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporters on this story: Heather Perlberg in Washington athperlberg@bloomberg.net; John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at johngitt@bloomberg.net; Clea Benson in Washington at cbenson20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.netDaniel Taub, Christine Maurus

Foreclosed Property Inventory Stays High in New Jersey, New York, Florida

In January 2015, 43,000 U.S. home foreclosures were completed, up 14.7% month-over-month and down 22.5% from a total of 55,000 in January 2014, according to CoreLogic.

The research firm also notes that the current foreclosure inventory totals 1.4% of all homes with a mortgage in the United States, down from 2.1% in December of 2013.

The number of U.S. homes currently in some stage of foreclosure totals 549,000, compared with 822,000 in January 2014. That represents a decline in the national foreclosure inventory of 33.2%.

The four states and the District of Columbia with the largest inventories of foreclosed properties as a percentage of mortgaged properties are New Jersey (5.2%), New York (4.0%), Florida (3.5%), Hawaii (2.7%) and D.C. (2.5%). The five states with the lowest inventories of foreclosed properties are Alaska (0.3%), Nebraska (0.4%), North Dakota (0.4%), Arizona (0.5%) and Montana (0.5%).

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the past 12 months were Florida (111,000), Michigan (51,000), Texas (34,000), California (30,000) and Georgia (28,000). The five states with the fewest foreclosures in the 12 months through January were South Dakota (2), District of Columbia (66), North Dakota (336), West Virginia (511) and Wyoming (532).

CoreLogic’s chief economist said:

Job growth and home-value appreciation have worked to push the serious delinquency rate to the lowest since mid-2008 and foreclosures down by one-third from a year ago. With economic growth in 2015 expected to be better than last years, further declines in both delinquencies and foreclosures are projected for this year.

According to CoreLogic, the current foreclosure rate of 1.4% is the lowest since March of 2008 and the foreclosure inventory has declined every month for the past 39 months.

Read more: Foreclosed Property Inventory Stays High in New Jersey, New York, Florida – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/housing/2015/03/10/foreclosed-property-inventory-stays-high-in-new-jersey-new-york-florida/#ixzz3U7d1qwro

Foreclosures up 116.39% in NJ from January 2014 to 2015

One in every 773 mortgage was foreclosed last year, and New Jersey was leading the nation in foreclosures for several months running.

Ten states with the highest increase in foreclosures

NJ Ranks 5th Highest in Foreclosure

NJ Ranks 5th Highest in Foreclosure

It’s not spring yet, but mortgage lenders have started cleaning out the old. Repossessions jumped 23% in the first month of 2015 as compared to the same month in 2014. According to the January RealtyTrac Foreclosure Market Report, there was a 55% increase in repossessions between December 2014 and January 2015. Overall, foreclosures are declining, but certain states have seen a significant uptick in auction notices, foreclosures, and repossession notices. The ten following states have experienced an upturn in property seizures.

  1. Montana experienced a 65.22% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. Only 38 properties were repossessed in January; however, with such a small market for foreclosed homes, a small increase can create a significant percentage increase year over year.
  1. Washington experienced a 74.6% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. With the 10th-highest foreclosure rate and one in 888 homes or businesses on the line, there was a 247.8% increase between December 2014 and January 2015.
  1. Alabama experienced a 77.64% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. Alabama’s foreclosure rate had started to slip down in the rankings, but they still had one in every 1945 houses or businesses in some level of foreclosure.
  1. Nebraska experienced an 88.24% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. Nebraska had a lower repossession rate than the majority of the country with only 32 houses foreclosed. Still, one in every 3589 properties entered into a stage in foreclosure in Nebraska in January of this year.
  1. Maryland experienced a 99.8% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. While Maryland’s foreclosure rate is declining, it still has the third highest rate of repossession in the country. One in every 611 home or business was repossessed last year.
  1. New Jersey experienced a 116.39% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. One in every 773 mortgage was foreclosed last year, and New Jersey was leading the nation in foreclosures for several months running.
  1. Idaho experienced a 159.78% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. Idaho had a very rough start to the year, and the state had a 313.51% increase in foreclosure starts.
  1. Ohio experienced a 197.48% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. Idaho has the 11th-highest foreclosure rate in the U.S
  1. Mississippi experienced a 203.64% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. One in 4483 homes or businesses were in foreclosure representing a steep increase year over year.
  1. Vermont experienced a 280% increase in repossessions from January 2014 to January 2015. While Vermont had some of the lowest foreclosure rates, it’s relatively small total population still had 11,533 homes or businesses seized.

 

MarketWatch
 
Demand for residential mortgages continues to soften
By Greg Robb
Published: Feb 2, 2015 3:37 p.m. ET
 
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Demand for residential loans continued to weaken, despite the fact that banks have made it easier to get a mortgage, according to a survey released by the Federal Reserve Monday.
The drop was another sign that the recovery in the sector remains subdued, said Michael Gapen, economist at Barclays.
“The housing recovery is been shallower than it’s been in previous years and it’s been more choppy,” Gapen said in an interview.
Demand for installment loans, such as auto loans and credit cards, was higher, the Fed survey found.
“Weakening demand for residential loans…is broadly consistent with the weakening in home sales activity in recent months,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy head for U.S. research at TD Securities.
This is the second straight quarter with falling demand for mortgages.
 
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/demand-for-residential-mortgages-continues-to-soften-2015-02-02

chicago_tribune_logo

Getting a Home or Auto Loan Might Be Getting Easier

by Becky Yerak , The Chicago Tribune

Several big banks have eased lending standards for home mortgages in recent months, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent quarterly survey of senior loan officers.

Nearly 85 percent of banks said their credit standards on mortgages have remain unchanged for the past three months, but 14 percent have made it easier to qualify for a home loan.

Large banks were more likely than banks overall to loosen mortgage standards.

The survey, released Monday, surveyed 73 U.S. banks and 23 U.S. operations of foreign banks.
Nearly 8 percent of banks reported having eased their standards for auto loans, with 89 percent saying their standards are basically unchanged.

On the demand side, 68 percent of banks have seen little change in midsize to large companies seeking business loans. But 25 percent are seeing “moderately stronger” demand for business loans

 

Adam Deutsch, Esq., Denbeaux and Denbeaux

Adam Deutsch, Esq., of the lawfirm Denbeaux and Denbeaux, highlights the CFPB Consumer credit report: A study of medical and non medical collections

Consumer credit reports:

A study of medical and
non-medical collections

Roughly half of all collections reported to credit agencies are medical debts. [Exec sum p4]

31.6% of consumers with credit reports (estimated 69,520,000 individuals) have one or more collection reported on their credit report.  19.5% of credit reports have a medical debt in collection (42,900,000 individuals). [Exec Sum 5]

“Medical bills can be a cause of confusion and uncertainty and can result in collections tradelines for consumers who are uncertain about what they owe, to whom, when, or for what” [p6]

 

Adam Deutsch, Esq., Denbeaux and Denbeaux

Adam Deutsch, Esq., of the lawfirm Denbeaux and Denbeaux

Adam Deutsch Comments on Statement of FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt on Release of Guidelines for Purchase of Low Down Payment Mortgages

“Home ownership can have its benefits, particularly if used conservatively as a savings vehicle.  Home ownership is not right for everyone.  The recent announcement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will lower their threshold for lending from 5% down to 3% down is an act of extreme risk for which the potential harms likely outweigh the benefits.  Although the arrangement will only be offered to those with strong credit scores, a credit score does not reflect earnings to spending ratios and is not an appropriate figure to be the most important determinant as to whether somebody can afford a home.”

 

“If a home buyer does not have the savings to deposit 5% of their home purchase, it is a safe assumption they will not have a savings contingency to cover unexpected costs of home ownership such as a leaky roof, or replacement water heater.  Then there are the additional costs of the loan that are incurred by virtue of the low down payment.  Homeowners who cannot pay 20% of the appraised value upon purchase should expect to pay an additional 0.75-2% of the loan value in mortgage insurance premiums.  For such people, renting may be the more sound financial decision because the added cost and risks of home ownership on a thin budget can be avoided in full.”

for additional information please contact the law firm of Denbeaux& Denbeaux

 

 

12/8/2014

“The new lending guidelines released today by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enable creditworthy borrowers who can afford a mortgage, but lack the resources to pay a substantial down payment plus closing costs, to get a mortgage with 3 percent down.  These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices.

“To mitigate risk, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use their automated underwriting systems, which include compensating factors to evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness.  In addition, the new offerings will also include homeownership counseling, which improves borrower performance.  FHFA will monitor the ongoing performance of these loans.”

###

Contacts:

Corinne Russell (202) 649-3032 / Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030

###

Additional reading:

New York Times, December 8, 2014. by Patrica Cohen, U.S Lowers One Hurdle to Obtaining a Mortgage 

 

pr_newswire

CoreLogic Reports 41,000 Completed Foreclosures in October

–Foreclosure inventory down 30.9 percent nationally from a year ago–
 
 
 
December 04, 2014: 08:00 AM ET
 
IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, today released its October National Foreclosure Report, which provides data on completed U.S. foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory. According to CoreLogic, for the month of October 2014, there were 41,000 completed foreclosures nationally, down from 55,000 in October 2013, a year-over-year decrease of 26.4 percent and down 65 percent from the peak of completed foreclosures in September 2010. On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures were down by 34.1 percent from the 62,000* reported in September 2014. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/71280523-corelogic-october-national-foreclosure-report/

Continue here…

 

fannie_mae_logo

Washington unveils policy to help people get foreclosed homes back

Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:12pm EST

WASHINGTON Nov 25 (Reuters) – Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure will be able to buy them back at current market value if the properties are owned by housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the regulator of the two firms said on Tuesday.

Previously, the Federal Housing Finance Agency required the two firms to demand former homeowners pay the entire amount owed on the mortgage.

The FHFA said the new rule applies to about 121,000 properties currently owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee most new U.S. mortgages and were bailed out by taxpayers in 2008 during a severe recession.

“This is a targeted, but important policy change that should help reduce property vacancies and stabilize home values and neighborhoods,” FHFA Director Mel Watt said in a statement.
Watt has so far shied away from policies that would reduce the debts of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than the properties are worth, and Tuesday’s action could signal more openness to that approach.

“It is sort of an end-run way to do principal reduction,” said Richard Green, a housing economist at the University of Southern California.
Democratic lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren have urged the FHFA to adopt principal reduction policies to help more people avoid foreclosure. But critics of this approach say it could encourage people to borrow too much in the first place or put undue stress on banks.

The FHFA said people who lost their homes must still wait at least three years after a foreclosure to be eligible for a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Adam Deutsch, Esq., Denbeaux and Denbeaux

Adam Deutsch, Esq., of the lawfirm Denbeaux and Denbeaux

How Government Profits from…

“Reports that Fannie Mae has hired debt collection agencies to pursue deficiency judgments from people who have lost their homes to foreclosure, are startling for a multitude of reasons. The idea that our government could profit off the suffering of its own citizens and residents is appalling and must be stopped.”

 

…Pursuing Deficiency Judgments

In the November 18th  2014, New York Times article, “Collecting Debts on Dubious Foreclosures” by , cited the November 15 th, 2014 New York Times article “Borrowers, Beware: The Robo-Signers Aren’t Finished Yet” by GRETCHEN MORGENSON . Mr Adam Deutsch of the law firm Denbeaux  and Denbeaux comments on the fact that some borrowers who lost their homes in the housing market collapse are being pursed by debt collectors for debts related to foreclosures based on unlawful robo-signed documents.

 

Written by Adam Deutsch

Reports that Fannie Mae has hired debt collection agencies to pursue deficiency judgments from people who have lost their homes to foreclosure are startling for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, reports have noted that in Florida where post foreclosure collections are being carried out, it is an undisputed fact that many of the foreclosures were obtained through fraudulent paperwork.

Second, those who have lost their homes have already suffered economically and emotionally. Pursuing further collections is purely vindictive. A mortgage loan comes with collateral precisely for the purpose of securing the bank’s interest to guarantee that if the loan defaults the home will be recovered.

The underlying problems in the mortgage industry leading to the 2008 crises are evident in the new collections program. Fannie Mae knew it was funding loans in great excess of actual collateral values but it chose to do so anyhow, making brokers wealthy and leaving many homeless after the loans turned bad. It is unethical to now seek further collections where Fannie Mae is directly culpable for creating the underlying shortfall it claims to face.

Lastly, turning to the collections industry is a scary proposition because the industry often uses methods for collection that violated Federal Laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Debtors don’t know that their rights are being violated because there is a shortage of consumer rights attorneys and advocates. Fannie Mae has been under government conservatorship for years now and all of its profits are being taken by the U.S. Government.

The idea that our government could profit off the suffering of its own citizens and residents is appalling and must be stopped. The only way we can move forward and fully recover from the housing crises as a nation is to cut losses, move forward and engage in meaningful reconciliation.”

 

wells-fargo-logo-black-1024x1024

Pic A Payment Loan Settlement

New Jersey attorney Josh Denbeaux wrote an analysis of the settlement that details how Wells Fargo and a few attorneys profited from a lawsuit meant to punish the bank and provide relief to misguided homeowners.

As reported by

In a recent class action settlement, wronged homeowners received $178.04, while their attorney’s received $12.5 million a piece, and Wells Fargo won the guarantee these homeowners would never sue again.

New Jersey attorney Josh Denbeaux wrote an analysis of the settlement that details how Wells Fargo and a few attorneys profited from a lawsuit meant to punish the bank and provide relief to misguided homeowners.

When Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia Bank following the 2008 financial crisis, it inherited tens of thousands of predatory and illegal loans that had devastated borrowers and contributed to the collapse of the housing bubble.

Among these loans, which were offered in bad faith to naïve borrowers, was the “Pick-A-Payment” loan, which allowed homeowners to choose from several repayment plans. One option allowed them to make monthly payments below the interest rate, so their loan balance actually increased every month.

Once their loan hit a certain balance, homeowners would suddenly be forced to make higher payments, usually at a rate they could never have been approved for in a typical loan. At this point, most homeowners defaulted and the bank then foreclosed on their home. (RELATED: Long Forgotten Debt Haunting Thousands Of Americans)

Facing legal action from several attorneys general following the collapse of the housing bubble, Wells Fargo agreed in 2010 to modify the loans of eligible borrowers, and to pay millions to some states to provide relief to those who already lost their homes.

In a separate legal battle, more than half a million wronged homeowners across the country had filed a class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo, which was settled a few months after the agreement with the attorneys general was signed.

In the settlement, Wells Fargo paid $75 million to the homeowners and offer them a restructured loan, if they waived their right to sue again. The attorneys split $25 million, and $125,000 was split between the homeowners 26 representatives, which left the other members of the suit with $178.04.

Most of the homeowners were not asked to consider the terms of the settlement.

Thousands of them waived away their right to sue in exchange for the check and restructured loan – not realizing they were already entitled to the restructured loan because of the agreement Wells Fargo signed with the attorneys general.

Jayme Brunkhorst joined the suit following a recommendation from her lawyer. She met with some of the class action attorneys and provided them with documents. Although Brunkhorst was a representative in the case, she never heard from the lawyers again, until she received a check in the mail for $2,500. She was not informed of the terms or how much the attorneys were paid until after the settlement was reached.

“Wells Fargo was allowed to revoke the terms of the original settlement for homeowners in New Jersey by brokering another deal where homeowners surrendered their rights to legal action in exchange for $178.04,” Denbeaux said.

In another misleading move, Wells Fargo is requiring homeowners to initiate the loan restructuring process, although the terms of the settlement explicitly states the homeowners will be contacted if they qualify. “If the Court grants final approval to the Settlement, you will automatically receive benefits if you qualify,” it reads.

Denbeaux has written letters to all of the attorneys generals who signed the agreement with Wells Fargo, asking them to reopen their investigation, and is pursuing further litigation against Wells Fargo. His firm, Denbeaux & Denbeaux, has more than a dozen active cases in state and federal trial and appeals court against Wells Fargo, and is filing two more next week.

 

Wells Fargo Settlement Hasn’t Helped New Jersey Homeowners While New Jersey Attorney-General Looks the Other Way
For Immediate release
 
Contact: Paul Karr, NJ Communities United, 917-407-3293/paul@unitednj.org  or Donald Tremblay, Denbeaux & Denbeaux Law, dtremblay@earthlink.net/718-664-3405

 

Newark, NJ (October 8, 2014) – Several big banks have negotiated large settlements with the US Attorney General’s Office for their role in the housing bubble and subsequent economic collapse. While the historic settlements sound promising on the surface, a study by Denbeaux & Denbeaux law firm exposes why struggling homeowners shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for relief. “It’s all about enforcement by the states, and truthfully, New Jersey’s Attorney-General hasn’t made homeowners a priority,” said Josh Denbeaux. “Wells Fargo was allowed to revoke the terms of the original settlement for homeowners in New Jersey by brokering another deal where homeowners surrendered their rights to legal action in exchange for $178.04.”
 
Anti-foreclosure and housing advocates rightly point out that out of court settlements protect banks from exposing their predatory lending practices through evidence discovery in courts, which is why NJ Communities United is issuing a series of policy recommendations that the State of New Jersey should consider to provide relief for homeowners victimized by predatory lending and questionable foreclosure practices.
 
“The result of the legal acrobatics and out-of-court settlements has essentially let Wells Fargo and other big banks off-the-hook for their predatory lending practices in low-income communities of color,” said Trina Scordo, executive director of NJ Communities United. “Wells Fargo preyed on these communities then negotiated away the rights of homeowners to take legal action. Homeowners deserve their day in court – or at the very least, enforcement from the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.”
 
This point is not lost on homeowners.
 
“Where was my day in court?” asked Yolanda Andrews, a Newark homeowner fighting to save her home from foreclosure by Wells Fargo. “I want Wells Fargo and the other banks exposed for what they’ve done to homeowners like me. I want the Department of Justice and the New Jersey Attorney General to take these banks to court, not to negotiate away the rights of homeowners and ignore their responsibility to enforce the provisions the banks agreed to.”
At the end of the day, the Wells Fargo settlements have not provided any real relief for struggling homeowners in New Jersey. In fact, it appears that the settlements – and lack of enforcement by the New Jersey Attorney General – have only paved an unimpeded path towards foreclosure for thousands of New Jersey homeowners.
 
“I’m not hopeful that future bank settlements will provide any relief to homeowners,” said Trina Scordo. “This Wells Fargo case study exposes the legal maneuvering by banks to keep their crimes hidden while continuing to strip communities of their wealth. This is why we’re issuing policy recommendations to the Governor’s Office, the NJ Attorney General and the NJ State Legislature.”
# # #

“We hope they were duped”: How prosecutors gave banks the best “penalty” ever by – David Dayen

TUESDAY, OCT 14, 2014 06:59 AM EDT

Defenders of Eric Holder’s legacy on financial crimes keep saying that, although we sent no bankers to jail for their tsunami of fraudulent behavior, at least we punished the parent companies in settlements, and forced them to compensate victims. I call it “settlement justice,” and it has become the template for how the perpetrators of white-collar crime get treated in America. Read the rest of the article here.

NJ Lawyer Sees Victory for Homeowners Suing Banks for Consumer Fraud

Joshua Denbeaux says that a “precedent-setting judgment changes the balance of power in New Jersey courts” and that “homeowners can expect to recover money from banks” after Freedom Mortgage Corp was found guilty of violating New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

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Joshua Denbeaux - Partner, Denbeaux & Denbeaux, Westwood, NJ 07675

Joshua Denbeaux has 27 active cases pending, and more homeowners are coming in every day.

The balance of power has shifted and banks are no longer immune; home owners can now expect to recover money from banks

Westwood, New Jersey (PRWEB) August 20, 2014

Joshua Denbeaux, partner at the law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux, sees the recent ruling that Freedom Mortgage Corp was guilty of violating the NJ Consumer Fraud Act as a victory for NJ residents because now their rights have been upheld and the lenders will have to pay money to homeowners.

“The conventional wisdom is that banks win and homeowners lose. The balance of power has shifted and banks are no longer immune; homeowners can now expect to recover money from banks. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We have 27 active cases pending, and more homeowners are coming in every day”, said Joshua Denbeaux.

In “FREEDOM MORTGAGE CORPORATION Plaintiff, -v.- MAMIE E. MAJOR, et al.,Defendants. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY CHANCERY DIVISION: BERGEN COUNTY DOCKET No. BER-F-32463-13“, Bergen County Superior Court Judge Gerald Escala ruled that Freedom Mortgage Corp gave a home refinance loan to Mamie Major, a 70-year-old Englewood resident, despite knowing that she would be unable to repay it. He also stated that “the loan was granted in order to engender fees for the lender and not for the benefit of the borrower,” and also argued that “the transaction has been demonstrated to be effectively one-sided, for the benefit of the lender.”

Freedom Mortgage Corp has been found guilty of violating NJ’s Consumer Fraud Act and will be forced to pay NJ homeowner Mamie Jones triple damages and attorney’s fees.

Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux added, “This is an enormous breakthrough. For the first time homeowners are being paid money by the banks for the fraudulent loans the banks have written. The judge’s ruling should further encourage homeowners to bring actions against banks because the playing field has been leveled. ”

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts.

The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in mortgage foreclosure,consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation.

Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record and in a ebook which can be downloaded for free Mortgage Fraud: Wells Fargo Wins, Homeowners, Attorney Generals and Courts Lose

 

by Joshua Denbeaux

Citing fraudulent misrepresentations and violations by Wells Fargo affecting 500,000 homeowners across nine states, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington, Westwood, NJ law firm Denbeaux & Denbeaux has sent letters to all nine State Attorneys General offices asking it to reopen its investigation of Wells Fargo, it was announced by Attorney Joshua Denbeaux.

According to Denbeaux, “Wells Fargo used federal courts to nullify agreements it had simultaneously signed with the Attorneys General of nine states.”

“We’ve sent the report to all nine of the Attorneys General over a week ago and have heard no response from any of them. As strange as it may seem, for everyone’s sake we hope that they were duped, because the alternative would be unthinkable. This week we sent another letter to the NJ Attorney General saying exactly that,” continues Denbeaux.

The following is the list of states that had an attorney general assurance prior to the notice sent to In re: Wachovia class members, on the class action filed in the Northern District of California, M:09-CV-2015-JF, and that date on which those assurances were reached.

1. Arizona: October 6, 2010

2. California: December 16, 2010

3. Colorado: October 4, 2010

4. Florida: October 5, 2010

5. Illinois: October 6, 2010

6. Nevada: October 6, 2010

7. New Jersey: October 5, 2010

8. Texas: October 6, 2010

9. Washington: October 1, 2010

“The people of New Jersey should stand for nothing less than reopening the investigation into Wells Fargo banking practices in New Jersey. But the problem doesn’t end there because there are eight other states where this has happened in a calculated and orchestrated way by Wells Fargo,” Denbeaux concludes.

Following the housing-bubble burst Wells Fargo faced many lawsuits from homeowners who accused the bank of committing fraud through its “Pick-A-Payment” mortgage loan program (Wells Fargo inherited these loans when they bought Wachovia Bank.)

To avoid these lawsuits Wells Fargo negotiated a series of settlements in Sept 2010 with the Attorneys General of nine states that would provide homeowners a series of promised modifications, while still granting those homeowners the right to sue Wells Fargo for the fraudulent loans.

However, while Wells Fargo was negotiating this deal with the Attorneys General, it was secretly simultaneously negotiating a Class-Action Settlement in California Federal Court that would give homeowners the same promised modifications, but only if the homeowners agreed to surrender their rights to sue Wells Fargo. (The Class-Action Settlement was signed in Dec 2010–two months after the Attorneys General Settlement).

None of the homeowners were told by Wells Fargo that they had already been given the promised modifications by the attorneys’ general settlement. After signing the Class Action Settlement the majority of the homeowners, some who have lost their homes to foreclosure, received a check for only $178.04.

“Wells Fargo clearly used the Federal Class-Action Settlement as a way to wash its hands of any future lawsuits”, said Denbeaux. “They signed a settlement with nine state attorneys general which they had no intention of honoring. It was a bait-and-switch. Simply put, homeowners were paid $178 to surrender their rights to sue for fraud.”

The lawyers at Denbeaux & Denbeaux fight for the rights of all homeowners. If you have questions or if you feel you might be getting taken advantage of, or you are in default, or are nearing default, or have refinanced and something doesn’t seem right, you need to talk to a lawyer and get a consultation to find out what you don’t know. Call Joshua Denbeaux of the Westwood, New Jersey, law firm, Denbeaux and Denbeaux to answer your questions at 201-664-8855. or send an email to pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com