Our San Bernardino County foreclosure defense attorneys were pleased to see that robo-signing may finally be creating some widespread negative consequences for lenders. The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported Dec. 21 that the state's Chief Justice, Stuart Rabner, has informed six major lenders that he will suspend their foreclosures unless they can show their internal foreclosure processes meet legal standards. Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, OneWest, Citibank and Ally Financial have until Jan. 19 to file paperwork showing this. The chief justice also called on lenders and servicers with active foreclosure cases to document no irregularities in their cases within 45 days; and sent a letter to the state Bar Association reminding attorneys that they must be able to verify information in foreclosure affidavits before signing those affidavits.
New Jersey, a judicial foreclosure state, has recently gotten national attention after a federal bankruptcy judge there rejected a foreclosure. The foreclosing bank, Bank of America, could not prove it owned the mortgage, and an employee testified that it routinely failed to transfer ownership when securitizing mortgages, a violation of the law. In November, the nonprofit Legal Services of New Jersey sent Rabner a report alleging that failing to validate foreclosure affidavits before signing them is widespread in the mortgage industry. This echoed the national robo-signing scandal that broke in October. Since then, at least four other state attorneys general have ordered lenders to show that their foreclosure processes are valid, and the state of New York also ordered foreclosure attorneys for lenders to certify that they have reviewed the paperwork.
We hope, as Orange foreclosure defense lawyers, that these actions make a difference for people who are at risk of losing their homes to incorrect foreclosures. When robo-signing first broke, lenders claimed that it was only a technical matter, because most people in foreclosure genuinely hadn't made their mortgage payments. Judging by this article, authorities in New Jersey and five other states aren't willing to take lenders' word for that -- they want extra layers of proof or liability to ensure that the foreclosure is not correct. Very likely, judges also dislike the lack of respect for the court shown by lenders' failure to follow basic parts of the law. After practicing in this area for nearly two years of the housing crisis, we strongly agree that some kind of failsafe is important. Lenders and servicers stand to make a lot of money by pushing through foreclosures quickly -- but if they get something wrong, borrowers stand to lose their homes.
Howard Law PC is an experienced bankruptcy law firm that has represented borrowers in loan modification and foreclosure defense actions since the start of the housing downturn. In that time, we have seen many, many cases in which lenders prolonged and denied loan modifications, pushing borrowers toward foreclosure even when those borrowers are willing and able to keep making payments. Our Fallbrook foreclosure defense attorneys believe lenders are genuinely not interested in making a loan modification -- they are interested in maximizing the fees and penalties they can collect, by dragging out the process with excuses and terrible customer service. We help clients fight back, through negotiations and, when necessary, litigation to ensure that lenders realize we will fight for our clients' rights. Even if a foreclosure sale is around the corner, we can typically stop it long enough to get clients a fair hearing in court.
If you've done everything you could think of on your own to stop a foreclosure and you know you need help, you should call Howard Law. To learn more about our experience or tell us your story, contact us online or call 1-800-872-5925 today for a free consultation.