Foreclosure Tragedy Can’t Compete with Ryan Lochte

The Huffington Post | August 19, 2016    Foreclosures are no longer fodder for major news headlines. The media intensity diminished as Americans became dulled to the stories of millions of families being kicked out of their homes by big banks and Wall Street-backed hedge funds. Instead, the media whips up a frenzy over Ryan Lochte and his pals vandalizing a bathroom in Rio de Janeiro. Yet, out of the media spotlight, our fellow Americans continue to be foreclosed out of their homes.

Kathleen Gross and her family will lose their Paradise Valley, Arizona home of twenty-five years to foreclosure next Tuesday, August 23. This will mark the end of a relentless years-long battle with a series of mortgage companies. “All of our memories are here. We raised our children in this home,” she wept. “We have been in this neighborhood for over two decades and don’t want to leave.”  Read more here.

Dallas Firm Put Black Homeowners at Higher Risk of Foreclosure, Suit Alleges

The Dallas Morning News|  August 19, 2016       Dallas equity firm Lone Star Funds is being sued by a group of black homeowners in New York who allege the company pushed them toward foreclosure by misleading them about their mortgages.

A 53-year-old plaintiff told a federal court that the company's mortgage servicer would call him almost every day — sometimes two or three times a day — threatening foreclosure and pressuring him to accept an unfavorable change to his loan.

Lone Star's mortgage servicer, Caliber Home Loans, disputed the allegations and called the lawsuit "without merit."

The federal suit filed last week also targets the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At issue is the agency's sale of delinquent mortgages backed by the federal government to private investors such as Lone Star.  

Those sales leave homeowners with fewer protections and disproportionately harm black families because their share of government-insured mortgages in New York City is higher than that of white families, according to the suit. 

A HUD spokesman declined to comment. Meanwhile, Irving-based Caliber maintains that it treats borrowers fairly.

"Every Caliber loan modification is reviewed thoroughly without regard to race, gender, religious, or sexual orientation," executive vice president Marion McDougall said in a prepared statement.  Read more here.

Ocwen Responds to National Mortgage Settlement Foreclosure Holds

Ocwen: These holds are not 'frozen foreclosures'

HousingWire |  April 28, 2016      Early Thursday morning, Joseph Smith, the monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, announced that Ocwen Financial was not in compliance with one of the performance metrics of the National Mortgage Settlement and prohibited the nonbank from taking foreclosure actions on more than 17,000 loans.

According to Smith’s office, Ocwen “was delayed” in implementing its Corrective Action Plan for the failure of Metric 31, which relates to the mortgage servicer sending a loan denial motivation to a borrower, because of “difficulties in resolving the technical issues that led to the original fail.”

Smith’s office said that because of those issues Ocwen must place 17,496 loans that "could have been affected" by this issue on foreclosure hold.

“While Ocwen has made progress toward correcting a number of past fails, it has not resolved its issues that led to its failure of Metric 31,” Smith said. “Therefore, I will not allow Ocwen to move forward with foreclosures on any borrowers who could have been affected by this failure until each of these borrowers has correct information and a chance to appeal.”   Read more here.

In a lengthy response published Thursday afternoon, Ocwen responded to Smith’s office and the nature of the sanctions that Smith’s office placed on it.  Read more here.

HSBC Agrees to $470 Million Settlement Over Alleged U.S. Mortgage Abuses

About 136,000 borrowers will be compensated as a result of the settlement.

Time | February 5, 2016    Some Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure during the financial crisis will soon be eligible for relief. Today New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the state has reached a settlement with HSBC over charges that the mortgage lender engaged in abusive foreclosures and related practices. The attorney general accused HSBC of “robo-signing” foreclosure documents and evicting people from their homes without adequate verification.

“There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that includes lenders who engage in abusive business practices,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The settlement announced today is a joint partnership that will create tough new servicing standards that will ensure fair treatment for HSBC’s borrowers and provide relief to customers across New York State and across the country.”  Read more here.

JPMorgan Fined $48 Million for Failures in U.S. Robo-Signing Settlement

Reuters |  January 6, 2016    JPMorgan Chase has been fined $48 million for failing to meet terms of a settlement to resolve mortgage servicing violations, U.S. bank regulators said on Tuesday.  The fine will be on top of $2 billion that JPMorgan had been ordered to pay to cover remediation costs and foreclosure assistance to borrowers, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said.

JPMorgan was among a number of banks that participated in a 2013 nationwide settlement with regulators over the practice of robo-signing, where banks pursued faulty foreclosures by using defective or fraudulent documents.

The OCC also said on Tuesday that EverBank will pay a $1 million fine for similar violations connected to the mortgage servicing case.   Read more here

Delinquencies and Foreclosures Up Again; Time in Foreclosure at 1056 Days

The Economic Populist |  November 10, 2015     The Mortgage Monitor for September from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS, formerly LPS) reported that there were 737,254 home mortgages, or 1.46% of all mortgages outstanding, remaining in the foreclosure process at the end of September, which was down from 747,930, or 1.48% of all active loans that were in foreclosure at the end of August, and down from 1.89% of all mortgages that were in foreclosure in September of last year.  These are homeowners who had a foreclosure notice served but whose homes had not yet been seized, and the September "foreclosure inventory" remains the lowest percentage of homes that were in the foreclosure process since late 2007.   New foreclosure starts, however, rose for the second month in a row, from 76,180 in August to 79,899 in September, up more than 10% from July, while they remain lower than the 95.400 new foreclosures started in September of 2014, they've been volatile from month to month, and they have remained in a range about 50% higher than number of new foreclosures we saw in the precrisis year of 2005.  Read more here.