Quantcast
Connect with us

Bank of America halts foreclosures in 23 states

Published

on

Employee: Bank signed foreclosure papers for thousands of homeowners without any review

Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.

The move adds the nation’s largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.

Bank of America isn’t able to estimate how many homeowners’ cases will be affected, Dan Frahm, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, said Friday. He said the bank plans to resubmit corrected documents within several weeks.

Two other companies, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase, have halted tens of thousands of foreclosure cases after similar problems became public.

The document problems could cause thousands of homeowners to contest foreclosures that are in the works or have been completed. If the problems turn up at other lenders, a foreclosure crisis that’s already likely to drag on for several more years could persist even longer. Analysts caution that most homeowners facing foreclosure are still likely to lose their homes.

ADVERTISEMENT

State attorneys general, who enforce foreclosure laws, are stepping up pressure on the industry.

On Friday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asked a state court to freeze all home foreclosures for 60 days. Doing so “should stop a foreclosure steamroller based on defective documents,” he said.

And California Attorney General Jerry Brown called on JPMorgan to suspend foreclosures unless it could show it complied with a state consumer protection law. The law requires lenders to contact borrowers at risk of foreclosure to determine whether they qualify for mortgage assistance.

In Florida, the state attorney general is investigating four law firms, two with ties to GMAC, for allegedly providing fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases. The Ohio attorney general asked judges this week to review GMAC foreclosure cases.

ADVERTISEMENT

In New York, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is reviewing the matter “to prevent homeowners from being improperly removed from their homes,” according to a spokesman, Richard Bamberger, who said Friday that Cuomo’s office has been in contact with several of the financial institutions.

Mark Paustenbach, a Treasury Department spokesman, said the Treasury has asked federal regulators “to look into these troubling developments.” And the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, has asked seven big banks to examine their foreclosure processes.

“We both want to see that they fix the processing problems, but also to look to see whether there is specific harm” to homeowners, John Walsh, the agency’s acting director told lawmakers Thursday.

A document obtained Friday by the Associated Press showed a Bank of America official acknowledging in a legal proceeding that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically didn’t read them.

ADVERTISEMENT

The official, Renee Hertzler, said in a February deposition that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month.

“I typically don’t read them because of the volume that we sign,” Hertzler said.

She also acknowledged identifying herself as a representative of a different bank, Bank of New York Mellon, that she didn’t work for. Bank of New York Mellon served as a trustee for the investors holding the homeowner’s loan.

Hertzler could not be reached for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

A lawyer for the homeowner in the case, James O’Connor of Fitchburg, Mass., said such problems are rampant throughout the industry.

“We have had thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of foreclosures around the country by entities that did not have the right to foreclose,” O’Connor said.

The disclosure comes two days after JPMorgan said it would temporarily stop foreclosing on more than 50,000 homes so it could review documents that might contain errors. Last week, GMAC halted certain evictions and sales of foreclosed homes in 23 states to review those cases after finding procedural errors in some foreclosure affidavits.

Consumer advocates say the problems are widespread across the lending industry.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The general level of sloppiness is pervasive around the industry,” said Diane Thompson, counsel at the National Consumer Law Center.

Vickee Adams, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo & Co., said Wells’ “policies, procedures and practices satisfy us that the affidavits we sign are accurate.”

Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Citigroup Inc., said the bank “reviews document handling processes in our foreclosure group on an ongoing basis, and we have strong training to ensure that appropriate employees are fully aware of the proper procedures.”

Mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Friday they’re directing companies they work with that collect loan payments to follow proper procedures.

ADVERTISEMENT

In some states, lenders can foreclose quickly on delinquent mortgage borrowers. By contrast, the 23 states in which Bank of America is delaying foreclosures use a lengthy court process. They require documents to verify information on the mortgage, including who owns it.

Those states are:

Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

___

ADVERTISEMENT

AP Business Writer Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.

Mochila insert follows

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump’s only winning strategy is to tear down Democrats — because he has nothing to promote: MSNBC panel

Published

on

President Donald Trump has little to promote for 2020, so political analysts on MSNBC think that he'll likely spend the campaign working to tear everyone else down.

Howard Fineman noted that if Trump intends to do a "tear down" campaign, the most important things Democrats will have are policy proposals to set themselves apart from a White House that is unwilling to pass anything through Congress.

"It's just a question of can he do what he did in 2016 and 2018, which was, frankly, mobilize voters in a fear-tactic kind of way," said Fineman during Monday's "Meet the Press."

Host Kasie Hunt said that it seems the new Trump poll numbers show that his base is losing enthusiasm as they go into the election.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Missouri governor appoints judge who fundraised for crisis pregnancy center to help decide Planned Parenthood’s license

Published

on

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO) has appointed former Macon County Associate Circuit Judge Philip Prewitt to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a state agency that oversees disputes between the state and organizations seeking licensure.

Prewitt, a former Republican candidate for office, once fundraised on Facebook for Ray of Hope Pregnancy Care Ministeries, a "crisis pregnancy center" that masquerades as a health care facility in order to trick women seeking abortions into listening to anti-abortion propaganda. In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded Prewitt for the post encouraging people to donate, saying that it violated judicial ethics rules.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump being a ‘compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus’ is why he failed on Iran: Conservative columnist

Published

on

President Donald Trump's highly-criticized decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted as was warned, with the country reviving its nuclear program, a conservative columnist explained in The Washington Post on Monday.

Conservative Max Boot took a victory lap in the hard-hitting column, reminding that he had signed a March 2016 letter by 121 Republican foreign policy analysts warning about Trump's approach.

"I wish we had been wrong, but we were all too right," Boot wrote.

"Trump has shown no ability to grow in office; but then it’s hard to learn if you all you read is Fox News chyrons. He is today the same compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus he was at the start of the 2016 campaign," Boot said. "Only now, the stakes are much higher."

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link