Part I: Bank of America Employees Lied To Homeowners

mortgage modification attorneysIn a lawsuit filed against Bank of America, six former Bank of America employees and one outside contractor working for Bank of America, filed affidavits with the court, claiming they regularly lied to homeowner’s seeking mortgage loan modifications. The mortgage modifications were denied for made up reasons. These employees were rewarded for denying mortgage modifications and putting the homes into foreclosure. The lawsuit is pending in a United States District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. It is part of a class action brought on behalf of homeowner’s who were trying to avoid foreclosures on their homes pursuant to the governments Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Bank Of America Denies The Allegations

Bank of America has given a statement through a spokesperson. The statement indicated the affidavits of the employees were “rife with factual inconsistencies.” Bank of America claims to have modified more loans than any other bank in the country.

William Wilson, Jr., who worked as an underwriter for Bank of America and as a manager between the years 2010 and 2012 stated homeowners had to submit documentation of financial information with their mortgage modification applications. Wilson stated that twice a month, the bank required all files that were more than 60 days old had to be denied. This was called “a blitz.” During this period, one team would deny between 600 and 1500 mortgage modification applications all at the same time.

The manner in which the employees justified the turning down of these mortgages was to create fictitious reasons for these mortgage denials. The most common fictitious reason for denying the mortgage was claiming the homeowner had not sent in the appropriate financial documents requested by Bank of America. The Bank of America employees claimed these financial documents were not sent in when the documents were right in front of them!

Erica Brown, a former Bank of America employee, has made statements indicating “Bank of America’s practice was to string homeowners along with no apparent intention of providing the permanent loan modification it promises.” Bank of America and its executives should be subject to criminal investigations with regard to their actions under the HAMP program.assistance for homeowners

Increased mortgage modifications have scaled foreclosure down

foreclosure defense lawyerThe rate of mortgage modifications has taken an upward turn again to relieve homeowners from foreclosure. As per the recent statistics, during April to June this year, around 204,000 homeowners have already qualified for permanent loan modification. Among all, nearly 160,000 homeowners have obtained proprietary loan modification and 44,860 homeowners have been able to modify mortgage loans by using the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP. Numerous mortgage servicers have assisted homeowners thoroughly in mortgage modifications and made it possible to achieve this mark in just 3 months.

As the data suggests, since 2007, the situation has taken a positive turn. More than 6.52 million permanent loan modifications have been completed successfully. Among the 6.52 million, 5.31 million loans are under the proprietary programs and approximately 1,223,449 modifications are under the HAMP. The development is great indeed and it’s expected that by next few years it’ll be possible to control the foreclosure effectively enough.

The steady increase in mortgage modification has already reduced the number of short sales and foreclosure in the course of time. In the second quarter of this year, around 329,000 foreclosures have been recorded. This is lower than the previous quarter which encountered 472,000 foreclosures. There is a considerable 30% drop in the foreclosure count. In 2012, during the second quarter, 527,000 foreclosures took place. So, in one year the total number of foreclosure has dropped by 38%. Not only foreclosure, but there is a reduction in short sales also. In the second quarter, total 81,000 short sales have been recorded which is lower enough in comparison to the last quarters’ 84,000 count. So, short sales have also reduced by 3%. In 2012, 107,000 short sales were completed.

During the first quarter of 2013, 162,000 foreclosures were completed. After increased number of mortgage modifications, the number of foreclosure was 158,000 in the second quarter. There is a 2% reduction in the overall count since last quarter. Exactly one year ago, in the second quarter of 2012, around 185,000 foreclosures were completed. So, in one year, there is a huge reduction of 15% in foreclosure count.
Short sales have reduced by 25% and foreclosure around 15% in the last one year. If you’ll evaluate the numbers according to months, then you’ll be able to detect the gradual change. In May 2013, almost 115,000 foreclosures were recorded. In June the number came down to 97,000, a 16% reduction. There is a 7% reduction in number of short sales also.

All the surveys and their results are indicating to a positive change in the mortgage market. The number of mortgage delinquencies are reducing as per the records but there is perhaps more to check than just figures. Market experts are however hopeful about the whole progress. The vice president of RealtyTrac, Daren Blomquist has stated that marketers are trying their level best to find a way through the numerous bad loans and assist troubled homeowners accordingly. Apart from that, the property prices are also going low now. The curtailed property prices have made it possible for the troubled homeowners to save their homes through mortgage modification.

Blomquist also added, “Lastly, the persistent foreclosure prevention efforts over the past few years have waged a war of attrition on the foreclosure problem, helping to keep a lid on foreclosure activity”. The positive decline in the foreclosure count has definitely made the things more favorable for the homeowners. However, it’s difficult to assume that for how long the situation will be favorable for the homeowners. It’s essential for homeowners to be alert and make the most of the favorable market condition.

Anjelica Cullin, Financial Writer

Foreclosures Increase In May 2013

foreclosure defense lawyersFinancial institutions have gotten more aggressive with regard to foreclosing on homes. The foreclosure rate jumped approximately 11% nationally in May of 2013. In more than 33 states, the foreclosures rates were higher in May of 2013 than earlier in the year.

Demand For Homes Increase

The demand for homes by prospective purchasers’ is increasing in the United States. This had led to an increase in the prices homes on the market are selling for. On an annualized basis, home prices increased more than 12% in April of 2013. This is the single largest gain in sales prices of homes since February of 2006.

Foreclosed Homes On The Market

Foreclosed homes taken back by banks and other financial institutions have been selling faster than in the past. Darren Bloomquest, the Vice President of Realty Trac, recently stated the flood of bank-owned homes entering the marketplace is bad news for home owners. “For homeowners who are current or own their own homes outright, this could slow down the recent rapid rise in home price appreciation, which could mean the value of their homes is not going up as quickly in the short term.”

Underwater Homes

As of March 2013, approximately 20% of all homes in the United States with a mortgage against them were underwater. Although there has been a decrease in the number of homes worth less than their mortgages, it is still an extremely high percentage of homes in the United States.

Foreclosed Homes

In May of 2013, approximately 39,000 homes were taken back by financial institutions in foreclosure proceedings. It is estimated more than 500,000 homes will be foreclosed and taken back by financial institutions in 2013. Although this is a very high number, it is still below the 617,000, taken back by financial institutions in foreclosure lawsuits in 2012.assistance for homeowners

Planning for estate: everything that needs to be known

foreclosure attorneysPerhaps, it’s time for you to determine how much money you want to keep for later. It doesn’t even matter if you’re rich or not, now you should be considering what you’re going to do with assets when you’re dead.

Estate planning is one of the options to think about without looking how much of assets you own. Accounts for trust guarantees easier estate settlement process. According to experts, they will be irreplaceable option to do due to hard and long time operation. “A lot of consumers do miss the whole importance of making connections between banking accounts and estate planning”, Ally Bank deposits and business integration executive Diane Morais tells.

Apply for help to financial advisor

May be you’re still doubting about taking a trust or so, it would be of a great help to have a little conversation with either financial advisor or a lawyer. The last one, by the way, in case of you agree for it, will get a legal agreement for you and help to obtain a trustee, who is going to be a manager of the trust that will be soon established.

Some tips to be careful

For better understanding what you’re agreeing for, there are some beneficial points of it:
1. Trust is a good way to protect your assets and also a guarantee for taking care after your beneficiaries sometime later.
2. Trust might be able to decrease a possibility of tax liability.
3. Probate isn’t necessarily with having a trust, and this is not always a very pleasant thing to do, especially with a need to pay fees and taking a lot of your time.
4. You’re able to get insurance in case of something happened to your trust account.

Look for a trusted account

During assessing the bank accounts for the trusts, people need to search for accounts with stable growth, rival interest rates, and a direct approach to banking – for example, no monthly fees for service, no minimum deposit and daily compound interests. Ally Bank has a range of products suitable for trust accounts, like CDs without penalty, to raise your rates CDs, money market accounts and checking accounts with Live Service customers 24 hours 7 days a week. It’s always a nice thing to learn some more information about how to use a new resource guide for creating trust accounts at Ally Bank website page.

Estate planning can make sure your family is safe when you can’t protect it. Take some actions so that your savings are going to be in the right place and people you love will be able to use them.

Marie is an accomplished financial consultant writing about socio-economic problems as well as legal and financial articles on debt, bankruptcy, easy way to get money fast, stock market and high dividend stocks, business insurance, credit cards, personal injury on various websites. She has been writing for the last 5 years.

Home Prices Increasing

real estate and mortgage modification attorneysHome prices are slowly increasing throughout the United States. The price of homes sold in October of 2012 was 4.3% higher than homes sold in October of 2011. This is the largest year over year increase in more than 30 months. Although in most major American cities the price of homes increased during the 12 month period from October 2011 to October 2012, this did not apply to New York. Unfortunately, home prices have decreased in the past 12 months in the State of New York.

Housing Recovery

There is a housing recovery taking place in most of the country. Unfortunately this recovery is not taking place in New York. It is still too early to look at the data concerning the impact of Hurricanes Sandy on the housing market in New York. Although many New Yorkers lost their homes or their homes were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, it is too early to reach a conclusion on how this will impact on the New York housing market.

Fiscal Cliff and Home Prices

It is expected home prices will continue to increase slowly throughout the country if Congress and the President solve the issues regarding the fiscal cliff crisis. When home prices rise, potential purchasers have been sitting on the sidelines start to think to themselves, “well, should I get back into the real estate marketplace now?” Potential buyers are always looking for the lowest possible price.

Mortgage rates in the 3% range are very attractive to potential home purchasers. The construction of new homes continues to expand in the United States. The confidence of home builders rose in December 2012 for the 7th straight month. The confidence level of home builders is at the highest level it has been in 6 ½ years.

About the Author

assistance for homeownersElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. and his team of dedicated attorneys represent individuals with regard to foreclosure problems, mortgage modifications and all types of real estate issues.

Fraudulent Practices in Foreclosure Proceedings

foreclosure assistance for homeownersNewspapers and television news shows have made numerous presentations concerning many financial institutions in the United States being involved in fraudulent practices in originating loans. Lawsuits involving fraudulent practices can be brought against the original lender as well as subsequent lenders who received the notes and mortgage pursuant to assignments.

Fighting Foreclosure Lawsuits

A consumer who seeks to fight a foreclosure proceeding must present evidence he or she was taken advantage of due to predatory lending practices or the loan was issued after the Home Equity Theft Prevention Act (HETPA), as codified in Chapter 308 of the Laws of 2006 in the State of New York. HETPA creates presumptions of predatory lending in certain circumstances.

The case of Immigrant Mortgage vs. Fitzpatrick 95 A.D. 3D 1169, 945 NYS 2D 697 (2 Dept 2012) held a consumer is responsible for the contents of the information he or she provided in the loan application and at the time of the closing of the sale of the house. The court in this case held “[Immigrant Mortgage’s] evidence [presented against Fitzpatrick] established Fitzpatrick was presented with clearly written documents describing the terms of the subject loan and alerting her to the fact the plaintiff would not independently verify her income. Such evidence establishes prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing an affirmative defense regarding fraudulent practices. In opposition, Fitzpatrick failed to proffer any evidence sufficient to raise triable issue of fact as to whether the plaintiff made any materially misleading statements or committed any misconduct with respect to the subject loan.”

Counterclaims in Foreclosure Proceedings

When a homeowner is sued in foreclosure, they may counter-sue the financial institution even if there is a waiver of defenses or counterclaims in the mortgage documents if the counterclaim is based on fraud.helping homeowners stay in their homes

Homeowner Associations in Florida Are Foreclosing on Financial Institutions

foreclosures on long islandPayback Time in Florida

The State of Florida has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. It is estimated, approximately half a million homes have been sold by banks and other financial institutions in foreclosure proceedings.

Today, many homeowner associations and condo associations are bringing foreclosure proceedings against banks. These proceedings relate to banks failure to pay homeowner associations’ dues, real estate taxes and other expenses related to properties which have been repossessed by the financial institutions. When a financial institution takes title to a home in a foreclosure proceeding, they become responsible for taxes, homeowners association fees and all unpaid expenses related to the house for past years. So what are banks doing concerning the payments of these fees? They are ignoring them!

Homeowners Liening on Bank Owned Properties

Homeowner Associations are fighting back against banks in Florida. They are putting liens on the properties taken by the banks in foreclosure proceedings. Ben Solomon, a Miami based attorney, has filed more than 8000 liens on behalf of homeowners against properties owned by financial institutions. He has also brought more than 100 foreclosure cases against financial institutions.

Shortfall in the Finances of Condo Associations

Due to the high foreclosure rates in Florida, many condo associations are having financial difficulties. When people stop paying their mortgages, they also stop paying their condo association fees. This has a negative impact on all the other homeowners in the condo association. The reduced cash flow by the condo association has forced them to cut back on maintenance of their properties, security, beautification programs and other essential services that are necessary to maintain the lifestyle of the members of the condo association.

Most Banks Settle

Attorneys who have brought foreclosure proceedings against properties owned by financial institutions report when pressed, the financial institutions pay the back taxes, condo association fees and other expenses on the real estate.

Conclusion

When banks don’t pay their bills, go after them! Their pockets are deep and they usually come up with the cash!foreclosure advocate for homeowners

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 and the Fiscal Cliff – Part II

foreclosure assistance for long island homeowners600,000 Foreclosures a Year

Approximately 600,000 homes are foreclosed upon in the United States each year. In addition, there are tens of thousands of short sales taking place each and every year. It is also estimated, under the terms of the $25 billion foreclosure abuse settlement, approximately one million homeowners will have the principal amount of their mortgages reduced within the next few years. This means that there are virtually millions of Americans who will suffer increased income taxes related to losing their homes if the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 isn’t extended by Congress as part of some settlement concerning the fiscal cliff issues.

The Fiscal Cliff and the Real Estate Market

Most pundits point to a slow recovery in the residential housing market in the United States. However, fiscal cliff issues will have a negative impact on the housing market. The fiscal cliff and the housing crisis in the United States are major issues that must be considered by Congress and the President when resolving financial and tax issues.

Filing Bankruptcy

Let’s assume that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act expires. Is there a way of avoiding income tax in the event of a short sale or foreclosure? The answer to this question is yes. If the individual files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the debt is discharged in bankruptcy there will be no taxes due on the debt. Who can file for this type of bankruptcy? Individuals with debts that are greater than their assets or have negative cash flow.assistance for homeowners

Foreclosure Rates Climb On Long Island

foreclosure defense for homeownersForeclosure filings rose by almost 20% in Nassau County in July of 2012. This took place even though foreclosure rates fell in this same month by 43% as compared with July of 2011.

Financial institutions were busy in Nassau County in July. They filed to 469 foreclosure cases. Many of the new foreclosure cases filed in Nassau County involved homes that are recent defaults in mortgage payments. During this same time, there were only 216 filings for foreclosure proceedings in Suffolk County.

Barry Smolowitz, the founder of the Suffolk County Pro Bono Foreclosure Settlement Project, recently stated Suffolk County has “a more decentralized” way of processing foreclosure court cases than Nassau. There are a larger number of judges hearing cases in Suffolk County then there are in Nassau. This has had an impact on the administrative process involving foreclosure cases in Suffolk County.”

David Schwartzberg, the foreclosure counsel to the Huntington based Advantage Title, recently stated the foreclosure process is “much more onerous” for banks than it used to be because there are much stricter Federal and State oversight and then there has been in the past.

Early in 2012, the nation’s five largest mortgage lenders reached a $25 billion dollar settlement with both Federal and State agencies dealing with alleged foreclosure improprieties.

Fewer Foreclosed Homes Being Listed For Sale

Real Estate brokers who handle the sales of foreclosed homes have indicated there are fewer foreclosed homes being listed for sale on the market in Long Island. John Fitzgerald, the President of Realty Connect USA, located in Suffolk County stated “we’ve seen a lot less foreclosed homes enter the marketplace then they have in the past.”assistance for homeowners facing bankruptcy

Court Denies Interest from Default Data Due to Bank’s Failure to Negotiate in Good Faith

On March 27, 2007, HSBC Bank brought a foreclosure proceeding on a mortgage on property located in Brooklyn. The mortgage on the property was given to “MORTGAGEIT.” The mortgage was an adjustable rate mortgage in the amount of $624,000. A note was also given to “MORTGAGEIT,” as lender.

The borrower on the note and the defendant on the case was named McKenna.  The note showed an undated endorsement on behalf of ” MORTGAGEIT” to HSBC. There was also an assignment of the mortgage on March 2, 2009. The assignment was from the Mortgage Electronic Registration System Incorporated designated the mortgagee as “the nominee for the lender and mortgagee of record” to HSBC.

HSBC had refused to agree to a short sale on the property which had been requested by McKenna. HSBC claimed that McKenna had never been a resident of the property subject to the foreclosure. Therefore, HSBC had no obligation to negotiate with him in good faith.

The court found that HSBC failed to negotiate in good faith. The court ruled that they could not recover the interest on the note and the mortgage from the date of the McKenna’s alleged default.

Conclusion

This court penalized the lender for refusing to act in good faith.  The courts in New York are becoming more aggressive in taking action against lenders who fail to act in good faith.

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