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Wells Fargo Ordered to Pay $575 Million Regarding Unfair Trade Practices

Unfair Trade PracticesIn a recent case the Attorney Generals for all 50 States in the United States and the District of Columbia reached a settlement with Wells Fargo Bank. The settlement involves a variety of consumer protection claims and unfair trade practices utilized by Wells Fargo Bank. The settlement was in the amount of $575,000,000.

Wells Fargo Acted Improperly

Wells Fargo agreed to this settlement based on numerous improper actions it took and laws it violated. Among the many improper actions and laws it violated Wells Fargo charged customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees.

Wells Fargo has acknowledged millions of deposits, credit card and other accounts were created without the consumer’s permission. Wells Fargo was involved in the transfer of funds without consumer authorization. Wells Fargo acknowledged these improper actions took place between 2002 and 2017.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated “the settlement held Wells Fargo accountable for its widespread victimization of its customers through unfair and deceptive trade practices.”

Wells Fargo Acknowledges Problems

Wells Fargo’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan stated: “this agreement disclosed our serious commitment to making things right in regard to past issues as we worked to build a better bank.”

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. Elliot is a foreclosure attorney. He represents homeowners with regard to mortgage modifications and defending foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Reverse Mortgages Explained

Reverse MortgagesA reverse mortgage is different than a conventional mortgage. A reverse mortgage is used by seniors who own homes. It seeks to allow them to utilize a portion of the home’s equity as collateral for a loan. The loan is usually not repaid until the homeowner or his or her surviving spouse dies or permanently moves out of the home. Most reverse mortgages give the estate of the homeowner 6 months either to sell the home and pay off the balance due on the mortgage or make other arrangements to satisfy the mortgage.

The Estate and the Reverse Mortgage

In the event there is not enough equity in the home to pay off what is owed on the reverse mortgage the estate and the heirs are not liable for the unpaid portion of the reverse mortgage.

Eligibility for Reverse Mortgage

A homeowner must be a minimum of 62 years of age to be eligible for a reverse mortgage. If the homeowner does not own the home free and clear, all existing prior mortgages must be paid off from the proceeds of the reverse mortgage. If there are other liens or judgments, they also must be paid from the reverse mortgage. There are also financial eligibility requirements necessary to obtain a reverse mortgage.

Obligations Involving Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are usually only given on homes which are an individual’s primary residence. The homeowner is responsible for paying the property taxes on the home. In addition the homeowner must pay for the homeowner’s insurance and maintain the home according federal housing administration requirements.

Estate Issues

When both of the homeowners die or when the home is no longer the primary residence of either of the homeowners for a period in excess of a year the reverse mortgage can be called due. At that point the homeowners or the estate of the homeowners can either repay the reverse mortgage or have the house listed for sale. If upon the sale of the home more funds are received than are owed on the reverse mortgage, the balance of the funds received over and above the repayment of the reverse mortgage belong to the estate. If there are not sufficient funds to pay off the reverse mortgage, the bank loses out and can’t recover the portion of the amount owed which is in excess of the sale price of the home.

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You

A reverse mortgage allows senior homeowners to access funds which are tied up in the equity of their homes. Sometimes this is an appropriate action to be taken. However, it is not always appropriate. A reverse mortgage will not give the homeowner access to 100% of the funds in the house. Reverse mortgages usually only give the homeowner 60 or 70% of the funds related to the equity in the house. In some cases it is simply better for the homeowner to sell the home, rent an apartment and move into a less expensive residence.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a foreclosure attorney who has been representing homeowners with regard to reverse mortgages, foreclosures and other real estate related issues for more than 3 decades. He can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Homeowner’s Proceeding to Cancel Her Mortgage And Remove it as a Lien on Her Property was Granted

homeowner’s-proceedingIn a recent case before Justice Salvatore Modica, who sits in a real estate Supreme Court part, in Queens County, Persaud brought a lawsuit under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1501(4) to cancel a mortgage on his home. In this proceeding Persaud moved for summary judgment. He asked that the mortgage on his home be extinguished and he be discharged from all obligations under the underlying promissory note executed in connection with this mortgage.

Motion Granted

Justice Modica granted Persaud’s motion. He found that she met her prima fascie obligation of showing entitlement to a judgment. Persaud had established the underlying foreclosure action by US Bank had been originally commenced in December 2009 and in March of 2011 the foreclosure lawsuit was dismissed. A second foreclosure lawsuit was commenced in 2017. This foreclosure lawsuit was barred by the 6 year statute of limitations.

In Persaud’s lawsuit against US Bank under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1501(4), US Bank was unable to dispute Persaud’s showing there was no genuine issue of fact with regard to the 6 year statute of limitations having expired. Persaud was entitled to summary judgment. Under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1501(4), a homeowner is entitled to having a mortgage cancelled as a lien on his or her property if the applicable statute of limitations regarding commencement of a suit has expired. In this case more than 6 years has passed since Persaud had defaulted on making payments on her mortgage. Therefore, US Bank did not have the right to bring another foreclosure action against Persaud. Justice Modica granted Persaud’s motion to cancel, discharge and remove the mortgage as a lien on her property.

Conclusion

US Bank and their attorneys failed to follow the law and as a result Persaud ended up with a free house!

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer representing homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Issues

Mortgage-Foreclosure-IssuesReverse mortgages are made to homeowners aged 62 or older. They allow the homeowners to access the equity in their home to pay their bills while allowing them to continue to live in their homes. In situations involving reverse mortgages the homeowner no longer makes monthly payments. The amount owed to the financial institution gets charged against the homeowner’s home equity and these loans are usually insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The reverse mortgage is not due and payable until the homeowner’s death.

Taxes and Insurance on the Home

Although the homeowner does not have to make mortgage payments, the homeowner is usually responsible for paying the property taxes, school taxes and maintaining their homeowner’s insurance. The failure by homeowners to pay these expenses can cause the financial institution that provided the reverse mortgage to bring a foreclosure lawsuit based on the homeowner’s non-compliance with the conditions involved in the mortgage.

Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Default

New legislation requires reverse mortgage defaults now have to receive a 90 day preforeclosure notice under the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1304. The amendment to this law causes financial institutions to participate in mandatory settlement conferences with regard to working out alternatives to foreclosing on the home regarding reverse mortgages.

The new reverse mortgage law indicates a list of the items that can trigger a reverse mortgage foreclosure. These include:

  • failure to include a required certificate of occupancy on an annual basis
  • death of the named borrower
  • failure to pay real property taxes
  • failure to maintain homeowner’s insurance
  • failure to pay water bills and sewer bills
  • failure to make required repairs
  • failure to occupy the home as a principal place of residence

Conclusion

This new legislation provides homeowners who have reverse mortgages many of the same protections homeowners who have conventional mortgages have. In addition, it provides them with notice as to any of the possible items which could cause their home to go into foreclosure.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer representing homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Sue the Mortgage Loan Servicing Company

Loan-Servicing-Company

Loan servicing companies can be sued. Loan servicing companies can make errors that have a negative impact on mortgage holders. Loan servicing companies can inaccurately calculate the amount due and owing by the homeowners. Sometimes they do not properly review mortgage modifications submitted by the homeowners. Upon request sometimes they provide inaccurate loan reinstatement information.

Good Faith

Mortgage holders are supposed to act in good faith. New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 8408 defines what is considered “bad faith” by a mortgage company.

Loan Servicing Companies

Loan servicing companies often hire inexperienced poorly paid individuals to act as their customer service representatives concerning the submission of mortgage modification applications. Sometimes they do not appropriately train their personnel with regard to the issues faced by homeowners submitting mortgage modification applications.

The process of submitting a mortgage modification usually involves the submission of information to the loan servicing company. Their customer service representatives therefore input the data into a computer program called an algarhythm. The algarhythm actually determines whether the homeowner qualifies for a mortgage modification. If the data is not properly put into the computer program the decision to deny a homeowner a mortgage modification can be based on an error made by the data processing person who inputed the data.

Foreclosure Defense Attorneys

Foreclosure attorneys experienced with the mortgage modification process are often able to help homeowners who have in the past had problems obtaining mortgage modifications.

schlissel-headshot

Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer representing homeowners for more than 3 decades. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Technical Foreclosure Defenses

Technical-Foreclosure-Defenses

In almost all foreclosure situations the homeowners have applied for a mortgage, they have been approved by the financial institution, they obtained the mortgage, went to closing and purchased their home. Thereafter, the homeowners fell behind on their mortgage. So how can homeowners who borrowed the money and have not made the payments defend a foreclosure lawsuit? Most foreclosure defenses are based on the failure of the financial institution, its attorneys and/or its employees to comply with the many federal, state, local and other regulatory requirements involved in mortgage lending, recording of mortgages, servicing and administrating the mortgages, modifying the mortgages and providing the homeowners with the appropriate statutory notices they are entitled to. Lenders need to comply with many state and local ordinances andrules.

Issues Related to Closings

All financial institutions have disclosure requirements regarding what takes place at real estate closings. They are also laws and rules regarding predatory lending, fraud, unreasonable fees and other issues related to the underwriting of mortgages.

Standing Issues

Financial institutions have to produce the note. They need the original note before they can proceed with the foreclosure. Clear copies of the loan documents should be attached to the complaint. Homeowners should receive 30 days notice under Real Properties Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1304. There may be defective assignments of the mortgage. There may be late assignments of the mortgage. The individuals signing affidavits related to the foreclosure may not have had the appropriate authority to sign those affidavits. Some assignments of the mortgage may be invalid.

Mortgage Modifications

There are many issues that can occur with regard to the mortgage modification process. Sometimes financial institutions do not negotiate in good faith. They have an obligation in New York State to do this. Trial modifications sometimes are approved and then the permanent modifications are arbitrarily denied. Payments made under the trial modifications are sometimes kept by the financial institutions and homeowners are not given credit for those payments.

Litigation Issues

The Summons and Complaints in the foreclosure lawsuit must be properly served on the appropriate party. Homeowners are entitled to 90 days notice under the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law before the foreclosure lawsuit is started. Financial institutions need to schedule foreclosure settlement mortgage conferences. They need to file affidavits of due diligence. The death of the homeowner can also create significant issues for the financial institution. Financial institutions also need to comply with the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Legal Defenses and Affirmative Defenses

There are many types of defenses and affirmative defenses that can be alleged in foreclosures other than “I don’t owe the money”. The legal defenses need to be plead in the homeowner’s answer and they need to be backed up by detailed discovery demands forcing the financial institution to turn over all their books and records regarding the underwriting of the mortgage, the closing assignments of the mortgage and compliance with federal and state statutes. The way to win a case often involves investigating what the bank and their attorneys did and what they didn’t do. Finding the bank or their attorneys made a mistake in the mortgage or foreclosure process can be a basis for having the foreclosure lawsuit dismissed.

Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a foreclosure lawyer having represented homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 3 decades. He can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Obtaining A Mortgage Modification

Application for Mortgage Modification

Mortgage modifications are designed to prevent homeowners from having their home sold at a foreclosure sale. Obtaining a mortgage modification is an important option homeowners facing foreclosure should consider. Homeowners fall behind on their mortgage payments for a variety of reasons. The best way to obtain a mortgage modification is for the homeowner to show they fell behind due to a hardship. The homeowner should document the hardship has ended, they are back on their feet and they are receiving regular income. There are a variety of factors used by the financial institutions when considering a mortgage modification. Some of these factors deal with the market value of the home as compared to the mortgage balance owed. In addition, if the present mortgage has a high rate of interest the bank may consider lowering the interest rate or doing a balloon mortgage modification to make it easier for the homeowners to meet their monthly mortgage payments in the future.

The Mortgage Modification Process

The mortgage modification process can be time consuming. During this process our office presents the financial institution with an aggressive foreclosure defense. We sue financial institutions to set aside the mortgage which also gives us leverage in the mortgage modification negotiations. We are persistent in following up on a regular basis on mortgage modifications. Often financial institutions and their servicing companies fail to properly process the mortgage modifications. We don’t let them get away with that.

Facing Foreclosure

Attorney Elliot Schlissel If you are facing foreclosure it is strongly suggested you hire an experienced foreclosure defense law firm to represent you in the foreclosure litigation and press the financial institution to give you a mortgage modification. We have offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties. We can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mail us at Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

Foreclosure Help

Foreclosure HelpThe ownership of a single family home is the American dream. A foreclosure in effect destroys that dream. Families facing foreclosure are apprehensive with regard to how they will deal with this situation. The threat of having your home sold and being forced out of your home is not something a family looks forward to. However, when a bank initiates a foreclosure lawsuit the homeowners have an opportunity to present their case in front of a judge. Since the foreclosure crisis laws have been enacted in New York State to encourage good faith settlement negotiations between financial institutions and homeowners. It gives homeowners an opportunity to consider all forms of loss mitigation. This includes having the homeowners obtain a reasonable mortgage modification.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcies are brought in federal courts. Upon filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the federal bankruptcy court issues a stay stopping all legal proceedings in the state court. The state court foreclosure action is frozen. Your house will not be sold. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your finances, establish a plan to catch up on your mortgage and it keeps you and your family in your home.

Stopping the Foreclosure from Moving Forward

While the homeowner is pursuing loss mitigation options including obtaining a mortgage modification, the foreclosure lawsuit must also be dealt with. This will require the homeowner to retain experienced legal counsel to put in an answer to the summons and complaint. The summons and complaint must be responded to in 20 days if the homeowner is personally served or 30 days if they are served by any other means other than having the summons and complaint put in their hands. If the homeowners do not put a written response in to opposing counsel and file that response with the court within a timely manner the lender will be able to obtain a default judgment against the homeowner. This means the homeowner will lose their opportunity to deny the allegations and pursue their claims against the financial institution. A default judgment will have the impact of reducing the time frame the homeowners have to pursue alternatives to the sale of their home and the homeowners being forced from their home.

Foreclosure Strategies

The best way to deal with a foreclosure litigation is take an aggressive posture. This means not only responding to the allegations in the complaint but counter-suing the financial institution to set the mortgage aside. This type of action gives the homeowners some leverage during the course of the mortgage modification process.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Conclusion

If you are facing foreclosure it is strongly recommended your retain an experienced foreclosure defense law firm as soon as you are served with paperwork staring the foreclosure lawsuit.

Elliot S. Schlissel, his partner Nathan D. DeCorpo, and his associates, having been fighting foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years. The firm maintains offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties and can be reached at 800-344-6431 or by e-mail at Elliot@sdnylaw.com for the purpose of setting up a free consultation regarding foreclosure issues.

Non-Bank Servicing Companies Creating Problems for Homeowners

Picture of a home

Banks have been using non-bank servicing companies for the past few years. These servicing companies are not regulated by the modest consumer protections built into the National Mortgage Settlement Law of 2012. Non-bank servicing companies are known to take a long time to review mortgage modifications. They wrongfully deny mortgage modifications on a regular basis. The investors who buy the loans from the non-bank servicing companies are not interested in helping homeowners save their homes by working out amicable mortgage modifications.

Investors and Mortgage Modification

Private investors are becoming more involved with regard to the ownership of delinquent mortgages. In the year 2015 non-bank servicing organizations served approximately a quarter of the $10 trillion in outstanding mortgages on residents in the United States. This percentage of mortgages being serviced by non-bank servicing companies has expanded in both 2016 and 2017.

Oversight of Servicing Companies

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Eliza Cummings of Maryland have looked into the need for oversight with regard to non-bank mortgage servicing companies. They recently made a joint statement “harm to consumers such as problems or errors with account transfers, payment processing, and loss mitigation processing have developed related to non-bank mortgage servicing companies.”

There are approximately 100,000 mortgage foreclosures going on in the State of New York. Homeowners often feel overwhelmed when dealing with non-bank servicing companies. The best way to deal with issues involving these servicing companies is to hire an experienced foreclosure attorney to represent you on these matters.

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates have been representing homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area with regard to foreclosure cases for more than 35 years. They work hard to help keep their clients in their homes.

Video: Mortgage Modification, Stay In Your Home!

Elliot discusses mortgage modification and how to stay in your home if you are facing foreclosure.

Foreclosure Defense in Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick and Bellmore, New York

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We represent individuals throughout the New York Metropolitan area with divorce and child custody, personal injury, car accident, wrongful death, estate administration, nursing home and medicaid issues

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