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Penalizing Banks for Foreclosure Irregularities

Wells Fargo and Company, the fourth largest bank by assets in the United States, Bank of America, the largest lender in the United States and Citigroup the third largest

8lender in the United States expect to be sanctioned by the United States government for bad foreclosure practices.

These banks are accused by federal regulators of abusing borrowers and illegally foreclosing on homes. A federal probe has been underway for many months. Federal investigators have found widespread deficiencies in the manner in which home loans are serviced, payments are collected, how loan modifications are processed and the foreclosure process itself on loans.

Banks to Be Penalized

Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citibank have all been accused of improper and illegal foreclosure practices. There have been reports that federal regulators may demand as much as thirty billion dollars from some 14 mortgage companies regarding improper foreclosure and mortgage practices.

Bank of America is responsible for the most mortgage loans in the United States. It handles 2.1 trillion dollars in home mortgages. Bank of America besides being investigated by federal regulators has been subject to a variety of private lawsuits concerning their mortgage foreclosure practices. Bank of America had temporarily suspended all foreclosure proceedings in 2010 to conduct a review and investigation of its foreclosure and mortgage practices. Bank of America has recently re-instituted foreclosure proceedings. They claim they have dealt with all of their internal problems concerning the processing of mortgages and handling of foreclosure.

Long Island Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

If your home is in foreclosure or you need a mortgage modification we can help you. The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been assisting consumers and homeowners with problems concerning debts to financial institutions for more than two (2) decades. We prepare mortgage modification documents. We can help deal with mortgage modification programs that fail to meet the consumers needs. If you are in foreclosure, we will attend foreclosure court conferences on your behalf.

We litigate defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending issues, defective mortgages, bad faith on behalf of financial institutions, and other related real estate proceedings.

In situations where we feel a filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is appropriate we file these proceedings with the United States Bankruptcy Court on behalf of our clients. We also assist our clients in reestablishing credit after filing for bankruptcy. We can help stop foreclosure in its tracks. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Suing Large Financial Institutions

foreclosure defense attorneyThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reviewing new regulations which will put the brakes on a contentious practice called mandatory arbitration. Under mandatory arbitration rules, consumers must take disputes they have with financial institutions to third party mediators. This prevents them from going into courts and presenting their issues to judges. Consumer advocates feel this practice benefits large financial institutions, credit card issuers and financial service providers to the detriment of consumers.

Fine Print in Consumer Contracts

Most Americans are unaware that there is fine print in many consumer contracts which requires they submit complaints concerning issues, such as disputed charges on financial accounts, to arbitration. Consumer advocates claim arbitrators are often biased and rule against consumers. It should be noted, in many situations, rulings by arbitrators are not appealable.

Arbitration Process

The arbitration process started out as a good idea. Its intent was to give consumers an inexpensive way to challenge bank practices. However, financial institutions have manipulated the arbitration process. When they feel an arbitration firm does not rule in their favor on a regular basis, they shop around for other arbitration companies. This gives arbitration companies a reason to rule in favor of banks so they will hire them again and again.

George Slover with the Consumer’s Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports Magazine, stated “this proposal is a tremendous step towards cleaning up a system that has heavily favored companies over consumers who were wronged.”

The new proposal before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does not create a complete ban on arbitration. It proposes new rules which would allow unhappy consumers to start lawsuits against banks or other financial institutions as a group, through class actions, if they feel it is appropriate instead of submitting to arbitration.

foreclosure defense lawyerElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer representing consumers throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He litigates foreclosure cases against financial institutions. His goal is to keep his clients in their homes.

Defective Foreclosure Lawsuits

foreclosure lawyer New YorkHas the bank initiated a foreclosure action against you? How do you know the bank has acted appropriately with regard to fulfilling their obligations as a financial institution? The question then becomes, is the foreclosure lawsuit defective?

There are a variety of reasons that a bank’s foreclosure proceeding against you may be defective. The first issue is whether the bank has all of the proper documents to have legal standing to foreclose on your property. Another issue is how significant misrepresentations, predatory lending issues, or issues involving sub-prime mortgages affected your case.

Exposing Defects in Foreclosure Cases

How do you expose a defect in a foreclosure case? To start with, all of the documents related to the mortgage need to be reviewed. In addition, a detailed Answer to the Summons and Complaint needs to be filed with both the court and opposing counsel. Numerous affirmative defenses concerning potential defects in the case need to be alleged. Thereafter a document demand must be made seeking copies of all of the documents the bank has in its file related to this matter. In addition, interrogatories or bills of particulars can be served on the bank asking a variety of questions concerning the origination of the mortgage, the term of the mortgage and various issues pertaining to the mortgage.

Sloppy Paperwork by Banks

When the real estate industry was booming in 2006 through 2009, banks became overwhelmed with the number of applications being submitted to them. In many situations, their paperwork was sloppy, unprofessional, improperly handled, involved misstatements, false statements, and applications submitted by mortgage brokers that did not reflect the financial circumstances of the prospective mortgagor. Underwriters often lost documents concerning mortgage applications. They also misplaced documents or simply incorrectly handled the underwriting of the mortgage. It is the job of the foreclosure defense attorney to bring all of these problems to light when a bank seeks to foreclose against the homeowner. It is then presented to a judge with the hope the judge will carefully review the situation and reach the conclusion the bank has acted improperly.

Legal Rights and Options

So how do you protect your legal rights? What are your options? The only way you will find an answer to these questions is to consult with an experienced, dedicated foreclosure defense attorney. You can call our office for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 24/7. Our office phone numbers are 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

The Statute of Limitations Defense

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

https://youtu.be/tIHRQQ2WhdY

Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer who has been representing homeowners for more than 20 years.  His goal is to keep homeowners in their homes.  He defends homeowners in foreclosure lawsuits and helps his clients in obtaining mortgage modifications.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Long Island Foreclosure Rates Continue to Climb

foreclosure defense attorney on Long IslandForeclosure rates for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, are the highest in New York State. Approximately 3% of the homes in Suffolk County are in foreclosure. In Nassau County, approximately 2 ½% of all homes are in foreclosure. There are more than 27,000 pending foreclosure cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Housing Crisis

The housing crisis has hit Long Island homeowners harder than homeowners in other areas of the State. Superstorm Sandy contributed to this problem by devastating many homes on Long Island. Thomas DiNapoli, the Comptroller of New York State, recently stated “if you are on Long Island and you have a huge mortgage, based on a price that no longer was attainable, you could easily get ‘underwater’.” Underwater refers to homes which owe more money on their mortgages than the home is worth.

While in many other areas in New York State the foreclosure crisis is easing, it continues to get worse in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In January of 2015, the number of homes going into foreclosure in Nassau County jumped by almost 20%. Some of this increase in homes being foreclosed upon was related to the delayed impact of Superstorm Sandy, which hit Long Island in 2012, has had on homes going into foreclosure. In the State of New York, approximately 1 in every 90 homes is in foreclosure. While in Nassau County 1 out of every 40 homes are in foreclosure, and in Suffolk County 1 out of every 35 homes are in foreclosure. Comparing this to the foreclosure rate in New York City which has only 1 out of every 116 homes in foreclosure shows the huge problem faced by homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

When Does a Lender Have Standing To Initiate a Foreclosure Case?

foreclosure defense lawyerA financial institution has standing to foreclose on a mortgage when it is the holder or assignee of the subject mortgage. In addition, the financial institution must be the holder or assignee of the underlying note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action which is initiated by the filing of the Summons and Complaint in the County Clerk’s office of the County in which the action is initiated. When the note is accepted by the assignee the mortgage passes to the new institution. It should be noted the transfer of a mortgage without the accompanying note does not validly transfer the mortgage.

How the Bank Becomes the Holder or Assignee of the Mortgage

For a bank to obtain standing to initiate a foreclosure lawsuit, it must be the holder or assignee of the note as well as have the original note and mortgage in its possession.

A plaintiff has standing to foreclose on a note if they are the holder of the note under the New York Uniform Commercial Code, if a person has possession of the note by delivery “from a person entitled to enforce it for the purposes of giving the plaintiff the right to enforce it”, the note was assigned to the plaintiff “by a person entitled to enforce it, for the purpose of giving the plaintiff the right to collect the debt.”

Lack of Standing Defense

It is important in every foreclosure case for a defendant to allege the plaintiff, financial institution, doesn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit. At the time the Answer is interposed, the defendant will usually not know whether this is true or not. The defendant will thereafter, through discovery demands to obtain copies of notes, mortgages and other original documents and/or review records at the County Clerk’s office, ascertain whether this defense has any merit to it. However, the way pleadings work in the State of New York, you must plead any potential affirmative defense whether you know the defense is valid or not. Thereafter you try to obtain records during the discovery process to validate your defense.

New York foreclosure defense lawyerElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer representing individuals in foreclosure cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Home Ownership: The Pros and Cons

foreclosure defense for homeownersI have had numerous discussions with potential home buyers with regard to the pros and cons of owning a home. There are many substantial benefits but the foreclosure crisis in recent years is illustrative of some of the major drawbacks in owning a home.

  • Renting. If you rent you have flexibility. Most leases are for a year or two. When the lease is over you can move. If your company relocates to a different part of the country, or out of the country, you are not stuck with a significant piece of real estate. In some situations you can simply notify the landlord you are moving and give the landlord the ability to rent your house even before your lease is up and avoid financial liability to the landlord.
  • It should also be noted that when you buy a house, there are many up front costs related to the acquisition of the house. These are often referred to as “closing costs”.
  • Is owning a home a good investment? It generally costs much more to pay the expenses concerning owning a home than to pay rent. However, most homes over time will appreciate in value. If you have a conventional mortgage for either 15 or 30 years, your mortgage payments will be the same each and every month. However, the taxes on your house will usually go up. Since taxes are usually incorporated into the mortgage payments that you send to your bank, it is most likely that even though the actual mortgage payments will stay flat, the amount of your expenses will go up from year to year.

According to Richard Green, a professor at the University of Southern California the following is a rule of thumb as to how much appreciation you will need to make the home a worthwhile investment vis a vis staying in an apartment and paying rent. Professor Green states that house values should not “have to go up more than 3% a year for you to break even.” Professor Green suggests that your home should not be your sole investment. He states “the idea that home ownership doesn’t carry a lot of risk with it is wrong.” “If you are in a mutual fund, with a long term prospective, it is probably going to grow faster than real estate values. Housing can be more volatile than you think (depending on location).”

  • What is equity in a home? To start with, you only build equity if the value of your home is increasing. If your home is appreciating while you are paying off the mortgage, you are developing equity in your home. To determine the equity in your home you subtract from the appraised value of your home the amount of your mortgage debt. What remains, if anything, is your equity in the home.
  • Home ownership is a long term investment. It is generally suggested that if you purchase a home you stay in it for a minimum of 5 years. This will give your home a reasonable period of time to appreciate. You also need to consider the closing costs involved in purchasing a home and the expenses involved in selling a home when you determine the actual equity in your home.

Buy a Home and You are the Landlord

When you rent, if something breaks you can contact the landlord and/or his representative and request they make the repairs that are necessary. When you own a home, if something breaks, doesn’t function properly, or goes wrong, you are responsible. If you can’t fix it, you have to hire someone at your own expense to fix it. Maintenance costs in a home, generally, are more than most people anticipate. Before you buy a home you should have an engineer inspect the home and advise you whether the boiler, electrical system, roof, foundation or other aspects of the home are in good condition. You don’t want to buy a home and have it fall down shortly after you purchase it.

New York foreclosure defense lawyerElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney. He helps homeowners in the Metropolitan New York area fight foreclosure lawsuits and obtain mortgage modifications.

Rescission of a Loan

Please click on the link below to watch today’s video blog:

https://youtu.be/UU2gtDLgo2k

Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer helping homeowners stay in their homes throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

The Rise of Non-Bank Mortgage Servicing Companies – Part II

foreclosure and real estate lawyer in New YorkServicing $10 Trillion Dollars of Mortgage Loans

Non-bank institutions which service mortgages have grown at an incredible rate in the past few years. The largest fifty non-bank mortgage servicing companies handled almost $10 trillion dollars in mortgage loans in 2014. Non-bank servicing organizations accounted for almost 30% of these loans last year. In 2010, they accounted for only 7% of these loans. Ocwen serviced nearly $400 billion dollars in loans in 2014, and NationStar Mortgage serviced more than $377 billion dollars in loans. This is 500% more than they serviced in 2010.

Large Employee Turnover

These non-bank institutions have large turnovers of their employees. It makes it extremely difficult for homeowners to reach the same individual at these institutions to deal with their problem. This can create a gut wrenching situation for the homeowners who are trying to straighten out administrative problems caused by the servicing agencies.

Non-bank servicing companies are much harder to work with than traditional financial institutions. They are not as well equipped or well versed in issues concerning loss mitigation.

In 2014, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau imposed new mortgage servicing requirements on both banks and non-bank servicing mortgage companies. Under these new rules, all mortgage servicing companies are supposed to create a “single point of contact”. This single point of contact is designed to help homeowners with troubled loans.

Approximately a year ago, the New York Department of Financial Services blocked a transfer of almost $3 billion dollars in mortgage servicing contracts from Wells Fargo Bank to Ocwen. In December 2014, Ocwen reached a $150 million dollar settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services concerning abuses and conflicts of interest. Hopefully in 2015, this New York agency will be able to regulate these non-bank servicing institutions and/or motivate them to provide higher quality levels of service to the tens of thousands of beleaguered mortgage holders who are forced to deal with them.

New York foreclosure defense attorneyElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney. He helps homeowners with homes which have gone into or are going into foreclosure. He is the author of more than 400 articles on his blog concerning foreclosure defense.

Truth in Lending Disclosures

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

https://youtu.be/iUS_okDSEU0

Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney.  He has been representing homeowners for more than 20 years.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

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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