Bank Attorney is Punished for Failing to Appear

On November 18, 2010, Justice Pagones, sitting in the Supreme Court located in Dutchess County, rendered a decision in the matter of BAC Home Loans Servicing vs. Westervelt. In this case, the bank and the homeowner were directed to appear at a settlement conference. Settlement conferences are required under New York State law in all foreclosure proceedings. The bank’s attorney failed to appear at the settlement conference. At that time, the court could have dismissed the bank’s foreclosure proceeding. In this case, the court declined to impose this remedy.

Justice Pagones, however, found that the bank attorney’s explanation for his failure to appear at the court settlement conference was inadequate. The court thereafter scheduled a hearing to determine what sanctions would be taken against the bank’s attorneys.

Bad Faith

Justice Pagones reached a conclusion that the attorneys for the bank had acted in bad faith in negotiating a settlement with the defendant. The defendant had made representation that the bank had, without explanation, refused to re-examine her income with regard to the mortgage modification she submitted. The court pointed out that the financial institution under the HAMP directives had an obligation to review her income.

Bank Barred From Collecting Arrears and Interest

The court scheduled another court conference date. In the interim, the court ordered the bank stop collecting arrears from the date the homeowner received the HAMP denial. The court also barred the financial institution from collecting any interest that might accrue from this date. The court also waived unpaid late fees and ordered the bank to waive attorney’s fees relating to this case.

Foreclosure Court Conferences

Foreclosure court conferences exist because the State Legislature passed a law in 2010 ordering the financial institution to attend foreclosure court conferences for the purpose of finding alternatives to the foreclosure proceedings. Our law office regularly attends foreclosure conferences on behalf of our clients. We utilize these conferences to try to motivate the attorneys for the financial institutions to work with our clients towards approving mortgage modifications that take the cases out of foreclosure.

Foreclosure Lawyers

The foreclosure defense attorneys at our law office aggressively litigate issues involving defective mortgages, defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending, bad faith and other real estate related matters. When appropriate, we file foreclosure related bankruptcies, including either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on the circumstances involved with our clients. These bankruptcies stop foreclosure and, in some cases, allow us to eliminate second mortgages. Prior to filing bankruptcies, we discuss the types of bankruptcies that are appropriate with regard to our client’s specific situation. Call us for a free consultation. We will discuss all foreclosure options available to you. Our phone numbers are 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 and 1-800-344-6431.

Mortgage Reform by President Obama

President Obama seeks to reform the mortgage industry in the United States. He plans on accomplishing this by significant changes in government backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Obama has presented several different options to the United States Congress for reducing the country’s dependence on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. His program is one of fundamental reform of the mortgage industry. He hopes these reforms will provide greater protection for consumers and allow middle class Americans to obtain affordable mortgages.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Government backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are involved in approximately 90% of the mortgages, one way or another, in America. As of now, these two government backed agencies have over $150 billion dollars in losses! It is anticipated these losses will climb to $400 billion dollars before the housing bubble is completely corrected.

New Programs

Some of the recommendations made by President Obama’s reform team will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to charge banks the same amount for loan guarantees as paid by private financial institutions. Currently, federally backed mortgage loans can go up to $729,750. One of President Obama’s reforms would be to reduce this amount to $625,500. It is anticipated that this action will motivate the private banking sector to make more high-value mortgage loans.

The administration also seeks to have a minimum down payment of 10% regarding all government backed loans. One of the problems that caused the mortgage bubble is that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been making loans with zero down payment. Query – if a homeowner has no money to put down for the purchase of a home, isn’t this an indication that if things do not go well, they will quickly walk away from making their mortgage payments? This is what caused the housing crisis. The giving of inappropriate mortgage loans to unqualified prospective homeowners!

The removal of government guarantees from the loan market is opposed by various special interest groups. Real estate agents, home builders, home supply companies, mortgage brokers and other individuals who make a living from the housing market oppose any changes to the current system. The Obama Administration seeks to make changes to the mortgage market over a five-year period.

Mortgage Modification and Foreclosure

If you have problems making your mortgage payments, reducing the amount of your monthly payments is a good idea. All financial institutions currently have mortgage modification programs. Unfortunately, some mortgage modification programs fail to provide belingered homeowners with realistic alternatives to their current mortgages. Our law office can help you deal with the complexities of the various mortgage modification programs.

Foreclosure is the process by which a bank takes back a home for the nonpayment of a mortgage. Should you be facing foreclosure, we can keep you in your home. Our foreclosure defense lawyers have developed an expertise in fighting these lawsuits. Once a lawsuit is initiated, we attend foreclosure court conferences on behalf of our clients. We defend defective foreclosure lawsuits. We deal with issues of predatory lending, defective mortgages and the failure of financial institutions to obtain the proper assignments and paperwork necessary to initiate litigation. We also update this foreclosure blog on a regular basis to keep our clients informed about the real estate industry in the United States. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Home Prices Decline in Large Cities

Home prices are hitting new lows in many major cities. High foreclosure rates, coupled with high unemployment, stricter lending rules and the public’s fear that real estate prices will continue to decline is causing home prices to go down.

Home Prices Decline In Large CitiesUneven Recovery for the Housing Market

The cities in United States are facing different problems based on the location of the city and the economic situation in that locality. Cities that are built up with little room for new housing starts, such as in the Metropolitan New York area and the coastal cities in California, are experiencing a smaller rate of decline in home prices. Unfortunately many new homeowners are unable to obtain mortgages. Underwriting requirements to purchase a new home are very strict. It is estimated that housing prices will continue to decline in 2011 and, in many cities, will hit new lows.

The Economy is Improving While the Housing Industry is Still in the Doldrums

There has been progress with regard to the economy improving in the last few months. The stock market has been going up for approximately six months. However, the improvements in the economy have not impacted the housing industry. In 2011, the prospects for the housing industry are dismal. It is estimated there will be less construction of new homes this year than in the two previous years. Cities with high unemployment rates and high foreclosure rates are having the most problems in the real estate sector.

Nevada Housing Prices Crushed

Homes in Las Vegas have lost more than 50% of their value since 2006. Las Vegas has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. One out of every four home sales in Nevada is either a foreclosure or a short sale.

Foreclosure Prospects in 2011

It is estimated that there will be millions of homes going into foreclosure in 2011. It is hopeful that the foreclosure crisis will bottom out in the year 2011 and improve in 2012.

Home Prices Decline In Large Cities-2New York Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

Our office represents clients throughout the Metropolitan New York area regarding foreclosure defense issues. We litigate these matters on behalf of our clients. We attend foreclosure court conferences and explain to the judges our clients’ problems with mortgage modifications. We provide assistance to our clients regarding mortgage modification applications. We help our clients with mortgage modification programs that failed to meet their needs. We maintain a foreclosure blog. We litigate defective foreclosures, bad faith, defective mortgages and predatory lending issues. We litigate all types of real estate related matters on behalf of our clients. If our analysis indicates bankruptcy is the appropriate way to assist our clients with their financial problems, we file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. We stop foreclosure proceedings from proceeding. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or 1-800-344-6431.

Higher Mortgage Rates and Stricter Mortgage Procedures likely for 2011

Low Mortgage Rates

In the year 2010, mortgage rates were extremely low. They were the lowest they have ever been in the past forty years. It is likely that there will be an upward trend of mortgage rates in the year 2011. As the economy starts to improve, consumer spending will increase and the public’s confidence in our economy will be a factor in the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.

Prospective Home Buyers

If you are a prospective home buyer, you will still be able to obtain an inexpensive mortgage in 2011. Although rates may go up, they are so incredibly low right now that even if they increase in 2011, by historical standards, the rates will still be very reasonable.

Prospective home owners should be aware that the procedures to obtain a new mortgage have been tightened in the past few years. Financial institutions are investigating the information provided by prospective home buyers. The financial institutions are conducting due diligence to a higher degree than existed before.

Mortgage ModificationMortgage Modification

Should you, a friend or a loved one require a mortgage modification, we can help. When homes go into foreclosure, we provide foreclosure defense for our clients. We attend foreclosure conferences. We litigate defective foreclosure lawsuits, bad faith on behalf of financial institutions and predatory lending practices. We also analyze our clients financial situations and advise them as to whether filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be appropriate. Feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 for a free consultation.

Home Modification Problems in California (Part 2): Lawyers Who Assist Homeowners in Mortgage Modifications Are Now out of Reach

Homeowners In MortgageProblems with Bank Mortgage Practices

There have been recent revelations regarding numerous financial institutions that have been involved in deceptive mortgage practices, predatory lending practices, defective mortgages and bad faith litigation, as well as litigating cases where they did not have the appropriate paperwork. This makes the need for attorneys to represent homeowners very important. Homeowners in California are now defenseless in dealing with the law firms that represent financial institutions in foreclosures, as well as the “robo-signers” at the banks, who could care less about State and Federal laws that protect homeowners from improper bank practices. The actions taken by the legislature in California hurt homeowners and will destroy families.

When a homeowner in California gets notice that they are going to lose their home, they no longer have the ability to obtain a seasoned, experienced foreclosure defense lawyer to protect them and their families from being thrown out of their homes because of foreclosure lawsuits.

More then 300,000 foreclosure lawsuits were started in California alone during the 2010 calendar year. It is estimated that in 2011 the amount of foreclosures in California will surpass the 2010 number.

New York Foreclosure Defense

Fortunately, homeowners in New York do not have to deal with the restrictive statute that exists in California. Our law firm has been representing homeowners and consumers dealing with financial problems and mortgage foreclosures brought by banks for more than twenty years. We litigate foreclosure defense lawsuits. We file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies on behalf of our clients to stop foreclosure proceedings. When necessary, we attend, on our client’s behalf, foreclosure court conferences. We litigate defective mortgages, defective foreclosure lawsuits and predatory lending issues. We also bring to the court’s attention fraudulent activities that mortgage brokers, financial institutions and appraisers engaged in during the mortgage underwriting process.

We can keep you in your home! Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344- 6431; 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

2010, a Terrible Year for Home Sales

Posted on February 14th by Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq.

2010 was the worst year for home sales in the United States since 1997. The National Association of Realtors stated that home sales dropped by 4.8% to 4.91 million homes sold in the year 2010. This is the smallest amount of home sales in the United States since 1997.

Foreclosures and High Unemployment Depress the Real Estate Market

The high volume of foreclosures in the United States, coupled with record-high unemployment rates, have depressed the real estate market in the United States. Many potential home purchasers are waiting to buy homes because the prices will continue to decrease. Many economists feel it will take an additional five to six years for the real estate market in the United States to reach a level of equilibrium. It is estimated that 2011 will even be a worse year for home sales in the United States due to increasing foreclosure rates. This should cause the value of homes to continue to decrease in value in 2011. Due to the foreclosure crisis in the United States, there are simply too many homes on the market and not enough prospective purchasers. In addition, it has become much more difficult to obtain mortgages for prospective homeowners.

Banks are carefully underwriting new mortgages. They are looking into the loan-to-debt ratio. They are performing more due diligence, such as to see that the mortgage applications contain correct information. The fact that mortgage rates are extremely low has not been successful in raising the level of home sales in the United States.

The current rates on fixed home-mortgages in the United States are approximately 4.74% for thirty year mortgages and approximately 4.25% for fifteen year mortgages. In November of 2010, rates reached an all time low of 4.17% for a thirty year mortgage and 3.57% for a fifteen year mortgage. The medium home price in the United States in December of 2010 fell to $168,800.00. This was down 1% from December of 2009.

Foreclosure Defense

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo handles foreclosure defense for homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We prepare mortgage modification applications. We litigate foreclosure lawsuits and keep our clients in their homes. We attend court foreclosure conferences. We deal with defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending and bad faith on behalf of financial institutions. Should you have a problem call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Bank of America Segregates Troubled Mortgage Loans From Performing Mortgage Loans

Posted by Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq.

Bank of America Segregates Troubled Mortgage Loans From Performing Mortgage LoansBank of America has 1.3 million home mortgage loans in its portfolio that are in default. To deal with these defaulted home mortgage loans, Bank of America created a new entity.  This entity is known as Legacy Asset Servicing.  The defaulted loans, from this point forward, will be serviced by Legacy Asset Servicing.  Many of these defaulted loans were acquired from Bank of America when it purchased Countrywide Financial in 2008.

Performing Mortgage Loans

Bank of America has approximately twelve-million additional home mortgages in its portfolio.  These home mortgage loans are not in default.  Bank of America will continue to service these loans directly.

Countrywide Financial and Improper Mortgage Policies

Countrywide Financial was involved in initiating numerous sub-prime mortgage loans.  Since Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide, they have been forced to write off billions of dollars in sub-prime mortgage loans.

Bank of America has decided to remove the non-performing loans from its portfolio for a variety of reasons, including an investigation into foreclosure practices by financial institutions that is currently underway by all fifty state attorney generals’ offices.

Bank of America Changes its Foreclosure Practices

Last year, after Bank of America was criticized by state court judges in a number of states, it established a moratorium on foreclosures.  The bank has since modified its foreclosure practices.  Bank of America has also sharply increased the number of mortgage modifications that have been approved. In the last quarter of 2010, more than 80,000 mortgage modifications were approved by Bank of America.  This is a step in the right direction.

Chase Retail Services, which is a consumer banking unit of JP Morgan Chase, has also indicated that it would separate its non-performing home-equity and mortgage loans from its performing home-equity and mortgage loans.  In January of 2009, Citibank also separated its troubled home mortgage loans from mortgage loans that were up-to-date.

Foreclosure Defense In New York

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo handles foreclosure defense cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  We assist our clients in mortgage modifications.  Should your home go into foreclosure, we attend foreclosure conferences, we litigate these matters and deal with defective foreclosure practices, predatory lending and bad faith proceedings by financial institutions.  We also maintain this foreclosure blog to update the general public regarding a variety of issues concerning mortgage modifications, foreclosures, mortgage modification programs that fail to serve the needs of consumers, as well as other related articles.  Should you need a consultation, fell free to contact us at 1-800-344-6431; 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.  Our phones are answered 24/7.

Bank Acts in Bad Faith Regarding Mortgage Foreclosure

Posted by Elliot. S. Schlissel, Esq.

Justice Spinner, sitting in the Supreme Court in Suffolk County, recently had before him the case of U.S. Bank National Association v. Mathon. In this case, the bank had offered homeowners a three-month trial modification to their mortgage. The homeowners accepted the agreement and made the payments. The bank advised the homeowners, in writing, that a final modification would be forwarded to them in the very near future. The homeowners waited, and waited, and waited. They waited for an entire year. After a year had passed, they received notification from U.S. Bank National Association that their mortgage modification request had been turned down.

During the course of the one-year waiting period, the homeowners made ten additional mortgage payments. These payments were made on a timely basis and they were all accepted by the bank without protest. Thereafter, the bank made an application to the court to obtain a judgment in the foreclosure proceeding and sell the homeowners’ property. The homeowners brought an application by Order to Show Cause which motivated the bank to withdraw their request for a judgment of foreclosure and sale.

Hearing Held by Judge Spinner

Judge Spinner ordered a hearing regarding what had happened on this mortgage. The focus of the hearing was to look into whether the bank had acted in good faith or whether they acted in bad faith. If the bank acted in bad faith, the court was going to consider sanctions and other remedial measures against the financial institution. The court noted in its decision that the conduct of the bank in this matter was “rife with bad faith”. They had accepted twelve payments on a three-month trial modification. There had made the homeowner wait a year to find out that even making the twelve payments in good faith, they were getting turned down for their mortgage modification. There were both written and verbal assurances by the bank that the homeowners would receive a permanent loan modification.

Long Island and New York City Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

We defend homeowners whose homes are in foreclosure. We assist homeowners in obtaining mortgage modifications. We litigate bad faith procedures by financial institutions. We attend foreclosure conferences in court. We are familiar with the problems concerning mortgage modification programs that, instead of helping the homeowner, simply don’t work. We deal with predatory lending situations and defective foreclosure lawsuits. We are the New York Foreclosure Defense Law Firm that has presented innovative defenses for our clients. If your house is in foreclosure or you have financial problems related to your mortgage, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802. We can help you save your home! Call us now!

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