Daily Archives: November 16, 2012

San Diego County approves foreclosure registry ordinance

Beginning in early 2013, San Diego banks will be required to register foreclosed homes into a tracking database, according to U-T San Diego, the region’s local publication.

Approved by the San Diego City Council Tuesday, the city ordinance will help code enforcement officers pinpoint potential problem properties that could provoke crime, safety issues and declines in property values, the article’s author Lily Leung wrote.

Every time a property is registered, banks will have to pay a $76 fee within 10 days of the notice of default filing. If a lender fails to pay this fee within 10 days, a fine of $100 a day will be issued with a cap of $5,000 a year.

Read on.

Canadian Regulator: RBS Made ‘False’ Statements About Libor Probe

Canadian authorities apparently don’t take kindly to boilerplate-like disclosures about investigations. And they are taking their frustration out on Royal Bank of Scotland.

Canada’s antitrust watchdog accused RBS on Wednesday of making a “false” statement over its willingness to co-operate with the regulatory body’s interest-rate setting probe.

RBS denied the regulator’s allegation.

Read on.

Superior Court Begins to Dig Out From Avalanche of Foreclosure Notices

A Superior Court judge said she will approve more than 3,000 corrected foreclosure notices from Wells Fargo to homeowners, tearing a hole in the procedural dam that has held back a potential flood of legal action.

At a hearing in Paterson where many participants expressed continuing confusion about New Jersey’s foreclosure process, Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh tried to explain the difficulties to a courtroom packed with lawyers and defendants.

“There is no precedent,” she said. “There is not a case that exists anywhere that addresses what we are doing here.”

What New Jersey courts are trying to do is dispose of a backlog estimated at 60,000 or more foreclosure cases from the past five years, even as the number of new cases begins to creep back toward the peaks of the Great Recession.

Read on.

New York AG warns Wells Fargo that he will pursue bank unless it retracts statements made by a law firm saying bank has stopped reviewing mortgage relief requests in the Hurricane Sandy affected areas

New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermanwarned Wells Fargo on Friday that his office will “aggressively pursue” the bank unless it immediately retracts statements made by a law firm saying that Wells has stopped reviewing mortgage relief requests in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

A law firm representing Wells Fargo reportedly said the bank was suspending home preservation reviews and decisions until it received more information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Under new mortgage servicing standards as part of the $25 billion national settlement earlier this year, banks involved have 30 days to process relief requests. Schneiderman wrote that a policy of suspending reviews would likely put them in violation of the provision.

“Countless families in New York have suffered tremendously because of this natural disaster,” he wrote in a letter to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. “As we work to help those affected rebuild their lives, my office expects Wells Fargo’s full cooperation in ensuring that no additional and unwarranted damage is inflicted on those who were victims of this tragic event.”

JPMorgan Faces Order on Anti-Money Laundering, WSJ Says

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is expected to receive an order from regulators to bolster anti-money laundering systems and examine past transactions, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will give the cease-and-desist order amid a wider crackdown on the nation’s largest banks, the people said, according to the newspaper. JPMorgan spokeswoman Kate Haywood in London declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman in Hong Kong.

Read on.

Orange Register: Homeowner Niko Black’s case against Wells Fargo is much more complicated than it first appeared

A very complicated case. From the Orange Register:

But interviews, court documents and court testimony this week show that the case is much more complicated than it first appeared.

What everyone can agree on is that Wells Fargo, accompanied by sheriff’s deputies, evicted Black from her home on Oct. 10. Also clear is that Black at one point had received a stay from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which the bank and the deputies ignored.

Wells Fargo and the sheriff were called into bankruptcy court on Tuesday to explain why they shouldn’t be sanctioned for ignoring the federal court’s order.

Just prior to that hearing, Wells Fargo filed documents with the court that showed a much longer and more complicated history than Black and her lawyers had at first revealed. According to those documents, Black had defaulted on her loan more than three years ago, in 2009 and was foreclosed by the bank and the loan servicer in December  2011. She had also agreed to vacate the home as of July.

Black says the entire dispute began in 2006 when she refused to make payments on a refinancing loan she says she never approved or signed.

But Rick Sharga of Carrington Mortgage Services, says Black refinanced roughly five times, and was $14,751 behind in her payments when the first default notice was filed in 2009.  At the time of the foreclosure, in 2011, Black owed $549,275.

Black filed a federal bankruptcy petition in April 2012. That would normally stay any eviction process but the case was dismissed automatically by the court because Black failed to file the required information about her debts and assets within 72 hours.

She then filed a second bankruptcy petition on May 21.

That same month, in Orange County Superior Court, Black’s then-attorney signed a stipulation in Superior Court, in the original foreclosure case, agreeing that she would vacate her home by July 15, 2012.   But she didn’t leave, so the servicer on her loan, Carrington Mortgage Services, began the eviction process.

Here’s where it gets even more complicated: After seeing Black’s second bankruptcy filing, Wells Fargo filed a motion asking the federal court to set aside the automatic stay that accompanies such a filing–but then failed to show up for the court hearing on their own motion.

Lisa Woolery, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said the bank dropped its effort to obtain a relief of the stay, since the automatic stay  had already run its 30 day course and the bank could now move forward.

At a hearing Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Jason Burris, the lawyer for the bank, apologized to Judge Theodor Albert for not showing up at that July hearing.

“The debtor and her counsel have focused in on this one loose screw in the whole process, that we didn’t show up for the hearing,” Burris said. “We intended to withdraw the motion because we knew the automatic stay had terminated.”

The judge said the bank’s failure to show up at that hearing created enormous confusion.

“That caused Miss Black to somehow think she still has a stay, a rash assumption on her part,” Albert said. But Albert said that he could not find evidence that the bank violated due process or court rules, as he had originally assumed.

“So everyone missed it here a little bit and I’m not particularly proud of it but it doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody gets damages or a sanction,” Albert added.

Black was present in court with her attorneys Thomas Friedman and Stephen Golden. Despite pleas from Golden for the judge to sanction Wells Fargo and the sheriff and grant Black a writ of possession to her home Judge Albert did neither.

“I’m not without sympathy for her (Black) but this is a court of law,” Albert said. “I am perhaps not as stone-hearted as I appear but just because I’m a judge it doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want. A sanction for violation of stay has no basis.”

Albert went on to say he could not and would not place Black back into her home and asserted that, based on the court documents,  she didn’t have the right to be in it.

“We plan on pursuing the matter in state court,” said David Browning, a spokesman for Stephen R. Golden and Associates, Black’s lawyers. “We have already filed a notice to overturn the unlawful detainer on Black’s eviction….This entire mess is a disaster and to a very successful foreclosure defense law firm makes no sense and has far too many errors to be real.”

The judge strongly suggested to  Wells Fargo and Carrington Mortgage Services that they work with Black’s attorneys to let her into her former home to retrieve her medical equipment within the next 72 hours.

Occupy Wall St protesters wipe $5m off America’s debt

A group of campaigners linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement has raised enough cash to write-off $5m in “distressed” student loans and outstanding medical bills.

The campaigners founded the Rolling Jubilee project to buy-up distressed loans, where repayments are in arrears, for pennies in the pound and then cancel them free of charge to “liberate debtors at random”. That debt will include large amounts of student loans and oustanding medical bills owed by people struggling to meet repayments.

Individuals or companies can buy debt from lenders at knock-down prices if it the borrower is in default or behind with payments and are then free to do with it as they see fit, including cancelling it free of charge.

Read on.