Daily Archives: May 20, 2014


New Report Finds Ongoing Servicer Mistakes Push Homeowners to Foreclosure

New Report Finds Ongoing Servicer Mistakes Push Homeowners to Foreclosure

San Francisco, CA: – May 20, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — A new survey of housing counselors and attorneys finds homeowners are facing unreasonable delays, numerous obstacles, and servicer run-arounds in seeking help from their mortgage servicers, despite new laws, programs, and settlements intended to protect homeowners. Housing counselors report that loan servicing transfers, Single Points of Contact not being available, and a lack of accountability prevent homeowners from accessing much-needed relief to avoid foreclosure. In conjunction with the survey (completed by 60+ counselors), eleven homeowners shared declarations that outline the many problems they and their nonprofit attorneys encountered in trying to obtain relief. Kevin Stein, Associate Director at the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), explained: “The foreclosure crisis is not over, in fact, it’s made worse and longer by servicers who refuse to abide by the rules. Servicers are incentivized, and in many cases, required to provide assistance, but what we see instead is incompetent servicing, homeowner run-arounds, improper denials, and unreasonable delays, all resulting in homeowners being pushed closer to foreclosure. We are especially concerned that promised relief is still not getting to the hardest hit communities. With the release of this report, we are urging regulators to more closely monitor and enforce existing rules; address the many obstacles faced by widowed homeowners; provide dedicated funding for counselors and attorneys; and increase transparency to verify if relief is getting to homeowners and communities equitably.” Lisa Sitkin, Managing Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, worked with several of the homeowners whose declarations are included in the report, and commented on the specific challenges faced by widowed homeowners and other family members in similar situations: “When a borrower dies, the survivors – often a spouse or child – still face an uphill battle getting the servicer to speak with them, let alone help them resolve any delinquency or other problem with a mortgage account. The process drags on unnecessarily, the information provided to the borrower’s loved ones is incomplete, inconsistent or just wrong, and the survivors sometimes end up facing foreclosure while they are still grieving. The servicers can – and should – be doing a much better job for these families.” In addition to the survey results, the report also includes summaries and declarations from 11 homeowners located throughout California, who faced a range of problems when seeking help from their servicers. The declarations are included in the appendix of the report, as are links to individual declarations. 


JPMorgan Chase shareholders back directors, executive pay

JPMorgan Chase shareholders back directors, executive pay

May 20 (Reuters) – Shareholders of JPMorgan Chase & Co voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to elect all of the company’s directors and also endorsed the company’s payments to executives in 2013.

All directors received at least 96 percent of votes cast, the company said at the close of the meeting. The executive pay was approved by 78 percent.


She fought Wall Street, and now she’s off to jail

She fought Wall Street, and now she’s off to jail

Opinion: Unlike CEOs, this ‘Occupy’ protestor couldn’t avoid prosecution

Credit Suisse CS +0.65%  Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan will keep his job — one that paid him $9 million last year after a 26% raise — even thought the bank will pay a $2.6 billion settlement and plead guilty to criminal charges for helping its U.S. clients evade taxes.

SAC Capital Advisors LLC founder Steven A. Cohen spent the weekend free as a bird, perhaps counting the sum of what had been years of an annual compensation packageof $1 billion. He did so after another one of his lieutenants, Michael Steinberg, wassentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison for his role in a firm-wide insider-trading scheme.

Steinberg was the latest in a string of former SAC traders and managers who have been ratting out one another and receiving prison sentences.

And after walking around Italy for a few months, former Societe Generale trader Jérôme Kerviel surrendered to police Sunday . He will spend three years in prison for making unauthorized trades at the bank that led to more than $8 billion in losses. At least, that’s if you believe he wasn’t making the trades with tacit approval from his bosses or negligence on their part.

Lest you think these cases suggest that it’s just the small fish who meet the hook of justice, consider the 90-day jail term just handed out to Cecily McMillan for second-degree assault.

McMillan is the last Occupy Wall Street protestor to be sentenced for her role in the 2010 and 2011 protests in New York that were ultimately swept away by a city police raidordered by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

McMillan, now a 25-year-old graduate student, was in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on March 17, 2012, celebrating the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, which was evicted from the park in November 2011. The police were ordered to clear the park. Scuffles ensued. Chaos. An officer claims McMillian elbowed him in the face. McMillansaid someone grabbed her breast.


JPMorgan Tech Worker Magee’s Death Was Suicide, Coroner Says

JPMorgan Tech Worker Magee’s Death Was Suicide, Coroner Says

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) & Co. vice president who fell to his death from the bank’s 33-story London headquarters in January committed suicide, a coroner ruled.

Gabriel Magee, 39, had worked as a computer programmer since 2004 in the corporate and investment bank’s technology support department. The coroner, Mary Hassell, heard evidence at an inquest today in east London from witnesses including Magee’s girlfriend, a work colleague, his therapist, a police officer and employees of the New York-based bank. Magee’s father and sister attended the hearing.

The inquest into his death is the third proceeding into a bank worker’s death in the British capital in six months. Hassell presided over an inquest into the death of 21-year-old Bank of America Corp. intern Moritz Erhardt from an epileptic seizure in November, and a court heard in March about the death of William Broeksmit, a retired Deutsche Bank AG risk executive who hanged himself at his home in London.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gabriel’s family and friends,” JPMorgan said in an e-mailed statement. “We are focused on supporting our colleagues and those close to him on this very difficult day.”


EU Commission charges HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole with rigging

EU Commission charges HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole with rigging

(Reuters) – European Union antitrust regulators charged Europe’s biggest bank HSBC, U.S. peer JPMorgan and France’s Credit Agricole on Tuesday with rigging financial benchmarks linked to the euro, exposing them to potential fines.

The European Commission also said it would charge broker ICAP soon for suspected manipulation of the yen Libor financial benchmark.

U.S. and European regulators have so far handed down some $6 billion in fines to 10 banksand brokerages for rigging the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and its euro cousin Euribor while prosecutors have also charged 16 men with fraud-related offences.

“The Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives,” the EU competition authority said.

The three banks and ICAP, which refused to settle the case in December, could face penalties of up to 10 percent of their global turnover if found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.

JPMorgan said the EU charges were without merit and that it would defend itself while Credit Agricole said it would examine the charge sheet. HSBC said it would defend itself vigorously.


U.S. rejects challenge to $13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement

U.S. rejects challenge to $13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement

(Reuters) – The U.S. government urged a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit seeking to scuttle its landmark $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co, rejecting a claim that the accord let the largest U.S. bank off too easily.

Better Markets Inc, a nonprofit critical of Wall Street, had in February accused the government of “unilaterally” engineering a backroom accord giving JPMorgan “blanket civil immunity” for selling shoddy mortgage securities before the financial crisis.

It said this violated the constitutional separation of powers and called for a judge to review the November settlement.

The accord included a $2 billion fine payable to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Better Markets case was prompted by the department’s decision not to make its accusations public in a lawsuit before settling with JPMorgan.

In a court filing on Monday night, however, the Justice Department said its decision to settle was “presumptively” unreviewable, and that Better Markets lacked standing to sue.

The department also rejected Better Markets’ suggestion that it had “abdicated” its law enforcement duties by not driving a harder bargain with JPMorgan and chief executive Jamie Dimon.


Lawsky: Our fight against nonbanks is just beginning

Lawsky: Our fight against nonbanks is just beginning

The banking regulator many in the housing industry fear more than the Consumer Financial Protection Bureausays that he is not taking his eye off nonbank mortgage servicers, and in fact he plans to go a lot deeper.

New York State Department of Financial Servicessuperintendent Benjamin Lawsky opened the second day of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Secondary Markets Conference & Expo (#secondary14) on Tuesday, telling attendees he has grave concerns about the rise and growth of nonbanks who are snapping up mortgage servicing rights even as traditional banks are leaving the space in droves.

(Sidenote: The day started badly for Lawsky, as he was initially turned away by a guard from entering the MBA convention because he didn’t have convention credentials.)

“Recently…there has been an evolution in the mortgage servicing industry. Regulators are – appropriately, in the wake of the financial crisis – putting in place stronger capital requirements for big banks.  In particular, they are giving those banks less credit for the – often distressed – mortgage-servicing rights on their balance sheets,” Lawsky said in prepared remarks. “Rather than building up stronger capital buffers in response, many large banks are instead offloading those MSRs to nonbank mortgage servicers – which are often more lightly regulated.”


More on the Ocwen class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania over servicing practices

More on the Ocwen class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania over servicing practices

Ocwen has been sued in Pennsylvania by a group of homeowners whose mortgage loans were serviced by Ocwen. The homeowners, including lead plaintiff Jill Dempsey, say that they paid off their mortgages in full, per a payoff quote from Ocwen, only to have Ocwen take far longer than the legally prescribed amount of time to file the loan satisfaction documents with the county clerk.

In Dempsey’s case, she paid off a home equity line of credit on her house so she could refinance her first mortgage. Pennsylvania law requires the servicer to file a “satisfaction piece” with the county within 60 days of the receipt of payment from the borrower. The satisfaction piece denotes that the loan has been paid off and the lien has been released.

Instead of filing the satisfaction piece with the Chester County Recorder’s Office within 60 days, as required by Pennsylvania’s Mortgage Satisfaction Act, Dempsey’s lawsuit alleges that Ocwen filed the satisfaction piece “approximately 253 days after plaintiff paid her loan in full,” which was 252 days after Dempsey’s first written request for Ocwen to send the satisfaction piece to the county.

Dempsey would subsequently send two other written requests to Ocwen without a response from the company. Ocwen “belatedly filed a satisfaction piece with the Chester County Recorder’s Office on March 21, 2014” which was approximately 198 days after Dempsey’s third written request.

“It’s not just an administrative matter,” says Eric Lechtzin, who is representing Dempsey and the rest of plaintiffs. “She was trying to refinance her home loan but was unable to refinance because records showed there was a second lien on the property. It exposed her to interest rate risk and a variety of things.”

According to the lawsuit, Ocwen reported Dempsey’s mortgage as “open” to credit agencies during the 60-day period following its receipt of her request for Ocwen to send the satisfaction piece to the county.

Dempsey’s suit claims she and the other plaintiffs suffered “economic harm and actual damages including, but not limited to, being unable to refinance the first lien mortgage on her home, being required to pay a greater amount of interest on her existing lien mortgage than she would have been required to pay had she been able to refinance this loan in July 2013, and the costs of bringing this instant lawsuit.”

The class action suit, which can read in full here, also claims that Ocwen violated the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act by not filing the satisfaction piece with the county within 60 days of its receipt of a “qualified written request” to file the satisfaction piece from the borrower.


North Carolina plans to cut unemployment benefits to a maximum of just 14 weeks, the fewest in the nation

North Carolina plans to cut unemployment benefits to a maximum of just 14 weeks, the fewest in the nation

14 weeks or 3 months and 2 weeks??? Unbelievable.. People pay into unemployment insurance. The question is how much of unemployment insurance will be taking out of North Carolina residents’s paychecks if the unemployment benefits is reduced.

North Carolina is at it again. The state plans to cut unemployment benefits to a maximum of just 14 weeks, the fewest in the nation.

The reduction applies to anyone who files a jobless claim after July 6. They’ll only be able to get unemployment benefits for 14 weeks instead of 19 under the previous law.

No other state offers fewer than 18 weeks of benefits, and most provide 26 weeks.

North Carolina first cut benefits in July 2013 the under the leadership of a new Republican governor and a conservative-dominated legislature. Lawmakers made the move to reduce a growing debt to the federal government and to offer relief to businesses whose taxes rose sharply to fund the unemployment-insurance program. Conservatives also argued that excessively generous benefits allowed people to put off taking another job.



2nd Class Cert. Bid Denied In Row Over JPMorgan Refi Offer

2nd Class Cert. Bid Denied In Row Over JPMorgan Refi Offer

Law360, Los Angeles (May 19, 2014, 10:21 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Monday refused to reconsider a motion to certify the class in a suit that alleges JPMorgan Chase & Co. falsely represented a mortgage refinancing offer that hurt borrowers’ credit scores.

U.S. District Judge George H. King found that named plaintiff Maclovia Duarte’s contention — that the court didn’t properly consider the evidence she presented to show she and other class members suffered actual damages as a result of JPMorgan’s credit checks — didn’t meet her burden under Rule 23 of the…