Daily Archives: September 12, 2014

Federal program to avoid foreclosure a dismal failure

Federal officials touted their foreclosure avoidance programs as an alternative that would keep borrowers in their homes. Apparently, paying for a house is no longer requisite for keeping it, just signing some papers and getting a name on title is enough to make the property a sacrosanct family home.

Well, as it turns out, foreclosure avoidance programs were merely political cover. Federal officials really didn’t care whether or not borrowers got to keep their family homes, federal officials didn’t want to be the ones directly responsible for the foreclosures, so they sold off the loans to third parties to let them do the dirty work.

Source: http://ochousingnews.com/blog/federal-program-avoid-foreclosure-dismal-failure/#ixzz3D8Ul0rLQ

Investigating Florida’s parallel legal system for foreclosures

Defense motions that disappear after 60 days, unelected judges meant to rule on a quarter of a million cases a year, original documents gone missing —these are the realities facing families caught in a year-old initiative intended to accelerate Florida’s foreclosure process. As Florida tries to clear its courts of hundreds of thousands of pending foreclosure cases, a lingering reminder of the 2008 financial meltdown, homeowners trying to save their houses feel their rights come second in a state-sponsored, breathless rush to foreclose.

Senior Finance Reporter Alison Fitzgerald spent months investigating the underlying causes of Florida’s foreclosure frenzy, and we wanted to know more about the story behind that effort.

Your investigation found a foreclosure system riddled with red flags — what in your mind is the most egregious outcome of Florida’s foreclosure initiative?

What I saw is that the initiative tilts the legal system in favor of banks. For that small fraction of homeowners who are defending their homes, they are now fighting not only banks, but also the state. When a court or judge tries to move a case forward, they are by default working on behalf of the bank which brought the case. And they are giving the banks leeway in terms of evidence they would never give to a homeowner.

Read on.

Aurora woman’s two-year battle to stop foreclosure ends sheriff’s sale

After nearly two years in federal and state courts trying to stop the foreclosure of her Aurora home — a legal battle that even squared off against the constitutionality of Colorado’s foreclosure laws — Lisa Brumfiel watched as it was sold at public auction.

And, true to her word, Brumfiel, 44, says she’s fighting on.

“As I’ve said all along, my goal is to change Colorado’s foreclosure laws, and if I have to lose my house to accomplish that, so be it,” she said this week. “But I just won’t give it to them.”

Despite several setbacks and outright losses in a handful of lawsuits, including her own bankruptcy, where a federal judge indicated there could be problems with Colorado’s foreclosure statutes, Brumfiel couldn’t stop the auctioneer’s gavel.

Now, she says she wants to know how the holder of her mortgage — investors who purchased it as part of a mortgage-backed security sold years ago with hundreds of others — can buy it back for more than twice its value and not owe her anything.

Brumfiel said she’s still in the home and the earliest she can be forcibly evicted is the end of the month.

Colorado law requires homeowners to be refunded the difference of what they owe on a mortgage and the price for which it sold at a public foreclosure auction, after expenses are deducted.

Read on.

Cyprus Pressed to Shut Foreclosure-Law Loopholes

Europe’s economy chief stepped up demands on Cyprus to tighten foreclosure rules so banks can tackle bad loans, a dispute that may hold back the euro area’s next payout of aid under the country’s 10 billion-euro ($12.9 billion) rescue.

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Jyrki Katainen said parts of foreclosure legislation that the Cypriot parliament approved on Sept. 6 breach the aid conditions by giving borrowers too much leeway to default. At stake is a 350 million-euro disbursement due to be made in coming weeks.

“Foreclosure reform is very essential,” Katainen told reporters today in Milan where euro-area finance ministers touched on the Mediterranean island country’s bailout. “It is key to enabling banks to start providing the lending needed to finance economic recovery in Cyprus.”

Cyprus’s international creditors, which also include the International Monetary Fund, are demanding strengthened powers of foreclosure in the country as Cypriot banks struggle with the highest percentage of bad loans in Europe and gear up for euro-area wide stress tests.

Read on.

What?! Bank insured men’s families, but not women’s

This bank’s account with women is now balanced.

A New Jersey bank is cutting female workers a nice-sized check after refusing for years to offer health insurance to their families even though male employees got that benefit for their own families, according to a settlement document.

Union County Savings Bank agreed to pay $261,500 to settle claims that it violated federal civil rights laws by discriminating against the female workers, according to the bank’s agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which CNBC obtained from lawyers for the workers.

Those workers include two female tellers who claimed they were retaliated against in 2013 in the form of lower-than-average raises after they discussed filing a complaint about how they and other women couldn’t get health coverage for their families from the bank while their male colleagues did.

The settlement finalized Thursday will be split between the two tellers, Joanne DeVito and Joanne Kusterer, as well as by other female workers at Union County Savings Bank, according to the EEOC conciliation agreement. DeVito and Kusterer also will have their pay raised to the level it would have been if they had gotten the same level of raises received by their colleagues.

The small, four-office bank based in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which has about $1.6 billion in assets, and $1.4 billion in deposits, had for decades given male workers health insurance for themselves, spouses and children at no cost.

But female workers were only given such insurance for themselves, “and explicitly denied female employees the option of obtaining health insurance coverage for their spouses or families,” according to the National Women’s Law Center, which represented the two tellers. That meant women who worked at the bank, including DeVito and Kusterer, were subject to a larger financial burden from having to get such coverage elsewhere, in some cases, the NWLC noted.

Read on.

Congresswoman: “I’m Glad People Have This 9/11 Mentality Again”

It makes you wonder why Congress’ approval ratings is lower than dirt. Here we go again with the fear mongering to put the fear in God in people of the crisis of ISIS. Comparing the ISIS with 9/11 is not going to work since the Osama Bin Laden, the terrorist that this country was hunting down linked to the 9/11 attack, is dead and ISIS is a more different terrorist group. It is sickening that some members of Congress  and media would start fear mongering for political purposes…

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

With just 6% of likely U.S. voters thinking Congress is doing a good or excellent job according to a recent Rasmussen poll, it’s no surprise to see so many of these corrupt clowns falling over one another to appear tough on ISIS, using myriad hyperbolic and Orwellian statements.

Let’s start with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) who decided to see if she could take crazy to a whole other level:

“There’s been no pushback against the Islamic State and they have made breathtaking advances. We haven’t seen anything like this since Hitler and the blitzkrieg in World War II

The Islamic State have declared war against the infidel, they have declared war against the U.S.”

Well Rep. Bachmann, perhaps ISIS wouldn’t be so successful if not for our allies funding it, in addition to its use of U.S. military hardware. But of course those arms must’ve just immaculately conceived themselves out of thin air in the desserts of Mesopotamia.

You think that’s bad, how about this one from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa:

“I’m glad people have this 9/11 mentality again.”

This brings up a whole host of followup questions. Why is she glad that people have this 9/11 mentality again? I can’t think of a single positive trend that has happened within the U.S. since September 11, 2001. However, I can think of several awful trends. Let’s name a few:

1) The destruction of the middle class amid a horrible economy.

2) The shredding of the Constitution in the name of security, yet the intelligence services havestopped zero terrorist attacks with all their invasive spying since 9/11.

3) The militarization of the domestic police force.

4) Enormous expansion of our national debt to fund an imperial military presence overseas.

5) Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dead human beings overseas and several countries destroyed beyond recognition (Iraq and Libya) in order to win a “war on terror,” which 13 years later is obviously no closer to being won.

Shall I go on?

But sure, I can see how an environment of fear is in the best interest of corrupt politicians with a 6% approval rating.

HSBC to pay $550 million to settle U.S. mortgage bond claims – source

HSBC Holdings Plc (>> HSBC Holdings plc) is expected to pay $550 million (338.29 million pounds) to resolve a U.S. regulator’s claims the bank made false representations in selling mortgage bonds to Fannie Mae (>> Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me) and Freddie Mac (>> Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp) before the financial crisis, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

A settlement could be announced as soon as later Friday between HSBC and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the conservator for the two government-controlled mortgage finance companies, the person said.

The deal came less than three weeks before a scheduled Sept. 29 trial in New York, where HSBC has said it could have faced up to $1.6 billion in damages.

Read on.

Banks hesitant to embrace mortgage solution

The government released a new proposal for Fannie Maeand Freddie Mac to start purchasing more low-income refinancings in order to show support for such loans. But there is one problem: banks are unlikely to jump on board with the idea. Per The Wall Street Journal.

The article explained that the Federal Housing Finance Agency hopes that increasing demand for low-income mortgages from Fannie and Freddie will spur lenders to make more of these loans.

This time around, lenders might not be so willing to follow Fannie’s and Freddie’s lead. The risk is that the expansion of low-income goals may actually lead to a lending contraction. That is because banks don’t want to make any type of loan that they wouldn’t want to keep on their balance sheet.

As multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements with the Justice Department and other government entities have made clear, doing otherwise opens them up to liability for allegedly faulty underwriting. And repurchase demands can force them to take back loans they never planned on holding.

However, this does not mean the door is completely shut on low-income families. The article said there is a chance that nonbanks will step in but that carries its own set of risks.

Compared to its peers in the market, the booming non-bank mortgage servicing market — dominated by Ocwen (OCN)Nationstar (NSM), Walter (WAC) — should not be required to fulfill formal capital requirements and other types of prudential regulations, according to a white paper from Kroll Bond Ratings Agency.

Meanwhiel, “According to Fannie Mae documents, 46.6% of its mortgages were purchased from nonbank mortgage companies in the first three quarters of 2013, which was up from 33.2% in 2011,” the FHFA-OIG report states. “Freddie Mac data shows that its share of mortgage purchases from nonbank mortgage companies more than doubled from 8.4% to 20.5% over that same period, but its share remains significantly lower than Fannie Mae’s share.”

Source: WSJ

Russia’s only cat-based mortgage lender sanctioned by U.S. Treasury

You can still get a cat with your mortgage from Sberbankin Russia, you just can’t do business with them if you’re American.

Sberbank, which made HousingWire headlines Aug. 27 for its unique program of loaning cats to clients who buy one of their mortgage products – as odd and cute as it sounds – is on the list of businesses under sanction now by the U.S. government.

The list, which can be read here, is in part of ongoing U.S. and E.U. efforts to punish Russia for Russia’s support of pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine.

The Department of Treasury issued the following statement Friday morning.

“Due to continued Russian efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew today determined that persons operating within Russia’s defense and related materiel sector may now be subject to targeted sanctions under Executive Order 13662.  In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today extended targeted financial sanctions to Russia’s largest bank, deepened existing sanctions on Russian financial institutions, expanded sanctions in Russia’s energy sector, and increased the number of sanctioned Russian entities in the energy and defense sectors.”

Read on.

JPMorgan, Investors Propose $340M IndyMac MBS Settlement

Law360, Los Angeles (September 11, 2014, 10:18 PM ET) — The lead plaintiffs and underwriter banks in a class action accusing JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other financial institutions of misleading investors about the inherent risks of IndyMac Bank’s mortgage-backed securities reached a proposed $340 million settlement, according to a filing in New York federal court Thursday.

Banks, including JPMorgan, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Morgan Stanley and The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, reached the deal to pay the investors to resolve claims the banks knew the loans wrapped up in…

Source: Law360