Tag Archives: homeowners

MORTGAGE MESS PUTS HOMEOWNER ON BRINK OF FORECLOSURE

abc7ny.com:

Deb Conte says she felt like she was going to have a heart attack after getting a foreclosure warning from her mortgage company.

She’s lived in her home for nearly 20 years. The single parent raised her daughter here and is now struggling to put Jacqueline through art school.

Last year DiTech took over her mortgage. She says nearly overnight her monthly mortgage ballooned from around $800 to nearly $2,000

Deb says DiTech was charging her for property taxes that she already paid.

For two decades Deb says she always paid her own taxes, so she contacted DiTech.

Meanwhile the mortgage mushroomed, to nearly $6,000.

Then, the foreclosure threat arrived.

“I couldn’t afford a lawyer,” Conte said. “So I said I’m calling Nina.”

Just minutes after 7 On Your Side called DiTech, a representative dialed up Deb.

And a day later, there was no more escrow exasperation. The fear of foreclosure was lifted after their lender cleared up the taxing mortgage mix-up and apologized.

Citing privacy concerns, DiTech said it couldn’t comment on their customer’s situation.

Fraud or Contract? Homebuyers & Citibank Argue

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Lawyers for a group of homeowners clashed with Citibank attorneys at a Tuesday hearing on whether the mortgage loan servicer committed fraud by charging delinquent borrowers unnecessary fees for property inspections.
In an order denying the homeowners class certification last year, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the case hinges on a contract dispute, as the mortgage terms govern the validity of the charges, and inspection fees are authorized by the plaintiffs’ mortgage agreements under certain circumstances.
“Citi’s liability rises or falls on whether a fact-finder determines that a property inspection fee was authorized by the borrower’s mortgage agreement,” she wrote.
At the Tuesday hearing, Gonzalez-Rogers asked whether the plaintiffs, who live in Alabama, could choose to bring a fraud claim under Alabama law over a breach of contract claim.
In her 2012 lawsuit, lead plaintiff Gloria Stitt claimed Citi colluded with subsidiaries, affiliates and vendors on a profit-making scheme to charge unnecessary and marked-up fees to homeowners for property inspections once they defaulted on their mortgage payments. Stitt said vendors padded fees “often by 100% or more,” but never informed borrowers of the markups or profits. A borrower named Diana Ellis brought a similar lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase.
“It’s not a breach of contract to defraud someone of money by asking them for money they’re not obligated to pay: It’s fraud,” said Daniel Alberstone, attorney for the Citi plaintiffs.
He said that Citibank had been told explicitly by investors not to charge delinquent borrowers for certain inspections, but went ahead and charged them anyway.

Read on.

CFPB again finds loan servicers routinely violate federal laws causing injury to homeowners

In the final days of June, 2016 the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its eleventh Supervisory Highlights report. The Report offers a summary of findings from CFPB regulatory investigations on loan servicing practices and compliance with federal statutes including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The report is a devastating critique of the loan servicing industry, providing the general public a look into the continued systematic abuses of law and institutional incompetence of the companies that oversee collection of mortgage payments nationwide.

For homeowners who have been victims of loan servicing errors, the report offers a small bit of relief knowing that “you are not alone.” For attorneys representing homeowner victims, the report is a new arrow in the quiver because it details industry wide patterns of practices in violation of federal law. RESPA specifically awards statutory damages where a pattern and practice of wrongful behavior is exhibited and now consumers have government backed research to show industry wide patterns of abuse.

Read on.

Fraud or Contract? Homebuyers & Citi Argue

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Lawyers for a group of homeowners clashed with Citibank attorneys at a Tuesday hearing on whether the mortgage loan servicer committed fraud by charging delinquent borrowers unnecessary fees for property inspections.
In an order denying the homeowners class certification last year, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the case hinges on a contract dispute, as the mortgage terms govern the validity of the charges, and inspection fees are authorized by the plaintiffs’ mortgage agreements under certain circumstances.
“Citi’s liability rises or falls on whether a fact-finder determines that a property inspection fee was authorized by the borrower’s mortgage agreement,” she wrote.
At the Tuesday hearing, Gonzalez-Rogers asked whether the plaintiffs, who live in Alabama, could choose to bring a fraud claim under Alabama law over a breach of contract claim.
In her 2012 lawsuit, lead plaintiff Gloria Stitt claimed Citi colluded with subsidiaries, affiliates and vendors on a profit-making scheme to charge unnecessary and marked-up fees to homeowners for property inspections once they defaulted on their mortgage payments. Stitt said vendors padded fees “often by 100% or more,” but never informed borrowers of the markups or profits. A borrower named Diana Ellis brought a similar lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase.
“It’s not a breach of contract to defraud someone of money by asking them for money they’re not obligated to pay: It’s fraud,” said Daniel Alberstone, attorney for the Citi plaintiffs.

Read on.

Lenders Cannot Seize Property For Delinquent Mortgages Before Foreclosure

The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that lenders cannot take possession of a property due to missed mortgage payments without first going through foreclosure. This ruling opens the door to a federal class action spearheaded by Laura Jordan and joined by more than 3,600 borrowers. Jordan started the case after her mortgage provider seized her property following two missed payments. The lender made a forced entry into her home while she was at work and changed the locks.

While many view the lender’s actions as trespassing and theft, others in the industry say that the ruling is in conflict with many terms listed in standard mortgage agreements. The language found in many of these documents states that lenders can take several steps to maintain the value of a property that has been abandoned or is in default, including changing the locks. A brief filed by Freddie Mac supported these terms, saying that by keeping up these properties, lenders were protecting their investments and also maintaining the value of surrounding properties.

Read on.

Borrowers love Wells Fargo’s 3% down program

About a month ago, Wells Fargo announced that it now offers a down payment of as little as 3% for fixed-rate mortgages, answering calls in the industry to expand the credit box.

This new program, yourFirstMortgage, quickly became popular among first-time buyers.

“In addition, we launched yourFirstMortgage, a new home loan program to help more qualified first-time homebuyers and low- to moderate-income consumers become homeowners,” Wells Fargo shared on its earnings call on Friday. “Early reaction to this program has been positive with over $1 billion of applications in the first 30 days.”

Wells Fargo reported on Friday that applications increased to $95 billion for the second quarter of 2016.

Read on.

Homeowners say foreclosure firm failed them

Brooklyn lawyer says he helped save people’s homes

Just five years out of law school, Gennady Litvin ran a bustling legal practice that took in millions of dollars from distressed homeowners who hoped they could avoid foreclosure.

The Litvin Law Firm grossed $5.2 million in 2013, much of it from financially strapped clients who paid $500 a month or more for help negotiating lower mortgage rates or other legal assistance to keep them from losing their homes. That year, Litvin drew a salary of $466,477, according to court filings.

But the Brooklyn, New York, law firm’s fortunes soured as it faced repeated accusations of fraud and other illegal conduct in complaints filed by state regulators and disgruntled clients, some of whom were low-income and minority homeowners who lost their property after trusting the firm. In March and April 2015, Litvin and the firm both filed for bankruptcy, leaving more than 4,500 potential creditors, mostly former clients.

“There was a ton of money that he made and where that money has gone, we don’t know,” said Cleveland lawyer Geoff McCarell.

Read on.