After reading through some of the recaps of the oral arguments at SCOTUS yesterday in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, it appears that some of the justices, and perhaps a majority, are willing to allow private religious objections to trump the laws, regulations, and ordinances enacted by local, state, and federal governments. Just so that no one is surprised later, I thought I’d lay out some of my strongly held religious beliefs now.
|By: DSWright Tuesday July 30, 2013 8:52 am|
If only it was the first time. A woman in Ohio is trying to get her possessions back after a bank broke into her house and stole them. The bank had the wrong address but still broke in and took her belongings.
|By: DSWright Thursday May 9, 2013 9:01 am|
After handing out trillions of dollars to Wall Street – which we only know about due to a Bloomberg News lawsuit the Fed fought – the Federal Reserve announced victims of fraudulent foreclosure practices were being shortchanged.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 14, 2012 5:55 am|
The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight released some interesting data on the first-lien and second-lien portfolios of the five services sanctioned in the foreclosure fraud settlement. Calculated Risk reproduces the data here. Despite the heavy investment in a narrative of the foreclosure crisis being over and the housing recovery underway, these loan portfolios show substantial weakness at the big banks, particularly Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Even at Wells Fargo, the bank with the best data here, nearly 1 in 11 first-lien mortgages in their portfolio are in some stage of delinquency.
That number widens with BofA, which only has 84.4% of its loans current, and 4.81% in foreclosure, well above traditional averages. JPMorgan Chase’s foreclosure rate is 5.06%.
These just aren’t good numbers, and they suggest continuing softness in the sector. Worse, home seizures have begun to rise for the first time in two years.
|By: David Dayen Thursday December 13, 2012 8:14 am|
Last week, Thomas Cox, the Maine lawyer who performed the deposition that basically exposed robo-signing, won the $100,000 Purpose Prize for his work on behalf of homeowners at risk of foreclosure. I spoke with Cox this week to get a ground-level picture of what is happening in the courts in the post-settlement landscape. Have banks cleaned up their foreclosure practices? Are homeowners still getting the shaft?
|By: David Dayen Friday December 7, 2012 10:16 am|
Lots of people must be credited with getting to the bottom of this scam, but perhaps nobody is more responsible than Thomas Cox. He was the former bank lawyer – he specialized in foreclosures – who volunteered to help Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, a nonprofit just starting up a foreclosure defense project. Cox ended up doing the now-famous deposition of Jeffrey Stephan, the GMAC robo-signer, that exposed this practice of having affidavits filled out by people with no underlying knowledge of the loan data. This was the string that, when pulled, showed the fraud and rot at the heart of the largest consumer market in the world.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 7, 2012 5:54 am|
I’ve had more than a few assurances that Congress would get its act together and pass an extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, so that underwater homeowners who get some debt relief won’t have a big tax bill staring them in the face to make their financial situation even worse. But if that’s the case, you have to wonder why lenders are packing in so many short sales as we near the expiration date.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 3, 2012 2:52 pm|
Late last week, the Justice Department issued a filing that attempts to reinforce the release limitations set by the foreclosure fraud settlement, stopping Wells Fargo from reimagining the deal as a broader release of liability on various mortgage claims. However, a judge will have to make the final decision.
The US sued Wells Fargo in late October over issuing insurance claims on FHA loans while knowing that the loans did not meet underwriting requirements set by the agency. Wells charged in court that these specific charges were covered under the foreclosure fraud settlement. I actually thought Wells made a fairly compelling case on that front, but the DoJ disagrees.
|By: David Dayen Friday November 30, 2012 6:37 am|
Missing here is any understanding of who controls the timing of a so-called foreclosure wave. Banks do the foreclosing, after all, and it’s really up to them whether or not to put inventory on the market or to foreclose at all. And in both cases, they haven’t moved forward for very specific reasons.
|By: David Dayen Thursday November 29, 2012 4:00 pm|
It’s not often that the homeowner advocates at the Center for Responsible Lending and the bank lobbyists at the Financial Services Roundtable agree on anything. But they’re teaming up on urging Congress to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which would continue the foreclosure crisis-era policy of forgiving payment of taxes on debt forgiveness like a principal reduction or a short sale.
In letters to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, which have jurisdiction over tax law, CRL and the FSR describe the debt relief law as “critical to helping homeowners and communities struggling with the ongoing foreclosure crisis.” They also note that failing to extend the law would threaten a housing recovery.