The New York Times today looks at single point of contact, a standard for servicing which has been mandated on at least a couple of occasions, without success. Requiring a single point of access has been required in settlements before, but consumer advocates say little has changed, leaving us to wonder whether any of the new settlement terms will be enforced.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday February 21, 2012 9:35 am|
|By: David Dayen Friday February 10, 2012 8:00 pm|
You’ve heard enough from me. And actually, you’ll hear plenty more later. But I thought I’d line up what some other people are saying about the foreclosure fraud settlement, the terms of which have not yet totally been released (which, I repeat, is a travesty of justice).
|By: David Dayen Friday February 10, 2012 7:27 am|
The WaPo editorial board’s biggest problem with the “rough justice” foreclosure fraud settlement is that robo-signing is a “victimless crime” because all those people were behind on their payments anyway, and that lucky duckies foreclosed upon might be getting $2,000 erroneously. That’s the media we have.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 6:31 pm|
So here’s one lagging mystery about the foreclosure fraud settlement: what becomes of Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley’s lawsuit against five banks over deceptive practices and illegal foreclosures? Now we know.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 4:19 pm|
I really only have one question. “Will we put people in jail?”
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 8:00 am|
I think you can divine what I think of the foreclosure fraud settlement, which releases liability on a host of fraudulent conduct for only a $5 billion guarantee from the banks, as well as $20 billion made up mostly of “credits” that HUD believes will translate into around $34.5 billion overall. The credits play out over three years, so you can adjust for inflation, and in fact if you adjust in that way, as Matt Yglesias does, you find that this is around 10 times less than the tobacco settlement of the late 1990s.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 5:30 am|
This settlement arises from multiple abuses found in the servicing of loans and the foreclosure process over the past several years. At the height of the housing bubble, banks sliced and diced mortgages and traded them with little regard for the rules following land recording or securitization to such a sloppy extent that they lost track of the true owner on potentially millions of homes.
To cover up for this massive failure, banks and their servicing units have been found to have routinely forged, back-dated and fabricated documents at county recorder offices and state courts across the country. Furthermore, they employed “robo-signers,” who signed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of documents and affidavits without any knowledge of the underlying mortgages. In addition, investigations uncovered massive servicing abuses, including illegal fees charged to borrowers, putting borrowers into foreclosure at the same time as they were working out loan modifications, failing to honor previous settlements where promises were made on modifications, and countless other errors that maximized servicer profits and gouged homeowners.
There are also cases of wrongful foreclosures where homeowners have been turned out of their homes without just cause, and servicer-driven foreclosures, where servicers illegally added late fees and applied payments inaccurately, pushing the homeowner into foreclosure. This is but a smattering of the examples of foreclosure fraud and servicer abuse found in a series of interlocking investigations, court depositions, reviews of documents in registers of deeds offices, and homeowner testimonials.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday February 8, 2012 8:30 am|
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly cancelled a conference call yesterday 10 minutes before it was to begin. The subject was supposed to be the foreclosure fraud settlement, amid speculation Schneiderman would announce that he would join. This would spur other holdouts to join, presumably, and at the very least break the somewhat united front against the settlement. But it didn’t happen, and the cause is likely the banks objecting to the lawsuits he and others have filed or could file.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday February 7, 2012 1:45 pm|
Banks, not Attorneys General, have become the major sticking point on a foreclosure fraud settlement, as they seek assurances that they protect themselves from future lawsuits. They reportedly freaked out about Scheiderman’s new suits against the bank and what to shut those and other down as part of the settlement. I don’t think he can accept that.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday February 7, 2012 8:45 am|
The deadline for state Attorneys General to sign on to the foreclosure fraud settlement came and went yesterday, and the major holdouts – the Justice Democrats, the AGs from the five states who have objected to the settlement all along (Nevada, New York, California, Delaware, and Massachusetts), still aren’t signed on. And they’re still objecting, or at least bargaining.