Archive

Archive for May, 2012

Federal Housing Chief Supports California Bill of Rights

The series of bills backed Attorney General Kamala Harris to help avoid future foreclosure abuses have found a new supporter in federal housing chief, Shaun Donovan.

The so-called California Bill of Rights “would restrict practices such as foreclosing on homeowners as they try to negotiate a loan modification and mandate that banks designate a single person to work with troubled borrowers,” as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The financial-industry and business trade groups have opposed the bills, arguing that while the national mortgage settlement’s terms are temporary and apply to only five banks, the bills’ changes would be permanent and universal. In fact, the proposed California Bill of Rights provides longer term protection for homeowners where the national mortgage settlement expires.

Those who oppose the bills also object to giving borrowers the right to sue to block foreclosures or recover losses when banks violate the law in more than just a trivial way. We feel strongly that banks should not be able to take advantage of distressed homeowners and ignore their rights in any way during the foreclosure process. The national mortgage settlement does not acknowledge individual borrowers whose lenders violate the new safeguards but the proposed California Bill of Rights provides a remedy to that.

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Foreclosures hold steady

The imminent wave of foreclosures has still yet to strike with new numbers out from Lender Processing Services, Inc. showing that March foreclosures have stayed steady. The new data from LPS also shows that are still down from March 2011.

69,000 foreclosures were completed in March, compared to 85,000 in March 2011 and 66,000 foreclosures in February 2012.

The Los Angeles Times reports: “About 1.4 million homes, or 3.4% of all homes with a mortgage, were at some stage in the foreclosure process last month, the same as in February but down slightly compared with 1.5 million in March 2011, Santa Ana research firm CoreLogic said.”

The rate of foreclosures has slowed since last year during accusations of faulty practices and improper paperwork by lenders. Experts have predicted that foreclosures are expected to rise again since the  national settlement was reached in February. However, there has been little uptick in the number of foreclosures which could be a result of the national mortgage settlement that pushes lenders to work with troubled borrowers to avoid foreclosure.