Yesterday, Bank of America announced that it is ready to re-start the foreclosure sale process in 23 states, including Indiana. This probably means that BOA will re-submit re-sworn affidavits to Indiana courts, and ask that the courts issue a judgment based on the new, improved affidavits, now signed and notarized by different people than the affidavit BOA previously submitted. And, while they’re at it, I expect that BOA will ask the courts to add the attorneys fees and costs for preparing this new affidavit to what the homeowner owes BOA. Hey, the lenders charge Indiana homeowners about $300 for having the foreclosure attorney appear at a settlement conference; why not charge the homeowners for the lender’s mistakes, too? Plus, the individual homeowners will have to figure out that they’ve been charged. Even with a payment history from the servicer, it can be hard to figure out what each fee and expense is for. I doubt that the additional charges will be labeled “attorneys fees to get the *&#$ affidavit fixed.” It will be something generic, like “Attorney Fees” or “Foreclosure Expense.” Or just some code like “FEA”. But do watch for it. It will be there, mark my words.
As hoped, Indiana’s Attorney General is joining the large, multi-state investigation of the foreclosure practices followed by several large lenders and their servicing companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Ally (parent of GMAC), and Bank of America (which took over the troubled Countrywide loan portfolio). This is good news for homeowners facing foreclosure. This means that maybe – just maybe – Indiana judges will take a good, hard look at the affidavits filed in support of motions for a foreclosure judgment to make sure that they comply with Indiana law – even if the homeowner is not represented by an attorney. And maybe – just maybe – these same judges will look a little closer at the notes and assignments filed with the complaints to make sure that the party asking for the foreclosure really has the right, not only to sue to collect on the note, but also to take the house as collateral. If nothing else, maybe – just maybe – these lenders will be more willing to come up with reasonable (and reasonably quick) loan modifications and allow more homeowners to stay in their homes. But maybe – just maybe – I’m a dreamer. We shall see.
According to WRTV 6 News, Indiana’s Attorney General’s office is taking a look at the practices followed by GMAC, Chase, and Bank of America as these three banks pursued Hoosier homeowners for foreclosure judgments. “We are definitely investigating these complaints,” said Indiana Deputy Attorney General Abby Kuzma. “We are certainly pursuing this matter. It’s very serious.”
If you are going though a foreclosure in Indiana (or know someone that is) for a loan serviced by GMAC, Chase, or Bank of America, and you want to help our Attorney General with this investigation, feel free to get the AG a copy of any affidavit filed in the foreclosure. I recommend sending it as an exhibit to a complaint (which you can file by clicking here and following the instructions). It takes a few minutes of your time, but could be quite useful for the investigation.
Late last week, the Indianapolis Star reported that the foreclosure rate in the Indianapolis area during July, 2010 was 3.18%, a small decline from June (3.16%), but up from July, 2009 (2.57%), and still a full one-half percentage point higher than the national average. In addition, the deliquency rate (mortgage loans delinquent 90 days or more) in the Indianapolis area fell to 6.96, the first time it has been below 7% since August of 2009.
I don’t have access to the raw data or the definitions used for coming up with these factoids. However, it seems to me that the drop in the delinquency rate could be related to the elevated foreclosure rate (since delinquencies lead to foreclosures, which lead to sheriffs sales, which lead to the loans dropping off the delinquency lists). Or, it could mean that fewer Hoosiers are starting to fall behind on their mortgage payments. It’s going to take more than just one small drop to answer that question.
Interestingly, these figures came from a company called CoreLogic, which provides a lot of services to a lot of industries, including several foreclosure-related services to lenders. Not saying that it means anything – I just find it interesting.
Since my last post, both JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America (which took over almost all of the Countrywide loans) have decided to temporarily delay foreclosures in 23 states, including Indiana. Apparently, these banks are concerned that maybe – just maybe – some of their employees engaged in some of the same questionable behavior as Mr. Stephan at GMAC. So, if your home is in foreclosure, and it is being serviced by either Chase or Bank of America, then you may get a temporary reprieve. However, as with GMAC, I don’t see this being a permanent, or even a long-term, solution to your problem, so get thee to an attorney and/or housing counselor to take advantage of this delay!