Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gretchen Morgensen calls the beast by its name: predatory loan servicing

Borrowers Face Dubious Charges in Foreclosures - New York Times --This is what I've been waiting for. Justice is now about to be served. The plundering of the equity of the American neighborhood can now wind down.

Finally, here is the description of the crux of the foreclosure problem: predatory loan servicing. Gretchen Morgensen delivers just in time. The pacing and timing on this couldn't be better. Everything is coming into alignment. The problem is near solution. The true causes are beginning to be revealed.

The question is now, who will be the one who begins, and presides over, the Spitzerization of the lending/foreclosing industries, and the attorneys who serve them?

I have lots of other questions:
  1. Could this be the reason why the majority of foreclosures happened?
  2. Could it be the reason that so many could not escape the endless loop, even though they tried?
  3. Are these fees able to take the same position as the primary mortgage, and do they take priority over other, junior liens that were already in place at the time the servicer, the lender, and the attorneys who run the mills initiated foreclosure proceedings?
  4. What are the rules for handling the money?
  5. What are the fiduciary responsibilities?
  6. How can we get our money back?
  7. How can we begin to quantify the damages, as well?
  8. How can we recover damages?
  9. Who gets paid back first?
  10. How can we prevent this happening again, and who was asleep at the switch?

If you thought asbestos was big for the plaintiffs' bar, just stay tuned on this one.

Here are a few excerpts from Gretchen's article, but read the whole thing. This is huge. Seminal. Long overdue. Invigorating.

. . . Because there is little oversight of foreclosure practices and the fees that are charged, bankruptcy specialists fear that some consumers may be losing their homes unnecessarily or that mortgage servicers, who collect loan payments, are profiting from foreclosures. . . .

. . . On Oct. 9, the Chapter 13 trustee in Pittsburgh asked the court to sanction Countrywide, the nation’s largest loan servicer, saying that the company had lost or destroyed more than $500,000 in checks paid by homeowners in foreclosure from December 2005 to April 2007. The trustee, Ronda J. Winnecour, said in court filings that she was concerned that even as Countrywide misplaced or destroyed the checks, it levied charges on the borrowers, including late fees and legal costs. . . .

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