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Landmark New York Court of Appeals Decision Clarifying Calculation of Statute of Limitations in Mortgage Foreclosure Actions

The New York Court of Appeals reversed four Appellate Division decisions and decided in favor of the mortgagees in a consolidated decision issued on February 18, 2021, ruling, inter alia, that:

  • a demand letter which includes language that the debt "will be" accelerated expresses a possible future event and therefore does not constitute an unequivocal overt act which would accelerate the mortgage debt; 
  • a defective pleading which incorrectly references only the original terms of a loan – not the operative modification agreement – is insufficient to accelerate the mortgage debt;
  • a mortgagee's voluntary discontinuance of a foreclosure action is sufficient to revoke the acceleration created by the filing of that complaint; and
  • a mortgagee's motivation for the discontinuance and revocation of the acceleration is irrelevant to the Court's analysis.
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CFPB Highlights COVID-19-Fueled Regulatory Risks for Examined Industries in Special Edition of Supervisory Highlights

In its recent Special Edition of Supervisory Highlights on COVID-19 Prioritized Assessments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) summarized challenges and risks with respect to several industries it had informally examined since the start of the pandemic. Beginning in May 2020, the Bureau rescheduled about half of its planned examinations and instead conducted "prioritized assessments" in response to the pandemic. These assessments included seeking information on how institutions were responding and communicating with consumers, and also examining how institutions were confronting and adapting compliance in response to the pandemic. More ›

Following Fair Lending Investigation, NYS DFS Issues Report, Recommendations, and Mortgage Lender Best Practices

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued a report on February 4, 2021, detailing its investigation of the mortgage lending market in the Buffalo metropolitan area. The report includes findings about a "distinct lack of lending" by mortgage lenders, particularly nonbank lenders, in neighborhoods with majority-minority populations and to minority homebuyers in general. More ›

Second Circuit Finds HUD Assignees Immune from State Statute of Limitations Claims

The mortgage foreclosure world continues to experience change at a moment's notice. Lenders continue to defend against borrower actions seeking to discharge their mortgages as time-barred, which in turn has led to the development of several defenses supported by the appellate courts. Whether it is lack of standing to accelerate the mortgage debt, revocation, or re-affirmation of the debt, all of these defenses are not as interesting—and powerful—as full immunity from the statute of limitations. In Windward Bora, LLC v. Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, that's exactly what the Second Circuit found, and its decision could have a substantial impact for lenders in New York and elsewhere. More ›

Illinois Moves to Cap Consumer Loan Interest Rates, Lenders Subject to Penalties and Other Relief

On January 13th, the last day of the Illinois legislature's six-day lame duck session, the General Assembly passed the Illinois Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA) as part of SB 1792.

The PLPA caps consumer loan annual percentage rates at 36% for both open and closed end credit. The 36% APR should be calculated using the system of calculating a military annual percentage rate under federal law, which is widely considered an "all-in" method of calculating rates and fees. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) may issue rules pertaining to the Act. More ›

New York Court of Appeals Finds There is "No Checklist" to Prove Standing to Foreclose, While Leaving Newly-Enacted RPAPL 1302-a for Another Day

The New York Court of Appeals issued two important end-of-the-year decisions on December 17, 2020 in a heavily litigated, affirmative defense in residential mortgage foreclosure actions: the lack of standing to foreclose.

In US Bank N.A. v. Nelson and JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association v. Caliguri, the court analyzed both the pleading requirements for the defense and the standard of proof required to show standing to foreclose. In one-page, unanimous decisions, the court affirmed the Appellate Division's decisions, which both ruled in favor of the mortgagee. More ›

New York State Passes Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Protecting Renters, Homeowners, and Small Landlords

On Monday, December 28, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. Among other things, this legislation (S.9114/A.11181) extends certain residential foreclosure and eviction moratoria for renters and homeowners suffering hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More ›

An Overview of California's New Voter-Approved California Privacy Rights Act

In the recent November elections, California voters approved the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which significantly amends the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and creates new obligations for covered businesses. In an alert hosted on our main website, we break down some of the more noteworthy requirements under the CPRA, which will not be fully operative until January 2023.

In a Win for Mortgage Servicers, Massachusetts Supreme Court Finds Mandatory Notice of Right to Cure in Notice of Default is Not Potentially Deceptive

Massachusetts moved one step closer to resolving an ongoing debate over pre-foreclosure notices of default that started with the First Circuit's decision in Thompson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank back in February of 2019. Initially, the First Circuit concluded that a notice of default, which disclosed that borrowers "could still avoid foreclosure by paying the total past-due amount before a foreclosure sale," was potentially misleading because the mortgage only allowed reinstatement five days before the sale. Chase filed a petition for rehearing, joined by numerous amici, that demanded reconsideration of the First Circuit's decision on grounds that the potentially misleading language was in fact a mandatory disclosure under the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. More ›

New York State DFS Urges Financial Institutions to Consider and Prepare for Impact of Climate Change

Having sent a similar letter to New York's domestic and foreign insurance companies, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued a letter on October 29, 2020 explicitly calling on its regulated financial institutions to start integrating financial risks associated with climate change into their business strategies, risk management processes, and governance frameworks. DFS' expectations apply to New York-regulated banks, mortgage bankers and servicers (Regulated Organizations), as well as to other New York-regulated non-depositories, including money transmitters, licensed lenders, sales finance companies, and virtual currency firms (Regulated Non-Depositories). More ›

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