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Photo of Consumer Crossroads: Where Financial Services and Litigation Intersect Samuel C. Bodurtha
Partner in Charge of Boston & Providence Offices
sbodurtha@hinshawlaw.com
617-213-7039
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Samuel Bodurtha defends mortgage lenders and servicers in individual and class action claims involving residential mortgage loan origination …

Showing 6 posts by Samuel C. Bodurtha.

First Circuit Reverses Course in Closely-Watched Pre-Foreclosure Notice Decision, Defers to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Earlier this year, Hinshaw reported on a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals which invalidated a Massachusetts foreclosure based on the Court's determination that the mortgage loan servicer's notice of default included additional language which did not strictly comply with Paragraph 22 of the mortgage. In the wake of that decision, the servicer filed a petition for rehearing on several grounds, but primarily because the Code of Massachusetts Regulations required use of what the Court had characterized as additional language. The banking community also filed several amicus briefs in support of Chase's petition. More ›

A Reminder for Borrowers: Post-Discharge Communications by Creditor Must Coerce or Harass in Order to Violate Bankruptcy Law

In Kirby v. 21 Mortg. Corp., the First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel examined the Kirbys' claim that the 19 written communications they received from their mortgage holder following their Chapter 7 discharge violated the Bankruptcy Code 524(a)(2)'s injunction. The Kirbys further claimed bankruptcy discharge violations arising from their mortgage holder's delivery of an escrow account disclosure, short sale letter, cash-for-keys letter, and right to cure notice for a total of 26 post-discharge bankruptcy communications. Below, we take a closer look at the decision and its comprehensive review of bankruptcy discharge law along with the process for determining whether a post-discharge correspondence violates the bankruptcy code's injunction. More ›

Another Court Refuses Lost Note Status to a Successor Lender

Last year, we reported on a Massachusetts Land Court decision, which interpreted Uniform Commercial Code section 3-309 to conclude that a mortgagee cannot foreclose in reliance upon a lost note affidavit, because the 1990 version of UCC 3-309 requires the party seeking to enforce the note demonstrate possession prior to its loss. 32 states remain under the 1990 version, and recently the Rhode Island Supreme Court joined decisions that prohibit enforcement of a lost note under this outdated version of the UCC. In SMS Fin. v. Corsetti, SMS Financial sued to enforce default on a note that was lost by a prior transferee. Sovereign Bank had loaned the defendants $1 million in exchange for a promissory note and a mortgage on property located at 385 South Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island. Following default and foreclosure, the defendants issued to Sovereign a new promissory note to repay the $200,000 deficiency on the original loan. Sovereign subsequently assigned its interest in the loan to SMS Financial; but, Sovereign had lost the original note so it delivered to SMS a lost note affidavit and an allonge. SMS filed suit against the defendants to collect on breach of the note, but the Superior Court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants because SMS could not enforce the lost note. More ›

A New HUD Rule for Reverse Mortgages, with Additional Rule Changes Proposed in Congress

This past month, Washington was busy with rule changes and proposed legislation that underscores the ongoing debate over the origination and foreclosure of reverse mortgages. First, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reduced the maximum amount a reverse mortgage applicant can borrow. Previously, the maximum amount was exclusively tied to the property's value (at either 60% or 70%). Under the new rule, HUD has tied that maximum amount to three criteria: applicant's age, loan rates and the value of the property. While it is unclear how these new criteria will impact the maximum amount, the Wall Street Journal reports that Lending Tree's chief sales officer anticipates that a typical applicant will now be able to borrow 58% on the property's value, down from an average of 64%. Second, HUD increased the upfront insurance premium charged on any reverse mortgage from between .5%-2.5% percent and depending on the amount borrowed to a flat 2%. Given the reduction in amount that an applicant can borrow and an increase in upfront insurance payments, HUD's new rules appear aimed at benefiting lenders. The new rules went into effect on October 2, 2017. More ›

A Missing Massachusetts Promissory Note's Outsized Potential Impact on Foreclosures

In Zullo v. HMC Assets, LLC, the Massachusetts Land Court has issued a judicial about-face in deciding that a mortgage holder lacks standing to foreclose if that holder never possessed the mortgagor's original promissory note – even if that holder can submit a lost note affidavit from a predecessor holder. In a written decision issued in August 2014, the Land Court determined, in the very same case, that the mortgage holder could foreclose without possession of the original promissory note but with a lost note affidavit executed by a prior loan servicer. The 2014 Zullo decision directly contradicted two decisions arising out of the Massachusetts bankruptcy court, Desmond v. Raymond C. Green, Inc., 505 B.R. 365 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2014); Marks v. Braunstein, 439 B.R. 248 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2010), both of which concluded that under Massachusetts law, the foreclosing mortgage holder must have at one point possessed the original note, so that it can execute the lost note affidavit. More ›

Treasury Echoes Trump: Deregulate to Improve Financial Systems

Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an Executive Order to establish a policy for regulating the United States financial system under seven "Core Principles," and to order a report from the United States Treasury that assesses financial markets. Last week, Treasury responded with its first 150 page report on the current state of the financial system that outlines proposed regulatory changes. Treasury points the finger at the Obama administration’s 2010 enactment of Dodd-Frank for imposing regulatory requirements insufficiently tailored or coordinated among agencies, unrelated to addressing the problems leading to the great recession, and applied in an overly prescriptive manner. In no uncertain terms, the report concludes that the scope and excess costs imposed by Dodd-Frank have resulted in a slower rate of growth in the financial markets. Unsurprisingly, Treasury’s regulatory recommendations coincide with Congress’ current legislative effort at replacing Dodd-Frank with the Financial Choice Act. More ›

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