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Showing 10 posts in Mortgage loans.

Recent Illinois Court Decision Illustrates Pitfalls of Multiple Filings of a Mortgage Foreclosure Action

While Illinois mortgagees have the option of recouping delinquent mortgage loan debt through different types of lawsuits, the pursuit of this option can violate Illinois' prohibition on refiling the same cause of action. A recent decision illustrates the pitfalls of a mortgagee's numerous lawsuits filed on the same default and debt in reliance upon Illinois' savings statute. More ›

Business Records Exception Used to Attack Foreclosure Action in Maine Supreme Court

The Maine Supreme Court, using a recent interpretation of the business records exception to the hearsay rule under Maine law, has raised questions regarding mortgage loan servicers' ability to foreclose on defaulted borrowers. An essential element of proof in any Maine judicial foreclosure action includes evidence of default, and in Key Bank Nat'l Ass'n v. Estate of Quint, the Court affirmed exclusion of a prior servicer's screenshots submitted to demonstrate the amount a borrower owed, costs incurred and the outstanding principal balance in pursuit of a judicial foreclosure action. The current servicer's witness testified to establish default on review of the prior servicer's business records and under exception to hearsay, but the trial judge concluded that the witness had not established the hearsay exception with regard to records of the prior servicer. More ›

Consumer Financial Services: What to Expect in 2018

2017 was a highly volatile year for the consumer financial services industry, featuring significant court rulings, regulatory changes and other developments.

With a new year upon us, Consumer Crossroads blog wanted to ask some of our Hinshaw financial services attorneys about what we might expect in 2018. Here they are, specifically prognosticating trends in FCRA litigation, reverse mortgages, student loan regulatory and litigation, CFPB developments, cryptocurrencies, TCPA litigation, lost promissory notes, federal regulatory conduct and local government responses to the foreclosure crisis. More ›

Mortgages or milk - do you need to check your expiration date?

There are borrowers out there who believe that the Massachusetts Obsolete Mortgage Statute, M.G.L. c. 260 sec. 33, relieves them of their repayment obligations. This statute, amended back in 2006, provides that five years after a mortgage reaches its term (or 35 years after the time the mortgage is recorded where a maturity date is not specified) it will be discharged by operation of law absent the timely recording of an extension or affidavit. The 2006 amendment specifically applied to all existing mortgages. The law is supposed to provide clarity in conveyancing and protect borrowers if their mortgagee or servicer failed to issue a discharge of the mortgage after the mortgage reaches its term.

In Hayden v. HSBC Mortgage, the borrowers alleged that the statute should apply to their loan and the loan should be discharged by operation of law because five years had passed from the time the servicer had accelerated the loan. Mortgagees and servicers can rest easy, however, because the First Circuit rejected this theory outright. In a succinct and emphatic rejection, the court held that "[n]othing in the text of the statute supports the Haydens' assertion that the acceleration of the maturity date of a note affects the five-year limitations period for the related mortgage." Thus, a borrower's milk will undoubtedly expire well before his mortgage.

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 ›

Rhode Island Federal Court Refuses to Dismiss FDCPA Case against Law Firm Pursuing Mortgage Foreclosure

Should a law firm pursuing foreclosure on behalf of a mortgagee be considered a debt collector? That is a question at issue in a Rhode Island federal court case, in which borrower Lloyd Amesbury filed a class action lawsuit alleging Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations against a firm retained to initiate foreclosure on his home after he received a notice of default on the firm’s letterhead. Amesbury claimed the letter was false and misleading because of a discrepancy in the amount owed described in a letter he received from the law firm in April, 2016, and a May, 2016, bankruptcy proof of claim. The law firm moved to dismiss the case on grounds that it was not a “debt collector” under the FDCPA, because the default notice was an attempt to enforce a security interest on behalf of its mortgagee client.

Although the law firm was pursuing non-judicial foreclosure of property by providing the borrower notice of default and right to cure, the Rhode Island federal court concluded that the borrower’s complaint contained facts sufficient to demonstrate that the law firm was a debt collector under the FDCPA. Here is a description of its reasoning. More ›

Attention Mortgage Loan Servicers: Highest Court in Massachusetts Attempts to Clarify When Default Notices Must Strictly Comply with Paragraph 22 of the Standard Mortgage

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) provided further guidance - up to a point - on mortgagees’ strict compliance with the notice of default provisions within paragraph 22 of the standard mortgage (or the equivalent) and when that standard takes effect. Mortgage holders have litigated this issue for years in Massachusetts, and the SJC first addressed compliance with paragraph 22 in a July 17, 2015 decision Pinti v. Emigrant Mtge. Co., 472 Mass. 226 (2015). In Pinti, the SJC ruled that "strict compliance" with paragraph 22 was required to effectuate a valid foreclosure pursuant to the statutory power of sale. Understanding that this decision would invalidate hundreds and potentially thousands of foreclosures in Massachusetts, the SJC held that its newly minted strict compliance standard would apply prospectively from its July 17, 2015 decision. However, the SJC neglected to address whether the strict compliance standard would apply to cases already filed in the trial and appellate courts. This caused conflicting decisions by the Massachusetts courts and required the SJC to review its Pinti decision in short term after several appeals were filed. More ›

Supreme Court Watch: Cities CAN Sue Banks for Predatory Lending

Over the last ten years, cities like Miami, Florida have experienced a decrease in property tax revenues, an increase in demand for police, fire and other municipal services, and an increase in foreclosures and vacancies, particularly in minority neighborhoods. In what appears to be a response to this environment, the City sued Bank of America and Wells Fargo for violations of the Fair Housing Act, claiming they intentionally issued riskier mortgages on less favorable terms to African-American and Latino customers. According to the City, this discriminatory conduct caused higher foreclosure rates and vacancies among minority borrowers, which in turn lowered property values, diminished property-tax revenues and increased the demand for municipal services to remedy the blight that foreclosures and vacancies generate. More ›

Franz Kafka, Sisyphus, and Foreclosures: Bank of America Fined $45 Million by Bankruptcy Court For Violation of Automatic Stay

"Franz Kafka lives. This automatic stay violation case reveals that he works at Bank of America." Thus begins an opinion stretching over 100 pages in length in which United States Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein fined Bank of America over $45 million for what he found to be an egregious violation of the automatic bankruptcy stay.

According to the order, the Sundquists, at the behest of advice given them by Bank of America, defaulted on their real property loan in 2009 so that they could be considered for a loan modification. The court found that this was followed by a "'multi-year 'dual tracking" game of cat-and-mouse" by Bank of America, which included repeated requests for information which had grown stale and incomprehensible denials of applications. Most central to the court's holding was that, although the Sundquists filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in June 2010, Bank of America proceeded with a foreclosure sale even though it had notice of the Sundquists' bankruptcy case. Clearly meaning to send a signal which would be heard in the bank's highest offices (in addition to Kafka, the opinion also references the myth of Sisyphus and the Watergate scandal), the court was clearly moved by the emotional distress documented by the plaintiffs (which included discussions of suicide attempts). More ›

No RESPA Claim for Violation of Written Acknowledgement Requirement under Regulation X

Last summer, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published its final rule amending existing mortgage servicer rules in Regulation X of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Recently, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had the opportunity to determine what kind of damages might arise from a violation of Regulation X’s written acknowledgment requirement.

The answer in this case was no concrete harm, with the Court affirming dismissal of a borrower's claim for violations of the 5 day written response acknowledgment provision of 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36(c). The borrower had sued his mortgage loan servicer for RESPA violations after his lawyer sent the servicer a Request for Information certified mail return receipt requested, and the servicer responded by returning the certified mail green card and by providing a substantive response 9 days later. More ›

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