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Blackford County record

SUITS FILED

Circuit Court

State vs. Jennifer Jean Pearson, 30, 1122 N. Wabash Ave., Hartford City, dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of precursors, maintaining a common nuisance, possession of paraphernalia.

Citizens State Bank vs. Derrick K. Boyd, 622 N. High St., Hartford City, foreclosure.

Superior Court

State vs. Chase J. Landis, 28, 4253 E. Blackford County Road 250-N, Hartford City, strangulation, battery resulting in bodily injury, intimidation.

State vs. Bryan D. Sands, 37, 414 N. Walnut St., Hartford City, driving while intoxicated.

State vs. Brent R. Doublin, 24, 600 S. Fort Wayne Ave., Eaton, failure to stop after accident.

State vs. Ryan E. Cain, 31, 675 E. Washington St., Hartford City, visiting a common nuisance, possession of paraphernalia.

State vs. Angela R. Cook, 36, 407 W. High St., Montpelier, driving while suspended, driving with a controlled substance in system, driving while intoxicated.

Article source: http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2015/01/31/blackford-county-record/22604469/

NY Federal judge slams Wells Fargo for forged mortgage docs

Judge Robert Drain has a message for Wells Fargo: “Forged” foreclosure documents don’t cut it in New York’s federal courts.

In a stunning 30-page decision on January 28, Drain, a federal bankruptcy judge in New York’s Southern District, blasted Wells Fargo, America’s largest mortgage servicer, for false documents it used in trying to prove its right to foreclose on Westchester County resident Cynthia Carrsow Franklin’s home.

Drain shredded Wells Fargo’s arguments regarding two crucial documents needed to prove ownership of a loan: an indorsement (another term for endorsement) on a note and an assignment of mortgage.

These documents have to be created properly within a certain time frame, or they won’t hold up in court.

The issue lies at the heart of the foreclosure crisis, and continues to haunt hardworking New Yorkers like Franklin, a speech pathologist for autistic children, to this day.

“… [T]he blank indorsement, upon which Wells Fargo is relying, was forged,” wrote Drain in a stinging rebuke to the bank. “Nevertheless it does show a general willingness and practice on Wells Fargo’s part to create documentary evidence, after-the-fact, when enforcing its claims, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY,” wrote Judge Drain with emphasis.

Drain went on to say that “it is conceivable that all of Wells Fargo’s newly created mortgage assignments and newly created indorsements were proper” but that the burden was on Wells to show that, and it didn’t.

A Wells Fargo spokesman said, “Wells Fargo’s processes ensure that all note endorsements are done legally and appropriately, and we strongly dispute the conclusions in this case,” adding, “we are troubled by the additional comments about our general practices that are unsupported by the evidence.”

The judge’s ruling delves deeply into the work of Herman John Kennerty, who was deposed for this case by Franklin’s attorney, Linda Tirelli.

Drain casts a harsh eye on Kennerty’s statements about his work as a manager heading up a “default documents” department for Wells Fargo at the time of Franklin’s foreclosure.

Kennerty admitted to signing between 50 and 150 original documents each day related to administration and enforcement of Wells’ defaulted loans, according to the ruling.

Drain added: “Moreover, Mr. Kennerty’s testimony does not stop at describing manufactured mortgage assignments. He also testified that his ‘assignment team’s’ duties were not limited to processing assignments, including, when determined necessary, creating them; in addition, the ‘assignment team’ included people tasked with endorsing notes.”

The Post first reported on Franklin’s case in March 2014, when Tirelli alleged in court papers that Wells Fargo set up detailed internal procedures in a 150-page Wells Fargo Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual (created Nov. 9, 2011, and updated Feb 24, 2012) to fabricate foreclosure papers on demand. Wells Fargo denied the allegations.

Franklin told The Post, “I feel relieved … I’m hoping this case will help other people.”

She added, “Reading this opinion … it feels very calculated. It wasn’t like I was lost in the shuffle somehow. And you know, if someone writes me a check and they forget to sign it, I can’t cash it. If in my job I turn in paperwork and I forgot to check something or to write in a code, it’s kicked out. I don’t get paid. That’s how it works with everybody else.”

Wells Fargo has about two weeks to file a notice of appeal. The megabank lost this round, but the judge also made it clear that Franklin’s debt remains.

Drain’s ruling followed another major loss for Wells Fargo in a residential foreclosure case last week — and another smackdown, this time from a Missouri state court judge. This in turn comes after Wells Fargo and three other big banks were hit with a $2.7 million penalty to settle allegations of unlawful foreclosures in Massachusetts.

On Jan. 26, Judge R. Brent Elliott of Missouri’s 43rd Judicial Circuit awarded $2.9 million in punitive damages to a Missouri couple who spent years in limbo after Wells wrongfully foreclosed on their home. Wells sold it to Freddie Mac on Aug. 15, 2008, even after agreeing to a reinstatement of the loan following a disputed debt.

Elliott also blasted Wells Fargo for “outrageous and reprehensible” decisions and “deceptive and intentional conduct” that “displayed a complete and total disregard for the rights of David and Crystal Holm.

“Defendant Wells Fargo operated from a position of superiority provided by its enormous wealth,” Brent wrote in a blistering nine-page decision. “Wells Fargo’s decision took advantage of an obviously financially vulnerable family,” the judge continued, noting that Wells Fargo showed no evidence of remorse for the harm caused.

“In fact, the Court recalls the lack of remorse and humanity illustrated by a Wells Fargo corporate representative who testified, ‘I’m not here as a human being. I’m here as a representative of Wells Fargo,’ ” the judge wrote.

The couple and their 12-year-old daughter got their home back, along with a total of $3.25 million in damages.

“We have modified more than 1 million mortgage loans and have forgiven $8.4 billion in principal since the beginning of 2009. There’s a lot more to this case than the decision reflects, and we have strong arguments to appeal the judgment and the unwarranted damages that were awarded,” a Wells Fargo spokesman said of the Missouri case.

Article source: http://nypost.com/2015/01/31/ny-federal-judge-slams-wells-fargo-for-forged-mortgage-docs/

TOP PHOTOS: Jan. 29, 2015

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Article source: http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/top-photos-jan-29-2015

Bank Has Duty to Prevent Injury in Foreclosed Home, Judge Says

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Article source: http://www.njlawjournal.com/home/id=1202716633630/Bank-Has-Duty-to-Prevent-Injury-in-Foreclosed-Home-Judge-Says?mcode=1202617074826&curindex=1

Wayne County treasurer to hold tax foreclosure hearings

DETROIT (AP) — Hearings are scheduled for thousands of Wayne County property owners facing foreclosure due to unpaid taxes.

The state-mandated hearings to show cause will be held Thursday and Friday at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit and again from Monday through Feb. 6.

About 76,000 Wayne County properties are in foreclosure, including 62,000 in Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill this month that allows homeowners facing financial hardship to use a payment plan to meet tax responsibilities and avoid foreclosure. Snyder says the law aims to help reduce Wayne County’s foreclosure rate.

“With the passage of recent state legislation, this is the first time we are able to actually reduce interest and in some cases even reduce taxes on owner-occupied properties,” said David Szymanski, chief deputy treasurer. “Taxpayers should not delay; come see us.”

The treasurer’s office is preparing for as many as 21,000 property owners owing taxes from 2012 through 2014 to show up at the hearings. Staffers will review each situation, make payment arrangements and discuss assistance options.

Several Detroit neighborhoods were devastated during the national mortgage crisis as thousands of people lost their homes. Many of the houses eventually became blighted.

___

Online link:

http://www.waynecounty.com/treasurer

Article source: http://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/news/article/Wayne-County-treasurer-to-hold-tax-foreclosure-6046621.php

Foreclosure hearings draw many Detroit homeowners

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Friday, January 30, 2015 3:05 AM EST

Foreclosure hearings draw many Detroit homeowners


Jimmy Hall gets help setting up a payment plan from Karen Fields, left, department executive for the Wayne County Treasurer, at Cobo Center in Detroit, on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Hundreds of Detroit homeowners in danger of losing their properties flocked Thursday to hearings that offered a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure and to keep the houses from adding to the city’s already huge glut of vacant dwellings. (AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Hundreds of Detroit homeowners in danger of losing their properties flocked Thursday to hearings that offered a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure and to keep the houses from adding to the city’s already huge glut of vacant dwellings.

The homeowners nearly filled a long conference room in Detroit’s Cobo Center while waiting for their cases to be heard. Many hoped to work out payment plans to ease their tax debts under new laws signed this month by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Everybody does have a story. Most of them are probably true, because you couldn’t make them up if you try,” said Eric Sabree, Wayne County’s deputy treasurer of land management. Officials expect more than 14,000 property owners to seek help over seven days of hearings that run through Feb. 6.

“We have to collect taxes by law … but we definitely do not want to take the property,” Sabree said. “We want to show options that people have to save their properties.”

More than 60,000 of the county’s 76,000 foreclosed properties are in Detroit, threatening neighborhoods that have yet to recover from the national mortgage crisis.

About $326 million in taxes, interest and fees are owed on the foreclosed homes, lots and other buildings in Detroit. Mapping data shows that about 37,000 of those properties are occupied.

“One of the reasons why we want people to stay in their homes is because when they become abandoned, they get stripped. They become a crime scene. They become a drug house,” Sabree said. “It’s better to let the person stay in the house and collect taxes even if it takes longer to collect the money.”

Mourice Neal was looking for just a little help. His tax bill is $4,900 on a home he bought in 2013 on Detroit’s North End. Paying that amount would dangerously stretch what he receives in Social Security payments.

“It’s a good process. They are looking at my income,” said Neal, who is 46.

But Thomas Jackson left his hearing without knowing if anything could be done with the $27,000 tax bill on his home in northwest Detroit. He said he was told special consideration was needed to get a payment plan. He has another hearing next month.

“They told me they can’t help me here,” said Jackson, 40, who has not paid taxes on his home since 2012, when he lost his automotive job.

He has since found a new job and wants to keep the house he bought in 2009, but said losing it would not be the end of the world.

“I’m working now. I can find somewhere else,” he said.

Regina Lee, 50, went to the hearing ready to pay the $1,200 owed on two lots that sandwich the home she grew up in. She said she was unaware her now-deceased grandmother listed her as owner of the lots until a relative received a foreclosure notice from the county.

“That’s my grandmother’s legacy,” Lee said. “I guess she put my name on them for a reason. I’m hoping that I can pay to keep them or do a down payment.”

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Article source: http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2015/01/31/news/national/858669.txt

Ohio ranked 7th overall in 2014 foreclosures

DARKE COUNTY – According to RealtyTrac, the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, 1.1 million U.S. properties were reported with foreclosure filings in 2014, the lowest annual total since 2006.

‘The U.S. foreclosure numbers in 2014 show a foreclosure market that is close to finding a floor and stabilizing at a historically normal level,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. “But a recent surge in foreclosure starts and scheduled foreclosure auctions in several states in the last few months of 2014 indicate that lenders are gearing up for a spring cleaning of deferred distress in the first half of 2015 in some local markets.”

According to Darke County Clerk of Courts Cindy Pike, the Darke County number of new foreclosure cases in 2014 were 152, down by just 10 cases from the 162 in 2013.

“This is the lowest number of filings for Darke County since 2001 when it matched the 152 and increased yearly until 2009,” she added.

The number of cases in 2014 is less than half of what it was in the peak years of 2008 and 2009 with 311 being filed each of those years. The largest increase in number of cases was between 2000 when 89 actions were filed and 2001 with 189 filings.

The number of new Darke County cases started decreasing in 2010 when 275 actions were filed and the largest decrease was between 2010 and 2011 when only 198 were filed, a difference of 77 cases. It then increased again in 2012 with 222 foreclosure filings.

U.S. foreclosure starts in December increased six percent from the previous month and 14 percent from a year ago, making a 17 month high. December was the second consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure starts increased from a year ago following 27 consecutive months of annual decreases in foreclosure starts.

“The December surge in foreclosure starts is not a cause for concern, as it comes from a previously existing supply of distressed properties,” said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, Senior Economist at Moody’s Analytics, a company that analyzes RealtyTrac foreclosure data to forecast foreclosure trends. “The national pool of distressed mortgages has not increased despite the surge in foreclosure filings.

Despite this annual increase in foreclosure starts in December and November, foreclosure starts for all of 2014 were still down compared to the previous year. A total of 643,193 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in 2014, down 14 percent from 2013 and down 70 percent from the peak of 2,139,005 foreclosure starts in 2009.

Michael Mahon, executive vice president at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton markets, indicated that while 2015 predictions call for continued stable growth across Ohio, potential risks to the housing recovery still exist. These include increased lending regulations such as new collateral underwriting procedures being implemented this month as well as the fact that foreclosure rates in many areas across the state continue to remain at greater levels than they were in 2006.

“Balanced growth takes time, and it is the stability of the Ohio markets that continues to attract consumers, investors and employers to the region,” he emphasized.

According to U.S. Foreclosure market data by state, Ohio was ranked 7th overall with 59,106 total property filings in 2014. This included 4,152 filings in Dayton.

Florida was first with 206,247 filings and North Dakota was 50th with just 30 filings reported.

Stacie Ward can be reached by calling her directly at 937-569-4314 or by emailing her at sward@civitasmedia.com. For more features online, visit Advocate360.org or “like” The Daily Advocate on Facebook by searching for Advocate 360.

Article source: http://dailyadvocate.com/news/home_top-news/151489206/Ohio-ranked-7th-overall-in-2014-foreclosures

Some who lost homes feel forgotten in foreclosure settlements

When word came that Chrysler was closing its Newark auto plant in 2009, it seemed plain to many employees that financial trouble could be on the horizon.

So Jeff and Robbin Brown went to their mortgage company – CitiMortgage – in early 2010 to see if they could make different arrangements until Jeff, a millwright, found new work.

They were turned away. The Browns said bank officers told them such a discussion was premature. A homeowner had to be 90 days in arrears before any changes could be discussed. But when that milestone arrived, the rug went out from under them.

A series of frustrating attempts to renegotiate terms went nowhere. The Browns paid one mortgage loan assistance company about $3,000 to help them work through the process, but they might as well have buried that money in the front yard. No assistance was rendered. The couple say they became victims of a scam when they needed assistance the most.

Robbin Brown shares her forclosure story and the frustration behind the loss of her family’s home. (1/30/15)

Soon they got notice they would have to leave the $325,000 five-bedroom dream house they built on Old Baltimore Pike – the one with Jeff’s hobby garage in the back and the almost-finished treehouse with siding that matched the main house. The one they had saved up for and loved for eight years.

They asked for more time, but the Browns say their request for a two-week extension – to allow them to recover from a setback with Robbin’s multiple sclerosis and find a place to store antiques and other valuable items that wouldn’t fit in the rental where they were moving – was denied. They left those items behind, and rushed to move out.

These kinds of stories inspired attorneys general nationwide to investigate the nation’s largest banks. What former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his colleagues found was that the banks burned homeowners and investors by lowering lending standards and offering higher-risk mortgage products, a combination that caused the United States housing bubble to burst in 2008.

As a result, Biden secured multiple settlements totaling $185 million – $100 million of which went directly to Delawareans either as a check in the mail or mortgage modifications, refinancing or loan forgiveness.

One settlement gave 1,297 Delaware homeowners an average of $56,120 in mortgage modifications. But these are homeowners who managed to keep their houses.

For the 32,000 homeowners who were foreclosed on, only a little over a thousand have received checks in the mail, and when those checks arrived, they were usually for less than $1,500 and were too late to make a difference. The rest, so far, have received nothing.

“The money was received because of wrongdoing – to somebody and somebodies,” said Penny Dryden, executive director of the nonprofit Community Housing and Empowerment Connections. “But the victim is just forgotten. … Some are homeless, some are living with families, they can’t even get a rental. They’re fighting for their lives. It’s a tragedy for Delaware to be in this position.”

And, as Attorney General Matt Denn pushes a proposal to spend the remaining $36.6 million he inherited from some of those settlements on troubled schools and Wilmington’s violent streets, these families are losing hope that they’ll ever be made whole.

“They [state officials] are trying to act like it never happened, but they don’t know how they affected me and my family and other families,” Robbin Brown said. “Doesn’t anybody know that they affected us in a big way?”

It wasn’t long ago that the 2008 economic crisis – the worst since the Great Depression – threatened to collapse the nation’s largest financial institutions, undercut the stock market worldwide and gut the housing market.

In a statement sent by Biden to The News Journal in late January, he explained the resulting mortgage crisis was no accident.

“Remember, the mortgage crisis was a man-made disaster that didn’t have to happen,” Biden said in an interview with The News Journal. “The financial system only works when everyone plays by the rules – and when the rules are broken, public servants need to fight for accountability.”

It became clear to Biden and attorneys in the Fraud and Consumer Protection Division, a then-little-known unit in his office, that they needed to investigate and hold the financial institutions accountable.

It was no easy task. In 2011, Biden became the first attorney general to sue the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a Virginia-based private national electronic mortgage registry.

MERS was formed by the nation’s top mortgage lenders, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in 1995 to bypass county recording offices and minimize paperwork to rapidly bundle and sell residential mortgage-backed securities to investors and pension funds.

The suit and hours of oral arguments in Chancery Court painted a picture of the confusion MERS caused homeowners.

MERS represented to the public that it was the legal title owner on a third of all mortgages recorded in Delaware between 2006 and 2010. But, in reality it only oversaw a database of these mortgages.

When homeowners were being foreclosed on, it was by MERS, not the bank who owned the title. That confused homeowners who did not know who to call or how to defend themselves, according to the suit.

These practices touched communities across the state, especially in the most vulnerable ZIP codes in and around Wilmington, the suit says. The result was devastating – declining home prices, vacant properties, increased police and service calls, and a decreased tax base.

“While the subprime mortgage crisis began in the middle of the last decade due to the irresponsibility of many players, including banks, borrowers, brokers and regulators, today that crisis has merged with the broader economic downturn to create hardship across the entire social and economic spectrum of our state,” the 2011 suit says.

In July 2012, a settlement was reached and MERS agreed to reform its practices, making it easier for homeowners to find out who owns their mortgage. The state agreed to not pursue monetary penalties against MERS, but received $2.5 million in a different settlement in February 2012 from the five largest servicing banks who were member owners of MERS and who were not named in the MERS suit.

That $2.5 million was the seed money that allowed Delaware to start programs for homeowners and continue pursuing settlements.

“That’s an ongoing fight, and there are cases my office brought that haven’t been resolved yet,” Biden told The News Journal.

While the Browns have seen little relief, some homeowners who were able to ward off foreclosure have benefited from the settlements the state secured. It led to banks being more receptive to offering financial help and to more programs for homeowners.

Brien was paying the mortgage on his $189,000 Jefferson Farms home for nearly 15 years. But when his wife was in a car crash, the family struggled keep up with the mortgage payments on top of mounting insurance bills and new car payments.

The family of four fell about $50,000 behind.

“I was worried,” Brien said. “The mortgage company kept sending me letters every week that the house was under foreclosure.”

With help from a mortgage counselor at the Hockessin Community Center, Brien negotiated a plan with Bank of America to lower his monthly mortgage payments from $1,300 a month to $1,000.

After making three successful payments, the bank dropped the foreclosure proceedings in December.

The majority of Delaware’s settlement money stemming from the financial crisis has come from two types of cases.

One is the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement where 49 state attorneys general joined the federal government to penalize five banks – Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo – for what they did to mortgage holders.

Biden was initially hesitant to accept the terms of that settlement in February 2012 because of the then-ongoing MERS suit. But he soon accepted a deal that brought $12 million to Delaware, $1.8 million in direct payments to those who lost their homes to foreclosure, and $72 million to current homeowners in the form of mortgage principal reductions, refinancing or loan forgiveness.

Homeowners who had been foreclosed on between 2008 and 2011 and had a mortgage with one of those five banks, were eligible to receive checks for $1,484. Less than half, 44 percent, of those who were eligible, or 1,233 Delawareans, filed claims and received those checks, according to the most recent data from December 2012 provided by Denn.

The other set of cases – residential mortgage-backed securities cases – were those brought against individual banks for problems caused by the securities that were among the financial products that left investors with huge losses.

RMBS settlements in Delaware included:

• JPMorgan Chase settled in November 2013 for $19.7 million. That includes $7.6 million to reimburse pension funds and $12.1 million for the state. The bank is also expected to distribute $4 billion to homeowners nationally, but the state-specific allocations are not yet known.

• Bank of America settled in summer 2014 for $45 million. That includes $31.6 million for the state and $13.4 million for reimbursing pension funds for investment losses. Bank of America was also required to split $150 million between homeowners in the form of mortgage modifications and second-mortgage forgiveness in Delaware, Kentucky and Maryland. The bank is doing so, but the exact amount that has gone to Delawareans is not yet known.

• Citi settled in summer 2014 for $17 million. That includes $1.9 million for reimbursing pension funds for investment losses, $5.4 million to the state and $10 million in mortgage modifications for homeowners.

The state also secured settlements for homeowners with Ocwen Financial and Suntrust.

Suntrust is expected to provide $1.8 million in mortgage modifications to current homeowners and to send checks for varying amounts to 57 eligible former homeowners.

Ocwen Financial sent $1,200 checks in December to 216 people who lost their homes between 2009 and 2012 and who completed the requisite claim form. Ocwen has also provided $2.4 million in relief to Delaware homeowners and is expected to provide another $4 million.

The Brown family got a $500 check from the settlement with Citi, they said. But it was nothing compared to the $125,000 they expected after reading a remediation framework published in 2012 by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Attorney General Matt Denn said if homeowners have questions about their eligibility for relief under the settlements, they can contact his office.

Thomas and Abbie got into financial trouble when the mortgage on their New Castle County home was sold to Bank of America in 2013. They tried to go through the loan modification process and saw their interest rate go from 12 percent to 17 percent.

To get the modification, they were required to make three trial payments, meeting all requirements each time. But, Abbie said, when they rounded the monthly payment required from $1,639.95 to $1,640 – the bank decided the overpayment meant they could afford more and cut them out of future modifications.

They were forced into a short sale.

With their five kids and one grandson, they needed plenty of space. But their credit was damaged and they could not get a lease.

They rented two properties in their kids’ names.

“Once you get into these situations, it’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Abbie said. “You get bumped around, bumped around, bumped around.”

State officials have had to decide how to best spend the tens of millions in settlement dollars.

Biden’s office directed Delaware’s share to rental and affordable housing programs in troubled neighborhoods, foreclosure and mortgage assistance programs, and funding the unit that pursues future banking settlements.

Last year, Biden faced resistance from the Joint Finance Committee, which had other ideas about how to spend Delaware’s $12 million share of the JPMorgan settlement. The same happened in California where money from the national mortgage settlement led to public disputes and eventually a lawsuit when the money went toward paying down the state’s debt.

Similar decisions were made about using Delaware’s portion of the $246 billion settlement with the major tobacco companies in 1998. The tobacco settlement, along with tobacco taxes, was supposed to go toward attacking tobacco use and associated public health problems, but in Delaware only $8.7 million of the $133 million the state received is expected to go toward that, according to a report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Now, Denn has put forward a new proposal to spend the state’s remaining $36.6 million from RMBS settlements to fund substance abuse treatment, prison re-entry programs, police patrols in Wilmington, teachers and paraprofessionals at 16 high-poverty schools, and after-school and summer programs for children.

Attorney General Matt Denn wants to use millions in financial settlement money to provide funding for substance abuse treatment, after school programs, community policing patrols and other initiatives. 1/21/15
DAMIAN GILETTO/The News Journal

His plan also would allocate nearly half of the money to prevent future foreclosures, create affordable housing and provide down-payment assistance to homeowners willing to purchase homes in low-income areas.

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to consider Denn’s proposal Feb. 5. The plan has already been criticized by some for focusing too heavily on Wilmington and not enough on foreclosure victims.

Ted Kittila, the Republican candidate who lost to Denn in November and a Wilmington corporate lawyer, said the monies should not be spent on programs that don’t help homeowners.

Denn wants his office to help homeowners receive the assistance they deserve, but Denn said his latest proposal is about repairing damage to the financial markets harmed by residential mortgage-backed securities, not the harm done to individual homeowners.

“That’s why so much of this is going to the larger economic issues,” Denn said.

Several groups have been working with home owners were foreclosed on following the financial crisis. 1/22/15

Dryden went door-to-door in Legislative Hall in Dover two weeks ago to ask lawmakers to support an alternative to Denn’s plan – a victim’s compensation fund and services for homeowners who lost their homes. She is lobbying for the money to go to her agency to start one-stop victim resource centers in each county that would help people erase foreclosure scars on their record and receive support.

Families like the Browns also feel angry that the money has been doled out to other causes. They say a victim’s compensation fund or services could help replenish their depleted retirement savings account and send their two youngest children to college.

“We’re talking to you,” she said to The News Journal, “hoping maybe they won’t forget us. We have a house – God supplies our needs. But what about those who don’t?”

Michelle, who asked that her real name not be used, credits her good fortune to a state-funded mortgage counseling program and Bank of America’s willingness to modify her mortgage payments twice.

Michelle purchased a $140,000 two-bedroom Newark ranch home in June 2010. But after about two years, she fell behind on her $900-a-month mortgage payments. She needed a costly auto repair and her $600-a-quarter propane heating bill was cutting into the little money she had.

Bank of America reduced her interest rate by 1 percent, but she was soon again on the brink of foreclosure. With help from a housing counselor with First State Community Action Agency in New Castle, she was able to negotiate face to face with the bank’s attorneys and was approved for a second modification. The foreclosure was dropped last month.

Programs such as these are available throughout the state for struggling homeowners. The Delaware State Housing Authority has received money, and would receive more under Denn’s proposal, to support nonprofit legal services that assisted homeowners going through foreclosure and direct financial support through the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.

From the time the money arrived in October 2012 through the end of last September, DSHA has assisted 107 homeowners through the mortgage assistance program, according to DSHA spokeswoman Christina Hardin.

DSHA has also used its money to support housing counseling agencies, such as the one Michelle benefited from. More than 850 cases were resolved through the Performance Based Mortgage Default Counseling Program, according to data supplied by Hardin.

A mediation forum started in 2010 by Biden to give homeowners a chance to meet with lenders, has also helped some. In the first 18 months, the program processed more than 1,300 residential foreclosure filings. The result was that 56 percent of eligible homeowners actively participated in the foreclosure mediation conferences scheduled for them, and of those, 73 percent either reached a non-foreclosure resolution with their lender or remained engaged in negotiations.

These types of programs are meant to shore up the future and create a better situation for current homeowners, but do little to remedy the past for the Browns and others, Rashmi Rangan, director of the nonprofit Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, said. She does not expect much of the settlement money to reach the accounts of those most harmed by the mortgage nastiness.

“It is unjust,” she said. “They have never done anything for those who lost everything.”

And frankly, Rangan said, officials really don’t know where many of those injured most by the crisis have landed. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be found – and she believes every effort should be made to do so.

“To me, it would be an awesome relief if there was an agency devoted to finding these homeowners,” she said, “and working with them to provide everything they might need. We have an obligation to find these homeowners and do everything we can.”

If officials were able to find those who lost their homes, they would see families still struggling.

Edwina had to leave her home – “my original and first home ever” – when changes in the economy, job changes and the need to care for seriously ill family members stretched her beyond her means.

She took out a second mortgage. Her original was sold three or four times.

She applied for a loan modification but never could make progress. She would send necessary documents and they would be lost or the mortgage company would say it never got the papers. That went on for three years, Edwina said.

Edwina then lost her contract mentoring job. She decided to rent her house out, but that caused new problems. When the house was no longer her primary residence, she lost her other options and the house went up as a sheriff’s sale – unless she could come up with $35,900 she owed in 48 hours. She couldn’t.

She then moved into the house her late husband had owned and recently had that mortgage payment cut from $1,600 a month to $850, but she is still behind on her taxes and water and electric bills. She makes $10.75 an hour and will struggle to catch up.

The Browns say their story and others show the injustice of the financial upheaval – and its impact on so many families whose credit was ruined, relationships strained and dreams devastated.

The Browns are quick to say they feel blessed to have found a home they could manage in Dunleith, where they moved in October. But, nothing can be done to reverse the emotional impact, Robbin Brown said.

“We will never recover from the disbelief that they let the banks get away with what they did,” she said. “The people who ratted on each other are getting more money than the people who it affected.”

Contact Jessica Masulli Reyes at jmreyes@delawareonline.com, (302) 324-2777 or on Twitter @JessicaMasulli . Follow Beth Miller on Twitter @BMiller57 or on Facebook.

QUESTIONS?

To get answers on how Delaware settlements might affect you, contact Lisa Spellman of the Office of Foreclosure Prevention in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (302) 577-5092.

Article source: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2015/01/31/lost-homes-feel-forgotten-foreclosure-settlements/22648101/

Should Originators Really Care About Rate Checker?

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Take a trip up the main street in any big city and you will notice a few interesting things. Look at the gas stations that havebeen there for many years. There is probably one on each of the four corners on the major intersection right?

Now look at their signs. They are all different and one of them is usually significantly cheaper than the other three. Once you have filled up your tank, keep driving.

You will see a Walmart and a Costco if you live in a city with any sort of density. Not far away, usually a mile or two down the road, you will see a store that sells upscale jewelery, upscale clothing, upscale appliances and similar things.

Please stay with me here; this has everything to do with your own mortgage business.

In my hometown of Baltimore you can drive up York Rd. and see a mall full of cars shopping at Tiffany’s, Burberry and Nordstrom. Drive three miles down the road and you will see Dollar General and Walmart along with a Men’s Warehouse and other discount stores.

All of them are busy; all of them are doing business. All of them!

I mention all of this because of all of the noise the past few weeks over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rate checker and the new company that is trying to eliminate us and have “robotic” on-line originations.

That’s fine. Why waste your energy and time debating it?

None of us will ever have the best rate, and we don’t need to. (Read the last part again!)

If you know me at all then you realize that being successful has nothing to do with rates and points.

It’s all about expertise and marketing.

It’s all about “picking a niche,” which will lead you to become the expert and then you need to let everyone know about it.

My clients rarely even ask me about my rates and points. They want to know what their payment will be and how much cash they will need at closing – that’s it!

Yes, I realize that sounds easy but let me give you a real -life example.

I regularly mail to apartment complexes with a systematic way of generating new deals. I also mail directly to renters who I know are eligible and have had a bankruptcy or foreclosure and are now able to buy. One of the clients that came from this mailing was ready to buy and I got her pre-approved. I then called an agent in an office I had no relationship with and turned my buyer over to one of the top agents in that office who I had never met or spoken to.

That agent has already sent me two new deals- both conventional loans with 20% down and 800 credit scores.

Did you follow that recipe: I gave the agent what she wanted, a pre-approved buyer ready to buy and used that to build our relationship, much better than donuts. huh!

My niche, and the one that will be exploding this year, is buyers who have had a bankruptcy or other credit issue. Some have had a foreclosure three or four years ago or even longer.

They are now eligible for a mortgage, but they don’t realize that.

This segment has been given a name – Boomerang Buyers – and the last estimate was that there are close to 7.5 million of them who are now eligible to buy.

Are you talking to them? Didn’t think so! But they are ready and willing to get back in the market!

Stop worrying about pricing so much and start worrying about marketing and the niche you will become the expert in.

Brian Sacks is the president of Loan Officer Tips and Agents Chase You. He has taught thousands of loan officers over the past 30 years how to close more loans, make more money and still have time to enjoy life. You can view his free report at www.AgentsChaseYou.com.He is also the founder of the Loan Officer Tips group in LinkedIn, which you can join at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Loan-Officer-Tips-8225444

Article source: http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/origination/should-originators-really-care-about-rate-checker-1043978-1.html

Last-ditch foreclosure hearings draw many Detroit homeowners

By COREY WILLIAMS
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – Hundreds of Detroit homeowners in danger of losing their properties flocked Thursday to hearings that offered a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure and to keep the houses from adding to the city’s already huge glut of vacant dwellings.

The homeowners nearly filled a long conference room in Detroit’s Cobo Center while waiting for their cases to be heard. Many hoped to work out payment plans to ease their tax debts under new laws signed this month by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Everybody does have a story. Most of them are probably true, because you couldn’t make them up if you try,” said Eric Sabree, Wayne County’s deputy treasurer of land management. Officials expect more than 14,000 property owners to seek help over seven days of hearings that run through Feb. 6.

“We have to collect taxes by law … but we definitely do not want to take the property,” Sabree said. “We want to show options that people have to save their properties.”

More than 60,000 of the county’s 76,000 foreclosed properties are in Detroit, threatening neighborhoods that have yet to recover from the national mortgage crisis.

About $326 million in taxes, interest and fees are owed on the foreclosed homes, lots and other buildings in Detroit. Mapping data shows that about 37,000 of those properties are occupied.

“One of the reasons why we want people to stay in their homes is because when they become abandoned, they get stripped. They become a crime scene. They become a drug house,” Sabree said. “It’s better to let the person stay in the house and collect taxes even if it takes longer to collect the money.”

Mourice Neal was looking for just a little help. His tax bill is $4,900 on a home he bought in 2013 on Detroit’s North End. Paying that amount would dangerously stretch what he receives in Social Security payments.

“It’s a good process. They are looking at my income,” said Neal, who is 46.

But Thomas Jackson left his hearing without knowing if anything could be done with the $27,000 tax bill on his home in northwest Detroit. He said he was told special consideration was needed to get a payment plan. He has another hearing next month.

“They told me they can’t help me here,” said Jackson, 40, who has not paid taxes on his home since 2012, when he lost his automotive job.

He has since found a new job and wants to keep the house he bought in 2009, but said losing it would not be the end of the world.

“I’m working now. I can find somewhere else,” he said.

Regina Lee, 50, went to the hearing ready to pay the $1,200 owed on two lots that sandwich the home she grew up in. She said she was unaware her now-deceased grandmother listed her as owner of the lots until a relative received a foreclosure notice from the county.

“That’s my grandmother’s legacy,” Lee said. “I guess she put my name on them for a reason. I’m hoping that I can pay to keep them or do a down payment.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.newson6.com/story/27975845/last-ditch-foreclosure-hearings-draw-many-detroit-homeowners