Bank of AmericaBank of America is the third major lender over the past two weeks to freeze foreclosures in the 23 states where the foreclosure process is controlled by the courts. Bank of America went further than GMAC and J.P. Morgan Chase who have said they will amend paperwork only in cases they think were improperly done. So far, that's been a small handful of cases.

Bank of America, in an e-mailed statement, said it would “amend all affidavits in foreclosure cases that have not yet gone to judgment.”

Bank of America is the third major lender over the past two weeks to freeze foreclosures in the 23 states where the foreclosure process is controlled by the courts. Bank of America went further than GMAC and J.P. Morgan Chase who have said they will amend paperwork only in cases they think were improperly done. So far, that's been a small handful of cases.

Bank of America, in an e-mailed statement, said it would “amend all affidavits in foreclosure cases that have not yet gone to judgment.”

This news could mean tens of thousands of homes in  foreclosure would be in limbo for months or, if the defaulted homeowners hire lawyers, years.

A spokesman for B of A said that they were uncertain how many cases the lender currently had in court and provided no timeline or explanation for the freeze.

The foreclosure moratorium is likely help homeowners but further fuel the fire over the unscrupulous foreclosure tactics of the big lenders. It's probably a perfect time for many of these homeowners to contact a bankruptcy attorney or an attorney that handles mortgage litigation.

California’s attorney general, Jerry Brown who is currently running for Governor, said that Chase bank should stop any foreclosures in the state until it proved that it was following the law. He earlier made the same demand of GMAC who used to lend under the Ditech name.

In California, mortgage lenders generally pursue foreclosures outside of the court system, so they are presumably still proceeding with evictions. Chase Bank declined to say whether it would comply with Mr. Brown’s comments. For many home owners, hiring a bankruptcy attorney early in the foreclosure process makes sense if they want to avoid foreclosure or buy some time.

Chase said this week that it had frozen 56,000 foreclosure cases. GMAC, which is largely owned by the Treasury after receiving $17 billion in federal bailout money to prevent its collapse, has repeatedly declined to say how many cases it is halting. While it hardly seems fair that these big banks wrongfully foreclose on borrowers most consumers don't have the funds available to fight them. The problem for all the mortgage giants that have announced moratoriums stems directly from their understaffed loan modification departments and an attempt to deal with the number of foreclosures in their portfolio. "They took the TARP funds and apparently misappropriated them" says's one California bankruptcy attorney who asked not to have his name mentioned.

According to LPS Applied Analytics, a firm that provides mortgage data 2 million borrowers are in foreclosure. Another 2.37 million are seriously delinquent and waiting for their lender to proceed with foreclosure. Often times these notes are still owned by the lender but often, the banks are merely the loan servicer acting on behalf of the investor. Many of the loans are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage holding companies now controlled by the Treasury. In other cases the loans have been sold to private investment pools. It's concerning that our Treasury department is at the helm and apparently doing little do help.

Bank executives admittedly would sign thousands of affidavits a month as robo-signers attesting that they had personal knowledge that the facts of the case were as presented. The affidavits were prepared by foreclosure attorneys who were paid a flat fee, which also placed a premium on volume.

When litigating attorneys started deposing these robo-signers, they acknowledged that they could not possibly have proper knowledge of all these files. The banks say this is a technicality and they will refile the proper affidavits. The attorneys say the practice is inappropriate and calls these cases into question.

 


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