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Big banks still robo-signing, committing foreclosure fraud

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Seriously? After all of this?

It is shocking that big banks are still perpetrating the same sins that have landed them in court with everyone from the feds to homeowners, but it is almost not even surprising that this bad behavior continues even today. In July, we reported that robo-signatures were still being used amidst scandal, so it is conceivable that six more weeks hasn’t changed anything.

This spring, all of the major banks signed regulatory consent orders to improve their foreclosure practices after major illegal infringements, mostly revolving around robo-signing which is where a signature is given to documents that have not been manually reviewed, and one person’s signature ends up on hundreds of documents in a day with the handwriting not matching (hint: multiple people using one person’s signing authority). For months, banks have been negotiating with states attorneys to settle the loan-servicing abuses.

Consent orders be damned

Regardless of signing consent orders, AmericanBanker.com (AB) has uncovered evidence that the robo-signing practice continues almost a year after banks were caught in the scandal. As recently as August, documents show Bank of America, Wells Fargo, OneWest Financial and Ally Financial (including others) to contain backdating of paperwork necessary to support their right to foreclose. Additionally, various documents reviewed by AB included signatures by current bank employees claiming to represent lenders that no longer exist.

A consumer bankruptcy lawyer in North Carolina told AB that servicers and trustees submit promissory notes in court without proper endorsements showing the chain of title from one lender to another, then afterward there will be “a magically appearing note with a stamped endorsement.” Plaintiff’s lawyers depose the person whose name is “magically” stamped on the endorsement and are being told that the signer is no longer with the bank or party for whom they signed. One New York bankruptcy lawyer called such mortgage documents “Ta-Da!” assignments because they seem to appear out of nowhere.

Perhaps MERS halting all facilitation of foreclosures has given banks a reason to scramble and continue to do things inappropriately rather than on the straight and narrow as they have all pledged to do, but in the meantime, it is not just investors that stand to lose when this house of cards crumbles, but ultimately, the homeowners who are being illegally foreclosed on stand to lose the most.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Kathleen Cosner

    September 2, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Glad you reported on this Tara! Just read an article last night from the AP, published in the Plain Dealer, that robo-signing has been found on Deeds, and origination docs going back to *1998* in maybe 4-5 states!

  2. Jonathan Benya

    September 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    No surprise here. Banks are trying furiously to get the foreclosure train back on the tracks, and they have no idea how to do it without committing fraud.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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