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CitiMortgage sued by soldier over mortgage interest rate

This week, CitiMortgage requested a case against them be dismissed, as an active duty member of the military has sued them, alleging SCRA violations. This case could ultimately change the wording of the SCRA regarding protected interest rates.

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Federal lawsuit against CitiMortgage

South Carolina Army sergeant, Raymond Wray filed a federal lawsuit accusing CitiMortgage of violating the 70+ year old Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which limits interest rates to 6.0 percent for military on active duty. Filed in the U.S. District of South Carolina, court documents reveal that the home Wray bought in 1997 for $68,000 was initially at a 12.99 percent interest rate.

When Wray enlisted in the Army two years later, he requested CitiMortgage, who had purchased his loan, to reduce his rate due to his becoming an active duty member of the military. The SCRA covers mortgages that were acquired prior to a servicemember’s enlisting in the military.

Wray, who continues to be on active duty, alleges the SCRA was violated when the bank refused the request, rather used a subsidy program under which the company agreed to make up the difference between his 12.99 rate and the 6.0 percent rate, meaning he was paying less principal toward his home and gaining less equity in it.

CitiMortgage filed for dismissal this week

CitiMortgage has just filed for a dismissal, as Judge Cameron McGowan Currie has set jury selection will begin this year. CitiMortgage claims that paying less principal is not recognized under the SCRA, and that his effective interest rate was capped at 6.0 percent, per the Act.

Wray says he will be seeking class-action status on behalf of any other soldiers who have had the same experience with CitiMortgage. He is seeking unspecified damages and also wants CitiMortgage to be ordered to pay his legal fees.

The SCRA is very basic financial protections put in place for active military members so they don’t have to be burdened by any additional financial pressures that are difficult to control from abroad; it’s an exchange our nation offers for their risking their lives to protect us. SCRA violations are very serious, and should CitiMortgage be found guilty, the Act could potentially be updated to include more detailed rules on how the 6.0 percent cap works.

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Charles Reed

    February 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    As a prime/government loan officer at a bank and who sold loan to Citi Bank and the other large bank is why were these Troops even these loans in the first place instead of a VA loan? Let simply pull up the loan file and recreate why the patriot was given a 12.99% loan.

    Now I know why this was done in part because the loan was only $68,000, plus let see what they charged in point on top of this. If Obama wants to really see Justice done for the Troops, he would have called on me by now, but he does not want to know the truth.

    Many young Troops heading into harms way to fight the senseless battles, were preyed upon while having little or none knowledge of financing as they enter as teenagers and shipped off here and there, and while only having the advice of financial experts they paid to give the best advice.

    This Nation will find out other crime done to Our Troops at the hand of the Federal Government in Ginnie Mae with these banks as co-conspirators. Truth is taking all the foreclosed VA loans that were in the Ginnie Mae pools and showing the Notes that are to this day still endorsed in blank. Let stop all the theater and let deal with Contract Law. Man up blackstarborn@yahoo.com

    • Greg Fischer

      February 24, 2013 at 12:37 am

      Charles – he got the loan before he joined, he wasn’t eligible for a VA loan

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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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