Washington resident, Mark Wilson has been expeditiously contacting Washington state legislators; in particular, Steve Hobbs and other senators involved with the development and push for Senate Bill 5968.
This bill aims to make it easier for citizen’s homes to be taken away without any responsibility for wrongful foreclosure. This bill was not voted on and residents have come to the Capitol to express their grievances over the implications proposed by this legislation.
This bill “seeks to accelerate that annihilation”
Hobbs has proposed legislation for consideration to the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee (FIIC) to amend the Deeds of Trust Act to allow nearly anyone to initiate a foreclosure against the homeowner without having to possess the mortgage note at the time of filing of proceedings. In his letter, Wilson wrote to Hobbs, “…your proposed bill seeks to accelerate that annihilation. It doubles down on an already suffering citizenry.”
This seems to be the opinion of the majority in regards to this bill.
Because the trustee makes money on every house taken…
Scott Stafne, a Washington State attorney and advocate against bank foreclosures, also wrote an open letter to Hobbs. He stated. “Hobbs’ bill, SB 5968, is designed by lawyers and trustees to undo what few protections the people of Washington have against slime ball debt collectors taking Washingtonians’ homes. Why? Because the trustee makes money on every house it can take away from a Washington voter. And the trustee gives enough of the money to someone like Hobbs, who has no interest in protecting his constituents’ rights.”
Another partner in the Stafne law firm, Joshua Trumbull wrote, “I am extremely disappointed to learn that you are a sponsor of SB 5968. [It] would hurt homeowners and the people of this state while exclusively benefiting the special interests of the Financial Industry.”Trumball also explained another alarming fact: the legal definitions of “holder” and “owner” would be impacted by this bill. He states, “the notice and proof of ownership requirements embodied in the current Deed of Trust Act are essential so homeowners can identify the owner of their loan who shares an economic interest in finding a mutually beneficial, or ‘win-win’ alternative to foreclosure. The proof of ownership requirement is also crucial to ensure that the party authorizing nonjudicial foreclosure is the lender/owner, or its successor in interest, that has the contractual right to foreclose under the deed of trust. SB 5968 would eliminate these valuable protections that Washington homeowners currently enjoy under the existing law.”
Who is the true stakeholder?
Constituents and attorneys of Washington state agree that Hobbs is motivated be special interest groups in the banking industry who would benefit from this broad redefining of “owner” and “holder” so that more foreclosures can be initiated by banks and their representatives.
As Trumball points out, “the owner of the loan is the true stakeholder that the borrower needs to negotiate with in order to attempt to find an alternative to foreclosure [and if] the loan servicer or other third party is financially incentivized to foreclose, foreclosure is what happens. [This bill] would deprive homeowners of knowing the role of the entity they are communicating with and would allow the servicers to continue to prey on borrowers and mislead them into foreclosure.”
Continued speculation against Hobbs
Speculation against Hobbs arises from his connection to Northwest Trustees (NWT) and their alliance with lawyers that contributed to Hobbs senatorial campaign. NWT has netted high profits from more than 250,000 foreclosures in Washington State. One of the primary contributors to Hobbs’ campaign ($13,000 worth) were David and Catherine Fennell.
David Fennell is a Washington State attorney who works with and is a shareholder and owner of NWT. Oddly enough, two years ago, Fennell was accused of “inflating the cost of foreclosure filings 18 percent above average during the height of the housing crisis.”
If SB 5968 passes, the same type of bill could be drafted in other states as well: troubling news for homeowners.