No to noncourt Foreclosures- Proposal good for banks, Bad for homeowners

BY ERIC ENRIQUE •
As an attorney who defends homeowners in foreclosure, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read Sunday’s guest column, “Time for noncourt foreclosures” by Alex Sanchez, chief executive officer of the Florida Bankers Association.
After selling risky loans for quick profits, and then taking billions in taxpayer money, the attempt by bankers to steal Floridians’ due process rights is shameful. Mr. Sanchez claims banks want to keep people in their homes and they work with them for months to modify their loan. The truth is the banks are not making reasonable efforts to work with homeowners to modify their loan because it is not profitable for them to do so. To find out just how unwilling the banks are, ask anyone who has tried to obtain a loan modification. They will tell you they have spent countless hours on the phone, only to have their call mysteriously disconnected, and have had to repeatedly submit the same financial documentation.
After months of frustration, most applicants are either denied, or given a paltry temporary payment reduction with a loan term extended up to 40 years, making homeownership even more expensive. When home values have fallen to less than half of what a homeowner may still owe on their home, is it any wonder homeowners are rejecting these offers?
If the banks really want to solve the housing crisis, they should offer permanent interest-rate and principal reductions to reflect the home’s current value. Instead, the banks would rather litigate, foreclose and sell the home at the current value. The reason is because many of the foreclosing banks do not own the loan and are loan servicers that collect loan payments on behalf of investors. As loan servicers, the banks can charge their investors higher fees when a loan is in default.
The numbers support the banks’ unwillingness to offer reasonable loan modifications. According to Hope Now, an alliance of leaders in the housing industry, in Florida’s third quarter of 2009, there were 278,189 delinquent loans, 80,327 new foreclosure actions, but only 13,205 loan modifications.

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