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I call it fraud. They prefer to call it “dual-tracking”. The fact is, that homeowners ignorant of the real intent of the banks and servicers went through the charade of seeking modifications and settlements. Yet they were set up every step of the way, in every way possible. From bogus lenders to robo-signed documents and now to have made official what we’ve known all along, that the pretender-lender banks had procedures in place to operate a dual-track system. In other words at the same time that homeowners were negotiating for modifications, the same banks had them on a track for foreclosure. No wonder a homeowner could never reach the same person twice, no wonder every new voice on the phone needed to have the information sent in again, no wonder the banks told homeowners that they could not help them until they were behind in their payments. Just like common oxymorons, the paradoxes such as deafening silence, living dead, or denying us our civil rights and calling it the patriot act, loan modifications and help for homeowners is really just an oxymoron. Makes sense now, doesn’t it.
California attorney general seeks more mortgage protections
Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris says the proposed California Homeowner Bill of Rights would help homeowners facing foreclosure and fix serious flaws in the system.
California’s top law enforcer is calling on legislators to pass half a dozen new bills that would give more protection to homeowners facing foreclosure.
Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said Wednesday that the proposed legislation, dubbed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, is aimed at fixing some of the most serious flaws in the system.
If approved by lawmakers and the governor, the bills would stop banks from simultaneously pursuing foreclosures against troubled borrowers who are in talks with them about loan modifications. Borrowers also would have to be given a single point of contact instead of being passed from one department to another.
“California communities and families are being devastated by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. We must ensure the deceptive practices that caused it never happen again,” Harris said. “The California Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.”
The proposed legislation comes almost three weeks after California joined a nationwide foreclosure settlement with some major banks that’s projected to provide up to $18 billion in financial assistance to California homeowners.
Speaking at a news conference at the state Capitol, Harris noted that California, along with neighboring Nevada, suffered the most from the housing meltdown. She was joined by 11 Democratic lawmakers, including Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).
The multi-state settlement “helps thousands of Californians, but thousands more need the same help,” Steinberg said.
The new legislation before the state Senate and Assembly would:
End so-called dual-track foreclosures that allow mortgage holders to simultaneously negotiate loan modifications to lower homeowners’ interest payments while taking legal steps to foreclose on the same properties;
Provide a single point of contact for homeowners with their loan servicers and impose a $10,000 civil penalty for “robo-signed” mortgage documents containing unverified information;
Give local governments tools to force banks and property owners to maintain blighted, foreclosed homes and to give new owners incentives to improve their properties;
Allow renters more time to stay in foreclosed residences;
Collect fees from banks to pay for enhanced law enforcement actions to defend homeowners;
Create a statewide grand jury to investigate alleged financial and real estate foreclosure crimes.
Steinberg conceded that he and his allies are in for a tough legislative fight. Similar foreclosure prevention bills have been defeated or watered down in recent years after lobbyists from the deep-pocketed financial services industry rallied opposition from conservative Republican and moderate Democratic lawmakers.
“We’re going to have to push, fight and negotiate,” Steinberg said. “There’s some history on these issues, and we know what some of the opposition arguments have been.”
If approved, the legislation “could lead to the slowing or halting of a still-crashing wave of foreclosures,” said a statement of support by the ReFund California Coalition, an alliance of community and consumer groups.
A bankers’ trade group said it hadn’t had enough time to offer any detailed comments on Harris’ proposal.
“California’s lending community remains committed to both helping homeowners and protecting affordable access to mortgage credit,” said Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman for the California Mortgage Bankers Assn. “It is critical that any new legislation take into account our state’s fragile economic condition. Any introduction of new legislation and regulation must include a realization that markets and consumers need stability in order for lasting economic recovery to take hold.”
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