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see http://features.necir.org/pmi Insurers pay “losses” on mortgages and then pursue borrowers for recovery of payment
A big area of confusion in the foreclosure cases is the impact of insurance claims and payments with respect to insured mortgages and insured mortgage bonds. So let’s start with the fact that there are many types of insurance contracts that affect the balance to be proven in a foreclosure case. The simplest rule to follow which has been stated in a number of cases, is that if the party seeking foreclosure has already received payments ON THAT LOAN then the balance should be correspondingly reduced. But that reduction is between the pretender lender and the borrower. That doesn’t mean that whoever paid the money to the pretender lender can’t pursue the homeowner for the amount paid. But it does affect the foreclosure because the insurance or third party payment (FDIC loss sharing, for example or Fannie or Freddie buyout or guarantee) affects the claimed liability of the borrower.
If you ask the banks about these payments you get stonewalled. And depending upon the timing of the payment it might invalidate the claim of a default, a notice of default and notice of sale. It could also negate the right to foreclose — again depending upon the timing of the payment.
There have been only 2,000 cases in which the insurers have paid the pretender lender and then fled a lawsuit against the homeowner/borrower. They are claiming they paid for a loss incurred by the pretender lender and that the borrower was essentially unjustly enriched and also claiming subrogation (whatever rights the pretender lender had against the borrower goes to the party making the payment to the pretender lender). The problem here of course is that while only 2,000 cases have been field against borrowers by insurers, there are hundreds of thousands of payments received by the pretender lenders.
And the fact that the insurer paid does NOT mean (but will often be presumed anyway) that the loss was actually incurred by the pretender lender. It is one thing to mistakenly apply presumptions under the UCC in which the pretender lender gets to foreclose. It is quite another when the insurer is making a claim that it paid a loss on your mortgage. They must prove the loss. And that means they not only must prove that they paid the claim, but that the claim was real.
For that reason, I am suggesting to foreclosure defense lawyers that they include, in discovery, the insurers and other third parties who appear to have some connection to the subject loan. This might present an opportunity to determine whether any real loss was present and could open the door to argue the reality: that the foreclosing parties neither owned nor had any risk of loss on the subject loans and that they did not represent any owner or other party entitled to enforce.
The take away here is that in a huge number of cases there are or were third party payments that reduced the alleged loss of the creditor or alleged creditor AND depending upon when those payments were made if might have the effect of rendering a notice of default void or even a foreclosure judgment where the redemption rights of the homeowner were affected by an incorrect statement of the loss. In actions for deficiency, the insurers are essentially cherry picking cases in which they think the borrower can pay the alleged loss. It also might represent an overpayment. For example if the third party payment was on a GSE guaranteed loan, did the pretender lender submit claims for both the insurance payment AND the guarantee payment? Under the terms of the note, the borrower might well be entitled to disgorgement of the overpayment, especially if it totals more than the claimed balance due on the alleged loan.
Insurance on the mortgage bonds is the same but more complicated and harder to present in court. The mortgage bond derives its value from the loan. That is why it is called a derivative. In nearly all cases the payment received by the banks (supposedly on behalf of the investors) is received long before a default on any specific loans and there is NO SUBROGATION. The insurers cannot step into the shoes of the pretender lender under those contracts. The “loss” is a claimed reduction in value called a “credit event” that is declared by the Master Servicer in sole discretion. The payment might be all or less than all of the par value of the mortgage bond.
Whatever the amount, it reduces the alleged loss as between the homeowner and any party making a claim for foreclosure based upon an alleged loss incurred from their default. This is true because the balance due to the investors under the mortgage bond has been covered already by the “credit event” which includes many things other than default on any specific loans, so the payment might include a claimed loss from default on a specific group of loans and other factors. In any event, the investors’ books if they were available would show a lower balance due than what any servicer would show. And that would mean that the default notice might be incorrect especially in terms of the reinstatement amount in the paragraph 22 letter.
And because these insurance contracts provide for no subrogation (no claims can be brought by insurer against the homeowner) the reduction in the balance is a reduction of the balance due from the borrower; and THAT is because if the borrower paid the full amount due on the claims of the pretender lender there would be a windfall or “free ride” to the pretender lender (adding insult to injury).
Filed under: foreclosure | Tagged: deficiency, Fannie, FDIC loss sharing, Freddie Mac, guarantee, insurance, loss claims, mortgage bonds, mortgage payments, paragraph 22, SUBROGATION, third party payments | 30 Comments »