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John Hopkins

Home Sweet Home — Banks Treading on Legal Rights

» Written by // October 6, 2010 //


You lost your job.

You worry you will lose your house.

You receive the letter: Dear Homeowner, you have failed to pay your mortgage payments. We do not care why. We are foreclosing on your home.

Is it fair for a mortgage company to foreclose a mortgage because the homeowner has not made the mortgage payments? Well, it is sad, tragic, but they, of course, have the legal right to foreclose.

But, shouldn’t the mortgage company be required to do everything the law requires in accomplishing the foreclosure? Damn right they should. It should not be simple, easy or quick to take someone’s home. You should have to jump through all the legal hoops – ALL the legal hoops – in order to take a home from a family.

Recently, it has become clearer that many mortgage companies, either intentionally, or through error, tried to take shortcuts. This was not an occasional misstep or an isolated occurrence. These shortcut attempts, now discovered, have resulted in the halting of foreclosures in 23 states, including in areas of Florida:

” Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC) halted foreclosures in 23 states after employees admitted in sworn depositions that they didn’t verify information in thousands of foreclosure documents.”

Let’s think about it. We, the tax payers, helped to bail these companies out of hot water after they victimized people by seducing loans they should have known were going to be difficult for the homeowner to repay. After saving many of these institutions from certain bankruptcy, they thank tax payers by trying to take illegal shortcuts to regain ownership of homes and dispense mortgages.

So, why wouldn’t mortgage companies try to work with homeowners? Why won’t mortgage holders look at reworking loans with reasonable modifications or simply forbear foreclosures for a period of time to allow the homeowner to get back on their feet?

Why? Because a tiger can not change its stripes. They are mortgage companies. They loan, they receive money and if they do not receive money, they foreclose. That is what they do. No room for thinking outside the box. No room for compassion. No room for considering new, but good, business practices that might reap beneficial results for an individual homeowner and the economy as a whole.

Nope. It is all about them. All about TODAY’s balance sheet; without regard for tomorrow’s fallout.

To the mortgage industry I say: enough is enough. Return the favor to the very people who kept you solvent. Consider modifications. Lower interest rates on mortgages as long as they stay at a reasonable level. Fix rates on adjustable loans; as long as they remain good long term investments. Look to tomorrow. Think outside of the box.

To homeowners: don’t let them do it without effort. Ask for modifications of mortgages – in writing. Offer alternatives to foreclosure – in writing. Call your legislators – write to your legislators. Seek legal advice before they serve you with foreclosure papers. Do not walk away from your home without a fight – or at least until it makes sense to you to do so.


West Palm Beach

Searcy Denney 2139 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33409-6601
Toll-free: (800) 780-8607
Phone: (561) 686-6300
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Tallahassee, FL 32301-1231
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Phone: (850) 224-7600
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