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IPFS News Link • Housing

Are Banks Scheming to Gut the Role of the Courts in Foreclosures?

Think twice. It depends on what they mean by “third party review of foreclosures”. I strongly suspect that the intent is to pull as many contested foreclosures as possible out of the court process, particularly those that involve chain of title issues, since enough adverse rulings have the potential to blow up the entire mortgage industrial complex. If you think the banks aren’t already on to this one, think twice. One ruse already used regularly takes place in Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Even though the whole point of the bankruptcy process is to hold creditors at bay while the court sorts out who gets what, the foreclosure mills, operating on their clients’ instructions, try to break the bankruptcy stay (the term of art is that they file a motion for relief of stay). Even though this can be batted down, it still costs money ($800 is a typical cost) and a borrower who has filed for bankruptcy is by definition short of money. Not all borrowers who go through bankruptcy hire experienced bankruptcy lawyers. The bank’s counsel tells the borrowers attorney that if he signs a harmless looking agreement, the bank will quit trying to break the bankruptcy stay. However, the agreement has language that results in the bank’s being able to seize the house outside the bankruptcy process in certain circumstances, ones that come up all too often as bankruptcies grind on (I’ve been promised a live example for NC and hope to discuss this in greater detail soon). It effectively strips out a lot of the protections provided by the bankruptcy process. And there is plenty of reason to be suspicious of third party processes devised by banks.