Breaking News: Megabanks Continue to Violate AG Settlement, MA Law

Settlement Banks Continue Endemic Violations of Massachusetts Law;
New study documents violations – foreclosure victims call for immediate action!

May 28, 2012 – “With over 50,000 foreclosures and counting since this key state law became a requirement before any residential foreclosures, the continued rampant neglect and violation by the five mega-banks is egregious in the extreme,” stated Grace Ross, coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending, “We looked at compliance with Massachusetts’ Right to Cure statute since July 5, 2012 when the five settlement banks promised 100% compliance and an end to all robo-signing. Could they more clearly be snubbing their nose at the National Settlement, our AG, our laws and the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?”

The Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending released today an extensive report showing that the 5 mega-banks that are signatories to the national settlement, known as the ‘Attorneys General Settlement’, were in 100% non-compliance with a key Massachusetts foreclosure law. This is after reporting to the Settlement Monitor that they were now in 100% compliance with state laws as of July 5, 2012. The settlement banks are: Bank of America; Wells Fargo; JP Morgan Chase; Citibank; GMAC part Allied Group. The report is available for download on the MAAPL Web site.

The five settlement banks also in their July 5th 2012 report stated uniform compliance with the legal requirement of signing all affidavits under personal knowledge. This study shows that all affidavits required by this key state law claim compliance when they are not; these affidavits were likely signed without personal knowledge, what is called “robo-signed”.

“I work with dozens of homeowners. The ongoing, widespread and fatal defects contained in an extremely high percentage of the legally-required ‘default/right to cure’ letters is unconscionable. Like so many big bank practices, these legal violations have harmed 10s of thousands in Massachusetts and will continue to,” explained Jamie Ranney, a leading Massachusetts anti-foreclosure lawyer. “This trend, if it continues, and there is no reason to believe that it will not, calls into question the validity of every non-judicial foreclosure that has taken place in Massachusetts on or after May 1, 2008.  I have called on our Attorney General to act before. Now she and the Settlement Monitor simply must act without delay.”

“For my particular case, I previously had excellent credit, then fell behind due to an extended family medical hardship. The bank’s apparent violation of the Right to Cure law has made a tremendous positive impact on my ability to negotiate with the lender. The enforcement of this law will hopefully allow me clear my title and save my home,” said Gwen, an embattled long-term homeowner in Massachusetts.

“I have been working with legal representation to stay in my home because I felt like I was getting taken advantage of, screwed.” Ken Helleberg is a long time resident; he has lived in his home since the 1977. He had to refinance during the housing bubble (in his case because of a divorce), and like others who did, fell behind in his payments. In May of 2011, the bank supposedly held an auction and foreclosed.

“They did everything wrong: the name on the original mortgage turns out is a non-existent company; three weeks after the date of the auction the bank’s law firm showed up and had witnesses sign to a paper supposedly witnessing the auction that had already happened. In terms of the Right to Cure letter, after attending housing court with my lawyer, he bought up enough inconsistencies and mistakes in what they sent so the case was dismissed. And I am still in my home, thank goodness!”

The report closes with a request for immediate action by Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley and the National Settlement Monitor Smith to redress the continuing bank violations.

“We have potentially thousands of families effected. The time has come to finally require compliance with laws, with the kind of affidavits the rest of us are required to file – we have waited through three settlements, hundreds of articles on robosigning, 6 and ½ years of this crisis. We have provide clear examples and evidence of system-wide violations. We the people of Massachusetts (and beyond) can wait no longer!” said Magalis Troncoso Lama, co-chair of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending.

The full text of MAAPL’s report is available as a PDF file. Three Appendices to the report, MAAPL’s Right to Cure Checklist, State Violation Samples, and Case Studies 1-19 are also available for download and viewing as PDF files.

About MAAPL

The Mass. Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL) is a coalition of over 60 housing counseling agencies, legal services groups, social service agencies, and community-based social action groups that have joined together to address the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts.

MAAPL collects and distributes timely information on the foreclosure crisis and its effects to the public and to its member groups, drafts and supports legislation that provides important protections to homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure and eviction, documents the impact of the foreclosure crisis on local communities, networks with related organizations throughout the Commonwealth, and provides tools and information to help people navigate the legal system and advocate on their own behalf more effectively when challenging a foreclosure or eviction in court

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