The housing and financial crisis struck Florida hard in 2007, but the foreclosure battles, bank lawsuits have just begun. Seven years later, as Americans reflect on job loss, spending habits, homes lost to foreclosure, credit ratings dropped by bankruptcy; recovery, for the average person is not easy.
The nation’s big six banks and lenders, however, are thriving with the highest earnings in 2013 since 2006. The Big Six banks’ and lenders’ estimated earnings for 2013:
• JP Morgan Chase: $22 Billion
• Wells Fargo: $21.9 Billion
• Bank of America: $21.7 Billion
• Citigroup: $17.8 Billion
• Morgan Stanley: $8.2 Billion
• Goldman Sachs: $1.72 Billion
Who’s to Blame: Foreclosure Battles, Bank Lawsuits Have Just Begun
Many Americans blame the banks for the nation’s financial crisis and have been suing the lenders for business practices in the course of foreclosures. Many homeowners have a range of lawsuits against them. The banks have also settled many lawsuits out of court, and others have been ordered to pay for underhanded lending and foreclosure wrongs.
The Big Six banks and lenders would have recorded higher earnings had they not paid out many billions in lawsuit settlements for wrongdoings in the home mortgage process in 2013.
Lawsuits have been settled against the banks for faulty paperwork, lost titles, questionable ownership of loans, improper acceptance of payments, illegal foreclosures and more.
JP Morgan Chase spent $23 billion in legal fines in 2013. Bank of America paid out billions in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
There are billions more already set aside in reserve by the banks to settle lawsuits expected in 2014. All six banks have had to pay homeowners for their wrongdoings in Robo-Signing cases.
Robo-Signing was the rushed and sloppy approval process where financial verification, background checks, the usual required documentation for home mortgages was ignored in order to approve buyers willing to take on more house than they could afford.
Signatures by unknown bank entities, signatures by incorrect or duplicate people, can deem a mortgage illegal. Missing signatures from the proper authorities within the bank, incorrect fees, excessive fees, incorrect pay schedules, incomplete paperwork, missing titles.
Then, when bad mortgages were sold in groups to other businesses, more missing signatures, lost titles, missing paperwork, incorrect and non-matching dates cover mortgage paperwork.
Additionally, there are foreclosure lawsuits against homeowners where the bank suing for the title, has lost the title, has paperwork missing signatures, incorrect or duplicate bank employees signing in multiple, incorrect, undated locations.
Robo-Signing is a reason the Big Six lenders have each set aside billions of dollars to settle lawsuits annually for the next several years. Banks and lenders were granting mortgages rapidly to qualified and many unqualified and non-qualified buyers.
Sloppy paperwork and rapid transactions, coupled with excessive and/or illegal fees that are not clear to homeowners who receive foreclosure paperwork, has caused a court backlog. The very problematic court system in Florida and across the country stems from initially muddled and improper paperwork started by lenders.
If thousands of people faced, fought and lost homes through foreclosure lawsuits filed by the Big Six banks, there are very likely possibilities that mistakes were made which will keep the lenders in litigation for many years to come.
How the Housing Crisis Occurred
Buyers were in love with the newly minted brand of no-money down, ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) loans, with the attitude of buy now, pay later for a home that many were not able to afford.
Those who could afford homes were also hit many years later with massive decreases in overly inflated property values and were stuck with what is known as an upside down home.
Homeowners with ARMs were suddenly facing massive house notes so expensive that they were borrowing from credit cards to pay other household expenses.
Additionally, when unemployment peaked due to businesses downsizing, forced to layoff workers, two-family incomes, went to one income, and the mortgage refinancing and foreclosure era began.
When lenders were not willing to renegotiate home mortgages, they began foreclosing on the delinquent debtors. These were the same debtors who lenders were rubber stamping home loans; people with unverified wages, credit scores and employment.
With the mass exit of homeowners due to foreclosure, entire neighborhoods were filled with empty, uncared for homes which further dropped the property values in many previously affluent neighborhoods.
The housing crisis is not over yet. There are new laws in Florida governing a speedier foreclosure process to help unclog the court system. Foreclosures will continue as the courts process the backed up cases.
One Last Meeting with a Lawyer Before Foreclosure
Before you give up on your home, think again and consider meeting with a real estate lawyer to investigate your options. There are many reasons a foreclosure may be successfully defended and taking a very thorough look at the foreclosure and mortgage paperwork is the first step.
Forensic Audits Will Tell a Homeowner if the Lender is Lying
Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan of Lanigan and Lanigan, can conduct forensic audits which verify and check mortgage paperwork. It’s deep research, reviewing the complete history of a homeowner’s’ mortgage from day 1 to the present. Complete review of the paperwork on your home loan may determine whether what the foreclosing bank or lender states is actually true, and whether they have complete paperwork, legal and correct mortgage paperwork on your property.
If the paperwork is faulty, false, incomplete, inaccurate, there is a problem for which a legal remedy will be needed.
Keep Careful Paperwork on a Mortgage
If you are considering fighting a foreclosure, be certain to keep every piece of paperwork that you have received from a lender. Keep up with payments, dates, what is owed, the fees that are being added on. Look at your payment schedule, find out which lender owns the mortgage.
Monitor phone calls with times, dates, names and conversation notes. If a lender calls and asks you to work something out, legally, do not be a hero and try to do this yourself. The bank has hired an attorney and so should you. Mortgages and foreclosure are very complicated legally. Only an experienced real estate attorney should be talking with the bank.
Consult with Florida foreclosure attorney Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan to fight for your home. Call to set an appointment in the Winter Park, Florida, offices of Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L. Aggressive representation with a personal touch.