Here it Comes!: Banks Commence Aggressive Foreclosure Strategy in South Florida

Starting last month, the mega banks began an aggressive campaign to avoid modification, settlements or principal reductions and seek foreclosures before they are forced to modify.

Yes, we can help at livinglies, but the numbers are so high that there is no way we have the resources to help everyone. I am pitching in too, having become attorney of record for some South Florida residents and with plans to open a Florida office. I have arranged for offices in Hialeah, Coral Springs and Tallahassee. Like you, I am tired of waiting for lawyers who get it. I get it and I am licensed in Florida.

Lawyers, accountants, analysts and others should be seeing this as a major opportunity to do well for themselves and for the owners of these homes by challenging the rights of the those collectors who are taking their money now, or demanding payment or threatening foreclosure. Lawyers have been slow on the uptake and in so doing are potentially setting themselves up for future malpractice claims for anyone, whether they aid or not, who received advice from the lawyer that was not based upon the realities of the securitization scam.

Call 520-405-1688, where you can get help in documenting the fraud, help in drafting the documents, and help in finding a lawyer. If you are a lawyer involved in foreclosure defense, bankruptcy or family law, you need to to start studying the real facts and the strategies that get traction in court.

We are planning a possible new South Florida seminar for lawyers, paralegals and sophisticated investors or homeowners. But we will only schedule it if we get enough calls to indicate that the workshop will at least pay for itself. It is a full day of information, strategy, role-playing and tactics to use in the court room.

Editor’s Analysis: Despite loosening standards for principal reductions and modifications, the foreclosure activity across the country is increasing or about to increase due to many factors.

The bizarre reason why the titans of Wall Street want these homes underwater combined with the miscalculation of the real number does not bode well for the housing market nor the economy. With median income now reported by the Wall Street Journal at 1995 levels, and the direct correlation between median income and housing prices you only need a good memory or a computer to see the level of housing prices in 1995 — which is currently where we are headed. As the situation gets worse, the foreclosure and housing problem will become a disaster beyond the proportions seen today. And that is exactly what Wall Street wants and needs — the investors be damned. Millions of proposals far  in excess of foreclosure proceeds have been rejected and forced into foreclosure and millions more will follow.

Wall Street NEEDS foreclosures — not modifications, principal write-downs or settlements. The reason is simple. They have already received trillions in bailouts from the Federal Government. All of that was predicated upon the homes going into foreclosure. If the loans turn out to be capable of performing, many of those trillion of dollars ( generally reported at $17 trillion, which is more than the total principal loaned out to all borrowers during the meltdown period), the mega banks could be facing trillions of  dollars in liability as the demands are properly made for payback. The banks should not be allowed to collect the money and the houses too. Neither should they be allowed to collect the bailout money and keep the mortgages.

The “underwater” calculation is far off the mark. If selling expenses and discounts are taken into consideration, the value of homes used in that calculation is at least 10% less than what is used in the underwater calculation, which would increase the number of underwater homes by at least 15% bringing the total to nearly 10,000,000 homeowners who know now that they will never see valuation even coming close to the amount owed. The prospect for strategic defaults is staggering —- totaling more than 10 million homes  — or nearly twice the number of foreclosures already “completed”, albeit defectively.

Collier County is getting hit hard, as the foreclosure menace spreads. Wall Street wants the foreclosures, needs the foreclosures and is going to get them — unless they are stopped in the courts. Don’t think you won’t end up in foreclosure just because you are current in mortgage payments. They have playbook that will trick you too into a foreclosure. If anyone tells you to stop making payments, watch out!

by Laura Layden,

Foreclosures are trending up in Southwest Florida.

They’ve been on the rise year-over-year since January in Collier County, hitting their highest number in August — at 295 for the month. In August 2011, there were 229 new foreclosures, 66 fewer than this year, according to the Collier County Clerk’s office.

In Lee County, new foreclosure cases have also ticked up, with monthly increases year-over-year since January. They hit a high of 799 in March, then slowed for four months before spiking up again, according to the county clerk’s office. In August, they jumped to 701 — up from 518 a year ago.

Experts say much of the increase over 2011 is due to a slowdown in filings after last year’s “robo-signing” debacle, which saw mortgage holders and their law firms accused of falsifying documents to speed up the foreclosure process. Now, major banks across the country are moving again on distressed properties, following a $25 billion robo-signing settlement in April.

“What we are seeing now is what they bottled up during the robo-signing controversy. They let it loose once the settlement was done,” said Jeff Tumbarello, director of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investment Association, which tracks foreclosure trends in Lee County.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were among the big banks that halted their filings last year and they account for more than 60 percent of the filings now, he said.

While new filings rose in Lee and Collier counties in August, nationwide they fell 13 percent after three straight months of year-over-year increases, according to a report by RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif.

However, some states, including Florida, saw sizable increases in new foreclosure filings — or starts — last month.

“Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president, in a statement. “In judicial states, such as Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, this was a continuation of a trend we’ve been seeing for several months now.”

Increases in new filings in Florida and Illinois pushed their state foreclosure rates to the two highest in the country in August. In most “nonjudicial” states, where foreclosures are usually dealt with outside of the courts, activity continued to slow.

According to RealtyTrac’s most recent monthly report released today , there were foreclosure-related filings on 193,508 U.S. properties in August, up 1 percent from July, but down 15 percent from a year ago. The report tracks three types of filings: default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

In August, Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranked 14th in the nation for its foreclosure activity. There were 1,255 properties with foreclosure-related filings, up more than 40 percent from July, but down more than 8.6 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.

Naples-Marco Island ranked 49th in the nation for its foreclosure activity, with a total of 375 filings of all three types.

From January to August, there were 5,359 foreclosure cases filed in Lee County and another 2,007 were recorded in Collier, according to clerk records.

In all of last year, Collier had 2,270 foreclosure cases filed. Lee reported 5,417. It appears those numbers will easily be surpassed within a month or two, if the current pace of new cases continues.

Marc Shapiro, a Naples foreclosure defense attorney, said some homeowners in Southwest Florida who defaulted on their loans in 2011 haven’t been foreclosed on yet because of the delays that happened after widespread robo-signing was revealed.

“The banks just now are getting to the point where they are getting back on track and getting things rolling again,” he said.

Some of his clients, he said, haven’t paid their mortgage for a year and still haven’t seen their lender take action. He said the uptick in foreclosure filings locally can also be blamed on adjustable rates mortgages, known for short as ARMs. The first five years, there’s a fixed interest rate on the mortgages, then the rate adjusts annually, usually upward.

In Collier, Shapiro estimates there are 8,000 to 10,000 foreclosure cases pending.

In Lee, there’s a backlog of 9,677 cases, according to the Lee County Clerk’s office.

In some instances, Shapiro said, big banks are dragging their feet on cases because they don’t want too many foreclosure properties to hit the market at once, which would only drive down prices and demand. If demand and prices fall off, it will only lead to more foreclosures, encouraging more homeowners to stop making payments on homes that aren’t worth what they owe on them, he said.

“There is a lot of buyers,” Shapiro said. “I think the only exception is gated golf course communities, or communities that have high association dues. I think those are tough to sell … because people are getting away from properties that have high monthly expenses on them.”

Michael Puchalla, an assistant director for the Housing Development Corp. of Southwest Florida, a not-for-profit that offers free assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, said at an affordable housing conference in Orlando this week representatives for Bank of America, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported their 30-, 60- and 90-day delinquencies were down over last year, but there were more borrowers who are more behind on payments by as much as 36 months.

Through Florida’s Hardest-Hit Fund program, homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed and qualify for assistance can get up to $18,000 to catch up on missed payments and up to $24,000 to make a year of payments. The Housing Development Corp. has helped local homeowners sign up for the program, but its federal funding is limited and may run out by the end of the year.

“We definitely like to help people when we can,” Puchalla said.

Connect with Laura Layden at

19 Responses

  1. Possibly… I get those two Paulsons confused. In my brain, it’s almost some kind of “two-for-the-hefty-price-of-one”. A little like Jamie boy and Bob Diamond. As though they first make a figgin’ mold and then, they mass-produce heartless little money-robots…

  2. I think you’re talking about John Paulson…?

  3. Hank Paulsen… How much did he make out of the deal again? Was it 2.8 or 3.2 billions? Keep forgetting.

  4. All….

    “in those days, there were whole loans”

    Tom Brokaw interviewed Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson concerning the financial stress facing our county.

    Excerpts from MEET THE PRESS transcript – statements made by SECRETARY PAULSON on September 21, 2008…

    “What has gone on here is terrible, it’s unexcusable, and we need to deal with it. …–we have a problem in our capital markets that’s urgent to deal with”…….“a lot of people talk about the RTC. The RTC was set up after a broad group of savings and loans failed. And, in those days, there were whole loans, and the government owned the real estate, and you needed an agency to work out of the real estate. Here, we’re preventing failure. We–the financial institutions are clogged with illiquid loans, so what we need to do is quickly buy those loans. They won’t be giving us control of real estate, but this–we need to manage these assets and manage them quickly, and that, that is what we have in front of us today.”

  5. Enraged…loose change, i remember the exact moment i read something on loose change. i think that was my moment of enlightenment. you know i take it a day at a time, ive seen my patients get diagnosed get chemo loose their hair grow it back again whilst throwing up every day because of the side effects, then those little soldiers go back to school ,ive seen thiscome to pass in the time i have been fighting for my rights, we are to fight as those brave little people do.

  6. Re. the videos—forgot to mention (in case y’all didn’t know this) that the part of the Pentagon that was destroyed by the missile (it was not a commercial airplane) housed accountants, and had information regarding the 2 to 4 TRILLION dollars that were unaccounted for and “missing”…

    “Pentagon Accountants Killed in 9/11 Attacks Day After Rumsfeld Admitted $2.3 Trillion Missing”

    The day after US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the military had lost $2.3 trillion, the accountants responsible for tracking the money were killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

    “One Army office in the Pentagon lost 34 of its 65 employees in the attack,” reported The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Dec. 20, 2001. “Most of those killed in the office, called Resource Services Washington, were civilian accountants, bookkeepers and budget analysts. They were at their desks…”

  7. I promise—this is the last one—it is “Pilots For 9/11 Truth—very detailed explanation of the unprecedented government “war games” etc., that were going on at the EXACT same time as the the (supposed) “terrorist” planes were in the sky…think for yourself and share these videos with family and friends—as scary and heartbreaking as the truth is—it IS the truth and we have to face it and deal with it—for the sake of our children—and our children’s children…

    (@enraged—you are exactly right.)

  8. Sorry—one more—shows eyewitness to 9/11 Shanksville field crash (not flight 93…but actually a missile.)

    We need the truth about our government revealed—ALL the truth. The age of stupid blind faith that our government has our best interests at heart is OVER. The age of independent investigation of truth is NOW.

  9. Oops,

    Something’s missing. i got interrupted by a phone call.

    Fukushima… count the number of people having committed suicide or having died violently after disclosure.

  10. Anyone not convinced by the “official” version of what happened on 9/11 should start digging into Fukushima and the serious inconsistencies between seismographs of real earthquakes and those recorded before and after Fukushima, very similar to seimographs recorded after nuke testing explosions in the Nevada desert and completely unlike typical earthquakes.

    I, for one, was among the first viewers of Dylan’s Loose Change 911 videos and followed the progress between the first and third version, much more detailed, longer and more convincing. I wasn’t surprised when scientists in Australia, NZ and Japan questioned, right off the bat, the events surrounding Fukushima and brought up those seismographs. Interestingly, some of Japan’s officials did eventually admit, after resigning or fleeing, that Fukushima was not what it appeared to be. And between those who committed

    Tremendous progress has been made in the time frame within which people start questioning major catastrophes. It took the US 70 years to admit that the military knew of the imminent Pearl harbor attack and purposely decided to hide it as it needed a formal reason to engage in WWII, which Congress and the people had refused up until then.

    It took less than 5 years for Dylan 911 movie to go viral.

    It took just 4 months for Fukushima to generate massive reactions in the scientific community. And anyone with half a brain took a whole lot of 7 minutes and 43 seconds to question the real motives, implications and consequences of Bernanke’s announcement of Wednesday. Progress. People are, indeed, growing a brain… it’s going to make it much, much more difficult, if not impossible, to govern populations and keep secrecy intact.

  11. 6 minute video clip:

    More lies revealed regarding the 9/11 “commercial” airplanes…specifically the lies we have been told regarding the Pentagon “airplane”…obviously not really the “airplane” that we were “told” it was…

    I am only posting these videos here because the fraud and cover-ups and lies perpetrated by our government MUST ALL be revealed for anything to change…ask yourself—WHY did they lie to us about every single thing that happened on 9/11?
    The events of 9/11 are a “livinglie” also. The truth of war and how wars begin are also manipulated—just like the financial system that we talk about here.

    10,000 experts (on the PBS video I posted below) were interviewed regarding the collapse of the buildings…after years of extensive research—all of them agreed: controlled demolition.

    We need to get our heads out of the sand.

  12. Banning the sales of soft drinks will no doubt fend off future terrorist attacks and go a long way towards righting the problems of Wall Street and their organised crime syndicate.

  13. @linda – NY is banning the sale of soft drinks over 16 ounces.

  14. another one—must watch:

  15. In case somebody here missed it (PBS):

    Ignoring the evidence is no longer an option.

  16. Ok, just read this. So no coincidence.

    The Fed announced the beginning of QE3 with $40B in purchases of Mortgage Backed Securities PER MONTH without stating any end date or dollar amount. Here is the statement:

    Economic crash is on its way, apparently. Perhaps to usher in the new asset-backed currencies?

  17. Federal money to help homeowners with past-due payments.
    The payments go right back to the banks. I believe that smacks of another money-laundering scheme.

    Giving more and more money to the banks is not going to solve the problem, it only fuels their criminal enterprise. Whether the funds come in the form of taxpayer bailouts or distressed funding, it still goes back to the banks. Banks need to be cut off from their life support systems.
    That means that banks get no money from anywhere at all. We just have to figure out how to get that plan into action.

    Now if those fed funds could be used to fight the crimes (loan audits and whatnot), that is another matter. But as we see, the fed and banks are all in bed together. Because if they were not in bed, this nightmare would have ended AGES ago. There are plenty of ways to crash the economy without having to directly hurt people. Even without jobs, people would at least have a roof over their heads and a place to grow food. Banks rob people of their homes and their dignity, too.

    Next, they will be having us all line up to drain the blood of our bodies and they will sell that. And then they will puts chips in us.
    Ok, I am going crazy, but the idea is that they are NOT going to stop just because we want them to or they are breaking “our” laws.

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