OCC: 13 Questions to Answer Before Foreclosure and Eviction

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Note: Some banks are slowing foreclosures and evictions. The reason is that the OCC issued a directive or letter of guidance that lays out in brief simplistic language what a party must do before they can foreclose. There can be little doubt that none of the banks are in compliance with this directive although Bank of America is clearly taking the position that they are in compliance or that it doesn’t matter whether they are in compliance or not.

In April the OCC, responding to pressure from virtually everyone, issued a guidance letter to financial institutions who are part of the foreclosure process. While not a rule a regulation, it is an interpretation of the Agency’s own rules and regulation and therefore, in my opinion, is both persuasive and authoritative.

These 13 questions published by OCC should be used defensively if you suspect violation and they are rightfully the subject of discovery. Use the wording from the letter rather than your own — since the attorneys for the banks will pounce on any nuance that appears to be different than this guidance issued to the banks.

The first question relates to whether there is a real default and what steps the foreclosing party has taken to assure itself and the court that the default is real. Remember that the fact that the borrower stopped paying is not a default if no payment was due. And there is no default if it is cured by payment from ANYONE after the declaration of default. Thus when the subservicer continues making payments to the “Creditor” the borrower’s default is cured although a new liability could arise (unsecured) as a result of the sub servicer making those payments without receiving payment from the borrower.

The point here is the money. Either there is a balance or there is not. Either the balance is as stated by the forecloser or it is not. Either there is money due from the borrower to the servicer and the real creditor or there is not. This takes an accounting that goes much further than merely a printout of the borrower’s payment history.

It takes an in depth accounting to determine where the money came from continue the payments when the borrower was not making payments. It takes an in depth accounting to determine if the creditor still exists or whether there is an successor. And it takes an in depth accounting to determine how much money was received from insurance and credit default swaps that should have been applied properly thus reducing both the loan receivable and loan payable.

This means getting all the information from the “trustee” of the REMIC, copies of the trust account and distribution reports, copies of canceled checks and wire transfer receipts to determine payment, risk of loss and the reality of whether there was a loss.

It also means getting the same information from the investment banker who did the underwriting of the bogus mortgage bonds, the Master Servicer, and anyone else in the securitization chain that might have disbursed or received funds in connection with the subject loan or the asset pool claiming an interest in the subject loan, or the owners of mortgage bonds issued by that asset pool.

If the OCC wants it then you should want it for your clients. Get the answers and don’t assume that because the borrower stopped making payments that any default occurred or that it wasn’t cured. Then go on to the other questions with the same careful analysis.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-05-17/wells-fargo-postpones-some-foreclosure-sales-after-occ-guidance

/http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/foreclosure-prevention/correcting-foreclosure-practices.html

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