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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Foreclosure Fraud 6: Appeals, Resetting the Market, and Criminal Charges

The "Homeowner's Bottom Line" concludes by addressing a few additional concerns.  The issue of appeals echos earlier concerns with transparency.  This process cannot be left to autocratic decisions by banks and mortgage servicers.  The formulas they are using, the comparisons they are making, the documents they are relying on--all of these need to be available for examination by homeowners and their advocates.  Moreover, if a decision seems unfair to the homeowner, there must be an appeals process for reexamining the decision to foreclose.

Second, the insistence on loan modifications and principle reduction should not become a point of contention between homeowners facing foreclosure and other homeowners who have been able to continue paying their mortgages.  This crisis, and the lending feeding frenzy that led up to it, has harmed the entire economy.  Speculative, inflated prices of real estate harm entire neighborhoods, not only the homeowners facing foreclosure.  If houses in a neighborhood face sharp devaluation, underwater mortgages, and foreclosure, it hurts everyone there.  Neighborhood devaluations spread to entire municipalities as housing values drop.  People who bought homes during the housing bubble may have payed inflated prices and interest rates.  To get the housing and mortgage market back to a rational level of valuation, we recommend loan modifications be made available to all homeowners.  Mortgage principle and mortgage interest rates should be reset at the current market levels for all borrowers who want loan modifications, whether or not they are facing foreclosure.

Finally, the reckless, devious, and unscrupulous actions of some mortgage brokers, bankers, and other financial executives betrayed their primary fiduciary responsibilities to homeowners, workers, investors, and the common good.  Some have committed criminal acts.  As in the investigation of the savings and loan scandal, appropriate authorities at state and federal levels should bring criminal charges against any and all persons responsible for contributing to this crisis of credit, unemployment, foreclosure, and economic collapse.


Problem: Under the current system, borrowers who are denied for loan modifications do not have access to any kind of appeals or escalation process to have the decision reviewed for accuracy.

Solution:

Every borrower must have the right to appeal to an independent third party-a court, mediator or public agency-that can review the servicer's loss mitigation effort.  Foreclosure must be stayed during the appeal.

Problem: Mortgage fraud has caused a ripple effect of negative consequences for families, communities and government, including reduced property values, negative equity for millions of American homeowners, widespread job loss, and massive state revenue shortfalls.

Solution:

Allow homeowners to refinance at current interest rates and market values.

Problem: Throughout the entire mortgage process, from origination to servicing and modification, banks and bank executives have consistently broken the law.  Bank executives knowingly made and purchased deceptive and predatory mortgage loans; fraudulently packaged those risky loans as AAA high quality investments; ignored the securitization rules they themselves wrote; and systematically falsified loan documents in a rush to foreclose on families.  But so far, not a single bank or bank executive has had to face justice or pay for their crimes.

Solution:

As the top law enforcement officials in our states, Attorneys General must seek criminal penalties as they discover bankers and servicers who broke the law.  Banks and bank executives are not above the law and should not escape the consequences for their illegal actions.
 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that this process should not be left up to the Banks and mortgage servicers to make a decision. Because the documents need to be available to the homeowners too; so they can see if they are being appeals rightly and not unfairly. When we talk about one home; is a big thing; when you have put your life saving into it. I believe that it is unjust to foreclose on people when they are having financial problems in an economy like this one. People are hurting for the like of money, and the like of jobs. I also agree with the loan modification, it should be made available to all homeowners to help with the problem. I agree inflated prices of real estate harm people from all walked of life, not only the homeowners facing foreclosure. Thank Kenneth

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