sinking-house

I’m really glad Attorney Jerry Brown is asking some major banks to give an accounting on homeowners facing foreclosure due to the fancy loans that banks were pushing just before the housing market went south. I can remember banks that are now gone pushing pay option rate adjustable loans (ARMs) since almost anyone could qualify for those loans. Each loan made money for the bank by charging points and other fees. (A point is one percent of the mortgage made to the home buyer)  Here’s a news release by AG Brown Jr.:

” Concerned about a “new wave” of foreclosures, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on ten major banks and loan servicers to detail their plans to assist homeowners facing dramatic monthly payment increases on Pay Option Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

Homeowners with Pay Option ARMs are sitting on ticking time bombs that the lending industry has the power to defuse,” Brown said. “Unless these banks and loan servicers act quickly, hundreds of thousands of mortgages will reset across the state, creating a new wave of foreclosures.”

In the third quarter of 2009, California accounted for more than 25 percent of the nation’s foreclosure activity, with 250,000 homes receiving foreclosure filings statewide. This is an annual increase of almost 20 percent in foreclosure activity and more foreclosures loom.

California homeowners hold almost 60 percent of the nation’s exotic Pay Option ARMs originated between 2004 and 2008. Approximately one million of these mortgages will reset nationwide in the next four years, resulting in higher payments and a dramatic increase in foreclosures.

Brown believes that the lending industry must be responsive to homeowners and loan modification programs must be expanded.

Brown has made it a top priority to protect homeowners and combat loan modification fraud in California. In October 2008, Brown announced an $8.68 billion settlement with Countrywide Home Loans, once the largest lender in the county, after the company deceived borrowers by misrepresenting loan terms, loan payment increases, and borrowers’ ability to afford loans.

In total, Brown has sought court orders to shut down more than 30 fraudulent foreclosure assistance companies and has brought criminal charges and obtained lengthy prison sentences for dozens of deceptive loan modification consultants.

Homeowners who have been scammed can contact the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-952-5225, or file a complaint online at: AG Complaint online

For more information on the Brown’s action against loan modification fraud visit: Information Loan Modification Fraud.

Brown’s request was made in a letter sent to: Bank of America Home Loans & Insurance; Wells Fargo & Company; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Litton Loan Servicing; ResCap, LLC; Ocwen Financial Corporation; OneWest Bank; American Home Mortgage Servicing; Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc.; and Select Portfolio Servicing. Banks and loan servicers are asked to respond by November 23, 2009.”

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