Foreclosure big business for banks and their law firms — homeowner defense in Miami requires aggressive offense

A report by Reuters News offers a look at the huge profits reaped by law firms handling foreclosures for banks, many of which are now under heavy fire for allegedly violating the rights of thousands of struggling homeowners.

Miami foreclosure defense attorneys have been assisting homeowners since the bottom fell out of the real estate market several years ago. But developments in recent months have improved the position of homeowners looking to stop foreclosure in Miami. Those seeking to fight a deficiency judgment, rehabilitate their credit or win a monetary settlement or the return of their property also have seen their legal position improve thanks to state and federal investigations into the tactics of banks and their law firms. The robosigning scandal accuses banks and their attorneys of signing tens of thousands of foreclosure actions without verifying accuracy. In other cases, documents were created or falsified to replace documentation lost by the bank or no longer available for other reasons, including bank mergers and the fact that so many of the mortgages were packaged and sold as investments.
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Reuters News reports that Lender Processing Services, a Jacksonville company that processes more than half of the nation’s foreclosures, was spun off as an independent company in 2008 and saw its profits reach $232 million during the first nine months of 2010. Its revenue last year totaled $2.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the company’s executives told investors this fall that banks are pushing to foreclose on properties as fast as possible and that, as a result, the number of homes in foreclosure is 7.4 times the historical average and rising. LPS touts an automated, computerized system that speeds foreclosures through to completion by starting a foreclosure action, assigning a law firm and supervising the case with almost no human intervention.

The company’s clients include 14 of the nation’s 15 biggest loan servicers, including Wells Forgo and JP Morgan Chase. It says Bank of America joined as a client earlier in the year and that all 50 of the nation’s largest banks use its services.

The company is facing state and federal investigations into its business practices and four class-action lawsuits. Allegations include that LPS made fictitious documents to replace documents banks were missing so that foreclosure cases could more readily go through the court process. The Lawsuits also revealed that thousands of foreclosure cases were riddled with errors, including the amount owed by a homeowner.

Without the documents, thousands of mortgages all over the country would have ground to a halt. When the robosigning scandal broke, Reuters reports that LPS set up signing operations and provided staffing to outside entities.

If you need help with foreclosure issues in Miami or the surrounding areas, including short sales, deficiency judgments, strategic defaults or other help for Miami homeowners, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.

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