Foreclosure Still Ensnares Millions, Five Years After Housing Crisis

Government programs enacted to help those facing foreclosure have thus far had minimal impact, as millions of Americans remain uncertain of whether they will be able to hang onto their homes.
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Our Miami foreclosure lawyers know that some of these individuals have fended off multiple attempts to seize their homes, many having their hopes raised with each settlement deal announcement.

Most recently, the failed independent reviews resulted in a $9 billion settlement deal, for which payment distributions have already begun. Those who had filled out paperwork to be considered for modifications or relief through the initial reviews are left wondering where their case stands. Many feel they are still in mortgage purgatory – no closer than they were before to having a mortgage they can actually afford.

It’s been two years since regulators were able to confirm widespread abuses within the mortgage and banking industries. Progress in addressing these concerns has been patchy, at best. Homeowners are held hostage – desperately trying to hold on to their homes, but not knowing whether they’re ultimately throwing good money after bad while they wait for the banks and government regulators to get their act together.

Even before the regulators completed their investigations, our foreclosure attorneys were aware of major flaws in the system, which was plagued with lax procedures, missing and inaccurate (sometimes even falsified) documentation and poor communication between banks and borrowers.

Two years ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency demanded immediate action from the 14 biggest violators. Yet it wasn’t until a year later that the U.S. Justice Department, along with 49 state attorneys general signed on a detailed agreement with five of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders to meet certain standards of practice and to pay a substantial settlement.

Yet here we are, a year later, and many of those firms have yet to fully comply. Regulators say there have been improvements, but we have yet to reach a resolution for millions of homeowners in limbo – or to prevent such situations from unfolding for borrowers in the future.

We remain doubtful regarding promise of change in the future. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was recently quoted as saying that the banks feel as if they can get away with anything. Sadly, that’s been the case. His office alone had documented some 340 violations of the new standards that had been established as of October of last year – and that was only regarding two lenders, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The issues, however, are believed to be far more widespread.

Schneiderman said a big part of the problem is that federal law enforcement agencies and business regulators have done a poor job of holding banks to the same legal standards as virtually every other entity and person in the country.

Steal a person’s car, be charged with a felony. Steal millions of people’s homes, fear no repercussions.

Despite a belief that we are over the worst of it, the reality is that the foreclosure crisis is ongoing. RealtyTrac reports that the average foreclosure still takes about 477 days to work its way through the pipeline – usually longer in Florida. In New York, which is the slowest state, the process takes almost 3 years. Tens of thousands are added every single day. We have more than 3 million borrowers who are currently behind on their payments and at risk of an imminent foreclosure.

The truth is, it could be years before we can say we have real relief.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

Additional Resources:
Foreclosure Crisis Still Has Millions in Its Grip, May 9, 2013, By John W. Schoen, CNBC
More Blog Entries:
Bank of America Foreclosures Questioned Amid Claims of Error, May 3, 2013, Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog