The smaller servicers have begun to follow the big boys, by closing up some of their foreclosure operations. Litton Loan Servicing LP, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, halted “some” foreclosure operations. But this vagueness is why public officials like Richard Cordray doesn’t want to leave this to internal reviews and the discretion of the lenders. We need to either put this in the hands of the courts, or put together a permanent moratorium on foreclosure operations.
And that’s what a good deal of Democratic politicians have begun to demand. From the old standbys like Alan Grayson, Al Franken, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (the last two just called for a nationwide moratorium late Friday) to the leadership of Pelosi and Reid, dozens of Democrats are taking this issue seriously. Yes, they’re in the middle of an election, but so are the Republicans, and you’ve seen precious few of them stick their necks out. There have been a few – Republican Greg Abbott has called for a moratorium in Texas, and Republican Tom Corbett has asked constituents to send in stories of foreclosure fraud to assist him in his investigation in Pennsylvania. (The unifying theme there: Abbott is running for re-election as Attorney General, and Corbett is running for Governor in PA). But by and large, you’re seeing Republican reactions that are either completely silent, or sound like this:
Virg Bernero, the Democratic nominee for governor, said Attorney General Mike Cox should open a formal investigation to determine if any foreclosures have been affected by the banks’ sloppiness, even though so few go through court in Michigan.
John Sellek, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said Bernero’s call for a state investigation is just “politicizing the struggles of Michigan families.”
Asking for due process of the law is now “politicizing.” And incidentally, if it means homeowners don’t get screwed by their lenders, I’ll take some politicizing. I think it’s what we all need.
Speaking of which, a series of advocacy groups led by SEIU have put together Where Is the Note, a site dedicated to getting homeowners to ask their bankers to see the original note on their mortgage. It’s a perfectly simple request, and a great idea that could expose just how screwed the entire system is.
We can’t rely on Wall Street banks to follow basic rules. We have to hold them accountable. At very least, they must provide the mortgage notes.
When Wall Street banks securitized, packaged, sold, and resold our mortgages, they created a system where it is often impossible to figure out who actually owns mortgage notes and therefore has the authority to foreclose on properties. But the big banks are getting tangled up in their own web. Recent events have exposed a handful of banks that are throwing families out of their homes even though they don’t have the mortgage note that proves they actually have a legal right to do so. There have been instances of two banks trying to foreclose on the same home, and in at least one case, of a bank trying to foreclose on a house where the homeowner had never even taken out a mortgage with anyone in the first place.
Whether you are facing foreclosure, have an underwater mortgage, or are just a concerned homeowner, it’s important that you contact your bank and demand to see the original note on your mortgage. It only takes a few minutes using our free online tool.
I highly recommend. And ask your representative in Congress what they think about this, too.