New York Law Blog

Hudson Valley Credit Union Settles Claims Of Screwing Military Personnel

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union Busted Illegally Repossessing Cars Of Active Duty Military Personnel Serving Overseas

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union has agreed to pay $95,000 over allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. SCRA-protected service members accused the credit union of illegally repossessing their cars.

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union will pay $65,000 to compensate 7 service members whose cars it unlawfully repossessed while overseas. The credit union also will pay a civil penalty of $30,000 to the federal government. 

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

The USAO investigation found seven additional victims as a result of the investigation. It was also discovered the credit union also did not have any written policies dealing with SCRA’s protections. They also found the credit union did not have any procedures in place for non-judicial repossessions.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: 

Protecting service members is a high priority for this Office and the country.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said:

Financial institutions must recognize and honor their responsibilities to our men and women in uniform.  Our nation depends upon the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our service members and we must ensure that they receive all rights and protections afforded to them by law.

Hudson Valley Credit Union agreed to provide $10,000 in compensation to the affected service members. They also agreed to pay any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. 

An additional service member will receive $5,000. The credit union repossessed his vehicle but returned within 24 hours.  Hudson Valley has also taken steps to repair the credit of the affected service members. 

For more information about the United States’s SCRA enforcement efforts, please visit www.servicemembers.gov.  

Read more at MFI-Miami


Zillow Is Now In The Mortgage Business

zillow

Zillow Is Now In The Mortgage Business With The Acquisition Of Mortgage Lenders Of America

The real estate web company Zillow announced that it has completed its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America. This marks the company’s first steps into the mortgage industry.

The internet company got into the home selling business last year when it launched, Zillow Instant Offers. The program allows prospective home sellers to receive offers for their home direct from investors.

But the company soon became an investor itself. They started another company called Zillow Offers. The company is now directly buying houses from sellers in several major test markets.

zillow

The company announced in August it was acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America.

The acquisition with MLOA is complete. The internet company will be announcing next year that it plans to rebrand the mortgage company.

industry.

The internet company got into the home selling business last year when it launched, Zillow Instant Offers. The program allows prospective home sellers to receive offers for their home direct from investors.

But the company soon became an investor itself. The company is now directly buying houses from sellers in several major test markets.

The company announced in August it was acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America.

The acquisition with MLOA is complete. The internet company will be announcing next year that it plans to rebrand the mortgage company.

The internet company also announced its acquisition will streamline the home buying process for Americans who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.

MLOA will also continue its current line of business including FHA loans. MLOA offers mortgages to consumers aside from Zillow’s marketplace.

The internet company explained that owning a mortgage lender will allow it to develop new tools and partnership opportunities, including for real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations or mortgage affiliates and its existing mortgage advertisers.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Credit Bureaus Can Report Your Foreclosure Even If You Beat The Bank

credit bureaus

Illinois Federal Judge Rules Credit Bureaus Can Report Your Mortgage Delinquencies Even If You Beat The Foreclosure

A federal judge in Illinois has ruled that a lender report your mortgage default to the credit bureaus. The court stated a dismissal with prejudice is a non-issue when reporting the default because the loan was still in default.

The court upheld the credit bureaus right to do so in Bauer v. Roundpoint Mortg. Servicing Corp. The Court held Bauer’s mortgage servicer had the right to report despite a court order dismissing the mortgage foreclosure with prejudice.

credit bureaus

Bauer defaulted on his mortgage. As a result, JP Morgan Chase filed a judicial foreclosure against Bauer. Chase voluntarily dismissed the case in 2013.

JPM Chase then filed a second judicial foreclosure action against Bauer. Chase also voluntarily dismissed that case in 2015. JPM Chase then sold the mortgage to an MBS Trust with US Bank as the Trustee.

In March 2016, US Bank filed another foreclosure action against Bauer. 

Bauer moved to dismiss the third Foreclosure based on Illinois’s “single filing rule.”

Under the rule, after a voluntary dismissal, a plaintiff may only commence a new action on the same cause of action within one year.

The court agreed that the rule applied and dismissed the third foreclosure with prejudice. The dismissal order said, “… Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed with prejudice based on the single re-filing rule.”

Read more at MFI-Miami


Nationstar Executive Admits Aurora Bank Forged Note Endorsements

Nationstar Executive Edward Hyne Testifies Aurora Bank Policies Included Forging Note Endorsements

Nationstar Executive Edward Hyne sat for a deposition in a bankruptcy case last month. Normally, this would not be a big deal. However, this time the Nationstar executive dropped a bombshell about the now-defunct Aurora Loan Servicing. He claimed in his deposition that Aurora doctored and forged Note endorsements on loans they were servicing.

Nationstar

Aurora Bank has since quit the financial industry. New York Community Bank acquired Aurora’s bank branches. Nationstar acquired their loan servicing.

Hyne states in his deposition that Nationstar’s position is that Aurora Bank, FSB policies included forging endorsements. The forgeries are an example the rampant endorsement fraud that plagues the mortgage industry.

The deposition is from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in California filed by Allana Baroni. Baroni is an author and TV personality. She is an etiquette expert who describes her work as being a “social specialist”.

The celebrity etiquette specialist also included Wells Fargo and Bank of New York-Mellon in her bankruptcy filing. She also fought them with the zeal of a fat guy at an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese buffet. As a result, both of those cases went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Where there is smoke there is fire. How many other people have lost their homes because of note forgeries at Aurora? Read the transcript at MFI-Miami

If you feel you may be a victim of a fraudulent foreclosure, call our office today!


Westchester Foreclosures Demand Aggressive Foreclosures Defense

westchester foreclosures

Westchester Foreclosures Demand Aggressive Westchester Foreclosure Defense

The Law Office of Steven Stutman has created the most aggressive Westchester foreclosure defense team New York has ever seen! We are the only foreclosure and mortgage experts with the strength to successfully beat Westchester foreclosures.

Steve Stutman’s Westchester foreclosure defense team has become a lender’s worst nightmare. Why? He has successfully challenged some of the most arrogant foreclosure mill lawyers and Wall Street lenders in New York.

 

For nearly 40-years, Steve Stutman has developed a reputation of bringing Wall Street banks to their knees. He has even humiliated bank lawyers and made bank executives sob like babies during depositions. 

westchester foreclosures

Steve Stutman has also helped keep lenders from discriminating against Latin American homeowners and people of African and Caribbean descent. In addition, he has helped keep 9/11 survivors and military combat veterans in their homes. 

Furthermore, The Law Office of Steven Stutman also has access to some of the top forensic accountants and former FBI agents available. He can also call on mortgage compliance experts and collateralized debt experts if needed. 

As a result, this gives Attorney Stutman unparalleled strength to challenge any mortgage lender in any New York courtroom. 

We bring the most assertive Westchester foreclosure defense team to you! Steve Stutman likes to fight the Wall Street banks! He spent nearly forty years in the world of lending and knows the Achille’s heel of all the major lenders. 

Steve Stutman has helped hundreds of people in New York successfully stay in their homes. 

Call us at 888.574.7771. You can also check us out on Facebook


Equifax Rule Is In Effect As Credit Freezes Are Now Free

Equifax rule

Credit Freezes aka The Equifax Rule Allows Consumers To Put A Freeze On Who Can Pull Information 

Consumers can now freeze their credit at all three of the major credit reporting agencies for free. The new rule went into effect yesterday. Industry insiders are dubbing it the “Equifax rule.”

The massive data breach at Equifax led to a push to ban credit reporting agencies from charging to freeze someone’s credit.

Each state had different rules about credit freezes. Some states allowed agencies to charge up to $10 to place a credit freeze. States also allowed credit agencies to charge $10 to lift the freeze.

Equifax Rule

Not anymore. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act bans the practice. The act was signed into law by President Trump earlier this year.

Consumers can envoke the Equifax Rule tp freeze their credit at Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. A credit freeze prevents lenders or other credit providers from opening a new account without a consumer unfreezing their credit.

The Federal Trade Commission also stated the Equifax Rule allows parents to freeze their children’s credit for free. It also allows guardians, conservators, and those with a valid power of attorney to get a free freeze for their dependents.

Credit reporting agencies also must now extend fraud alerts from 90 days to one year. A fraud alert requires businesses that check a consumer’s credit to get the consumer’s approval before opening a new account.

According to the FTC, consumers must contact each of the three major credit agencies independently to place a credit freeze on their accounts.

The credit reporting agencies must now freeze the consumer’s credit within one day. Agencies are also required to unfreeze the account within one hour.

If consumers make those requests via snail mail, the credit agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days.


NYC Discovers Cure For Zombie Homes Plague

zombie homes

New York City Mayor de Blasio Has Discovered A Cure For The Zombie Homes Plague In NYC And It’s lawsuits!

New York State has been plagued by zombie homes for a decade. Zombie homes are abandoned foreclosed homes that are owned by banks and lenders. In 2016 New York State passed a law allowing the state and municipalities to fine lenders for not maintaining the property.  NYDFS also has the ability to slap a $500 per day fine on the lender for each property.

As a result of the law, NYDFS successfully sued PHH last year for $119,000 for a single property in the Hudson Valley.

zombie homes

Drug addicts and prostitutes frequently use zombie homes for nefarious activities.

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is using the law to sue Citimortgage and Wells Fargo. They are also suing three mortgage servers that represent the two lenders. The largest one being Ocwen.

New York’s zombie homes law designates both lenders and their mortgage servicers as responsible parties for the safety and security of properties in foreclosure.

The HPD also alleges the companies failed to clean up a cluster of abandoned homes in Brooklyn.

HPD Deputy Commissioner Leila Bozorg told WNBC:

Our goal is to get these banks to take accountability for these properties.

One of the zombie homes named in the suit had waist-high weeds sprouting from garbage on the front porch. A condom and a crushed malt liquor can also lay on the front steps.

The HPD lawsuit states CitiMortgage and its servicing company should have cleaned the property up at 1889 Bergen Street up months ago.

Geoffrey James lives next door told WNBC:

My mother actually did call the bank about it. They repeatedly said they’re going to do something about it. It’s been years and nothing has been done. 

A spokesman for Citi declined to comment on the blighted property.

Read more at MFI-Miami


American Homeownership At 35-Year Low And Dropping

American Homeownership Have Dropped To Levels From The Early 1980s And It’s Only Getting Worse

American homeownership rate has declined dramatically since its peak during the housing boom. Homeownership is dropping for a number of reasons.

The 2008 financial crisis plays an important part because lenders began tightening their belts.  The neverending government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also plays a part in this. All this is driving American homeownership to a 30-year low.

homeownership

The Census Bureau is reporting American homeownership rate in April stood at 64.4 percent. This the lowest homeowner rate since the Carter/Reagan recession of the early 1980s according to the Wall Street Journal.

Long before the decade of easy credit and cheap money when the rate peaked at 69.4 percent in April 2004.

Higher building costs due to President Trump’s tariffs on Canadian lumber are also driving up construction costs by 20 percent. These costs are then passed on to the buyer. As a result, developers have a glut of inventory.  This in turn is creating a cascade effect on the economy.

Meanwhile, home prices are rising fastest for lower-priced properties. This affecting the purchasing power of wannabe first-time American homeowners and the homes they are most able to afford.

The median age of a homebuyer last years 45. This is the highest its been in more than three decades.

Yet, Bloomberg reported that the American homeownership rate among young adults is expected to rise to 58.1 percent by 2025.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Homeowners With Wells Fargo Mortgages Can Sue Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Mortgages

Homeowners With Wells Fargo Mortgages Can Sue Wells Fargo If They Were Denied Permanent Loan Modifications

Wells Fargo must face lawsuits by homeowners with Wells Fargo mortgages who claim the largest Wells Fargo refused to offer them permanent mortgage modifications for which they had qualified.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wells Fargo was required under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program to offer homeowners with Wells Fargo mortgages loan modifications who demonstrated their eligibility during a trial period.

Wells Fargo Mortgages

As a result, the Appellate Court reversed the dismissals by a San Francisco federal judge of two lawsuits seeking class-action status. 

A federal appeals court in Chicago also reached a similar conclusion last year. 

Wells Fargo said it had $352 million of loans under HAMP in a trial modification period as of June 30.

Consequently, Wells Fargo tried to spin as Wells Fargo does by saying:

The 9th Circuit did not rule on the merits of the underlying cases. It found only that the district court should consider the arguments put forth by the plaintiffs.

The Obama Administration unveiled in 2009 as a way to keep people in their homes. HAMP pays mortgage lenders and servicers to rewrite loan terms for borrowers who cannot afford their payments.

The program has also spawned other litigation. The 9th Circuit judges also noted it “seems to have created more litigation than it has happy homeowners.”

A Massachusetts lawsuit accused Bank of America of offering employees financial incentives to stall HAMP applications. The lawsuit alleged foreclosures or in-house loan modifications were more profitable for BofA. 

The Massachusetts judge is also is considering making that case a class action.

Phillip Corvello claimed he complied with a written trial period plan for a HAMP modification. 

The court said that to rule in the bank’s favor would render the benefits for borrowers illusory.


FHFA Abandons Plans To Create Alternative Credit Score For GSEs

Credit Score

FHFA Abandons Plans To Create Alternative Credit Score For GSEs. Agency Decides To Right New Credit Score Rules

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is abandoning plans of creating a new credit score for homeowners. Instead, the agency will instead begin creating new regulations for lenders. As a result, they have requested providers of alternative credit scores to submit their proposals. FHFA wants to consider them for use by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A section of the regulatory reform bill signed by President Trump in May also requires the FHFA to define the criteria Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use to validate credit scoring models.

The FHFA had begun evaluating credit score models last year. It also evaluated if the GSEs should be required to switch to the latest scoring model from Fair Isaac Corp.

Fair Isaac introduced their latest credit score model named FICO 9. FHFA is also considering the use of VantageScore’s latest model, 3.0.

The FHFA had given itself a deadline of the end of this year to decide on new scores.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently use the older FICO 5 model. VantageScore is a joint venture of the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

FHFA Director Mel Watt said in a press release:

We have determined that proceeding with efforts to reach a decision based on our Conservatorship Scorecard Initiative process and timetable would be duplicative of the work we are mandated to do under Section 310 of the Act. 

These steps include developing a proposed rule. The FHFA rule is then presented it to the public for comment. The agency would then issue a final rule to govern the verification of credit score models.


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