Posts Tagged Salt Lake Tribune
After several court decisions throughout the nation against JP Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage, the lenders have decided to halt foreclosure proceedings in 23 states including Utah. At question is their foreclosure process including accusations that they fabricated documents they couldn’t find to complete foreclosures on homeowners. Read more about it here:
An article in the Salt Lake Tribune gives (I think) some good advice for the new reality of the economy, including buying a house you can easily afford (which regardless of what FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac approve you for I always recommend doing), paying down credit card debt and saving for emergencies rather than relying on credit cards or lines of credit to take care of them. It really is going back to the old idea of savings, which until the past year Americans have had a negative saving rate. Read the whole article here:
A federal judge on Friday dissolved a court order that had stopped one of the country’s largest banks from selling foreclosed homes in Utah.
U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups, after hearing legal arguments Thursday, has granted a Bank of America request to cancel the preliminary injunction against its trustee sales in the state.
Waddoups’ decision wipes out the injunction issued May 22 by 5th District Judge James L. Shumate. That order had halted hundreds of Utah foreclosure sales by Bank of America and its subsidiary, ReconTrust.
The injunction was issued in a case brought by St. George resident Peni Cox, who lost her home to foreclosure earlier this year.
Bank of America said Friday it was pleased with the court’s ruling.
In a statement, the bank said its priority was to help customers keep their homes. Officials pointed to what they characterize as extensive efforts, since the housing crisis worsened in 2008, to modify troubled loans.
“But unfortunately, due to ongoing recessionary impacts, for many customers a transition to alternative housing is the only option,’’ the bank’s statement said. “When that happens, we work in compliance with the governing laws to facilitate that transition with the least amount of difficulty for the borrower and the affected community.’’
ReconTrust, BofA’s foreclosure arm, says on its website that it is currently pursuing at least 977 foreclosures in Utah. Records from RealtyTrac, which tracks U.S. foreclosures, indicate that ReconTrust, Bank of America and its loan servicing company, BAC Home Loan Services, between them sold off at least 310 foreclosed homes in Utah between July 2008 and March 2010.
Lawyers for Cox had argued that Bank of America and ReconTrust were ineligible to conduct trustee sales because ReconTrust did not register as a business entity with the Utah Department of Commerce.
Judge Waddoups also turned down a motion by Cox’s attorney, J. Christian Barlow, of St. George, to have the case transferred back to state courts. The issue of state versus federal jurisdiction was a major issue of contention Thursday. Bank lawyers argued they were governed by the federal National Bank Act and not state law.
Barlow did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
In his order, rendered early Friday afternoon, Waddoups said he would file a memorandum shortly explaining his legal reasoning.
BofA can resume Utah foreclosure sales | The Salt Lake Tribune.
Mortgages » Ruling over compliance with state law could impact other lenders.
By Tony Semerad
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Updated:06/07/2010 10:52:25 PM MDT
A St. George judge has temporarily halted all foreclosure sales in Utah by Bank of America, based on an attorney’s claim that the lending giant and related companies are not properly registered to do business in the state.
The May 22 preliminary injunction against BofA’s foreclosure subsidiary ReconTrust and other companies has the potential to affect thousands of foreclosures in Utah.
The two-page order, issued by 5th District Court Judge James L. Shumate in St. George, bars ReconTrust and others from conducting trustee sales in Utah until a determination is made whether ReconTrust is legally registered with the Utah Division of Corporations.
The order was issued in connection with a foreclosure against homeowner Peni Cox of Washington County. In response, BofA has filed in federal court to have the injunction rescinded.
The order comes amid a dramatic surge in foreclosures across the state, involving more than 22,000 homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments since mid-2008.
Attorney J. Christian Barlow of St. George, who sought the injunction on Cox’s behalf, said if the order becomes permanent, BofA and other mortgage companies would be required to register in the state and have offices where homeowners can negotiate with them face-to-face.
In a statement sent to news outlets, Barlow accused BofA and other big mortgage lenders of “arrogance and audacity” for taking billions of dollars in federal bank bailout cash, while “profiting by kicking people out of their homes without due process under the law of the State of Utah.”
Barlow said the judge “felt so strongly” in the case, he issued the preliminary injunction without a hearing to halt the foreclosure process. Barlow did not respond to calls Monday seeking additional comment.
A BofA spokeswoman said that as national institutions, ReconTrust and BofA are governed by federal laws and regulations, not state statutes, but that none of the defendants had a chance to make that argument before the Utah order was issued.
Bank attorneys have filed an emergency motion in federal court to have the state judge’s order either dissolved, modified to apply only to ReconTrust or delayed in taking effect until bank officials can argue their position before a judge, Jumana Bauwens said.
In the meantime, Bauwens said, BofA and its affiliates have halted residential foreclosure sales in Utah to comply with the injunction.The bank is committed to helping customers avoid foreclosure whenever possible, she said. “Foreclosure is a last resort and when it occurs, it is Bank of America and its related affiliates’ policy to handle foreclosures in compliance with applicable laws.”
An online check by The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed that the Utah Department of Commerce’s corporations division has no record of ReconTrust being registered a business entity in Utah. Three corporate registration records for BofA companies are all listed as having expired.
On its website, ReconTrust lists 977 foreclosures it is pursuing in 24 of Utah’s 29 counties, with 381 of those foreclosures in Salt Lake County, 213 in Utah County and 99 in Washington County.
BofA, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is the nation’s second-largest bank based on market capitalization, with offices in 150 countries, including regional offices in South Jordan.
Among other defendants named in the case is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS, a mortgage data-collection company based in Reston, Va. Created by the lending industry as a registry to track mortgages, MERS’ name is listed as the foreclosing party on thousands of delinquent mortgages in Utah, most of them in Salt Lake County, on behalf of dozens of the nation’s largest lenders, including BofA.
It was unclear whether the order required MERS to halt Utah foreclosures filed under its name on behalf of lenders other than BofA.
A MERS company spokeswoman said Monday she was not able to comment on the case.