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Friday, July 20, 2012

Gov. Brown signs Homeowner Bill of Rights

By Nannette Miranda

SAN FRANCISCO (KFSN) -- California homeowners now have some of the best foreclosure protection in the nation. Governor Brown came to San Francisco Wednesday to sign a bill ending what he calls "abusive home lending tactics."

California has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country and this new law is supposed to slow down that rate, but critics say that might slow down the markets' recovery as well.

"We're done. We're done with robo-signing. We're done with false promises. We're done with the runaround," Attorney General Kamala Harris, D-California, said.

Governor Brown signed into law the nation's toughest protections for homeowners facing foreclosure. Much of the national mortgage settlement agreed to by five banks earlier this year now apply to all mortgage providers doing business in California and make the terms permanent. "I find it almost incomprehensible that so many smart people and so many rich people could screw things up so profoundly and cause so much suffering and get off in many cases," Brown said.

Beginning January 1, the Homeowner Bill of Rights will:

--Ban "dual-tracking" (which is when banks pursued foreclosure even though the homeowner was seeking a loan modification)

--Require one contact person per customer

--Increase penalties for robo-signing (which automatically approves foreclosure without anyone reading documents)

--Let homeowners sue for violations

Read the full article here

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

California's foreclosure rate leads nation in June

By Rachel McGrath
Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:02 p.m.

For the first time since 2005, California's foreclosure rate in June was the highest in the nation, pushed up by an 18 percent year-on-year increase in the number of properties entering the foreclosure process.

Irvine-based RealtyTrac said there were foreclosure filings on one in 288 housing units in California in June, or 47,490 filings total. There were 197,834 foreclosure filings on properties in the U.S. in June

Filings include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions.

In the first six months of 2012, there were just over 1 million foreclosure filings in the U.S., according to RealtyTrac. The number represents an 11 percent decrease in activity compared with the first six months of 2011.

June also marked the 21st consecutive month of a decline in U.S. foreclosure rates, RealtyTrac said.

While national foreclosures dropped by 3.96 percent in June compared with May, California foreclosures rose by 12.42 percent, according to RealtyTrac.  Read the full article here

Monday, July 16, 2012

As Foreclosures Ramp Up, New Roadblocks Ahead | July 09, 2012 | 04:25 PM EDT

Fraudulent foreclosure practices, a.k.a. “robo-signing,” uncovered now nearly two years ago, opened a new wound in the foreclosure crisis that was in the process of healing.

At big bank mortgage servicers and in courts in many states, the foreclosure process ground to a halt, and the pipeline of delinquent loans swelled to historic levels. Lawsuits abounded and lengthy settlement negotiations on all levels of government began.

Nearly two years later, the foreclosure mechanism is just starting to move again.

Foreclosure starts, the first phase of the process, rose nearly 12 percent in May month-to-month, according to a new report from Lender Processing Services. Foreclosures sales, when the property goes back to the bank or to a bidder at the courthouse steps, rose 10 percent.  Read the full article here

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Southern California city of San Bernardino votes to declare bankruptcy

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. –  As recently as last month, no city in California had opted for bankruptcy since 2008, and no U.S. city of more than 200,000 people had ever chosen bankruptcy.

The past two weeks have changed all that, in a big way, as the fiscal struggles faced by so many American cities became too much for some to bear.

San Bernardino became the third California city in that small span to choose Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection with a City Council vote on Tuesday night. Read the full article here 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Key provisions in California foreclosure bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Here are key provisions in California's homeowner protection bill, which writes into state law the national mortgage settlement reached with five top lenders, and expands it to all mortgages:

- Lets homeowners sue mortgage providers if they violate state law, but only if there is a significant violation. Homeowners could ask judges to halt pending foreclosures but could collect monetary damages only if the foreclosure took place.

- Requires lenders to provide a single point of contact for borrowers who want to discuss foreclosures or refinancing, with an exemption for lenders that process fewer than 175 foreclosures per year.  Read the full article here