Foreclosure Freeze Lifted

By October 19, 2010Traditions Property Blog


Bank of America and GMAC have resumed the foreclosure process in Florida after their investigations found no evidence of inappropriate actions.  After calling a halt to foreclosure sales nationwide, these “big” lenders have been reviewing documents since September.  The stall had the nation concerned this action would just add more complications to the recovery.  Read more below.

NEW YORK – Oct. 19, 2010 – Bank of America and Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage have begun to lift their freezes on more than 100,000 foreclosure cases in Florida and other states, saying they’re not finding flaws in their paperwork.

Late Monday, Bank of America issued a statement saying that it expects to begin going back next week to courts in the 23 states where foreclosures are a judicial process, including Florida. A statement from spokesman Dan Frahm said the lender is preparing to re-submit documents in 102,000 foreclosure cases already underway.

Also Monday, Ally Financial spokesman James Olecki confirmed that GMAC is re-submitting documents in some foreclosure cases including at least one in Florida “as each of those files is reviewed and remediated when needed.”

Among major lenders, Bank of America had called a halt to all foreclosure sales nationwide. It also, along with GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and PNC Financial Services, initiated reviews in the 23 judicial foreclosure states. Bank of America later extended its review nationwide. Wells Fargo did not undertake a review of its procedures.

Major lenders in September began announcing halts to all or parts of their foreclosure processes, after revelations – in sworn statements submitted in lawsuits in which homeowners are fighting foreclosures – showing that employees or representatives failed to verify mortgage paperwork before submitting foreclosure cases to courts.

The so-called “robo-signers” said, under oath, that they handled thousands of documents each month without knowing whether they were accurate, as required by court procedure.

The GMAC and Chase documents surfaced in Palm Beach County cases that are still going through the courts.

On Monday, Bank of America said its “initial assessment findings” have shown “the basis for our foreclosure decisions is accurate.”

GMAC’s Olecki wrote in an e-mail, “Again, we have been in the midst of a review for approximately two months and have found no evidence of any inappropriate foreclosures to date.”

A spokesman for PNC Financial said the lender hasn’t changed its position on reviewing foreclosure documents. A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase repeated the bank’s intention to review about 115,000 foreclosure files and delay foreclosure sales.

Monday’s developments won’t speed the foreclosure process in Florida’s overburdened courts, said Alexander Fernandez, director of homeownership preservation for Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida. He noted there are more than 50,000 cases in Broward County alone that are still pending. And renewed cases, he said, would probably go to the back of the line.

Foreclosure defense attorneys questioned how the process can be re-started. “Do they simply get to resubmit the document and go on like nothing happened?” said Matthew Weidner, a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense attorney.

Beyond Florida, Bank of America said it would continue its halt of foreclosure sales in the 27 states that do not handle foreclosures through the judicial system.

Copyright © 2010 Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Harriet Johnson Brackey. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.