What Is Predatory Lending?

Predatory Lending are abusive practices used in the mortgage industry that strip borrowers of home equity and threaten families with bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Predatory Lending can be broken down into three categories: Mortgage Origination, Mortgage Servicing; and Mortgage Collection and Foreclosure.

Mortgage Origination is the process by which you obtain your home loan from a mortgage broker or a bank.

Predatory lending practices in Mortgage Origination include:
# Excessive points;
# Charging fees not allowed or for services not delivered;
# Charging more than once for the same fee
# Providing a low teaser rate that adjusts to a rate you cannot afford;
# Successively refinancing your loan of “flipping;”
# “Steering” you into a loan that is more profitable to the Mortgage Originator;
# Changing the loan terms at closing or “bait & switch;”
# Closing in a location where you cannot adequately review the documents;
# Serving alcohol prior to closing;
# Coaching you to put minimum income or assets on you loan so that you will qualify for a certain amount;
# Securing an inflated appraisal;
# Receiving a kickback in money or favors from a particular escrow, title, appraiser or other service provider;
# Promising they will refinance your mortgage before your payment resets to a higher amount;
# Having you sign blank documents;
# Forging documents and signatures;
# Changing documents after you have signed them; and
# Loans with prepayment penalties or balloon payments.

Mortgage Servicing is the process of collecting loan payments and credit your loan.

Predatory lending practices in Mortgage Servicing include:
# Not applying payments on time;
# Applying payments to “Suspense;”
# “Jamming” illegal or improper fees;
# Creating an escrow or impounds account not allowed by the documents;
# Force placing insurance when you have adequate coverage;
# Improperly reporting negative credit history;
# Failing to provide you a detailed loan history; and
# Refusing to return your calls or letters.
#

Mortgage Collection & Foreclosure is the process Lenders use when you pay off your loan or when you house is repossessed for non-payment

Predatory lending practices in Mortgage Collection & Foreclosure include:
# Producing a payoff statement that includes improper charges & fees;
# Foreclosing in the name of an entity that is not the true owner of the mortgage;
# Failing to provide Default Loan Servicing required by all Fannie Mae mortgages;
# Failing to follow due process in foreclosure;
# Fraud on the court;
# Failing to provide copies of all documents and assignments; and
# Refusing to adequately communicate with you.

Abuses by Mortgage Service Companies

Although predatory lending has received far more attention than abusive servicing, a significant percentage of consumer complaints over loans involve servicing, not origination. For example, the director of the Nevada Fair Housing Center testified that of the hundreds of complaints of predatory lending issues her office received in 2002, about 42 percent involved servicing once the loan was transferred

Abusive Mortgage Servicing Defined:

Abusive servicing occurs when a servicer, either through action or inaction, obtains or attempts to obtain unwarranted fees or other costs from borrowers, engages in unfair collection practices, or through its own improper behavior or inaction causes borrowers to be more likely to go into default or have their homes foreclosed. Abusive practices should be distinguished from appropriate actions that may harm borrowers, such as a servicer merely collecting appropriate late fees or foreclosing on borrowers who do not make their payments despite proper loss mitigation efforts. Servicing can be abusive either intentionally, when there is intent to obtain unwarranted fees, or negligently, when, for example, a servicer’s records are so disorganized that borrowers are regularly charged late fees even when mortgage payments were made on time.

Abusive servicing often happens to debtors who have filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan and are in the process of making payments under the Plan. If you suspect that your mortgage servicer is abusing your relationship by charging unnecessary fees while you are paying off your Chapter 13 Plan, call us. We can help.

There is significant evidence that some Mortgage servicers have engaged in abusive behavior and that borrowers have frequently been the victims. Some servicers have engaged in practices that are not only detrimental to borrowers but also illegal Such abuse has been documented in court opinions and decisions, in the decisions and findings of ratings agencies, in litigation and settlements obtained by government agencies against prominent servicers, in congressional testimony, and in newspaper accounts of borrowers who claim to have been mistreated by servicers. The abusive servicing practices documented in these sources include improper foreclosure or attempted foreclosure, improper fees, improper forced-placed insurance, and improper use or oversight of escrow funds .

Civil Code §2924.12(b) Right to Sue Mortgage Servicers for Injunctive Relief, Damages, Treble Damages, and Right to Attorney’s Fees. : )

5 Dec

prohabition-images

H. Right to Sue Mortgage Servicers for Injunctive Relief, Damages, Treble Damages, and Right to Attorney’s Fees

2013 is going to be a good year

One of the most important provisions of the Act from a lender’s perspective is that it provides borrowers with the right to sue mortgage servicers for injunctive relief before the trustee’s deed upon sale has recorded, or if it has already recorded, to sue for actual economic damages, if the mortgage servicer has not corrected any “material” violation of certain enumerated portions of the Act before the trustee’s deed upon sale recorded. (Civil Code §2924.12(a).) In an area that will certainly open up a Pandora’s Box of litigation, the Act does not define what constitutes a “material” violation of the Act. If a court finds that the violation was intentional, reckless or willful, the court can award the borrower the greater of treble (triple) damages or $50,000. (Civil Code §2924.12(b).) Furthermore, a violation of the enumerated provisions of the Act is also deemed to be a violation of the licensing laws if committed by a person licensed as a consumer or commercial finance lender or broker, a residential mortgage lender or servicer, or a licensed real estate broker or salesman. (Civil Code §2924.12(d).) Lastly, in a one-sided attorney’s fee provision that only benefits borrowers, the court may award a borrower who obtains an injunction or receives an award of economic damages as a result of the violation of the Act their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party. (Civil Code §2924.12(i).) This provides all the more reason for lenders and mortgage servicers to comply with the terms of the Act. This provision for the recovery by only the borrower of their reasonable attorney’s fees makes it more likely that borrowers will file litigation against mortgage lenders or servicers than they otherwise would. Compliance is the lender’s or mortgage servicer’s best defense to litigation under the Act.

Significantly for lenders, as long as the mortgage servicer remedies the material violation of the Act before the trustee’s deed upon sale has recorded, the Act specifically provides that the mortgage servicer shall not be liable under the Act for any violation or damages. (Civil Code §2924.12(b) & (c).) The Act also clarifies that signatories to the National Mortgage Settlement who are in compliance with the terms of that settlement, as they relate to the terms of the Act, will not face liability under the Act. (Civil Code §2924.12(g).

Improper foreclosure or attempted foreclosure

Because servicers can exact fees associated with foreclosures, such as attorneys’ fees, some servicers have attempted to foreclose on property even when borrowers are current on their payments or without giving borrowers enough time to repay or otherwise working with them on a repayment plan Furthermore, a speedy foreclosure may save servicers the cost of attempting other techniques that might have prevented the foreclosure.

Some servicers have been so brazen that they have regularly claimed to the courts that borrowers were in default so as to justify foreclosure, even though the borrowers were current on their payments. Other courts have also decried the frequent use of false statements to obtain relief from stay in order to foreclose on borrowers’ homes. For example, in Hart v. GMAC Mortgage Corporation, et al., 246 B.R. 709 (2000), even though the borrower had made the payments required of him by a forbearance agreement he had entered into with the servicer (GMAC Mortgage Corporation), it created a “negative suspense account” for moneys it had paid out, improperly charged the borrower an additional monthly sum to repay the negative suspense account, charged him late fees for failing to make the entire payment demanded, and began foreclosure proceedings.

Improper fees

Claiming that borrowers are in default when they are actually current allows servicers to charge unwarranted fees, either late fees or fees related to default and foreclosure. Servicers receive as a conventional fee a percentage of the total value of the loans they service, typically 25 basis points for prime loans and 50 basis points for subprime loans In addition, contracts typically provide that the servicer, not the trustee or investors, has the right to keep any and all late fees or fees associated with defaults. Servicers charge late fees not only because they act as a prod to coax borrowers into making payments on time, but also because borrowers who fail to make payments impose additional costs on servicers, which must then engage in loss mitigation to induce payment.

Such fees are a crucial part of servicers’ income. For example, one servicer’s CEO reportedly stated that extra fees, such as late fees, appeared to be paying for all of the operating costs of the company’s entire servicing department, leaving the conventional servicing fee almost completely profit The pressure to collect such fees appears to be higher on subprime servicers than on prime servicers:

Because borrowers typically cannot prove the exact date a payment was received, servicers can charge late fees even when they receive the payment on time Improper late fees may also be based on the loss of borrowers’ payments by servicers, their inability to track those payments accurately, or their failure to post payments in a timely fashion. In Ronemus v. FTB Mortgage Services, 201 B.R. 458 (1996), under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, the borrowers had made all of their payments on time except for two; they received permission to pay these two late and paid late fees for the privilege. However, the servicer, FTB Mortgage Services, misapplied their payments, then began placing their payments into a suspense account and collecting unauthorized late fees. The servicer ignored several letters from the borrowers’ attorney attempting to clear up the matter, sent regular demands for late fees, and began harassing the borrowers with collection efforts. When the borrowers sued, the servicer submitted to the court an artificially inflated accounting of how much the borrowers owed.

Some servicers have sent out late notices even when they have received timely payments and even before the end of a borrower’s grace period Worse yet, a servicer might pocket the payment, such as an extra payment of principal, and never credit it to the borrower Late fees on timely payments are a common problem when borrowers are making mortgage payments through a bankruptcy plan

Moreover, some servicers have also added false fees and charges not authorized by law or contract to their monthly payment demands, relying on borrowers’ ignorance of the exact amount owed. They can collect such fees or other unwarranted claims by submitting inaccurate payoff demands when a borrower refinances or sells the house). Or they can place the borrowers’ monthly payments in a suspense account and then charge late fees even though they received the payment Worse yet, some servicers pyramid their late fees, applying a portion of the current payment to a previous late fee and then charging an additional late fee even though the borrower has made a timely and full payment for the new month Pyramiding late fees allows servicers to charge late fees month after month even though the borrower made only one late payment

Servicers can turn their fees into a profit center by sending inaccurate monthly payment demands, demanding unearned fees or charges not owed, or imposing fees higher than the expenses for a panoply of actions For example, some servicers take advantage of borrowers’ ignorance by charging fees, such as prepayment penalties, where the note does not provide for them Servicers have sometimes imposed a uniform set of fees over an entire pool of loans, disregarding the fact that some of the loan documents did not provide for those particular fees. Or they charge more for attorneys’, property inspection, or appraisal fees than were actually incurred. Some servicers may add a fee by conducting unnecessary property inspections, having an agent drive by even when the borrower is not in default, or conducting multiple inspections during a single period of default to charge the resulting multiple fees

The complexity of the terms of many loans makes it difficult for borrowers to discover whether they are being overcharged Moreover, servicers can frustrate any attempts to sort out which fees are genuine.

Improperly forced-placed insurance

Mortgage holders are entitled under the terms of the loan to require borrowers to carry homeowners’ insurance naming the holder as the payee in case of loss and to force-place insurance by buying policies for borrowers who fail to do so and charging them for the premiums However, some servicers have force-placed insurance even in cases where the borrower already had it and even provided evidence of it to the servicer Worse yet, servicers have charged for force-placed insurance without even purchasing it. Premiums for force-placed insurance are often inflated in that they provide protection in excess of what the loan.

Escrow Account Mismanagement

One of the benefits of servicing mortgages is controlling escrow accounts to pay for insurance, taxes, and the like and, in most states, keeping any interest earned on these accounts Borrowers have complained that servicers have failed to make tax or insurance payments when they were due or at all. The treasurer of the country’s second largest county estimated that this failure to make timely payments cost borrowers late fees of at least $2 million in that county over a two-year span, causing some to lose their homes. If servicers fail to make insurance payments and a policy lapses, borrowers may face much higher insurance costs even if they purchase their own, non-force-placed policy. Worse yet, borrowers may find themselves unable to buy insurance at all if they cannot find a new insurer willing to write them a policy

You can make a claim for mortgage service abuse, and often the court will award actual and punitive damages. If you think you have been a victim of mortgage service abuse, contact us. We can help you make a claim.

Many a client call me when its toooooo late however sometimes something can be done it would envolve an appeal and this application for a stay. Most likely you will have to pay the reasonable rental value till the case is decided. And … Yes we have had this motion granted. ex-parte-application-for-stay-of-judgment-or-unlawful-detainer3
When title to the property is still in dispute ie. the foreclosure was bad. They (the lender)did not comply with California civil code 2923.5 or 2923.6 or 2924. Or the didn’t possess the documents to foreclose ie. the original note. Or they did not possess a proper assignment 2932.5. at trial you will be ignored by the learned judge but if you file a Motion for Summary Judgmentevans sum ud
template notice of Motion for SJ
TEMPLATE Points and A for SJ Motion
templateDeclaration for SJ
TEMPLATEProposed Order on Motion for SJ
TEMPLATEStatement of Undisputed Facts
you can force the issue and if there is a case filed in the Unlimited jurisdiction Court the judge may be forced to consider title and or consolidate the case with the Unlimited Jurisdiction Case

2nd amended complaint (e) manuel
BAKER original complaint (b)
Countrywide Complaint Form
FRAUDULENT OMISSIONS FORM FINAL
sample-bank-final-complaint1-2.docx
California stop foreclosure and get your own shortsale COMPLAINT
elderabusecomplaint
And in some cases an injunction is in order
Foreclosure injunction TRO
and a Lis Pendence

13 Responses to “What Is Predatory Lending?”

  1. vonowen January 19, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    thanks for sharing this.. it is very helpful

    ___________
    Loan Modification

  2. alfrede hernandez March 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Yes sir Iam a vitim of predatory lending I think they broke every lending law to get me this loan. I have been trying to find help but seems like no one wants to fight the system.If you can give some direction of where to complaint . Thank you

  3. RT Belmonte June 19, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    Hello, I am looking for info regarding “Equity Recoupement” over the net and I was redirected to your web site. Can you please explain to me what it is. Also, I have clients in your state and I was looking to partner up with a law firm that specializes in foreclosures.

  4. RICKEY GRAHAM November 18, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    It is evident that Predatory Lending, WAS & IS a conspiracy from our LAW MAKERS, known as our political society. There is no way that congress nor our federal agencies should have allowed these type of creative loan products to engage to our financial sopciety.
    It was once said, THAT MAN WAS CREATED EQUAL, IT TAKEN MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TO SHOW OUR GOVERNMENT THAT THEY WERE WRONG, SUCH AS THE CREATION OF STATED INCOME LOANS TODAY. Our government
    , Politicians, AND ESPECIALLY OUR FEDERAL AND STATE JUDGES HAS INDEMNIFY THESE ACT OF INJUSTICES IN ORDER TO PROTECT THESE FINANCIAL INSITUTIONS.

  5. Loan modifications ca May 17, 2010 at 12:14 am #

    Loan modifications ca are taking place in great numbers due to the rise of foreclosed real estates over the past year. It is advised to seek help from an attorney who has great experise to deal with a variety of issues during the modification process. They have a higher success rate than individual applicants.

  6. RICKEY GRAHAM May 20, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    There is no secret, that loan modification are illegal, and has been since the inception of the STATED INCOME era. The question is, who is the blame and who is to profit from an consortium platfrom consisting of our governmental agencies, politicians, lawyers, and financial insitutions. Leaving the OLD HOMEOWNER, to answer a fraudulent act.

    HOMEOWNER, the “STATED INCOME LOAN” were designed to leverage your assets for profit, so that you as homeowner can’t never qualify for a loan modifcation, and only be subject to the power that created and originated these type of loans.
    Note: You can not produce the truth of your financial, and expect to satisfy
    a modification requriement. If it taken a LIE, to induced into a loan, it will take a STATE INCOME LIE, to get you out.
    YOU SHOULD NO THE TRUTH & THE TRUTH SHOULD SET YOUR HOME FREE
    All loan modifications, has one major case of action, that is FAILURE TO DISCLOSE A MATERIAL FACT. There is no paragraph in the entire closing escrow documents, indicating YOUR RIGHTS OF STATUE OF LIMITATIONS
    for your defense, prior to you signing your closing loan documents.

  7. markdoyle4520 July 5, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    It is incredible to see just how out of touch our main stream media is.

    I have been researching the Mortgage predatory lending market for some time now, gathering a whole bunch of dirt on Angelo Mozilo, David Sambol, Kurland and others at Countrywide Home Loans. I uncovered more than a little dirt on Bank of America and its CEO Kenneth Lewis. But what moved me the most was coming across this Lone Ranger like character named David Merritt.

    This is a guy who got suckered into one of those Countrywide Predatory loans. He and his wife are first time home buyers who wanted to put 5 to 10 % down on their $729,000 home in Silicon Valley California – 2 miles from Yahoo headquarters, 4 from google and 5 from Apple.

    With just 2 days to remove their loan contingency, and with at least two other lenders ready to sell them a relatively decent mortgage, Countrywide talked them out of going with the competition by presenting a 1 to 3 percent, FHA Good Faith Estimate and declared: “if you can find someone to beat this loan, then go with them and we’ll pay the closing costs.”

    Countrywide staff were trained on how to determine how much knowledge a home buyer had, and they knew that the Merritts were suckers to be taken. Once they fired the other lenders and committed themselves to Countrywide, the Merritts found themselves locked into a 100% financing Pay Option ARM and HELOC which was destined to charged them over 2 million dollars. Countrywide had a policy of talking buyers out of putting down payments, and convincing them that they would give them a loan that was better. In fact, they would always tell home buyers that No One Could beat them and the truth was that they did beat everyone at the application stage in order to remove all the competition, but they left out that by the time the home buyer was closing escrow, most competitors would have done better.

    The Merritts signed a loan that was charging twice as much as the average lender. What is more is that they signed a loan which Countrywide assigned Mortgage Electronic Registration System as a lender. As it turns out, MERS was designed to be a front company which allows: 1) Note holders to hide from public scrutiny; 2) the duplication of one loan note that could be sold off to 2 or more investors or mortgage backed security pools: 3) evasion of paying local recorder fees; 4) Overriding state legislatures recording the laws on recording liens, beneficiaries and holders in due course; 5) attacking Public Policy in regards to its goals of protecting consumers and lenders from fraud via recording laws; and last, but not least, 6) being a conduit for billions of dollars to pass right by Uncle Sam and into Cayman or Canadian banks where no federal taxes can touch it.

    This is how Countrywide rose to the top. And they intentionally targeted elderly, minorities and unsophisticated first time buyers.

    Now in July 2008 Bank of America bought Countrywide out for 2 billion dollars. A company with assets that exceeded 20 billion, and servicing machine that churned out billions more.

    Bank of America went to all the states Attorneys Generals and asked them to bring lawsuits on behalf of their state citizens against Countrywide and to already agree to cut a sweet settlement deal with Bank of America. This was a strategy to persuade that Public that BofA was sincere about cleaning up the mess Mozilo and cronies created. But what is left out is that they are also trying to cut off home buyers ability to charge BofA with the predatory loans of Countrywide.

    Behind the scenes, BofA has been supporting Countrywide since 1969. It has always been in the predatory loan business, but through other front companies. For the longest, evidence shows, Kenneth Lewis was very close allies with Mozilo and planned with him to defraud Americans out of their home equity.

    It is so strange to see so many Americans enslaved to the Banking and Finance gangsters and not even know it, or if they do, just accept it.

    David Merritt is literally one of the 21st Century modern epics “David versus Goliath.” And all the has is a little sling and a rock against Goliaths billion dollar war armor. Check out some of his thoughts on many issues at wordpress.com/insightbeyondsight, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has before it Merritt v. Countrywide, BofA, Wells Fargo et al, Docket No 09-17678 where he has charged straight at these Greedsters with RICO and other federal violation. And in Santa Clara Superior Court Merritt v. Mozilo et al No. 109CV159993.

    He is actually looking for other victims who have deeds of trust assigned to MERS and he wishes to help in anyway possible to fight these folks offensively , he prefers, but he has enough information to help defensively as well. Lawyers from around the country taps into this Big David. So circulate the word.

    Mark Doyle

  8. Patrick Rodig February 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    It’s amazing how they prey on the masses. We are victims of Deutsche Bank, MERS, Ocwen, and thier predatory lawyers. Improper assingments, post dated documents, forgeries and the worst is we were current and in the process of a modification when they foreclosed. The lawyers for Deutsche Bank told the judge basically “so what” we went this far, it’s not our concern. Fortunatly we are now in the drivers seat with a Federal Suit. See Rodig vs Encore Credit et al.
    In fact at settlement when we refi’d on 9/9/05 the clerk came to our house and every document was in error. He was supposed to return 9/12/05 for us to resign the corected doc’s and never did. They filed the fraudulent note, mtge etc after they forged our names on the doc’s.

    Now we are stuck with an Interest only ARM that we did not sign. However, in the Rule 26 disclosure provided by the defendents we uncovered an intercompany e-mail from the originating agent to several others that states “..the borrowers are to resign the note” and this is dated 9/14/05, 5 days after “settlement” Clear proof of the settlement fraud. There are hundreds of other illegalities involved, to numerous to name here. I can only say, where there’s MERS, there’s crime. The mortgage has been transfered countless times and now Ocwen Loan Servicing claims to be our mtge co. This is an impossibilty as a)they can’t by law service & own the note, b) I went to the county seat yesterday and there is no document to support this, The transfer of deed of trust was backdated in 2008 to make Deutsche Bank the mtge holder weeks after they initiated foreclosure.
    The Judge vacated the illegal Sheriffs sale on 6/16/10 and we just got a 1099A substitute form in which Ocwen claims they wrote off the mtge on 6/16/10 and that we abandoned the house?? Tax Fraud maybe.
    Where does this all end, in a revolution.

  9. my sob May 21, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    beware of Ron Castaneda and RESPA advisors, formerly in Santa Ana, now at 9227 Haven, Rancho Cucamonga, CA – fraud, illegally “capping” for and sharing fees with a lawyer (illegal); the lawyer is now NOT ELIGIBLE TO PRACTICE LAW (JAMES JOSEPH BROWN III) since March 2011. Ron has no education background and could never qualify as an expert; his staff has been filing improper Lis Pendens without underlying lawsuits. Ripped off clients of Castaneda/RESPA advisors/attorney Brown paid 10,000, 6,500 went to non-lawyer Ron. Neither Ron nor Brown will refund money, cannot show any substantial work done, and recently have refused to turn over file and documents in RESPA advisors’ possession to new attorney for one of their client/victims.

    • Trina April 6, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      Ron Castaneda is currently “working” on getting my loan modified and after his fee of $3500 which I paid in full he has not given 1 modification document to my lender after 5 months and is not returning my calls. What can I do at this point? Interesting thing- he had a HUGE gambling poster in his office- literally 72x36in big….that should have been my first clue that he’s full of it.

      • William May 2, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        I have worked with Ron during the time he was ending his relationship with James Brown. To the contrary he was very helpful with my situation though he was overwhelmed he is VERY knowledgeable in this field and in my opinion alot more knowledgeable then most Attorneys. It did take more then 6 months before my loan was restructured and yes I was stressed and even upset at times however $3,500 is a small price to pay for this relief. Though I now accept and wish his communication skills could have been better I still turn to him for my friends and family for his Remarkable Experience and opinion with all aspects of RE litigation. Hang in the and just communicate with him, I did by email and calmy. It was a bumpy road but after doing research 6 months to a year is not unusual timeframe to see results. Great work Ron Castaneda, respa advisors.

  10. mitigation banks April 2, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    Good post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our website.

    Keep up the great writing.

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