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Zombie Housing Apocalypse Arrives

English: U.S. Household Property Foreclosure C...

English: U.S. Household Property Foreclosure Chart 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zombie Housing Apocalypse Arrives

Foreclosed ‘Zombie’ Homes Exceed 300,000 Properties: Study

A national survey found 301,874 “zombie” properties dotting the U.S. landscape in which homeowners in foreclosure have moved out, leaving vacant property susceptible to vandalism and degradation.
Florida tops the list of zombie properties with 90,556 vacant homes in foreclosure, according to a foreclosure inventory released on Thursday by RealtyTrac, a real estate information company in Irvine, California.
Illinois and California ranked a distant second and third with 31,668 and 28,821 zombie properties respectively on the list.
The number of homes overall in foreclosure or bank-owned rose by 9 percent to 1.5 million properties nationally in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.
Another 10.9 million homeowners nationwide remain at risk because they owe more than their property is worth, according to company vice president Daren Blomquist.
RealtyTrac for the first time analyzed data on zombie properties after a Reuters’ special report in January examined the special problem of zombie titles, Blomquist said.
Reuters revealed the plight of people who walked away from their homes not realizing that their names remained on the deed and that they were financially liable for taxes and other bills related to the abandoned property.

Foreclosed ‘Zombie’ Homes Exceed 300,000 Properties: Study

 

The zombie apocalypse has arrived but it’s not people risen from the dead, it’s houses. Our broken, ill administered foreclosure system has produced this mess. But don’t worry, Congress will quickly and simply fix the problem. Whoops! I forgot who I was talking about, the greatest band of malingerers since George III sent appointees to run the colonies.

Vital housing that could be used to shelter the nation’s homeless and unfortunate is decaying into wreckage while the homeowners – a colloquial phrase for those driven from their homes by a mortgage industry as calculating, cold and inhuman as the Martians in H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds.

See if I am mistaken: (From the opening paragraph of the book.)

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.”

The law has not kept up in this relationship between predator and prey, and we all suffer for it. Foreclosure should pass the duty of care to the banks and not compound the misery of losing one’s home with an avalanche of fees to shatter any remnant of security and pride.

James Pilant

From around the web:

From the web site, Foreclosure Defense Group:

GG has been successfully fighting the banksters since 2008 and continues that battle today. She is still in her happy home, but the capitalist onslaught is relentless. On February 14th (although a judge had promised her personally that it wouldn’t happen), the court sent an eviction order to the Alameda County Sheriff to evict her, her roommate and all furniture and personal belongings.

From the web site, The Foreclosure Detonator:

Values declined not because of the market, they declined because those very same banks who oppose these write downs created this mess by providing mortgages to almost anyone creating a housing boom that was destined to crash.  Yes, they know what they were doing but greed took control of corporate governance and patriotic spirit.  The attitude of  let’s rake in as much cash as we can then when it all fails we can take back all those homes and rake in even more cash for homes we have no investment in.

And from the web site, Foreclosure Testimony /:

What is a Wrongful Foreclosure Action?

A wrongful foreclosure action is an action filed in superior court by the borrower against the servicer, the holder of the note, and usually the
foreclosing trustee. The complaint usually alleges that there was an “illegal, fraudulent or willfully oppressive sale of property under a power of sale contained in a mortgage or deed of trust.” Munger v. Moore (1970) 11 CA.App.3d. 1. The wrongful foreclosure action is often brought prior to the non-judicial foreclosure sale in order to delay the sale, but the action may also be brought after the non-judicial foreclosure sale. …

Mortgage Industry as the Wolf?

Mortgage Companies as Wolves

Mortgage Companies as Wolves

Mortgage Industry as the Wolf?

Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks’ Hands

For more than a year, housing advocates and their allies worried that a review of foreclosed loans managed by banking regulators was vulnerable to mortgage industry interference.

On Monday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board — the two regulatory bodies that had taken the lead in making the nation’s largest banks accountable for rampant foreclosure fraud — announced that homeowners no longer need worry about the independence of the reviews. The regulators, essentially admitting that the reviews were too difficult to conduct, and that assigning appropriate compensation to those most harmed by the banks was no longer a priority, said the mortgage companies themselves will determine how to distribute $3.3 billion to more than 4 million homeowners forced into foreclosure in 2009 or 2010.

Housing advocates, while acknowledging that the foreclosure reviews were flawed, said they don’t understand how turning the process over to mortgage companies improves a system already insufficiently independent.

“The regulators have decided to replace the fox in the henhouse with the wolf,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington-based housing nonprofit. “It is just incomprehensible to me that they could not find a third party that has the wherewithal and independence to fairly determine what the damage is to homeowners.”

Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks’ Hands

Is this good business ethics? Well, let’s look at it from the mortgage companies’ point of view. They made an enormous profit by misleading courts and mortgage holders as to who actually owned the property. In many cases, they told clients that they should skip payments, usually three payments, explaining to them that they would then qualify for government programs like HAMP. Once the home owner had skipped the payments, the bank immediately foreclosed. It terms of money, it was an incredible success.

Let’s analyze based on the Social Responsibility. Social responsibility rests on four pillars: economic, legal, philanthropic, ethical, and philanthropic.

Did the mortgage companies profit? Yes, but it depends on which stakeholders you look at. The shareholders did well. The employees did very well. The customers, at least as far as mortgage holders, were crushed. They are unlikely to ever be customers again. It is very difficult for families to buy a home in the first place. A second bite after foreclosure is not likely. The community was hurt badly by the thousands of empty homes, the collapse of the housing industry and the larger economic bust.

But let us have a special look at our last major shareholder, the regulatory agencies. They came, they saw, they said it was too difficult and gave it all back to the banks after extracting a promise that the banks will be good and give back 3.3 billion of the money they stole in the first place. It would appear the regulators are doing okay. They have shed their responsibilities to the public, which is always much easier than doing your job.

Was it legal? No. The banks violated the law thousands of times, perhaps hundreds of thousands. They lied routinely in official documents requiring affidavits and, for all intents and purposes, were in the business of stealing homes. They have, however, walked away unscathed.

Was it ethical? You have lying on a cosmic scale and theft of the property in the many billions of dollars. I don’t feel further analysis is required here.

And finally, was it philanthropic? Did they give back to the community? This is a pure case of negative philanthropy. The banks often had no concept of what to with the homes they took. They often didn’t care for them. Sometimes, they found it cheaper just to bulldoze them. They took value out of the community and replaced it with negative costs.

This is another sorry episode, which I will wonder if it is wise to mention to my business students? Should I tell them that stealing people’s homes will make you enormously rich while you with virtually no penalties? I am honest. I will. But I would rather not have negative business ethics taught so well by the mortgage companies. It makes what I do look foolish.

James Pilant

From the web site, The Support Center:

Major banks have once again agreed to a settlement, this time worth $8.5 billion, to compensate homeowners whose homes were fraudulently foreclosed upon in 2009 and 2010 through practices such as “robo-signing.” JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and and Wells Fargo will pay $3.3 billion to homeowners, and the remaining $5.3 billion will reduce mortgage bills and forgive principals on homes that were sold for less than what the owners owed on their mortgages. 3.8 million homeowners will be eligible to receive compensation ranging from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $125,000.

In another settlement, Bank of America has agreed to pay the federal housing finance agency, Fannie Mae, $11 billion for selling the agency bad mortgages that defaulted, causing Fannie Mae to assume all the losses. $3.6 billion will be used to compensate for the bad mortgages, and $6.75 billion will be used to buy back mortgages.

Both of these agreements are part of a process to mitigate the impacts of the housing crisis and to hold the banks accountable for their role in both creating the housing bubble and in using questionable, if not fraudulent, methods in servicing their loans and processing foreclosures. Having faced significant losses, Bank of America continues to move out of the mortgage market, and in the deal with Fannie Mae, it agreed to sell the servicing and collection rights for 2 million loans, totaling $306 billion. Some economists and analysts are concerned that as the major banks shift away from mortgage lending, the industry is being consolidated into the hands of a few banks. However, though the housing market is recovering slowly, banks, such as Bank of America, might not be in a position to compete, given the losses they’ve already incurred and the problems they’ve had in servicing loans.

From the web site, Buzz Sourse:

Housing advocates, while acknowledging that the foreclosure reviews were flawed, said they don’t understand how turning the process over to mortgage companies improves a system already insufficiently independent.

“The regulators have decided to replace the fox in the henhouse with the wolf,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington-based housing nonprofit. “It is just incomprehensible to me that they could not find a third party that has the wherewithal and independence to fairly determine what the damage is to homeowners.”

Regulators said the review process, which sought to determine if specific loans were unfairly foreclosed upon, was too costly and time-consuming. Under the new deal, 10 mortgage companies, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, will pay $8.5 billion. Of that, $3.3 billion is earmarked for direct payments to “eligible borrowers” whose foreclosures were handled improperly. The remaining $5.2 billion will help struggling borrowers with programs such as loan modifications.

And finally, from the web site, 4Closure Fraud (reprinted from ProPublica):

The Independent Foreclosure Review was supposed to be a full and fair investigation of the big banks’ foreclosure abuses, and it was trumpeted as the government’s largest effort to compensate victimized homeowners. Federal regulators, who designed the review, forced banks to spend billions to carry it out. Millions of homeowners were eligible and hundreds of thousands submitted claims. But Monday morning, the very regulators who launched the program 18 months ago announced that it had all been a massive mistake and shut it down.

Instead, 10 banks have agreed to pay a total of $3.3 billion in cash to the 3.8 million borrowers who had been eligible for the review. That’s an average of around $870 per borrower. But typical of a process that’s been characterized by confusion, delays and secrecy, regulators said the details of how the money will be doled out were not yet available.

The headline number for the settlement is $8.5 billion, but that includes $5.2 billion in “credits” the banks will receive for actions they take to avoid foreclosures, such as providing loan modifications. That’s very similar to the separate $25 billion settlement reached last year between five banks, 49 states and the federal government. That settlement has been criticized for awarding credit to banks for things they were already doing.

 

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We are the People – Who the Hell are You? | Crooks and Liars

Occupy Wall Street - Anonymous 2011 Shankbone

Occupy Wall Street has a message and I like it.

James Alan Pilant

You hear that, Herman Cain? It’s against the law to ban mosques in America. You hear that, Christine O’Donnell? It’s against the law to teach creationism in public schools. You hear that, Bill Haslam? It’s against the law to impose curfews in an attempt to stifle the right of the people to peaceably assemble. You hear that, Bank of America? Goldman Sachs? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? We’re done meekly allowing you to rape, plunder and pillage the 99 percent for the benefit of the 1 percent. Can you hear us, all you bought-and-paid-for Republicans and Democrats alike, telling you we’ve had enough from you both, consider this our petition for a redress of grievances.

We are the People – Who the Hell are You? | Crooks and Liars

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Screw Sam! Reconstruct the Mortgages with their Rightful Owners (via Deadly Clear)

There is a lot of anger in this article. But I too share disgust with this government’s willingness to help out every kind of financial institution while ignoring the needs of the Middle Class. These people no longer have a defender in the government just a facilitator of the predation

James Pilant

Screw Sam! Reconstruct the Mortgages with their Rightful Owners U.S.Seeks Ideas on Renting Out Foreclosed Property By EDWARD WYATT Published: August 10, 2011 WASHINGTON— Uncle Sam wants you — to rent a house from Uncle Sam. The Obama administration said on Wednesday that it was soliciting ideas on how to turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk. The goal, the administration said, is to stabilize neighborhoo … Read More

via Deadly Clear

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Citizen-Led Movement in California Proposes to Outlaw Foreclosures (via Ketron Property Management, Inc.)

If you think this is a little crazy, you’re right. But in the light of how home owners have been treated over the last few years, it is totally understandable.

You can do a lot to people when they’ve been trained to take it. Currently they believe that the system is fair and that the terrible things that have happened to hundreds of thousands of Americans will be remedied once the right people figure out what’s going on.

Many of the right people knew from the beginning what was going on in the housing market and when the massive number of foreclosures began, those same right people closed their eyes.

A lot of Americans are waking up each day a little more sure that no one cares about them, their property or their rights. When justice is denied, people are going to start looking at other remedies.

This may look crazy now but if simple justice is denied large parts of the population, it’s going to get a lot crazier than this.

And it should.

James Pilant

Citizen-Led Movement in California Proposes to Outlaw Foreclosures Posted by Carole VanSickle on Wednesday, August 3rd 2011 In Sacramento, California, one citizen is taking on the lenders directly, using his “Foreclosure Modification Act” to demand that lenders provide principal and interest rate reductions in order to keep borrowers in their homes[1]. And according to the author of the proposal, David A. Benson, the best way to make this happen … Read More

via Ketron Property Management, Inc.

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What is Really Happening in the Foreclosure / REO Real Estate Process / Market? One Agent’s Point of View (via East Bay Real Estate: Caldecott Properties )

What is Really Happening in the Foreclosure / REO Real Estate Process / Market? One Agent’s Point of View (via East Bay Real Estate: Caldecott Properties )

I like this.

He asks, “When will we do the right thing for all Americans?”

I would like the answer to that question myself.

James Pilant

This is a great article and it sums up the mortgage crisis brilliantly. JP

What is Really Happening in the Foreclosure / REO Real Estate Process / Market? One Agent's Point of View Is it possible there is a corrupted process at the very top (wall street executives, wall street investors, bank executives, hedge funds, etc.) Here is a thought: We know banks are not willing to reduce the principle loan amount for owners under water. That can easily be measured by the number of completed loan modification that include a principal reduction. Very (very) few: About 49,000 of all the proprietary modifications completed reduced bot … Read More

via East Bay Real Estate: Caldecott Properties

Another Successful Foreclosure Fraud Happy Hour (via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge)

These are some great people. They took up a public fight on a major issue before the media or the government recognized the problem. In fact, the government and the press denied there was a problem. These people are heroes, using the power of the internet as visionaries have hoped.

I wish them well!!

James Pilant

Another Successful Foreclosure Fraud Happy Hour Picture of some of the guests at our latest happy hour. Had another great time. We all wore “Hello My Name Is” stickers. Funny thing, almost everybody there was named Linda Green! It really confused the bartenders, they didn’t know which tab to ring the drinks under… Over the weekend I will be posting the history of all of our happy hours and how you can get them going in your town. I want to see this happen in every city every month until the … Read More

via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge

Fraudclosures | Federal Reserve: They Broke The Law (via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge)

For about seven months now, I have argued over and over again that lying to the courts with false affidavits and actions amounting to fraud were prosecutable. I have used the word, crimes, and I meant it.

Why is it that if one of my students breaks the law by stealing a few dollars that he will go to jail and these banks can commit these acts and reap huge profits without fear of prosecution?

I want these law-breakers, these greedy well placed fraudsters, to go to jail, to do the perp walk, to pay enormous fines, and to serve as a warning to every Armani clad crook haunting the board rooms of our great investments banks.

James Pilant

My thanks to “Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge.”

Fraudclosures | Federal Reserve: They Broke The Law The Market Ticker – Federal Reserve: They Broke The Law but nobody cares…. (including us) The reviews found critical weaknesses in servicers’ foreclosure governance processes, foreclosure document preparation processes, and oversight and monitoring of third-party vendors, including foreclosure attorneys.While it is important to note that findings varied across institutions, the weaknesses at each servicer, individually or collectively, resulted … Read More

via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge

NJ | Sheriff’s Officers Accused Of Emptying Wrong Home In Botched Foreclosure (via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge)

There are few assaults upon our dignity as crushing as the theft of all of our possessions. It is not so much the large items like refrigerators and televisions that are missed. Humans attach value to the strangest things. Instead of the microwave they lament the loss of their wedding pictures. When logic would dictate the loss of the computer should be the first cause of regret, they think of the old worn chair that has sat in the living room for years. Considering the great value placed upon personal privacy and possessions, would it not seem logical and prudent that those entrusted with the safety of the public should investigate and seek to punish the guilty. But the investigators would only need a mirror to discover the perpetrator of this crime, law enforcement itself.

It seems unfair that the bank never has to worry about these mistakes in judgment. It seems unfair that the bank, should use so many public resources to serve its interests.

The victim is asking $500,000 dollars in damages.

That seems fair, first, to recompense her for damages and second, to discourage the sheriff and his deputies from any more random home raids.

James Pilant

NJ | Sheriff’s Officers Accused Of Emptying Wrong Home In Botched Foreclosure Sheriff’s Officers Accused Of Emptying Wrong Home In Botched Foreclosure HILLSIDE – A 76-year-old Hillside woman has filed a claim for damages against Union County, alleging that officers of the county sheriff’s department illegally entered her home and removed the entire contents because they had the wrong address of a foreclosure. In the document, obtained by Tina Renna of The County Watchers, Ozzie Leak claims that Union County Sheriff Ralph F … Read More

via Foreclosure Fraud – Fighting Foreclosure Fraud by Sharing the Knowledge

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