Mortgages are “secured transactions.” Secured Transactions are, essentially, collateralized loans. In secured transactions, borrowers give lenders an interest in some property (collateral) that will cover the amount borrowed if the borrower defaults. When someone buys a car, for instance, the car can be repossessed by the lender if the borrower stops making payments. The car will, theoretically, cover the remaining amount of the loan. The collateral (the car) “secures” the transaction because it practically guarantees that the lender will get, at least, an amount equal to the value of the collateral in return for the loan.
When someone mortgages a home, the home serves as collateral for the amount of the loan. The note is the contract in which a borrower agrees to repay a loan. The mortgage is the contract that makes the real property collateral for the loan. The mortgage gives a lender the right to take the home if a borrower stops paying the debt, as agreed to in the note.
Foreclosure plaintiffs (banks or other lenders) must prove that they own both the note, and the mortgage. Plaintiffs that can’t prove that they own these two instruments will not win a foreclosure case. If the plaintiff is not the original party to the loan – which could happen if one bank or lender sells the loan obligation to another – then the plaintiff must show how it came to own the loan.
One would expect banks and lenders to keep documents as important as notes and mortgages safe and secure. Surprisingly, this is not always the case. During the housing boom, mortgages and notes changed hands so frequently and quickly that it was not uncommon for one or the other to get lost in the shuffle. Earlier this month, an attorney representing a homeowner in Queens won a foreclosure case because the bank couldn’t prove that it owned the mortgage and note.
Not all homeowners will be so lucky. But chain of title issues are definitely worth investigating. Foreclosure defendants should consult with experienced foreclosure attorneys in order to explore all options and defenses.
If you have questions about this or other legal issues, call The Law firm of Vaughn and Weber at 516-858-2620 today to schedule a free consultation. We are located in the heart of Long Island at 393 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 208, Mineola, NY 11501.
Bank of America Reduces Mortgages by Forgiving a Portion of the Principal.
For those of you who have not heard the breaking news, Bank of America has begun to forgive a portion of the principal on certain people’s mortgages. The NYT is reporting that “Bank of America has started sending letters to thousands of homeowners in the United States, offering to forgive a portion of the principal balance on their mortgages by an average of $150,000 each.” In a press release announcing the new practice, Bank of America claims to have developed this program under the terms of a settlement involving five major banks, the Federal Government, and 49 state attorneys general. This may mean that other banks will begin taking similar actions in the near future, but that remains to be seen.
In some instances, the reduced principal could end up lowering mortgage payments by approximately 30%. By forgiving a portion of the principle and lowering monthly payments, Bank of America is able to turn mortgages that would otherwise default into long-term performing mortgages. At the same time, this will allow many individuals to remain in their homes. Bank of America will be contacting about 200,000 potential candidates.
If you have any questions about mortgages, feel free to contact The Law Firm of Vaughn and Weber at (516) 858-2620 to speak with a foreclosure attorney. We would be happy to speak with you about this or other mortgage issues.
Bank of America’s Press release summarizing its new policy can be seen by clicking here.
The May 7, 2012 New York Times article by Natasha Singer can be accessed by clicking here.
According to a recent AFP article:
Bank of America has reached a side agreement with US authorities that could reduce the mortgages of some 200,000 borrowers….Bank of America borrowers are expected to receive reductions averaging more than $100,000…
This is very interesting! We will be contacting BOA today!
Updated on 03/10/12
The Tennessean reports that:
Underwater homeowners are eligible if they have a loan serviced by Bank of America and were at least 60 days delinquent on their mortgages as of Jan. 31.
Only loans owned by Bank of America or private investors are eligible, and those include mortgages originated by Countrywide Financial Corp. The Calabasas, Calif.-based subprime lender was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.
Loans are not eligible if they are owned or backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs, Simon said.
Bank of America estimated that 200,000 homeowners will be eligible, though it does not anticipate that all of them will take part in the program.
The bank will begin reaching out to homeowners next month. It has three years to complete the principal reductions, but the settlement offers incentives for them to be completed within a year of the settlement’s completion, so Simon anticipated the process would move “fairly quickly.”
Bank of America mortgage customers can call 877-488-7814 to see if they’re eligible and to get more information.
If you are currently in foreclosure or in danger of falling into foreclosure, please call (516) 858-2620 to speak with an Attorney!
Clients often ask: “What amount can you settle my debt for?”
Our answer is almost always: “It depends on several factors.”
These factors include:
- the creditor
- the type of debt
- the age of the debt
- how many times the debt has been transferred
- the hardship claimed
- how the settlement will be paid out
Secured debts (i.e. mortgages, car loans) are much harder to settle than unsecured debts (i.e. credit cards, medical bills). Some debts can be settled for as little as 10%. However, there are creditors that insist on having a much higher percentage of the debt paid back. The creditor starts high, we start low. We never know exactly where the negotiations will end. Creditors have their target settlement amount, and we have ours.
So, no one can guarantee you that they will settle your debts for a sum certain. Be wary of any company that guarantees they will save you a bunch of money. We have numerous clients who have paid at least double our fee to a debt settlement company before coming to us. Many of these companies failed to deliver any results at all, or produced dismal results at best. What’s even more shocking is that none of the individuals understood the agreements they signed. They had no idea where their money was going!
If you choose to hire someone to settle your debts, please choose wisely!
Vaughn & Weber, PLLC proudly negotiates and settles debts for residents of Long Island, Nassau county, Suffolk county, New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan.
Call (516) 858-2620 to arrange a FREE consultation with a Debt Settlement attorney!