Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ohio Foreclosures - What in the world?

This blog concerns itself (mostly ) with Indiana law and my practice does not include foreclosures (well, not much since I left behind consumer bankruptcy), but I get curious when I run across articles on two different blogs about Ohio and its foreclosures.

Bank Lawyer's Blog (which appears to be a very interesting blog on its subject) published Tale of Two Judges, and what was to me a very interesting and long paragraph:

There's been much back-and-forth over the past few days on various discussion boards about these decisions, especially Judge Boyko's. Some assert that this is evidence of massive documentation deficiencies in the mortgage backed securitization arena. As one commentator alleged in the linked New York Times article, notes may have been "assigned" to more than one loan pool, with no actual written "assignment" ever prepared. Other consumer representatives claim that they've seen instances of what appear to be the mass production of fraudulent assignments, with one claiming that "[w"]e have one woman, with VERY unique name, acting as Notary, officer, and various other positions in six different states for over 20 different companies. Also, dozens of different 'gestations' of her 'mark' which is a simple initial to her first name." That consumer advocate vows that they will wage a scorched earth policy that challenges every bit of evidence of assignment presented, and that "EVERYTHING a lender and their counsel will now do will be questioned in our answers and NOTHING will be accepted as fact until proven up via hard evidence since so many complaints, pleadings, affidavits, and accountings are boilerplate and produced by OTHERS, not the actual LENDER or their servicer, sub servicer or special servicer!"

Now, if the problems described above with assignments do exist then this is a huge problem. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that ends that article.

Meanwhile, over at Business Law Prof has The Home Foreclosure Mess and Ohio Court Stops Foreclosures by SIVs.

I think others have noticed our high foreclosure rate (see Foreclosures Down in East Central Indiana). If the problems happening in Ohio have substance, then we may see a repeat here. I think it may be a good idea to keep an eye on things next door. I will advance a theory of mine about how we handle foreclosures in Indiana. We look to federal bankruptcy law to save our clients, try to work a deal that saves the home, or retreat and let the foreclosure take place (and then send the clients off for a bankruptcy, if need be). Between federal bankruptcy law and the economic dislocations that have wracked my part of the start for most of the past twenty to twenty-five years, we really do not know foreclosure law in any detail. I will certainly want to see any assignments in any future foreclosure cases that come my way.