Archive for March, 2013
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the number of Dallas-area home foreclosures continues to fall. In February 2013, 1.2 percent of homes were in foreclosure, which was down from a year ago. The report estimates that approximately 11,100 homes have gone through foreclosure in the past year. For the first few months of 2013, the number of foreclosure filings (which does not necessarily equate to foreclosures completed) is almost 50 percent lower than the same period one year ago.
As a foreclosure defense attorney, I’m thrilled to see these numbers. I would imagine that the biggest reason for the decrease is an improving economy and lower unemployment. But I am hopeful that at least some of this decrease can be attributed to lenders finally “getting it” and working with homeowners. I have been calling out the big banks for years–in court, on this blog, and to their face. I’ve been fighting them tooth and nail on behalf of homeowners. And I know I’m not alone. It seems to be having some effect.
Nevertheless, the overall statistics and trends don’t matter much if your home happens to be in that 1.2 percent (or whatever percentage is applicable at any given time). For that homeowner, the only number that matters is 1–you. If keeping your home is important, I would encourage you to fight. Stand up to the bank and don’t be railroaded into a foreclosure.
I’ll have to admit, much of this blog reports and analyzes what the banks do wrong. Well, I’m going to take a break from that theme and report on something that Fannie Mae actually did right. This episode comes from my personal life and my personal home loan.
Recently, my wife and I refinanced our home to take advantage of the lower interest rates that are being offered these days. While that was an exceedingly long and drawn out process (and I’m used to drawn out dealings with banks), it eventually got done. Throughout the process, I fully expected my loan to get sold, transferred, assigned, and maybe even securitized. I knew I had no control over this, and I expected to not even know who ended up with my note.
Man, was I surprised when I opened the mail yesterday. I received a letter from Fannie Mae informing me that they had acquired my note. Not the servicing rights, but the actual mortgage loan. A huge smile came across my face. Not that I was thrilled that Fannie Mae now owns my note–frankly, I don’t really care. After all, both parties’ rights and obligations are clearly defined by contract. I was just excited that a bank actually informed the homeowner–from the very beginning–about who owned their note.
If more banks had done this over the last 10 years, our country could have avoided a lot of the mortgage mess we’ve been slogging through. Many of the disputes I deal with on a regular basis come down to a simple question: who owns the note and is entitled to payments. At least now I know who holds my note as of February 2013. Does that mean that it won’t get sold or assigned again in the future? No, and sending me a letter is not dispositive in court. Transfer of a promissory note requires proper negotiation in compliance with the UCC’s requirements, not a simple notice letter. However, it’s a good start.
I applaud Fannie Mae for letting me know it owns my mortgage loan. I hope other companies are taking note and doing the same.