Call for Action Follows News Reports of Banks and Mortgage Processors Continuing to Forge Signatures and Submit False Affidavits Brown Has Authored Legislation to Keep Ohioans in Their Homes and Stem Foreclosure Crisis; Sent Letter to Federal Regulators Urging Them to Better Protect Consumers and Prevent Further Practices
DAYTON, OH – August 12, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — In the wake of reports that banks and mortgage processors have continued forging signatures and submitting false affidavits, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for renewed federal efforts to crackdown on this risky, illegal practice that undermines Ohio’s housing market during a news conference today. Also known as robo-signing, this unlawful act has forced thousands of homeowners into foreclosure and raised doubts about the ownership of hundreds of thousands of mortgages. Brown is chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.
“While Wall Street said they’ve stopped using fraudulent and illegal practices that damage Ohio’s housing market, it’s clear that the illegal foreclosure mill is still running its dangerous course,” Brown said. “A complete economic recovery requires a recovery of our housing market. We should be helping families stay in their homes, not gouging homeowners and flooding an already depressed housing market with illegal foreclosures. We need to work to protect homeowners, not bank executives.”
Brown was joined by Edward Miller, a Gulf War veteran from Kettering, a victim of robo-signing whose home went into foreclosure in May 2010. Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and City Commissioner Nan Whaley, along with Jim McCarthy, president and CEO of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc., also discussed the practice of “robo-signing” and its harmful effects on not just homeowners, but also Ohio’s housing market and economy as a whole.
Brown outlined landmark legislation to prevent future servicer fraud and errors, improve foreclosure counseling and prevention, and reform oversight of mortgage-based investing. The Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011 would expand access to foreclosure prevention services, while increasing protections for homeowners and investors in mortgage-backed securities. Brown also joined a group of nine other senators this week in calling on federal regulators urging them to better protect consumers by publicly releasing information related to the mortgage servicer settlements. Specifically, the Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011 would:
- Protect homeowners from servicer errors, miscommunications, and abusive fees
- End the rush to foreclosure and require servicers to work with homeowners to find sustainable mortgages
- Improve standards for staffing and casework by mortgage servicers
- Protect the interests of investors who buy securities backed by residential mortgages
- Reform oversight of pools of securitized mortgages
The Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011 is endorsed by the Alliance for a Just Society, Center for Responsible Lending, Community Organizations in Action, National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), Coalition on Homelessness & Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, and the Columbus Housing Partnership (CHP). Click here for additional information on the bill.
Brown has led the fight against wrongful foreclosures and unfair practices by Wall Street. Specifically, he encouraged federal regulators to freeze foreclosures after the discovery last year that many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Recently, both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases. The reports also suggest that some regulators are aware of these violations.
As chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, Brown, is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss, and has led the fight against wrongful foreclosures and unfair practices by Wall Street. He encouraged federal regulators to freeze foreclosures after the discovery last year that many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. In July 2010, he sent a letter to the executives of the nation’s four largest banks calling on them to work with responsible homeowners to avoid foreclosure. Brown also fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.