Lenders must play by new foreclosure rules

I have a foreclosure date coming up and don’t know what to do. How can I tell if my bank is legally foreclosing on me? Is there anything I can do? Sonia

I’m sorry about the news. I know that a pending foreclosure can be very stressful. I don’t know the background of your particular situation but I can tell you that on April 19 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a set of guidelines for proper foreclosure procedures.

U.S. banks have had their hands slapped several times regarding improprieties in their handling of foreclosure cases. These new guidelines are designed to standardize how banks approach foreclosures and apply to homes that are scheduled to go to foreclosure in the next 60 days.

Here are some of the key questions (simplified) that your servicer must answer:

  1. Is the loan’s default status accurate?
  2. Can the servicer demonstrate legal authority to foreclose?
  3. Have the required foreclosure notices or other required communication been provided?
  4. Has the servicer confirmed that there are no responsible parties to the mortgage that are entitled to protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?
  5. Has it been determined whether the borrower is in an active bankruptcy proceeding and, if so, does the servicer have documented legal authority to proceed?
  6. Has it been determined whether the loan is currently under loss mitigation or other retention review as part of the foreclosure process? Also, has the servicer complied with any dual track restrictions? Dual tracking applies here in California and means that a lender should not proceed with foreclosure until a loan modification review has been completed.
  7. Did the servicer accept any payments in the preceding 60 days? If so, did the servicer communicate that it’s acceptance of the payment, would, in no way affect the status of the foreclosure?
  8. Was the borrower solicited for and offered a loss mitigation option? Has the servicer complied with its loss mitigation obligations detailed in the National Mortgage Settlement?
  9. Was a fully executed loan modification reviewed by the servicer as required?
  10. Was the borrower or their representative notified of the loan modification decision and rationale as required?

You can find more information at OCC’s website, occ.gov.

Published on Orange County Register on May 24th 2013