Mortgage lenders' deadline passes for voluntary foreclosure suspension
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RALEIGH – Fourteen of the nation's largest mortgage lenders had until Tuesday to respond to Attorney General Roy Cooper's request to suspend foreclosures in North Carolina.
This would be a voluntary action which Cooper asked for while he investigates how the foreclosures are being carried out. But many are wondering why foreclosures are under fire in North Carolina, which is supposed to have such strong consumer protection laws.
State leaders say they have worked to keep predatory companies from making foreclosure issues worse than they need to be.
“There are actually folks out there who will take advantage of the homeowner's desperate financial situation and trick them out of their mortgage,” says Sen. Josh Stein (D), Wake County.
Stein wrote the Homeowner and Homebuyer Protection Act, which became effective on October 1. It aims at making sure so-called "foreclosure rescue transactions" did not confuse scared homeowners out of their home titles.
This is just one more step the state has taken to ensure foreclosure is the last option for North Carolinians-- and not the only one.
“We do have very strong consumer laws protecting mortgage loan borrowers,” says Rochelle Sparko with the NC Justice Center, “but there is definitely room for improvement. As we can kind of see with the fallout from all of this information with information about robo-signers and the affidavits that are being presented to the court.”
Sparko says she is happy to see Cooper take action last week to ask mortgage lenders to halt foreclosures while the state looks into whether or not they are following the law. She says if accusations are true of lenders signing off on foreclosures without making sure all proper action was taken first that would be unfair to people fighting to keep their homes, and needs to stop immediately.
“I do know that we have seen foreclosures, foreclosure affidavits signed by some of the identified robo-signers here in North Carolina. So, its happening here,” she says.
The Attorney General's office would not comment on how many of the 14 lenders it had asked for voluntary suspensions had responded and or acted upon the request as of today.