Florida AG Weighs In on Foreclosure Moratorium
Earlier today, the White House reiterated that it opposes a blanket moratorium on foreclosures, preferring to work with servicers and lenders to sort out the mortgage paperwork fiasco while letting the 50 state attorneys general file charges, if they see fit. (There is no federal regulator of mortgage servicers; each state has its own.)
This afternoon, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum — who is considering charges on behalf of Floridians, residents of the state most impacted by the foreclosure crisis — agreed that a full freeze might not help. He wrote and released letters to major servicers, expressing concern over the widespread fraud. Here is one letter, to the head of Litton Loan Servicing:
As Attorney General of the State of Florida, I am writing you to express my concern for Florida’s economic future and the credibility of Florida’s judicial foreclosure system as a result of the actions of your company — actions that have affected the integrity of title to real property for Florida’s homeowners as well as the foreclosure process in Florida.
I was distressed to learn from media reports that your company may have engaged in filing faulty affidavits in foreclosure cases in Florida courts with regard to ownership of promissory notes and affidavits that attested to personal knowledge of facts when, in fact, the affiant had no such personal knowledge. The net effect of these actions, among other things, has been to cast a shadow on the title to these properties which is of such proportions that at least one major title company is now refusing to write title insurance on foreclosed properties. Even more disturbing in that some of these foreclosed properties have already been sold and resold, and now their titles are in question, which may substantially slow the economic recovery for the citizens of Florida.
All of this has been compounded by the impact of the recently announced moratoria on foreclosures by several mortgage servicers and the plethora of private litigation that has privately commenced. In my view, the moratoria and the private litigation are counterproductive to obtaining the swift solution necessary to address this serious problem facing Florida’s already fragile economy.
I am requesting that you come to Tallahassee to meet with me as soon as possible to discuss ways to promptly and effectively redeem the integrity of the foreclosure process and ensure the marketability of real estate titles in Florida. I realize that correcting the faulty affidavits and reopening may of the foreclosure cases may take many months, even years given the state of our overburdened court system. Florida cannot wait that long to correct the linchpin of our economic recovery — clearing the foreclosure backlog. I look forward to our discussion and trust you will assist us in our efforts to come up with a creative solution to restore Floridians’ faith in the judicial foreclosure process as well as maintaining the viability and marketability of real property titles in Florida.
I look forward to meeting with you.
Sincerely, Bill McCollum
The letter confirms the belief that this will take months, if not years, to unravel — perhaps why markets have not been spooked, at least yet, though the liabilities could be enormous.
Our sister site, The Florida Independent, has more.