Saturday, August 6, 2011
AP - Washington state sued a subsidiary of Bank of America Corp. on Friday, arguing that the company has improperly handled thousands of foreclosures in the state.
Attorney General Rob McKenna claimed ReconTrust Company has repeatedly broken the law by failing to act as a neutral third party on behalf of both the lender and the borrower. He argued that the company has repeatedly broken the law and refused to cooperate in an investigation.
"ReconTrust's illegal practices make it difficult, if not impossible, for borrowers who might have a shot at saving their homes to stop those foreclosures," McKenna said.
McKenna said the company also violated state law by failing to maintain an office in the state where borrowers can go to make last-minute payments or discuss the process. He also said ReconTrust gave confusing information to borrowers about how they could go about curing their default.
Weitz - we've stopped numerous foreclosures from this very argument. Its a requirement that the trustee be located in Washington state. It's been a great stall tactic for our clients.
Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said ReconTrust operates in compliance with the law and that the company disagrees with McKenna's concerns. She said the company has added physical locations to provide in-person support for customers while also hosting events so that consumers can review all possible solutions to keep them in their homes.
"We make every effort to reach out to delinquent customers to offer home retention options as well as foreclosure avoidance programs," Bauwens said. "Foreclosure is always our last resort."
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation as well as restitution for consumers. The attorney general's office believes ReconTrust failed to comply with state law in every foreclosure it has conducted since June 2008.
ReconTrust has issued 9,900 foreclosure notices over the past three years in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, according to the attorney general's office, but the company operates around the state. McKenna's office said it doesn't know how many foreclosures could have been prevented if the company had complied with state laws.
The attorney general's office says it is investigating more than a dozen other trustees for suspected violations.
Myra Cole, a single mother from Spanaway, was in the process of working on a possible loan modification with her loan servicer when ReconTrust sold the home at foreclosure. She called it an injustice, saying they were taking the proper steps to try and save the home.
"I just can't believe that the company that's supposed to be helping me is foreclosing on me," Cole said in a statement provided through McKenna's office.
Weitz - This will be an interesting case to follow. My money is on a settlement that is minimally evasive to Bank of America's operations - that seems to be the status quo for governments of all levels...talk a big game in regards to the banks and then fold over when the Banks argue back.
For more information on your rights in Foreclosure or Short Sale, consider contacting a Seattle Foreclosure Attorney.
Weitz Law Firm, PLLC
520 Kirkland Way, Ste 103
Kirkland, WA 98033
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