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Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC has a nice graph, The Mortgage Market Overview, that helps to make sense of the massive U.S. residential mortgage market. It breaks down the $20 trillion dollar U.S. residential housing market into debt and equity and then further breaks down debt into the various available types, by market share: GSE; portfolio; private-label MBS; etc.  A picture can be worth twenty trillion words . . ..

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The Illinois court in deciding Kondaur Capital Corp. v. Sreenan, 2013 Ill. App. (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2013) affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for the plaintiff.

In the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff asserted that it was the legal holder and in possession of the note at issue pursuant to the assignment from PNC.

The court held that the circuit court did not err in awarding summary judgment to the plaintiff where the defendant failed to demonstrate that the plaintiff was an unlicensed debt collector under the Collection Agency Act (225 ILCS 425/1 et seq.).

The court also held that there was no abuse of discretion in refusing to strike affidavits in support of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment where the affidavits were premised upon documents that qualified as “business records” under Supreme Court Rule 236 (Ill. S. Ct. R. 236).

Lastly, the court held that any error in allowing the plaintiff to respond to the defendant’s affirmative defenses in the context of the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion was harmless.

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The Appellate Court of Illinois in deciding Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Cole, 2013 IL App (2d) 130450-U (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 2013) held that the trial court properly confirmed a judicial sale, as the plaintiff had no obligation to produce the originals of the mortgage and the note. Moreover under the appropriate standard, the court had subject-matter jurisdiction, and defendant failed to cogently explain plaintiff’s alleged lack of standing.

Lorie Cole, one of two property-owner defendants in a foreclosure action, appealed to this court after the confirmation of the judicial sale of the property and the denial of what the trial court treated as a motion to reconsider. This court, after considering the Cole’s appeal found that all of the issues that defendant Cole had raised were without merit, thus this court affirmed the decision of the lower court.

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ABC News quoted me in Small Interest Rate Changes Mean Big Money for Home Buyers.  The story reads in part,

As the economy continues to recover from the worst recession since the 1930s, mortgage interest rates remain at historically low levels.

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey, produced by Freddie Mac, reported in mid-March the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was 4.32 percent; 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.32 percent and interest rates 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.02 percent. Nonetheless, Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, speculated the Fed’s gradual tapering of its stimulus efforts may prompt a rise in mortgage interest rates.

If mortgage interest rates do rise significantly in the future, what, if any effect will there be on the home buying market? According to Steve Calk, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Federal Savings Bank, interest rates have never been the deciding factor for whether potential home buyers actually purchase a home.

“Whether interest rates are 5.5 percent or 7.5 percent, when people are ready to buy, they’ll buy a home,” Calk said.

Price, location, size, appreciation value – these are factors many would-be homeowners consider long before mortgage interest rates enter into the picture. However, once they begin actively searching for a home, interest rates often play a role in their ultimate buying decision.

This is especially the case when interest rates are high, according to David Reiss, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School.

“When people think about buying houses, they think about the price of the house. But what they really should be thinking of are the monthly costs. The average 25-year-old might not think about housing rates until they go to a mortgage broker.
“Then they discover that 8 percent interest may mean that instead of a $200,000 home they can only afford a $160,000 home,” Reiss said.

*     *      *

Tight credit and persistent high unemployment have almost certainly played a role in depressing home buying figures during the recovery, as has the large numbers of home owners who perhaps bought homes at the height of the bubble who now find themselves underwater on their mortgages. However, many underwater homeowners could be missing out on a unique opportunity presented by the present financial climate. In a housing market where prices are depressed and borrowing is cheap, home buyers with solid incomes and good credit can find lenders willing to extend credit on favorable terms, ultimately putting them ahead financially, even if they sell their present homes at a loss, according to Reiss.

“Many people feel stuck in place because they are underwater or the market is bad. But although it may be counterintuitive, it could actually be a smart move to sell in a bad market. It’s a bit more sophisticated strategy, but you could move out of a cheap home into a better home for not that much money,” Reiss said.

*     *     *

Education and due diligence in maintaining good credit are the most potent tools that potential home buyers can employ, whether they are seeking their first home, a larger home or are scaling down to smaller quarters as empty nesters. Obtaining prequalification can provide home seekers with a better idea of precisely how much house they can afford, Reiss said.

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The court in deciding In re 1250 Oceanside Partners, (Bankr. D. Haw., 2013) ultimately came to the conclusion that Oceanside was entitled to foreclose.

The debtor in possession, 1250 Oceanside (Oceanside), sought to enforce a promissory note and foreclose a mortgage made by defendants Lawrence Shaw and Lisa Shaw (the Shaws). The other defendants claimed interests in the mortgaged property. Oceanside now sought summary judgment. The Shaws argued that the court lacked jurisdiction, that Oceanside was not entitled to foreclose, and that if it was entitled to foreclose, it was not entitled to a deficiency judgment.

The court decided that there was no dispute as to any material fact. Oceanside was entitled to foreclose on the property, but it was not entitled to a deficiency judgment against the Shaws at this stage in the litigation.

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The Tennessee court in deciding Mhoon v. United States Bank Home Mortg., 2013 U.S. Dist. (W.D. Tenn., 2013) dismissed the complaint of the plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

Plaintiff [Mhoon] filed a complaint against defendant U.S. Bank. This case was an action to prohibit a non-judicial foreclosure of real property. The complaint alleged that U.S. Bank was engaged in efforts to illegally foreclosure on Mhoon’s home. The complaint also alleged that U.S. Bank acted with gross negligence and violated its duty of good faith.

In addition, the complaint alleged breach of contract because U.S. Bank failed to send any and all acceleration, default, and foreclosure notices to Mhoon in the manner required by the deed of trust.

The complaint further alleged U.S. Bank violated Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”); violated Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) by failing to provide a good faith estimate; violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) statute and engaged in fraud; and lacked standing to initiate foreclosure proceedings on the Property.

The court ultimately held (1) plaintiff has not sufficiently plead a breach of contract claim; (2) plaintiff’s claims for gross negligence and violation of the duty of good faith fail as a matter of law; (3) plaintiff’s allegations based on violations of the TILA and the RESPA were barred by the applicable statute of limitations and failed to state a claim because U.S. Bank was not the originating lender; and (4) plaintiff’s claims for fraud violations of the RICO, and lack of standing all failed as a matter of law.

For those reasons, this court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

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Law360 quoting me in BofA Fight Won’t Blunt DOJ’s Favorite Bank Fraud Weapon (behind a paywall). It reads in part,

A federal magistrate judge on Thursday put a Justice Department case against Bank of America Corp. using a fraud statute from the 1980s in peril, but the case’s limited scope means the government is not likely to abandon its favorite financial fraud fighting tool, attorneys say.

Federal prosecutors have increasingly leaned on the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, a relic of the 1980s savings and loan crisis, as a vehicle for taking on banks and other financial institutions over alleged violations perpetrated during the housing bubble years.

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Some banking analysts hailed the ruling as potentially the beginning of the end of the government’s pursuit of housing bubble-era violations.

“If the judge’s recommendation is accepted by the federal district court judge, then this development will represent a significant setback for the government’s legal efforts and likely mark the beginning of the end for crisis-era litigation,” Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading LLC, said in a client note.

However, others say the government’s case was brought under relatively narrow claims that Bank of America did not properly value the securities to induce regulated banks to purchase securities they otherwise might not have.

That is a tougher case to bring than the broad wire fraud and mail fraud claims that were available to the government under FIRREA. The government has employed those tools with great success against Bank of America and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC in other cases in far-flung jurisdictions, said Peter Vinella, a director at Berkeley Research Group.

“There was no issue about whether BofA did anything wrong or not. It’s just that the case was filed incorrectly. It was very narrowly defined,” he said.

It is not entirely clear that Bank of America is in the clear in this case, either.

U.S. district judges tend to give great deference to reports from magistrate judges, according to David Reiss, a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

But even if U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. accepts the recommendation, the Justice Department has already lodged a notice of appeal related to the report. And in the worst-case scenario, the government could amend its complaint.

A victory for Bank of America in the North Carolina case is unlikely to have a widespread impact, given the claims that are at stake. The government will still be able to bring its broader, and more powerful claims, under a law with a 10-year statute of limitations.

“It is one opinion that is going against a number of FIRREA precedents that have been decided in others parts of the country,” Reiss said. “It also appears that this case was brought and decided on much narrower grounds than those other cases, so I don’t think that it will halt the government’s use of the law.”