Bill Creating Foreclosure Protections for Widows and Heirs Explained in New Video

pic 2 SB 1150

“Red tape foreclosures” are a problem that are continuing to plague surviving homeowners throughout California, according to housing counselors and attorneys.

New legislation introduced by Senator Leno and Senator Galgiani, The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights, Senate Bill 1150, would address this problem.

SB 1150 clarifies the responsibilities of a mortgage lender when a borrower dies and passes the home along to a survivor who wishes to assume the home loan. The legislation ensures that heirs receive accurate information about loan assumption and foreclosure prevention programs. It also gives survivors a single point of contact with the lender and the ability to simultaneously apply for loan assumption and modification. SB 1150 is sponsored by the California Alliance for Retired Americans, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates and California Reinvestment Coalition.

A new interview with Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, explains the problems surviving homeowners are facing and how SB 1150 would address it.

If you would like to learn more after watching the video, visit: www.survivorbillofrights.org

Supporters of SB 1150 include

  • California Association of Retired Americans (co-sponsor)
  • Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (co-sponsor)
  • California Reinvestment Coalition (co-sponsor)
  • Attorney General Kamala Harris
  • AARP California
  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel
  • Bay Area Legal Aid
  • California District Attorneys Association
  • California Nurses Association
  • California Professional Firefighters
  • California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
  • California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
  • CALPIRG
  • Capital Impact Partners
  • Community Housing Developers, Inc
  • Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto
  • Consumer Federation of California
  • Courage Campaign
  • Fair Housing of Marin
  • Family Caregiver Alliance
  • Institute on Aging
  • Justice in Aging
  • Legal Services of Northern California
  • Los Angeles County Democractic Party
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Housing Law Project
  • Nehemiah Corporation of America
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of LA County
  • Project Sentinel
  • Public Counsel
  • Public Law Center
  • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation
  • SEIU California
  • The ARC and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration
  • United Domestic Workers of America, AFSCME Local 3930, AFL-CIO
  • Unite Here
  • Western Center on Law and Poverty

The OneWest Bank Foreclosure Tracker: Tracking Foreclosures Across the US

As you may know, OneWest Bank is proposing to merge with CIT Group, creating a Systemically Important Financial Institution, more commonly referred to as a Too Big To Fail Bank.

The California Reinvestment Coalition, along with 100 other California and national nonprofit organizations are opposing this merger, citing a lack of public benefit, concerns about both banks’ Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) records and the future CRA plan of the banks if the merger were to be approved by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  In addition to the 100 national organizations who serve tens of thousands of clients every year, there are also over 21,000 people who have signed petitions sponsored by the Daily Kos and by National People’s Action against the merger.

Another issue that community leaders, homeowners, widowed/widower homeowners are deeply concerned about is OneWest’s foreclosure record.  OneWest has already received over $1 billion from the FDIC for its costs related to foreclosures, and the FDIC estimates it will pay OneWest (owned by billionaires) another $1.4 billion before 2019.

Since October 2014, CRC and other organizations have asked OneWest Bank to disclose the number of foreclosures it has processed since taking over IndyMac Bank in 2009.  We know from ForeclosureRadar.com data that OneWest Bank and its reverse mortgage servicing subsidiary, Financial Freedom, has conducted over 35,000 foreclosures in California.

But, so far, OneWest Bank has either refused to share additional information about foreclosures with its regulators, the Federal Reserve and the OCC, or the regulators have refused to share that information with the public.

So, starting today, we are launching the “OneWest Bank Foreclosure Tracker

Each day, we will be adding new foreclosure notices to this tracker.  If you have a link of a foreclosure notice you’d like to share, please send it to us.  Or, snap a picture of a notice in your local paper and we’ll upload it to the tracker.

SB 1150: New Legislation Would Clarify That Homeowner Bill of Rights Protects Widows Too

AB 244 to Protect Widowed Homeowners

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), a law widely credited with evening the playing field between homeowners and their mortgage servicers in California, has also been duplicated by Nevada and Minnesota.

 

2016  Update: New legislation introduced by Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani provides critical protections for widowed spouses and other survivors who assume home ownership responsibilities when the primary mortgage holder passes away. The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights, (Senate Bill 1150) closes a loophole in California law that fails to provide surviving spouses and children important protections against foreclosure that are available to other homeowners.  

Visit www.survivorbillofrights.org to learn more about this important new bill.

Currently, these homeowners can find themselves caught in a “Catch 22” if they seek a loan modification. Servicers inform them that they can’t be considered for a modification until they assume the mortgage. But, they won’t let them assume the mortgage unless they demonstrate that they can afford it. As a result, mortgage payments are missed, fees rack up, and foreclosure can be the unnecessary outcome.

A few stories below illuminate this problem:

In 2012, the Bookers contacted the non-profit legal assistance firm Housing and Economic Rights Advocates for assistance. Attorney Lisa Sitkins say the Bookers tried to make a $7,500 payment to catch up on the loan, but the bank refused it. “Then they proceed to apply over and over and over again for a loan modification and every time they would get rejected and be told that the house was not ‘owner occupied,'” Sitkins said.. Michael Finney. ABC7News. October 13, 2014. 7 On Your Side Helps With Widow Foreclosure Nightmare

“Ms. Bates, 70, is caught in a foreclosure trap that is ensnaring widows across America: she cannot get help lowering her payments until her name is added to the mortgage note, but the lender says she must be current on payments before that can happen.”  Read complete story here: Mortgage Catch Pushes Widows Into Foreclosure (Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times, 12/1/2012)

“ELK GROVE (CBS13) —The mortgage was in her late husband George’s name. The decorated war veteran died in 2007.  Daughter, April, says she sent Green Tree his death certificate and the grant deed with her mother’s name on it, but says Green Tree will not work with them.”  Read complete story here:  Call Kurtis Investigates: Surviving Family Members Losing Homes Left By Loved Ones (CBS Sacramento, 11/1/2013)

“WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars in foreclosure settlements between big banks and government regulators haven’t helped Laura Biggs. The California woman is scheduled to lose her home nine days before Christmas because her mortgage company concluded that the house is no longer the primary residence of her husband, who’s been dead since 2003.”   Read complete story here: “Bank might foreclose on home because late husband isn’t residing there” (Kevin Hall, McClatchyWashington Bureau, December 9, 2013).

To read the full press release about AB 244, click here: New California Bill Clarifies that Widows are also Protected by California Homeowner Bill of Rights

To shed further light on this issues, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) has created an email address.  For widowed homeowners, or other heirs in similar situations, they can contact HERA via email at: familyhome@heraca.org.  HERA staff will make contact with each person that submits a story to that email address.

Do You Have an IndyMac or OneWest Mortgage, or Financial Freedom Reverse Mortgage? Weigh in on this merger please!

OneWest Protest Picture (3)

Did you hear the news?  After months of opposition to the proposed merger of CIT Group and OneWest Bank, the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced late last Friday that the regulators will host a public hearing on the merger in Los Angeles on February 26th.

If you are a homeowner whose mortgage was or is serviced by OneWest Bank, or a reverse mortgage serviced by Financial Freedom, you should STRONGLY consider sharing your experience with the Federal Reserve and OCC.  The deadline to provide comments was extended until February 26th, and it’s important regulators hear from Main Street as they make their decisions.

Housing counselors rated OneWest Bank as one of the most difficult mortgage servicers to work with in helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure, and if this was your experience, the Federal Reserve and OCC should know about it.

In addition, you may have heard about the controversial “shared loss” agreement the FDIC extended to the billionaire owners of OneWest bank.  Under this agreement, the FDIC is reimbursing OneWest for costs related to foreclosing on IndyMac mortgages.  You can read more about the $1 billion that’s already been paid out, as well as the expected $1.4 billion expected to be paid out before 2019 by reading CRC’s Fact Sheet on this topic.

Did we mention that we had to submit a FOIA request to find out how much the FDIC had paid out?

Financial Freedom, a subsidiary of OneWest who services mortgages, has also been in the news a lot recently for its foreclosure practices, especially as they relate to surviving spouses of deceased reverse mortgage borrowers.  If you have encountered problems in trying to work with Financial Freedom/OneWest after the death of a loved one, CRC would like to hear from you.  Please email: scoffey AT calreinvest.org

It is VITAL that regulators hear from Main Street about this merger.  If you need help submitting comments, please let us know.

You can send an email to these two addresses, and let them know you’re writing about the CIT Group merger with OneWest Bank.  The deadline is February 26, so get those comments in soon!

comments.applications@ny.frb.org and WE.Licensing@occ.treas.gov.

 

PS: If you’d like to learn more about this merger, we are including a few resources below:

Prezi Presentation: The Too Big To Fail Merger of CIT Group and OneWest Bank: What you need to know

The CIT Group/OneWest Bank Merger Resource Center

15,000 Americans Tell Federal Reserve “No Thanks” to CIT Group and OneWest proposed merger