Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Illinois Foreclosure Complaint Procedure for Wronged Homeowners Soon To Be Announced

Chicagoland homeowners who believe they have been unjustly harmed during a foreclosure proceeding will soon have a new avenue for recourse, according a report in the Chicago Tribune. In the next few weeks, federal regulators will announce a new complaint procedure, which will be led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  Our Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys know that many Chicago residents are struggling to make ends meet, often through no fault of their own.  Even worse, errors, misrepresentations, and other deficiencies in the foreclosure process may have contributed to the hardship that many Illinois homeowners have had to endure.  The new complaint procedure is supposed to fix the problems in the mortgage foreclosure process while also providing some relief to wronged homeowners.

The complaint procedure aims to allow everyone who has a case to be heard and to provide a remedy for those who have been financially injured.  The plan covers a wide range of fraudulent Illinois mortgage foreclosure practices, including instances of robo-signing, such as when bank and lending services employees signed off on foreclosure documents they had not read or verified as accurate. 

The new review procedure will not be open to all homeowners, however.  Only aggrieved borrowers who had a primary residence in any stage of the foreclosure process between January 2009 and December 2010 will be eligible to have their cases reviewed.  Also, only certain lenders will be covered.  Of the 14 servicing companies and banks that will be covered by the new plan, several of the largest in the field are included, such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase.  Smaller entities will also be included—Ally Financial, HSBC North America Holdings, PNC Financial Services, U.S. Bancorp, MetLife, and SunTrust Banks, to name a few.  Additionally, a homeowner may lodge a complaint even if his or her case is still pending or if the foreclosure action was dismissed for some reason.  The eligible claims need only be regarding foreclosures that were pending at any point during the two-year review period covered under the new procedure.

The Chicago foreclosure defense lawyers at the Emerson Law Firm recognize that the new complaint procedure is an important opportunity for Illinois homeowners.  A serious breakdown in the foreclosure process occurred, and significant injustices happened.  It is time for negligent mortgage lenders to rectify their wrongs by affording Chicago residents a chance to have their concerns addressed.  Any borrower who thinks he or she was given the runaround by a bank or service lender, was provided with incorrect or inaccurate information, or did not receive due process under the law will be eligible to have his or her complaint heard. 

The review process will operate as follows.  Independent consultants hired and paid for by the 14 banks and servicers will work together to locate affected borrowers.  The consultants will use intake forms and offer a single website and toll-free phone number for anyone who seeks to have his or her case reviewed.  Affected borrowers can go online to file a request.  They can also print out a request form to submit by mail or to seek assistance in submitting their complaints.  Each complaint will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to identify financial injury or harm.  In cases where injury is found, the servicers and banks will be required to create a remediation plan and make appropriate restitution.  Essentially, they must make the wronged borrowers “whole.”  That could mean paying a monetary settlement. 

If you are a homeowner and think you may have been treated unjustly during a mortgage foreclosure procedure, please contact a qualified legal professional to learn about your rights.  Illinois foreclosure law is changing all the time, so it is essential for Chicagoland residents to be aware of all of the resources available to them. 

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