Friday, March 9, 2012

Homeowners Stand Up To Foreclosure Attempts By Demanding That Banks Prove They Still Own Their Notes

More and more homeowners are challenging their foreclosures, including forcing banks that have forged or lost important mortgage paperwork to prove their authority to foreclose.  Our Oak Park foreclosure defense lawyers applaud such efforts and encourage every homeowner to seriously consider all of his or her legal options.  We understand that your home is an investment worth protecting. 

According to a recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal, many foreclosed homeowners are now demanding that banks prove they still hold their notes.  This comes in the wake of a $25 million settlement last month between several major U.S. banks and the federal government, as well as 49 state attorneys general.  The banks—including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase—agreed to pay that amount to settle allegations that bank employees engaged in robo-signing involving thousands of documents.  The instances of robo-signing typically involved low-level employees faking signatures on mortgage documents, backdating documents, and “re-creating” documents.  With their records in terrible disarray, it is difficult for some banks to prove their authority to foreclose.  Many defrauded homeowners merely have made a simple demand to their banks: prove you still own the mortgage.
At the Emerson Law Firm, we know it is more important than ever for homeowners to fight back against Illinois mortgage foreclosure.  Although the recent settlements may appear to be very large, for such gigantic companies the settlement amounts are a drop in the bucket.  Now that they have settled many of the allegations against them and have been bailed out by the taxpayers, big banks can carry on business as usual.  While many defrauded homeowners probably will lose their homes, forcing them to uproot their lives and families as well as damaging their financial security, these banks likely will be able to continue on with little real detriment, as well as the prospect of making significant future profits.

As those of us working in Oak Park and River Forest mortgage foreclosure have seen, the courts are increasingly taking the side of homeowners when they stand up to banks.  When lenders were unable to produce the legal paperwork tracking their loans, the courts recently have supported the claims of homeowners.  After all, it is the bank’s burden to prove that a homeowner has defaulted.

We know that Chicagoland residents have every right to defend their property.  The high number of irregularities in mortgage paperwork and outright fraud serve as a warning that Illinois homeowners should consider contesting their bank’s actions. 

Some may suggest that foreclosed homeowners are trying to get a “free house,” but this simply is not true.  Banks and mortgage companies absolutely are responsible for maintaining their mortgage documents and bear the burden of proving they have the right to foreclose on a house.  The big banks and other lenders have already caused enough damage to our economy and sense of security.  If you believe your bank or mortgage company engaged in robo-signing or otherwise acted fraudulently, please think about contacting a qualified legal professional today. 

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