EDITOR’S NOTE: FULL CIRCLE. When I started writing this blog I had researched the Truth in Lending law and concluded that it was one of the better pieces of legislation designed to protect consumers and maintain competition in the marketplace. That said, I advised many lawyers to concentrate on TILA violations because the rescission remedy was effective to remove the mortgage and the MONEY (not the house) due back to the “lender” was subject to constraints (who was the creditor and how much is owed, especially after you offset TILA damages, which are significant.
Alas, Judges read things into the law that were not there. Although the “lender” in rescission was obligated to either return all money paid at closing and return the note cancelled and satisfy the mortgage FIRST (or file a Declaratory Action (lawsuit) within 20 days why the rescission does not apply, the theory emerged even at the appellate level (9th Circuit, Federal) that in order to “rescind” one had to tender the money back and that the amount tendered had to be the amount demanded regardless of the actual amount that was due.
But things are changing. They had to change, because the basic problem with every closing in which their was claim of securitization was that the closing was defective, it lacked the disclosure required by law, and it presented loans that were not within industry standard underwriting of loans, nor were things like borrowers income or the value of the property confirmed by an internal review as was done in all mortgage loans prior to the onset of the securitization cancer.
The proposed CFPB rule simply takes existing law and codifies it in a new way — referring to those loans that comply with TILA as “qualified” and those loans that do not comply with TILA as “unqualified.” My prediction is that this new rule will pass. And with it, the challenge to foreclosures for noncompliance with TILA will rise exponentially because TILA fives the lawyer two things that he ordinarily isn’t seeing these days if he is defending foreclosures — (1) attorney fees and (2) damages, a lot of them, on which he can take a contingency fee. Defeat of the foreclosure by invalidating the mortgage lien leaves the homeowner with a lien free house but an obligation outstanding that can be discharged in bankruptcy.
Such an obligation will also be offset by damages for identity theft because the credit record and personal history of each borrower was used to sell bogus mortgage bonds to investors. Many other causes of action like slander of title flow from the that TILA audit. That is why I suggest to everyone who will listen that they get the COMBO, because that is what gives the TILA analyst vital information about what actually happened after closing, but also to get the LIVINGLIES FORENSIC TILA ANALYSIS.
CFPB LIKELY TO ADOPT RULES REGARDING “QUALIFIED” MORTGAGES
If the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wishes, it could allow borrowers to challenge future foreclosure actions by questioning whether the loan was a “qualified mortgage” in court.
Banks have been lobbying policymakers since May when the Federal Reserve published several options for how lenders must determine a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage under the Truth in Lending Act. The new rules were proposed under the Dodd-Frank Act to outlaw risky and misleading home loans.
One of the options, known as the QM rule, would allow lenders to originate “qualified mortgages” under a legal safe harbor, provided the loans do not have certain features such as negative amortization, balloon payments, interest-only payments, or terms exceeding 30 years. As long as the bank stays within these guidelines, it will be in compliance.
Another option for QM, though, provides a “rebuttable presumption of compliance” clause, meaning the lender is presumed compliant as long as it follows guidelines in the first option and also verify the borrower’s employment, debt-to-income ratio and credit history.
The industry is very concerned that the CFPB, which assumed the rulemaking duty from the Fed this summer, will choose option two. According to some, the “rebuttable presumption” would mean any future foreclosure would be thrown into court. Foreclosure defense attorneys will able to challenge whether or not the loan being foreclosed upon was QM compliant or not, and if it wasn’t, judges could award TILA damages to the borrower.
“It would be much more expensive if everyone did this,” said Richard Andreano, a partner at the financial law firm Ballard Spahr. “It would get to a point to where it would almost be malpractice for a foreclosure defense attorney not to pursue the claim.”
Roy Oppenheim at Oppenheim Law Firm, a defense attorney in Florida, said there would only be challenges brought when the homeowner and the defense attorney have evidence of noncompliance.
“Not every foreclosure defense attorney will do this,” he said. “If they make good loans there should never be a problem.”
Charles Wayne Cox – Oregon State Director for the National Homeowners Cooperative
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