Ten banks to pay $8.5 billion to end foreclosure reviews

WASHINGTON, Mon Jan 7, 2013 — A group of 10 mortgage servicers agreed on Monday to pay a total of $8.5 billion to end a U.S. government-mandated case-by-case review of housing crisis foreclosures in an acknowledgement the program had proven too cumbersome and expensive.

Roughly 3.8 million borrowers who were foreclosed on within the time frame of the review will receive cash compensation ranging from hundreds of dollars up to $125,000, depending on the type of errors they experienced, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said.

The reviews followed the “robo-signing” scandal that emerged in 2010 involving allegations banks pursued faulty foreclosures by using defective or fraudulent documents.

Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Case & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. , MetLife Bank and five others will pay $3.3 billion directly to eligible borrowers, and $5.2 billion in loan modifications and forgiveness, regulators said.

Fewer U.S. foreclosures completed in August: CoreLogic

NEW YORK, Thu Oct 4, 2012 – Lenders seized fewer U.S. homes in August, in part due to the rising popularity of alternatives to foreclosure, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Thursday.

There were 57,000 foreclosures completed in August, down from 58,000 in July and 75,000 a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

There were approximately 1.3 million homes in the foreclosure process, accounting for 3.2 percent of all mortgages. That was unchanged from July, but it was down from the 1.4 million, or 3.4 percent, seen in August 2011.

About 3.8 million foreclosures have been executed since September 2008, the throes of the financial crisis.

August was the fourth month that fewer foreclosures were completed. The decrease was in part due to lenders turning to other methods of dealing with distressed homes, such as short sales or loan modifications, said Anand Nallathambi, chief executive officer of CoreLogic.

“The continuing downward trend in foreclosures and a gradual clearing of the shadow inventory are important signals that the recovery in housing is gaining traction,” Nallathambi said in a statement.

Still, there were higher concentrations of foreclosures in some areas. In the last year, nearly half of all completed foreclosures occurred in five states – California, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Georgia.

March foreclosures rise slightly on month, fall on year

NEW YORK, Tue May 1, 2012 – Slightly more foreclosures on U.S. homes were completed in March compared to the month before, though levels were still below those seen a year ago, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Tuesday.

There were 69,000 completed foreclosures in March, up from a revised 66,000 finished in February, but down from 85,000 in March of last year.

In the first quarter, 198,000 foreclosures were completed, off from the 232,000 seen in the first three months of 2011. Since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, there have been about 3.5 million completed foreclosures, CoreLogic said.

A home has completed the foreclosure process when it has been either seized by the lender or sold.

At the same time, there were fewer homes awaiting foreclosure. Foreclosure inventory fell to about 1.4 million homes, or 3.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage, down from 1.5 million, or 3.5 percent, a year ago.

The figures suggest alternatives to foreclosure, such as loan modifications and short sales, are being used to clear the inventory, Anand Nallathambi, chief executive officer of CoreLogic, said in a statement.

The share of borrowers that were more than 90 days behind on their mortgage was unchanged at 7 percent from the previous month, and down from 7.5 percent a year ago.

U.S. foreclosure filings hit four-year low in 2011

NEW YORK ― The number of U.S. homes that received a foreclosure filing fell to a four-year low in 2011 as a slowdown in processing hit the market, RealtyTrac said in a report on Thursday.

Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, slid by 34 percent in 2011, the lowest level since 2007, just as the housing market was starting to crumble. RealtyTrac said there were filings on 1,887,777 homes last year.

Bank seizures of homes fell to 804,423 from 1,050,500 in 2010, also marking the lowest level in four years.

“A big part that is inflating the size of the decrease is a continuing extended foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, director of marketing communications at RealtyTrac.

“Especially in some states, we have a dysfunctional foreclosure process that is bogging down foreclosures, but more importantly, it’s bogging down and hampering the housing recovery.”

Foreclosure activity slowed following claims in 2010 that lenders had relied on “robo-signing” where documents were signed without a review of the case files.

Blomquist said there were signs in recent months that in some markets lenders were starting to tackle the backlog and activity will likely increase in 2012.

Nevada ranked as the state with highest foreclosure rate for the fifth year in a row, with one in 16 Nevada homes receiving at least one foreclosure filing in 2011. Even so, Nevada saw a 31 percent decrease in foreclosure activity for the year.

The length of time for foreclosure processing continued to increase in the final quarter of the year. Homes took on average 348 days to move through the process, up from 336 days in the third quarter and 305 days in the fourth quarter of 2010.