Fascinating Detail in NY Foreclsoure Plan — Bank Officials With Modification Power Required to Attend

This might be the breakthrough.  The New York Times reports on the detail in Chief Judge Lippman’s plans for foreclosure processes in New York.  The key — and its critical — is that banks with be sending people with actual authority to modify loans.

New York State’s courts, frustrated by delays in thousands of foreclosure cases, are planning to speed them along in a new program that would give judges added control and require banks to send officials who have the power to alter loans to keep people in their homes.

“There will be no more excuses, no more delays,” the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said in announcing the plan last week. “Real negotiations will take place.”

The move is the latest effort to stiffen court foreclosure procedures. In at least 19 states that have such court programs, efforts to settle foreclosure cases have often met with obstacles, including what some judges have found to be bad-faith negotiations by lenders.

The New York plan includes an unusual agreement by four banks to send representatives to court who can approve loan modifications. New York’s mortgage settlement conferences have often been paralyzed by repeated requests for information and the absence of anyone with authority from the banks.

Interestingly, as the Times puts it:   “State law requires that bank representatives “be fully authorized to dispose of the case,” but enforcement of that requirement has been sporadic.”

Here is part of the Rule governing mandatory settlement conferences in foreclsoure, as linked by the Times:

  (c) At any conference held pursuant to  this  section,  the  plaintiff
  shall  appear in person or by counsel, and if appearing by counsel, such
  counsel shall be fully authorized to dispose of the case.

The plan will start in Queens, and be expanded.  There is discussion in the article about whether there are enough resources for the homeowners to have representation.

But the bottom line is that judges should now be in a position to take charge, and get cases properly resolved.  I hope that there will be good research into the impact of this change, as well as of whether counsel for the defendants are or are not needed to reap maximum benefit from the program.

I see this as another great example of “simplification” in the sense of trying to get the right people in place at the right time to get cases resolved.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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