Kramer-Kaslow: U.S. Foreclosure Procedures May Lead to More Bank Accountability

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Attorney Philip Kramer Weighs in on Negotiations between Major Banks and Regulatory Officials on Foreclosure Procedures

Kramer & Kaslow

According to the New York Times, many of the nation’s top mortgage servicers are getting ready to sign agreements with regulatory officials to reform the way they handle foreclosure procedures.

According to the article, sources who asked not to be named because the talks between the servicers and regulators are confidential, say there will be substantive changes to the ways banks and servicers do business going forward. Homeowners will have a single contact point rather than being shuttled back and forth between random servicing staff, bank and servicing employees will receive more training, and oversight of the lenders and servicers will be assigned to third parties – in all likelihood this will be performed by law firms. In addition, servicers will agree to halt foreclosure proceedings while loan modification discussions are ongoing. Another part of the agreement ostensibly provides for a compensation pool for people who have been wronged.

Attorney Philip Kramer of the law firm of Kramer & Kaslow feels the changes are long overdue. “Lenders have been abusing homeowners for years,” Kramer says when contacted for a comment. “What I see here is banks agreeing to a bare minimum standard, something that should have been in place all along. The agreement doesn’t begin to rectify the enormous wrongs that have been perpetrated. And those wrongs took place over a long period of time. This strikes me as an attempt to avoid responsibility rather than accepting responsibility.”

Philip Kramer applauds the new rules but still feels that this is the bare minimum banks should have been doing all along. “When the pressure’s on, people tend to see the light,” says Kramer. “I have seen a lot of jailhouse conversions in my time. And that’s what this feels like to me. The compensation program is likely to be completely insufficient. My guess is that the banks are trying to get ahead of the Attorneys Generals and the civil law suits that are making their way through the system.”

According to Kramer, the proposed settlement agreement would be with bank regulators. He says the fifty Attorneys General, representing all the states in the union, are also conducting their own discussions with lenders and recently met at the Justice Department. “Lenders seem to be positioning themselves to accept new regulations covering their activities even as they attempt to cut a separate deal with the Attorneys Generals and the Justice Department,” says Kramer.

Philip Kramer feels that the banks have finally begun to acknowledge what he calls their outrageous conduct. “They’ve recognized that what they have done is not going to be swept under the carpet,” says Kramer. “The American public has finally woken up to the egregious nature of the banks’ behavior. The banks get that. There is a lot of wrongdoing to be undone here. Frankly, what we’re seeing now strikes me as too little, too late.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/business/06mortgage.html?_r=1&ref=business
ABOUT PHILIP KRAMER
PHILIP A. KRAMER is the senior partner of the Law Office of Kramer & Kaslow, in Calabasas, California. Kramer & Kaslow is Martindale Hubbell “AV” rated. Mr. Kramer is a perennial recipient of the prestigious “Southern California Super Lawyer” award.

Mr. Kramer received his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC. His practice emphasizes commercial litigation and trial advocacy, with a concentration on business litigation, and real property matters. He has prosecuted and defended cases for over twenty five years.

Mr. Kramer is a licensed real estate broker and has spent considerable time providing legal services in connection with real estate issues relating to loan modification and loss mitigation, land use and zoning, environmental issues, easements, construction and development, finance, and landlord tenant matters.

Mr. Kramer is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of California, the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Military Appeals. Mr. Kramer has tried in excess of 200 cases. He has appeared on nationally televised programs regarding pre-trial procedure and trial strategy and has appeared as a guest lecturer on topics ranging from constitutional law to trial practice, and Mr. Kramer frequently lectures on a broad spectrum of various legal and business issues.

Mr. Kramer also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court and as a Mediator.

Mr. Kramer is also a past president of the Los Angeles West Inns of Court, a national organization dedicated to bringing professionalism and civility back into the legal profession. He also serves on numerous Boards of Directors and serves as an officer in many companies. For more information call (818) 224-3900 or visit http://kramer-kaslow.com

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Stuart R. Simone, Esquire
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