Foreclosure Process is ‘Utterly Broken’

A recent study of San Francisco home foreclosures found widespread irregularities in almost all the home seizures scrutinized. The report, commissioned by San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, was prepared by Aequitas Compliance Solutions Inc. of Newport Beach.

Company partner Lou Pizante conducted the study. He explained its findings …

Us: What did your report show?

Lou: We reviewed about 16% of all foreclosure sales that occurred in San Francisco from 2009 through 2011. The audit shows that 99% of the sampled foreclosures contain at least one irregularity and 84% appear to contain one or more clear violations of law.

Us: What were the key problems identified in your report?

Lou: We looked at six general subject areas, including assignments (which relate to chain of title), notices of default and trustee sale and suspicious activity (like robo-signing). The report, which you can download from the Aequitas website, explains these things in laymen terms. Within each subject area, we looked at a variety of issues.

Two-thirds of the loans had four or more exceptions and more three-quarters of the loans had violations across three or more of the six subject areas. In other words, this was not a case of most of the loans having one irregularity. Most of the loans had many irregularities across different stages of the foreclosure process.

We also compared the MERS database to public records. MERS was created by the mortgage industry as, essentially, an alternative to the public land records system. It is an electronic registry for tracking ownership interests and servicing of mortgage loans. We found that in 58% of the cases the beneficial owner of loan as entered on the trustee’s deed upon sale conflicted with the owner of the loan according to the MERS database.

Us: Weren’t most of these homeowners likely to lose their homes to foreclosure anyway? Why does this matter?

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