Foreclosure legislation invites bank fraud
New legislation — House Bill 87 and Senate Bill 1666 — which backers say will clear the backlog of foreclosure cases in Florida actually will create more problems by putting speed ahead of justice.
The backlog is blamed on homeowners allegedly dragging their feet. In reality, banks have been the cause because of federal directives to pursue loss-mitigation alternatives or by voluntarily slowing down the process to explore settlement options in the interests of both parties and the market.
However long it takes to conclude a foreclosure in Florida, given the unprecedented magnitude of the fraud, forgery and abuses to which banks have admitted, we should exempt this category of civil court cases from “time to complete” requirements.
We should not make public policy decisions based on unverified, incorrect and misleading information, particularly when the data are provided by the same industry that admitted wrongdoing.
The next problem behind any push for foreclosure reform is that the real-estate market is improving. Prices have rebounded in Florida because, in part, inventories of foreclosed homes are being managed by the banks and homeowners.