lawman schneiderman

Attorney general sues HSBC over foreclosures

The legal action, to be filed today in State Supreme Court in Erie County and to be unveiled by the attorney general in a morning news conference in Buffalo, accuses the banking giant of illegally ignoring a state law designed to get homeowners and banks into settlement talks to resolve foreclosure cases.

“Put simply,’’ according to the lawsuit obtained Monday by The Buffalo News, HSBC’s “illegal business practices make it more likely that homeowners will unnecessarily lose their homes.”

The attorney general’s Buffalo field office found more than 200 cases just in Erie County in which the bank ignored a state law to move delinquent mortgage holders into settlement talks to avoid foreclosure. In nine cases, HSBC filed required paperwork more than 900 days late.

At issue is a state law that requires lenders to file a “request for judicial intervention” when they sue a homeowner and to notify a county clerk of the legal action. That intervention filing then is supposed to jump-start a settlement conference – within 60 days – to try to resolve the homeowner’s financial issue before moving to final foreclosure.

But Schneiderman said an Office of Court Administration report last year found 25,000 New York homeowners are in a “shadow docket,” in which a lender has begun foreclosure proceedings without going through the process.

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