Business

State reviewing lenders' foreclosure practices

Posted October 5, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2010 6:34 p.m. EDT

— The state Attorney General's Office is launching an investigation into what officials call "questionable tactics" during foreclosures.

Investigators with the Consumer Protection Division have sent or plan to send letters this week to more than a dozen mortgage lenders operating in North Carolina to determine if they properly reviewed foreclosure paperwork or worked with customers to modify loans before taking their homes.

"If foreclosures are going through and the lenders aren't paying attention as to whether there's been a good faith effort, and they are foreclosing before that good faith effort to modify (a loan) has been done, then that's a problem," Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

GMAC, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase have already halted foreclosure actions in North Carolina and other states to review how the loans have been handled.

In addition, the Attorney General's Office wants information from Wells Fargo, CitiMortgage, SunTrust Mortgage, PHH Mortgage, OneWest Bank, PNC Mortgage, Aurora Bank, US Bank Home Mortgage, HSBC, MetLife Home Loans, BB&T Mortgage and American Home Mortgage Servicing.

The moves could lead to delays in more pending foreclosures in the state.

For Raleigh resident Dennis Cain, the effort might be too late.

Cain is in the process of moving from his townhouse, saying his attempts to modify his mortgage in recent years have become too much of a bureaucratic hassle.

"I've been living on edge for a year and a half. I wanted to go ahead and ease my mind," he said.

Two years ago, he said, he tried to modify his mortgage payments with Bank of America, and the plan was approved. Months later, he was told he was being evicted because he hadn't paid a fee that went with the modification. He said bank representatives told him he didn't need to pay it.

Since January 2009, he has tried to pay Bank of America, he said, but the bank won't accept his payments.

"I was angry. I was very angry," he said.

Bank of America couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment.

The Attorney General's Office is looking into Cain's case, but he said he has no idea when he will be evicted.

"I don't like being here when I don't know if somebody is going to show up at my door and say, 'You're locked out,'" he said.