Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mortgage Topic Dominates Local News Coverage

The Detroit News has been filled with bad news after bad news for metro homeowners.

Lax oversight spurs foreclosures - Michigan employs only 12 examiners to monitor 2,800 mortgage companies (six until this year) compared to 42 bank examiners Michigan employs to keep an eye on 136 banks (yet, brokers have complained that HR 3915 puts undue regulations and scrutiny on them). There are an estimated 30,000 loan officers in Michigan, with absolutely no requirement for training, licensing or monitoring. And Michigan is one of 12 states that requires no background check whatsoever. With no licensing of loan officers, the state has little means to monitor mortgage originators, and those who defraud borrowers or lenders are rarely caught.

Mortgage fraud gets attention too late - Laure Berman of the Detroit News talks about the mortgage boom, where everybody was happy, and politicians and law enforcers closed their eyes. As she states, "words like 'regulation' and 'licensing' had become as fashionable as 'taxes' in Michigan, and in that vacuum, opportunities for cons abounded." But now that southeastern Michigan is a haven for foreclosures, fraud, and mortgage irregularities, everybody is looking now (yes, everyone IS looking).

Michigan sixth in October foreclosures - one filing for every 334 households, behind only Nevada, California, Florida, Ohio and Georgia. And in Wayne County, that number is one for every 131 households. Yikes.

Foreclosure forum to be held in Detroit - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has set up a forum, to be held Dec. 13 at Cobo Center, that will bring 18 lenders together to field questions and talk about strategies to avoid foreclosure. 30,000 homeowners were chosen (all are at least one to three months behind in their mortgage payments) and will be invited to the forum.

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