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October 15, 2010

Who's signing the foreclosure documents?

The "robo-signers" we all keep hearing about were so dubbed because they signed thousands of foreclosure documents a month for mortgage servicers -- too many to personally verify the information included, as affidavits require.

Here's something different: Attorneys at two Maryland law firms handling foreclosures have acknowledged in court filings that they didn't actually sign their own affidavits, also a requirement. Others signed the attorneys' names for them.

Here's the original story, which ran Wednesday, and a follow-up.

So that's why I've neglected you all the past couple days. Sorry! Been a bit busy.

The reader reaction runs the gamut.

"Big deal. So one faceless employee signed for another faceless employee.  The fact remains that the homeowner defaulted.  Let's move this along and clear up this mess quickly," one reader wrote in the story comments.

Another commented that "failing to do due diligence is what got everyone into this mess. So yet again, no lessons learned by the banks or mortgage companies. I heard someone say this morning (and I agree) that since we bothered to bail out some of these institutions, the absolute least they could do in return is ensure they're *doing their work*."

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: The foreclosure mess


I would probably surmise that the so-called "moratorium" on foreclosures imposed for political reasons 2 years ago in MD led to a huge backlog. You are implying that mortgage foreclosure attorneys deliberately falsified documents. Unfair and Untrue! Perhaps you should are throwing stones in the wrong direction. nformation

I'm not implying, Bill -- I'm reporting what the attorneys themselves acknowledged in court filings, which is that they didn't sign some of their own affidavits but instead directed others to sign for them.

Maryland's 2008 change in the law lengthened the time involved between first missed payment and the earliest point a lender could foreclose. That was seen by some as a temporary moratorium. But the lending industry was on the task force that recommended this change.

From my point of view, robo-signers are the least problem in the as-is situation. Maybe it helps some lawyer make additional buck or two.

This is such B freaking S. For all the press this is getting, all they have found is a handful of people that actually SHOULD'T have been foreclosed on. I wouldnt be suprised if this wasnt just some back room deal between the banks and the gov't to keep the peace for just a little while longer and not flood the market.

The finger pointing and sheer amount of stupidity is about to give me an aneurysm.

Careless paper + late payments != no foreclosure

Um, elweedz, exactly how the banks making out by being stuck with these houses, or by not actually owning them despite having paid for them???

Once again, I see massive amounts of foreclosures as the cure. And, no surprise, our gluttonous Ponzi system is trying to put the cap back on the medicine bottle

Tom- Dont think for a minute that this wont get worked out with some kind of "robo-signing amnesty period". The gov't gives a nod to banks in a back room deal, they agree to suspend foreclorsures for awhile to buy time. There is no way this results in the implied outcome of all of sudden nobody owns the house anymore. Everyone knows home closings fall off a cliff during the fall and winter months and much more so this year. The govt't is allready in bed with the banks (see 0% cash window so that the banks can buy treasuries at 3% and pay themselves record bonuses for being such geniuses).

Serisously- what do you think will happen? Unwinding the millions of loans over the last decade?

We really need to find a fair way to implement a way to execute those who screw with peoples lives for money. All of this mess in how capitalism is working makes one think perhaps some serous changes need to be made in the system to remove the extream greed. Let's limit the size of all businesses and personal wealth. Let's allow wealth to be gained but spread it to include more. By limiting business size we create more jobs, creat prospects for better competition to benifit the employed and the consumer. We as well create more tax income for services. We also should limit foreign trade to a certain amount per company based on number of Americans employed. We bring back lower skilled jobs by restricting.give the millions of people who will never qualify for higher education the opportunity to work and make a living and get of welfare. Greed needs to go, our current capitalistic system is distroying lives, the nation, and our very way of life. Limit the size of business and trade, give opportunity back to many more.


The word limit doesn't exist in capitalism. There will always be a winner and loser in capitalism.

I could not DISagree with you more. Putting limits on businesses and spreading wealth are not the answers-unless or course you are a Marxist.. The answer was to let capitalism run it's course and let those who took large risks and failed, no matter how large, to fail. Rather, our political hacks bailed out the financially irresponsible borrowers and lenders, and threw the fiscally responsible under the bus. Capitalism was ignored - and instead we now have neither a Republic or a Democracy, but instead an Oligarchy.

Woe is our Constitution!

The WSJ had an excellent editorial yesterday on the "robo-signer" scandal. If you have a subscription, you can view it here:

For those of you who don't have a subscription, I'll summarize it by saying their view is that process errors should not entitle someone to a free house. I think most people would agree with that.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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