Back in March of 2007, I noted on here at The DirtLaw blog that a domino effect was occurring, with local Californian company Central Pacific Mortgage getting little press.
Well, when Countrywide began imploding, it seems that national papers began to pay attention.
Things We Learned in 2007:
- the bad underwriting practices of 2005 are coming back to haunt the industry. Time to revert to tighter underwriting policies.
- when lenders are under water, likely scenarios include
- the short sale,
- the deed-in-lieu
- the judicial foreclosure plus deficience judgment and
- debtors surrendering collateral in bankruptcy
- debtors walking away from the property and not bothering to file bankruptcy
All in all, we've had a busy year at the firm, and I expect to see an increase in the number of judicial foreclosure lawsuits and deficiency judgment activity as well as more loan modifications.
Let's see if my other predictions come to pass about legislation trying to:
a) craft stricter penalties for "predatory lending" (only now vaguely defined by the California Finance Code)
b) modify the anti-deficiency statutes to include re-finance and HELOC loans as well as purchase money loans (possibly with a sunset provision)
c) abridge or abolish the availability of the stated-income loan (think this is already happening, so score 1 for the DirtLaw Blog.)