Twenty-five states have bills in front of lawmakers that seek to make it more challenging for banks to foreclose on home owners, The Wall Street Journal reports. But lenders argue that the bills are roadblocks that are hindering a housing recovery.
For example, on Monday, California state lawmakers approved a bill that would apply a set of stricter rules on mortgage servicers who foreclose on home owners and open servicers up to new legal liabilities. While some say it will help ensure the foreclosure process is more fair and transparent, others have argued that it will lengthen the process of foreclosures in the state. The bill still must be approved by the state’s governor to go into effect.
Other states have adopted, or are considering, similar guidelines on foreclosures. Nevada lawmakers last fall approved a bill that made it a felony for lenders to make any false representations when signing off on foreclosures. The bill caused foreclosures to plunge in the state, but housing analysts say it created a backlog of severely delinquent mortgages.
Bank officials are concerned that states’ new rules will slow the foreclosure process and prolong the foreclosure crisis.
“Should all 50 states decide to go down their own path, lenders are going to have multiple processes, each with their own little nuances, and every single penny of that cost will be borne by tomorrow’s borrowers,” David Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told The Wall Street Journal.
What’s more, the mortgage industry says the bills do little to truly help borrowers avoid foreclosure altogether but rather just drag out the process.
“It would allow consumers to extend, in theory payment-free, the entire proceeding for months while waiting for the deliberation of the modification effort,” Stevens says.