Benjamin M. Lawsky | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "Benjamin M. Lawsky"

Force-placed insurance probe gains steam

Force-placed insurance probe gains steam


Just like everything fraud involving the Banks, Fannie and Freddie…wait until they get their hands on the rentals!

WSJ-

New York’s top financial regulator is expanding an investigation of insurers that force homeowners policies on borrowers after turning up evidence that consumers were charged too much, according to people familiar with the situation.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, is issuing new subpoenas and formal document requests to several insurers, demanding justification for how their rates and loss ratios were calculated, these people said.

The loss ratio is the percentage of premiums collected by an insurer that is paid out to policyholders. Based on information gathered in initial inquiries since the probe was launched in October, Mr. Lawsky…

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Expanding Reach, Cuomo Creates Second Cop on Financial Beat

Expanding Reach, Cuomo Creates Second Cop on Financial Beat


“It’s not common to have a combined regulatory and enforcement function,” he said, adding, “It’s effectively very competitive with the attorney general’s jurisdiction.”

The two agencies are publicly cordial, but behind the scenes they are much like two boxers feeling each other out in an opening round. Already, turfs are overlapping.

 NYT-

Benjamin M. Lawsky is not the attorney general of New York State.

But one could be forgiven for being confused. Since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo installed him as superintendent of a new state agency, the Department of Financial Services, which became active in October, Mr. Lawsky has been making headlines normally associated with attorneys general.

He has forced insurers to turn over more than $100 million in unpaid death benefits to surviving family members, dispatched rafts of subpoenas to banks, and pressed lenders to curb abusive foreclosure practices.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Force-Placed Insurance | “a silent killer harming both consumer and investors while enriching the banks and their affiliates.”

Force-Placed Insurance | “a silent killer harming both consumer and investors while enriching the banks and their affiliates.”


ONE of the richest and most secretive sources of profit in the mortgage business is coming under scrutiny.

It’s about time.

 Gretchen Morgenson-

Investigators are training their sights on a type of hazard insurance policy known as force-placed insurance, a type of policy that has driven up costs for homeowners and pushed some into foreclosure. People who buy certain mortgage securities may be getting hurt, too.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, is investigating institutions that underwrite and sell force-placed insurance. Last fall, his office began sending subpoenas to insurance agents and brokers. Requests for information also went out to insurance companies that write such policies.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Coping With High-Priced Insurance That Lenders Make You Buy

Coping With High-Priced Insurance That Lenders Make You Buy


NYTimes-

FORCE-PLACED insurance. Most homeowners never hear about it until their mortgage lender sends them a letter saying that they must have flood or some other kind of insurance and that if they don’t act quickly, the lender will buy it for them — at a price, it turns out, that is almost always much higher than the market rate.

I was one of those homeowners, and I wrote a column last year about how difficult it was to get this type of insurance removed. I was reminded of that column when I read a colleague’s article about New York State investigating banks for making homeowners buy this overpriced insurance.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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New York Regulator Probing Banks, Insurers on Forced Home Insurance Policies — Sources

New York Regulator Probing Banks, Insurers on Forced Home Insurance Policies — Sources


Keep digging down the rat hole and you’ll eventually get to the bottom of the Pyramid aka Ponzi!

American Banker-

New York’s Department of Financial Services has been probing banks and insurance companies for allegedly obtaining excessive profits on homeowners’ policies that they force borrowers to pay for when their insurance lapses, said people familiar with the matter.

Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky in the fall of 2011 dispatched formal letters to insurers and subpoenas to insurance agents and insurance brokerages run by several large banks to gather information on their practices, the people said.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Superintendent Lawsky Protects Homeowners In Foreclosure From Delays Caused By Baum Law Firm’s Closing

Superintendent Lawsky Protects Homeowners In Foreclosure From Delays Caused By Baum Law Firm’s Closing


Press Release

December 16, 2011

Contact: David Neustadt (212) 709-1691

Superintendent Lawsky Protects Homeowners In Foreclosure From Delays Caused By Abusive Law Firm’s Closing

Significant Delays Expected After Closing of Steven J. Baum P.C.; Firm Handled an Estimated 40% of New York Foreclosures.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Financial Services Superintendent, today said homeowners facing foreclosure should not have to pay additional costs or penalties because of the closing of the largest foreclosure law firm in New York. “New Yorkers facing foreclosure should not be penalized in any way because of delays which may arise because many mortgage servicers will now need to find new counsel. It adds insult to injury for New Yorkers to suffer further as a result of the shuttering of this abusive and discredited firm,” Superintendent Lawsky said. In an industry-wide letter to mortgage servicers operating in New York, Superintendent Lawsky said servicers should proceed expeditiously to substitute new counsel in foreclosure cases previously handled by the Steven J. Baum law firm, which closed last month. However, he said homeowners should not be charged penalties, fees, costs or interest accrued as the direct result of delays caused by the Baum firm’s closing and the substitution of counsel.

A leading mortgage servicer, Ocwen Financial Corporation, has already signed an agreement with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) promising to refrain from charging homeowners for such costs. Ocwen agreed it would not penalize homeowners affected by the Baum closing in an amendment to an agreement reached in September with DFS to adhere to groundbreaking mortgage servicing reforms designed to address troublesome practices in the servicing industry generally.

Based in Amherst in Erie County, Baum closed after being fined $2 million by the federal government for its foreclosure practices, including allegations of “robo-signing,” and after Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae removed the firm from their lists of approved law firms.

The Baum firm represented plaintiffs in an estimated 40 percent of the foreclosure proceedings in New York in 2010. Servicers across the state will now have to hire new counsel, who will have to gather and review case files, and ask courts for the approval of new legal representation. As a result, significant delays in pending foreclosure cases are expected.

In the letter to servicers, Lawsky noted that one Baum attorney had asked for a 60 to 90 day continuance for a settlement conference in order to facilitate a change in counsel. Such a delay could cost a homeowner between $1,540 and $2,310 in additional interest charges based on a $150,000 mortgage at a 6.5 percent interest rate.

Meanwhile on December 12, 2011, another mortgage servicer, Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, became the eighth servicer to agree to adhere to the landmark reforms in Lawsky’s Agreement on Servicing Practices. The others are Ocwen, Morgan Stanley, Saxon, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Vericrest Financial, Goldman Sachs Bank and Litton Loan Servicing. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, services more than 216,000 loans nationally with a total unpaid principal balance of more than $16.4 billion and more than 5,800 loans in New York with a total unpaid principal balance of more than $829 million.

Specialized also agreed to refrain from charging homeowners for costs due to delays caused by the Baum firm closing or substitution of counsel.

“I commend Specialized Loan Servicing for being a leader and agreeing to adhere to these higher standards that protect homeowners from abuse. The Cuomo Administration has made it clear that we will do everything possible to see that fair and sensible reforms are put in place in the mortgage industry,” Lawsky said. “Moreover, with the letter issued to the servicing industry today, we are ensuring that borrowers facing foreclosure will not be charged for delays in court appearances, including settlement conferences, which may occur through no fault of their own due to the Baum firm closing.”

Kirsten Keefe, Senior Attorney in the Albany office of Empire Justice Center said, “Empire Justice Center applauds the NYS Department of Financial Services for taking swift steps to prevent any negative financial impact on the thousands of distressed homeowners affected by the closure of the Baum firm. There is a misperception that foreclosure delays benefit homeowners, but that is not the case. Not only is there a psychological cost to homeowners when cases drag on, but there are serious and significant financial consequences as hundreds to even thousands of dollars of additional interest accrues each month a loan languishes in foreclosure. Every dollar of added interest, fees or costs jeopardizes a homeowner’s ability to save their home. We hope the DFS’s actions today are embraced quickly by all servicers so that these innocent homeowners are not left paying for the mistakes of others.”

Josh Zinner, Co-Director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), said: “The abusive foreclosure practices of the Baum law firm have caused great harm to homeowners and communities throughout the state. We strongly support efforts by the Department of Financial Services to ensure that New York homeowners are not penalized by mortgage servicers for the demise of the Baum law firm.”

Chuck Bell, Programs Director of Consumers Union, said: “Foreclosure proceedings are traumatic enough for consumers, without the pain and expense of lengthy legal delays, higher interest charges and fees. We applaud the Cuomo administration’s efforts to provide vigorous oversight of mortgage servicing practices, and protect New York consumers against the huge potential disruption caused by the closure of the Baum law firm.”

The agreements announced today were arranged through the work of Executive Deputy Superintendent Joy Feigenbaum of the Financial Frauds & Consumer Protection Division, Associate Counsel Brian Montgomery, Assistant Counsel Max Dubin and Associate Counsel Ellen Buxbaum with the assistance of Deputy Superintendent of Mortgage Banking Rholda Ricketts.

 

source: dfs.ny.gov

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Benjamin M. Lawsky: Wall Street’s New Watcher

Benjamin M. Lawsky: Wall Street’s New Watcher


Congratulations.

I can only hear the whispers down in halls of wall street. If he continues as he has… Wall Street better worry. The shell games are moving closer and closer to shutting down permanently.

 

WSJ-

Two weeks after moving into a skyscraper near Wall Street to start assembling a muscular new agency overseeing banks and insurers in New York, Benjamin M. Lawsky got a surprise during an introductory meeting with a midlevel manager: His power was even broader than he thought.

The 41-year-old former federal prosecutor, who spent the last four years as Andrew Cuomo’s confidant and adviser in the New York attorney general’s office, learned that he had greater latitude to pursue criminal fraud cases than he initially knew.

As the head of the New York State Department of Financial Services

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Goldman Sachs, Litton, Ocwen reach deal on robosigning with NY regulator

Goldman Sachs, Litton, Ocwen reach deal on robosigning with NY regulator


WSJ–

The mortgage industry will take a step toward cleaning up some of its most controversial practices under a deal between a New York regulator and three financial firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Under the agreement with the state’s financial-services superintendent, Benjamin M. Lawsky, the three firms—Goldman, its Litton Loan Servicing business and Ocwen Financial Corp.—promised to end so-called robo-signing, in which bank employees signed foreclosure documents without reviewing case files as required by law. They also agreed to comb through loan files for evidence they mishandled borrowers’ paperwork and to cut mortgage payments for some New York homeowners.

The …

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

[ipaper docId=63786425 access_key=key-i3bozvbr23c15k30t99 height=600 width=600 /]

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