Monday, October 29, 2012

Attorney Jason A. McGrath Named Chairperson of the City of Charlotte’s Civil Service Board

Attorney Jason A McGrath Named Chairperson of the City of Charlotte’s Civil Service Board

Jason A. McGrath, Esquire, of McGrath & Spielberger, PLLC, has been elected Chairperson of the City of Charlotte’s Civil Service Board. The Civil Service Board has certain authority over hiring, firing, promotion and discipline for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte Fire Department. Mr. McGrath is honored to have been entrusted with this leadership position.

In addition to running the Civil Service Board's monthly meetings, the Chairperson presides over administrative / quasi-judicial hearings, which can last several days. At these hearings (which involve other Board Members, an Assistant City Attorney, the City of Charlotte's Clerk's Office, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department or Charlotte Fire Department officials and members, and attorneys) Mr. McGrath is required to make evidentiary and legal rulings and handle other legal and procedural issues. Given his background as a both a criminal prosecutor who worked with law enforcement, and a civil trial lawyer, Mr. McGrath has relevant professional experiences which assist him in performing his duties for the City of Charlotte.

Friday, October 19, 2012

National Mortgage Settlement – Which Mortgage Servicers Are In Violation?

The National Mortgage Settlement – Which Mortgage Loan Servicers Are In Violation?

This firm regularly attends the presentations put forth by the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, which is in charge of enforcement of the $25 billion dollar National Mortgage Settlement, also referred to as the Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement.  Joseph Smith, former North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, is in charge of oversight.  His office recently provided us with important updated information as to which of the five largest mortgage loan servicers appear to be violating the terms of the settlement, and how often.  Those mortgage loan servicers, of course, are Bank of America, Citibank, GMAC/Ally Financial, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo Bank.

More than half of the complaints filed by borrowers or their representative have been filed against Bank of America; in other words, Bank of America has more complaints against it than the other four mortgage loan servicers combined. Here are the number of complaints, and against which of the large banks:

  • 60 complaints against Bank of America

  • 20 complaints against JP Morgan Chase

  • 7 complaints against Citibank

  • 3 complaints against GMAC/Ally

  • Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage loan servicer, has 26 complaints filed thus far.  

It should be noted that the National Mortgage Settlement has only been existence for approximately six months, and that many are unaware of the ability to file a complaint or how to do so.  Not surprisingly, the most common types of complaints relate to mortgage loan modification, foreclosure, customer service, and documentation issues.

Unfortunately, the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight does not have the ability to intervene in any particular matter.  However, if a pattern or practice of noncompliance by BOA or one of the other mortgage loan servicers can be established, the Monitor will have additional powers under the terms of the settlement to take action against that particular mortgage loan servicer.  Many of us whose work involves distressed homeowners, foreclosures, mortgage relief, and similar issues are not surprised to find that BOA has the most complaints.  Proportionally,Bank of America should have a number of complaints, due to the sheer volume of the loans it services, but it should not have as many as it does.

This firm continues to seek assistance for distressed homeowners, including relief which may be obtained under the National Mortgage Settlement (which is also sometimes referred to as the Department of Justice or DOJ Settlement). We are pleased to report that several clients have had extremely beneficial outcomes in relation to the National Mortgage Settlement.  Of course, each case and each client is different, and no lawyer or law firm can ever guarantee a particular outcome in a particular matter.  Relief under the NMS can include mortgage loan modification (occasionally including principal loan balance reduction), refinancing, foreclosure avoidance or forbearance, short sale assistance, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, and compensation for wrongful foreclosures.