Professor Linda Fisher
Testifies Before Congress on Mortgage Fraud, Robo-Signing and Predatory Lending
Professor Linda Fisher, long noted for expertise in mortgage fraud, predatory lending and related foreclosure issues, was called to testify before the House of Representatives, Financial Services Committee hearing on “Robo-Signing, Chain of Title, Loss Mitigation and Other Issues in Mortgage Servicing.”
Professor Fisher asserted in her testimony that contrary to the claims of some, Robo-signing, the practice of loan servicer employees signing high volumes of affidavits in foreclosure cases, is not merely a “technical issue” which can violate state false swearing and unfair and deceptive acts and practices statutes and deprives homeowners of due process. But that:
“robo-signing and other false attestations are only the tip of the foreclosure iceberg. The iceberg includes the entire servicing and default servicing system, with its rampant inaccuracies, lack of verification procedures and lack of accountability. Automation, cost-cutting, and financial incentives to foreclose have combined to create a treadmill that cannot stop to rectify errors or modify mortgages so that qualified homeowners can remain in their homes and investors can continue to receive a stream of income.”
Professor Fisher also noted the importance of not only the false attestations, but the importance of the underlying substance of that which was asserted by loan servicers and robo-attested to by their employees.
“For instance, an affidavit may falsely state that a homeowner has been served with process, that the foreclosure plaintiff is the holder of the mortgage obligation, that an assignment of a mortgage and note timely took place, or that inflated amounts are owed to the lender. When the plaintiff is not the party entitled to foreclose because the wrong party was named or because the plaintiff trust did not hold the obligation at the time of filing, it does not have standing and is not entitled to judgment.”
Professor Fisher also noted that up until recently, “in well over 90% of foreclosures in New Jersey the homeowner defendants were unrepresented by counsel and that without counsel it is unlikely that these errors would have been discovered.” Professor Fisher stated: “It is likely that many of the unrepresented borrowers are losing their homes because of servicer errors.”