NJ Attorney Fights Foreclosure with Federal Laws

October 27th, 2015 by

NJ Attorney Fights Foreclosure with Federal Laws

In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. In light of CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s recent remarks regarding “mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses”, Joshua Denbeaux explains how his firm combats this growing problem, by using federal laws enforced by the CFPB to protect NJ homeowners in foreclosure.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray delivered remarks to the Consumer Advisory Board last week regarding “arbitration’s role in resolving consumer complaints.”

Director, Richard Cordray

“Companies have been able to use these obscure clauses to rig the game against their customers to avoid group lawsuits. Group lawsuits can result in substantial relief for many consumers and create the leverage to bring about much-needed changes in business practices. But by inserting the free pass into their consumer financial contracts, companies can sidestep the legal system, avoid big refunds, and continue to pursue profitable practices that may violate the law and harm consumers on a large scale, ” Directory Cordray went on to say in prepared comments.

Nowhere else are consumers being harmed on as large scale as in New Jersey where the foreclosure rate is the highest in the U.S., according to a report released by Realty Trac on October 15, 2015. In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. To combat this growing problem, Joshua Denbeaux explains why Denbeaux and Denbeaux proactively fights for the rights of consumers in concert with the CFPB.

Josh Denbeaux, Esq. at CFPB Field Hearing

“I have a transcript where a judge in New Jersey says ‘fraud is not a defense to a foreclosure.’ It’s been said to me off the record 3 or 4 times in different counties. I have four different judges who don’t allow discovery to happen in foreclosure cases because the bank has a note and created an assignment of mortgage,” Mr. Denbeaux asserts.

Free download The Six Warning Signs of a Possible Consumer Protection Law Violation

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675. Tel: 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux is a family operated law firm with a tradition of excellence in consumer rights and family law. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record.

The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts. The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in , consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation, and mortgage foreclosure defense.

House delays consumer mortgage protections

October 12th, 2015 by

House delays consumer mortgage protection

On Oct. 7, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan bill 3192 which could provide the mortgage origination industry with a four-month window (through Feb 1, 2016) in which it will be immune from liability in civil actions by aggrieved consumers and regulatory actions by governmental agencies including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for failures to comply with new standards governing the disclosure of accurate information to consumers in the mortgage origination process.By including a four-month grace period in the Homebuyers Assistance Act, Congress is providing a window of opportunity for mortgage originators to make inaccurate disclosures of loan terms, use bait and switch tactics and other wrongful conduct that caused the economy to grind to a halt in 2008.  This time there is one major difference.  Today, consumers have meaningful federal statutes enacted as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that provide consumer relief and serve as a deterrent to would be wrongdoers.  Now, Congress has voted to allow the bankers to act with complete immunity from the consumer protection statutes it enacted only a few short years ago.

The new mortgage origination disclosures commonly referred to as TRID are intended to eliminate confusion in the loan origination process and improve transparency.  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) claims “without this bill, homebuyers could encounter delays and difficulties when they try to close on their homes.”  We are told expediency is trumping the financial future of individual Americans.  Missing from the quotes of politicians is recognition that the industry has known about the new disclosure rules since November 2013 and were originally scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2015.  During the early summer of 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published formal guides for the mortgage lending industry to rely upon in preparing for TRID taking effect.  After concern from the industry and members of Congress were brought to the attention of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in June 2015, Cordray delayed the August 1, 2015 implementation of TRID to the start of October, 2015.  Accordingly, the industry has already had years of preparation and extra months added to the date upon which it must increase transparency in the lending process.

We must not allow short memories to place the future of individual Americans, and the financial recovery of the nation at risk.  On Oct. 6, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy setting forth the intention of President Obama to veto H.R. 3192 should it be presented to the president for signature.  Knowing the legislation is likely to be blocked is a relief, but a bitter taste lingers that Congress seeks to place the consumer at risk and grant immunity to the mortgage banking industry for it to repeat the ills of loan origination during the 2000s.

Congressional efforts to thwart Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and must be stopped

June 5th, 2015 by

Congressional efforts to thwart CFPB and must be stopped

by Adam Deutsch

As published in the The Hill.

Need a sign that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) is quickly becoming the most effective regulatory arm of the Federal Government?  Look no further than the absolute panic being shown by the home loan industry over changes to the disclosures that must be provided to persons entering into mortgage loan agreements.

Under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), homeowners are entitled to receive disclosures that provide clarity and transparency to the finance terms of a loan prior to closing.  Roughly 18 months ago the CFPB announced a streamlining of disclosure forms known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”), which goes into effect August 1, 2015.  TRID is not a new set of regulations, but rather a consolidation of four existing disclosure rules required under the TILA and RESPA.  In other words, the new rule simplifies the disclosure process for loan originators and brokers, while providing homeowners more clarity in being able to understand the contents of disclosures accompanying loan documents.

Over the past 18 months, the CFPB has gone above and beyond its obligation to provide the industry with education materials to help prepare for the rule change.  The materials include video and written tutorials, compliance guides, uniform templates for disclosures, and timelines explaining when various disclosures must be made.  In April 2014, the CFPB began providing the lending industry with written guide materials.  Despite having substantial notice to prepare for the rule change, the industry has moved into panic mode, defiantly turning to Congress to help give the industry permission to mislead homeowners.

As a result of industry lobbying efforts, on April 27, 2015, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R.2213) which seeks to legislate a safe harbor provision following implantation of the August 1, 2015 TRID rules.  The bill is sponsored by Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).  If adopted, the TRID regulations “may not be enforced against any person until January 1, 2016 and no suit may be filed against any person for a violation of such requirements occurring before such date, so long as such person has made a good faith effort to comply with such requirements.”  The effect of the bill would be catastrophic.  As drafted, the bill would strip homeowners of their private right of action for actual damages and statutory damages suffered by virtue of a mortgage broker or lender’s failure to provide accurate and timely loan disclosures.

A month later, appearing unlikely that H.R.2213 will be adopted, 255 Members of Congress signed a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray requesting that the CFPB itself delay implementation of TRID by adding a grace period allowing the industry to make errors without liability.  The letter states “Even with significant advance notice, understanding how to implement and comply with this regulation will only become clear when the industry gains experience using these new forms and processes in real-life situations.”  Congressional signatories to the letter have drawn a line in the sand declaring that the rights of their constituents are trumped by the rights of the non-voting businesses.

The proposed House of Representatives bill and the May 20 letter to Richard Cordray ask that the lending industry be provided a window of immunity.  This is immunity not only from enforcement by the CFPB, but also from private rights of action from borrowers who are directly harmed by the mortgage loan industry’s conduct.  The Congress members who support the safe harbor have learned nothing from the collapse of the housing market in late 2007.  A safe harbor provision would provide a green light for mortgage brokers and loan originators to return to practices of old, seeking to do as much damage as possible during the immunity period.  Americans should be outraged by the suggestion of providing immunity to lenders from legislation that promotes financial literacy and transparency.  The panic is a sign that the CFPB is producing meaningful and effective legislation pursuant to its authority as created by Congress.  At a minimum, this is a sign that even as Congress ignores its constituents in an effort to follow money, the financial rights of consumers are being guarded by the federal government.

Deutsch, senior associate attorney at Denbeaux & Denbeaux in Westwood, New Jersey, is currently concentrating his practice on consumer rights litigation.

The Lawyer Who Went from Fighting for Guant

February 26th, 2015 by