Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary

NEW YORK – In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn't define the word "affidavit." Others didn't know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers' accusations about document fraud.

The Great Depression began in October 1929 with the collapse of the stock market bubble, inflated by everyone and their cousin buying stock on easy credit with the expectation that the market could go no where but up.

The current economic downturn -- often compared to the 1930s -- will likely be remembered similarly. Mortgage lenders tossed underwriting standards out the window and extended mortgages to anyone who could fog a mirror holding the same "sky's the limit" expectations of residential real estate. The sad story continues to unfold, with mortgage servicers reportedly setting minimal qualifications for those who process foreclosures.

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