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Foreclosure Negotiations Difficult

April 8th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

25 thousand people have called a Florida Bar Foundation hotline seeking foreclosure help since it was set up last June.  Volunteer attorneys have helped several thousand people, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, one of the biggest problems has been finding someone who can negotiate on behalf of the lender.

Daniel will be 83 in July is facing foreclosure, and doesn’t want to be identified.  He refinanced in 2006, got into an adjustable loan he didn’t understand and he couldn’t afford. His legal aid lawyer says he is a victim of predatory lending.

“I have always been able to take care of myself,” Daniel said. “I don’t know what it is to sit down and have people give me anything.”

When they started fighting back, Daniel and his lawyers found what thousands of others have discovered.

Because Daniel’s loan was sold and then turned into a security, figuring out who to talk to has been a nightmare for the lawyer.

The mortgage holder is so far removed from the originator, tracking down who can negotiate is almost impossible.  Jamie Ito is Daniel’s lawyer.

“It’s hard to find somebody there that has the authority to get a modification,” Ito said. “They request documentation, which we send. They say they didn’t receive it, we have to send it again.”

Florida Chief Financial Office Alex Sink is calling for a summit with lenders.

“So that we can sit down together and discuss the best way to keep Floridians in there homes,” Sink said.

For now Daniel is just hoping for the best.

“I’m not thinking about leaving,” Daniel said. “I don’t know where I’d go. I have nowhere to go.”

Banks have long said they are willing to talk with homeowners before going to court. But complicated financial transactions are making their promises near impossible to keep.

The state’s twelve largest lenders have been called to summit to work out contract problems. The summit is set for April 20th in Tampa.

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