Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NY High Court Chief Announces Initiative Allowing All Empire State Homeowners With Some Legal Representation During Foreclosure Settlement Conferences

In Albany, New York, Reuters reports:

  • A new court initiative will allow all New York homeowners facing foreclosure to obtain legal representation and streamline the process of settling mortgage disputes out of court, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said Tuesday during his annual State of the Judiciary speech.

  • The "unprecedented" deal between the state, legal service groups and four large banks -- Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase and Bank of America -- includes the creation of a new court part that will hear only foreclosure settlement conferences, Lippman said. Each week of the month will be dedicated to a different bank, with one attorney assigned to handle all cases for that lender.

  • "There will be no more excuses, no more delays," Lippman said. "Real negotiations will take place, and homeowners will leave the table with the best available offer."

  • The court system, Lippman said, is seeking to avoid scenarios that can delay settlement conferences for years, including homeowners being told their paperwork is out-of-date and lawyers for banks claiming to have incomplete sets of documents.

  • The program will kick off in New York City, where non-profit legal service groups have agreed to represent all homeowners entering the settlement conference process. The new part will not launch for "at least a couple of months," said Paul Lewis, who helps coordinate courts' handling of foreclosure proceedings for the Office of Court Administration.

For more, see Chief judge announces new foreclosure court part in state of judiciary speech.

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