Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Uniform Commercial Code and mortgage notes

To read this report please visit The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel at its new location here.

When you get there, be sure to sign-up for email or feed delivery of new articles as these links will only be provided for a short time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel has moved: Forwarding address below!


To better serve our clients The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel has moved to new digs!

Our new address is http://theHallmarkAbstractSentinel.com, but you can find us by simply clicking the link below:

The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel


If you are currently receiving, or would like to receive, new articles by feed or by email, when you reach the home page the sign-up forms are in the right-hand column at the top.

Today's article offers a look at social media, blogging and SEO for attorney's.

See you there!

Mike Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service
131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205
Jericho, New York 11753
516.741.4723
orders@hallmarkabstractllc.com
Our website


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holiday's from Hallmark Abstract Service!



Visit Hallmark Abstract Service LLC, send us an email or give us a call if you have any questions regarding title insurance or about a specific transaction.

Michael Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service
131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205
Jericho, New York 11753
516.741.4723 (O)
516.741.4638 (F)
orders@hallmarkabstractllc.com
Hallmark Abstract Service website here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If a bad winter is on the way, is your business prepared to weather the storm?

For Hallmark Abstract Service or any other business, an unexpected surprise such as a winter storm is never a good thing!

If your business was faced with a surprise storm this winter that shut down the power grid or severely hampered your employee's ability to get to work, would you be ready to cope?

This exact circumstance was the frightening scene at Halloween as an early winter storm slammed some areas along the Eastern seaboard including in New York and New Jersey. Travel was hampered by up to 30" of snow on the ground with over 2 million homes and businesses losing power.

This map indicates that the forecast for the east coast this winter is for even more severe weather in the form of heavy snowfall. So what can a business do to get in front of any crisis?

  1. Do some reconnaissance on your business and physical plant to determine possible problem areas to address before the next crisis hits!
  2. Explore business interruption insurance and potential replacement vendors in case your business, or merely one of your key suppliers or distributors is incapacitated for an extended period of time.
  3. Have your insurance professional review your coverages to make sure that they are adequate for your businesses requirements.
  4. Set up a system so that in the event any part of your business goes down you can still successfully communicate with your employees, customers and vendors. This can include secondary email addresses as well as social media like a Facebook or Google+ company page.
  5. Give some consideration to setting up a system through which employees can conduct business by teleworking. This could include such things as having company information stored on a "cloud" and allowing employees to have access to their work computers at their homes.

Whatever approach you may take, being prepared for contingencies beyond your control is extremely important in business as well as in life!

If you have any questions or comments for Hallmark Abstract Service, please call us at 516.741.4723 or email us at orders@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

You can also find out more about us on our website here.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Summary of the Public Hearing on Mortgage Foreclosures in New York


On Monday November 7, 2011 a Public Hearing was held in Manhattan to discuss the topic of "Mortgage Foreclosures in New York."

For those interested, a brief summary is provided by an attendee in addition to this link for an article from Thomson Reuters also examining the discussions that took place.

Meeting Summary

"Today I attended a joint hearing of the NYS Assembly Committees on Housing, Judiciary and Banks on mortgage foreclosures. The hearing, as we expected, focused on the need to get funding to the programs designed to help people avoid foreclosure. The three committee chairs, Lopez (Housing), Weinstein (Judiciary) and Robinson (Banks), ostensibly shared the leadership of the hearing but Lopez clearly emerged as having the most aggressive and focused agenda.

MA Lopez who is also the Kings County (Brooklyn) Democratic Chairman has stepped out as a advocate of the OWS message and he appeared to want to use today's hearing as an opportunity to start building a movement for state funding of the community programs "cleaning up the banks' messes". He pointedly asked the President of the NY Bankers Association if his 10 biggest members would donate $1 million each to this fund. Lopez's interest goes beyond political hyperbole having suggested a possible law to require the banks to contribute to this fund he envisions.

Of more immediate and direct interest to you and the association were MA Lopez's discussion about stolen, fraudulent, false title and other schemes by which people try to steal property ownership. Lopez expressed interest in exploring how to prevent this. He asked, "What do you need to file" to prove ownership...as in what should we require via legislation so we know title changes appropriately. The Assemblyman openly invited anyone with ideas to contact him. The association and I independently have good relations with Lopez so we should be able to facilitate this discussion.

In addition, a number of the speakers included references to various mortgage bills we're working on such as A626 and A629. The committees heard much of the same conversation we heard in our discussion with the "advocates" but given the length of the hearing and the priority of the "funding" messaging referenced above the oral testimony was thin on the substance of the work the many witnesses are engaged in. I'll be seeking a copy of the written testimony of all of the witnesses and will let you know of anything noteworthy.

MA Weinstein discussed her desire to end MERS and urged banks and others to reconsider their opposition."



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Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hallmark Abstract Service comments on the civil penalty levied in a misuse of MERS case!

Sign of the times - Foreclosure Hallmark Abstract Service partner Michael Haltman quoted in Mortgage Professional Magazine!

The U.S. Attorney's office in New York has levied a civil fine on the Steven J. Baum PC law firm over the firm's mortgage foreclosure practices.

Michael Haltman was asked by Mortgage Professional for a comment which appears below. The entire article can be read at this link.

"When one considers the enormous number of foreclosure cases that this firm may not have done properly, or worse, that led to families losing their homes, people who may have potentially had other options, the punishment seems somewhat light," said Michael Haltman, a partner of Jericho, N.Y.-based Hallmark Abstract Service LLC. "However, it is also my understanding as a non-attorney who has read analysis of the decision that that while this was a civil penalty under the statutes of FIRREA, the Baum Law Firm may still have exposure criminally, from the New York State Bar and from homeowners who incurred damages from the firms proceedings."


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Hallmark Abstract Service Press Release - Suffolk County approval

Hallmark Abstract Service has been chosen by Suffolk County, New York as one of its title services providers!

Hallmark Abstract Service is extremely pleased and exited to announce that the firm has been accepted by Suffolk County as one of its providers of title services.

After a rigorous and thorough application process, Hallmark Abstract Service will be one of ten firms who, on a rotating basis, will be working as needed across the various departments of Suffolk County government.

The management of Hallmark Abstract Service is very proud of the fact that the firm has earned this opportunity through the expertise, dedication and focus of our staff on providing the highest quality finished product possible through the work they do throughout the process.

If you have any questions or comments please call Michael Haltman at 516.741.4723 or send him an email at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

Hallmark Abstract Service: We've never been to a closing where the title wasn't cleared!

Hallmark Abstract Service

131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205

Jericho, New York 11753

516.741.4723 (O)

516.741.6838 (F)

Website: www.hallmarkabstractllc.com

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Friday, September 9, 2011

How to protect a law practice from a cyber attack!


Cyber attack, the potential impact and how to avoid one!

All company's in every industry including title insurance and law face the threat of, and potential losses caused by, a malicious cyber attack!

92% of companies that suffered a cyber attack had losses from a variety of causes including intellectual property and corporate downtime.

84% of the losses suffered above involved actual costs needed to be borne by the company.

20% of the businesses suffering a monetary loss incurred a cost greater than $195,000. (Source)

10 ways to protect your law practice or other business from a cyber attack!

Some if not all of these safeguards may seem like common sense things to do, but in the day to day operation of a business how many are actually implemented on schedule and consistently over time?
  1. Establish strong passwords,
  2. Put up a strong firewall,
  3. Install antivirus protection,
  4. Install all recommended updates,
  5. Secure the information on laptops being used by your employees,
  6. Secure the information on mobile phones used by your employees,
  7. Set-up a regular schedule to backup the information being stored,
  8. Have someone tasked with monitoring the system,
  9. Avoid importing a virus by avoiding unfamiliar emails, IMs and websites,
  10. The same way employees are educated on product or corporate issues, they need to be educated on safe online usage.
To read a more expansive explanation of each of these steps, visit Business Insider here.

For information on title insurance and Hallmark Abstract Service please visit our website and sign-up above to receive all new articles from The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel by email or feed.

Mike Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service
131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205
Jericho, New York 11753
516.741.4723 (O)
516.741.6838 (F)
mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com





Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Growing your business: Using LinkedIn to help get it done!


LinkedIn can be a great tool for your business!

For the most part all of us have heard of Facebook and Twitter, but for business there is an equally useful "network" by the name LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a tool that allows you to leverage the business contacts that you already have by giving you the ability to meet and potentially connect with the business contacts that they have.

As I have been told many times it is not only the person you meet at any given time that is important for your business (although that person of course is), but the legions of people who they know as well.

LinkedIn is an unbelievable tool for getting questions answered on just about any topic that you can think of, in addition to being a resource for any number of other business functions as well.

LinkedIn Statistics
  • 61% use LinkedIn as their primary professional networking site. (Facebook - 22%, Twitter - 4%, None - 13%)
  • 35% access LinkedIn on a daily basis.
  • 67% access LinkedIn at least weekly.
  • 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group.
  • 52% participate in group discussions.
  • Top level executives use LinkedIn for industry networking more than any other purpose.
  • 90% of LinkedIn users believe LinkedIn is useful.
  • "It helps me to connect to individuals in my industry as possible clients."
  • "It is more professional than Facebook."
  • It allows me to hire people that I wouldn't regularly meet."
Source

What is LinkedIn? (Article from BusinessKnowHow.com)

LinkedIn is a rapidly growing professional network with over 120 million members, 60 million in the US alone. At its bare minimum, it's a place online where you can reconnect with former colleagues. But if you utilize it to its full potential, it's a powerful marketing tool and social networking resource, as well as a knowledge pool that you can tap into at any time, without consulting fees. It gives you the opportunity to build business relationships all over the world without leaving your office. People like to do business with people they know, and LinkedIn brings that personal connection to your business.

So how does it work?

You start with a profile, listing your education, skills, and professional experience. If a company or university in your profile is already in LinkedIn's database, you'll get a list of people you may know and you can send requests through LinkedIn for those people to join your network. You can also search for individual names or email addresses, or you can allow LinkedIn to search your email contacts for members. If you click "Add Connections" in the upper right corner of the page, then click the "People You May Know" tab, you will see a list of people who are connected to your contacts. You can then ask your contacts to introduce you. The idea is to "meet" new people through the people you already know to expand your existing network - "Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon!)" for business. You can then use this trusted network to find new career opportunities, new clients, vendors, business partners or employees.

How do I get started?

The New User Guide in the LinkedIn Learning Center promises to have you up and running on LinkedIn with three steps in just ten minutes, but Dave Taylor (who writes The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com and Ask Dave Taylor!) recommends spending a good deal more time on your profile. Think of it as your online business card - the first impression you will make on potential clients or employers. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first search result when someone looks for you on Google, so make sure your profile is professional, complete, and up-to-date. Link your Twitter and blog updates to your profile, include a professional photo, and build your online reputation with recommendations from colleagues. Link back to your LinkedIn profile from your blog and Twitter profiles.

What will it do for my business?

As long as you have a company email address, you can set up a Company Page that customers can follow for updates on your business, or to review your products and services, and to provide you with endorsements and testimonials. Freelancers can search for work by position, location or company. Use Resume Builder from LinkedIn Labs to pull current information from your profile and generate a professional resume in seconds.

The real value for a small business is the easy access to information from a community of people willing to share. When you join LinkedIn Groups in your field, you share your questions and expertise with your peers. If you're facing a particular problem in your business, odds are someone else has already experienced that problem and solved it. With LinkedIn Answers, you can pose a question to specific connections in your network and get answers from your connections, their connections, and experts who use LinkedIn. Stay on top of the news in your industry with LinkedIn Today. You'll see not only the relevant headlines being shared on LinkedIn and Twitter, but who is sharing them and what companies they represent. With LinkedIn Search, you can query the entire network by name, title, company, location, or keywords.

Add me to your network

After reading the statistics and some background on the benefits and uses of LinkedIn, if you are convinced visit my profile and add me to your connections here using the email address mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

This will in turn allow you to leverage my hundreds of contacts for your business.








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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An urban myth of title insurance


A title insurance anecdote, sworn by some to be true (and by others to simply be an anecdote)! It's amusing either way!

This tale of title insurance takes place down in Louisiana and is both an interesting and amusing tale.

Subject: Louisiana Lawyer

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan
 would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of
property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back
to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down. After sending the
 information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

(Actual letter)

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we 
note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we 
compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the 
application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the
 proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be 
accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note 
that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by 
the present application.

I was unaware that any educated person in this
 country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know 
that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of 
origin identified in our application.

For the edification of uninformed FHA 
bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain.

The land came 
into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by
 a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege
of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good 
queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as 
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she 
sold her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition.

Now the Pope, as I'm sure
 you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is
 commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to
 presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana.

God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back, to 
before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA. I hope 
you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn 
loan?"

The loan was approved.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

What happens if your title insurance underwriter stops writing policies?

The transactional real estate market has recently been forced to face just such a situation when New Jersey Title was “asked” to cease writing policies insuring title for residential and commercial property purchases and refinances.

This is yet one more chapter (or casualty) in the financial crisis and real estate collapse that began a few years ago that has revealed cracks in the foundation of firms that might otherwise have remained hidden.

What this situation with New Jersey Title does point out is one of the basic tenets of business. This rule states that it is best not to have to high a percentage of business exposure coming from any one source.

This is true whether you are the provider of the product; in this case the underwriter, or the end-user of the product that in this case would be the agents and attorneys.

For New Jersey Title one or two bad actors appear to have had the capacity to bring the firm to its knees and to effectively put them out of business.

For the agents writing solely through New Jersey Title, they are now forced to scramble to find a new underwriter who will consider bringing them on in an environment where the standards for underwriters to accept new business has become much more strict.

So what is an agent or an attorney with business to place to do in a case such as this? The process for application to an underwriter takes time, and clients looking to close a transaction cannot wait. At the same time there are no guarantees that the application to the underwriter will be successful.

This is the time where quick and thoughtful action is required (a contradiction in terms) and relationships need to be forged with agents who are willing to work with you.

It is not easy and no firm wants to jump from the frying pan into the fire, so as much due diligence as can be done in a short period of time needs to get done and then those agents a company feels are viable alternatives for them need to be reached out to.

As with everything involved with the real estate crisis much of this is new territory, but with clear and focused thinking company’s can make it through and live to fight another day!

For anyone who may be facing this situation, please feel free to give Hallmark a call.


Michael Haltman, Partner

Hallmark Abstract Service

131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205

Jericho, New York 11753

516.741.4723

mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com

New Jersey Title: What happens if your title insurance underwriter stops writing policies? | Hallmark Abstract Service LLC - JDSupra




New Jersey Title: What happens if you’re title insurance underwriter stops writing policies? | Hallmark Abstract Service LLC - JDSupra

New Jersey Title, an underwriter of title insurance policies in the northeast, has become a casualty of a financial and real estate crisis that has taken many victims.

Some of these casualties might never have occurred if the crisis has not taken place, but because it did there are firms and individuals who now face the need to find alternatives at a time when those alternatives may be difficult to come by.

Read the story at JD Supra here.


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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The US rating downgrade versus the US housing market

The island of Manhattan, from which the term i...Image via Wikipedia














Is there any relationship between the S&P downgrade of US debt and the potential for a recovery in the US housing market?


After the S&P downgrade of the United States from AAA to AA+, the rating agency downgraded the ratings for Fannie Mae, the Federal Home Loan banks and Freddie Mac as well. The rationale was that these entities have "a direct reliance on the U.S. government."

There is an excellent article I would recommend reading to stay up to speed on the situation with the housing market as it exists now, with The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel keeping you current on any developments in the future.

"U.S. downgrade: How will it impact housing fundamentals"




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Friday, August 5, 2011

Do you blog for your practice? You probably should!


Blogging for your practice!

We've all heard about blogging and chances are that each day we might read one or two.

But how many law practices actually do it themselves? And, is it a necessary part of growing a business?

For many of us who run a small business or for solo practitioners, the thought of adding one more responsibility can seem daunting. However, the benefits of establishing a web presence beyond just your website is definitely worth the effort.

Growing your reach, name recognition and establishing yourself as an "expert" in your field!

These are just some of the ways that a blog can help you and your practice grow.

If running out of ideas for topics to write about is one of the things holding you back from starting, the list below helps take care of that problem!

Hallmark Abstract Service would be happy to help!

While our business is title insurance, if your firm is interested in learning the basics for setting up a company blog we would be more than happy to stop by and show you how.

It won't take much time for you to be on your way!

Just give us a call, ask for Mike Haltman and I would be happy to help!

Potential sources for story ideas!

1. Google Alerts, newspapers and magazines. Use current events as a springboard for your blog entries.

2. Ask yourself, “What’s the next big trend?” or “What’s next?” Everyone wants to know what's over the horizon.

3. Read your competitors’ blogs and comments. Seeing what other lawyers are writing about will prompt you to think of a blog topic.

4. Ask yourself, “What is my client’s biggest fear or concern?” Writing about what keeps them up at night will always be a well-read entry.

5. Conduct an interview. Spend a few minutes on the phone with the head of a trade association, an author in your field or event a client. People enjoy when you put them in the spotlight and you will share in their credibility.

6. Write a sequel or follow up to a past post. Look over your greatest hits, using your blog traffic reports. If a topic was worth writing about, it will probably be worth returning to.

7. Ask a question. Is there an issue in your area of practice that you’re tackling? Discuss your mixed feelings. You can use Zoomerang to insert a reader poll into your blog for free.

8. Make a prediction. You don't have to be right and no one will hold you to account. But it's interesting to read what people think will happen.

9. Review the past. How has your area of practice changed over the past year? Five years?

10. Create a regular feature. Focus on a recurring basis on a topic of continuing interest -- like a high profile trial.

11. Read your comments. If a reader took the time to give their opinion, it could be a topic worth exploring.

12. Read your social media group’s questions. What are people chatting about on LinkedIn? Answer on your blog, then go back and provide a link.

13. Recruit a guest. Or two. When all else fails, call for backup. Sometimes you just need to take the pressure off so your post-generator has a little time to recuperate.

Source

Michael Haltman, Partner

Hallmark Abstract Service

131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205

Jericho, New York 11753

516.741.4724 (O)

516.741.6838 (F)

mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com

Visit Hallmark Abstract Service here.

Visit The Hallmark Abstract Sentinel here.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post: Can you fix your credit?

Guest post from the Lexington Law Group

The Law is on Your Side

Many consumers have the mistaken idea that credit bureaus are federally supported organizations backed by a vast array of laws meant to protect creditors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from the government simply recognizing the need for credit reporting, credit bureaus have absolutely nothing to do with the government. Credit bureaus are simply huge bureaucratic companies which exist for the soul purpose of making money by selling information about you-information they never bothered to verify.

Because of the vast potential for error in the credit reporting system, the United States Congress has enacted laws to protect the consumer from being victimized by the credit bureaus. It is your right and responsibility to make use of these laws.

The Law versus Practical Reality

As the credit bureaus computerized their processes and greatly expanded their reach and influence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, consumer complaints began to mount at the FTC and state attorney general offices. The credit reporting agencies quickly became huge bureaucracies second only in size to the federal government. The credit bureaus expressly served only the needs of their clients, the credit grantors. Many consumers were negatively affected by the credit bureaus, but they had no way to correct or change their credit information.

The American consumer lay completely at the mercy of the credit bureaus. The United States Congress enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in 1971 to insure that the credit bureaus investigate the credit items disputed by consumers. This federal law set procedural guidelines, which gave the consumer the right to challenge the accuracy, validity, and verifiability of the credit listings appearing in their consumer credit report. It also required that the credit bureau delete any credit listing if it was inaccurate or could not be verified.

Learn More.

In theory, the FCRA charges the credit bureaus with responsibility to the consumer as well as the credit grantor. In reality, the credit bureaus resist, resent, and reject consumer disputes. The credit bureaus would rather be left alone to make a profit. And, each time a consumer challenges his credit, profit is lost.

The credit bureaus first defend their profits by erecting walls of stall tactics, including requests for more information, further clarification, and additional identification. The vast majority of consumers give up before they even receive copies of their credit reports. If a consumer manages to get a credit report, decipher the codified information, write a coherent dispute, and mail it, the bureaus may still find some reason to disregard the challenge. The entire dispute system is designed to frustrate and discourage the consumer.

Many consumers have the idea that the credit bureaus must complete their investigation within thirty days or be forced to remove all disputed information. They threaten to sue the credit bureaus if they don't conclude their investigation in time. In practice, such thinking is delusional. Nobody forces the credit bureaus to do anything.

However, if you manage to submit a valid dispute letter, and the credit bureau investigates your dispute, the chances of success are good.

If a credit bureau cannot verify an item before completing its investigation, that item will be removed. Many creditor grantors are simply reluctant to take the time to verify the data. While the credit bureaus are in the business of reporting credit histories, creditor grantors are not.

Click Here.








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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hallmark Abstract Business Performance Survey

Hallmark Abstract Service wants to know what matters to you!

One of the best ways that Hallmark Abstract Service can continue to provide the highest level of service to our clients, is to find out what matters most to them.

It also helps us to find out what's critical for those attorney's who don't use our services now, but who do transactional real estate business.

That is why Hallmark Abstract Service will periodically ask for feedback through one of our short survey's.

If you have the time to participate, you can find the survey here.

Thank you in advance.

Mike Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Housing trouble ahead from the QRM provision in Dodd-Frank?

The best intentions of Washington can often result in negative, albeit unintended, consequences.

A perfect case in point i
s the QRM provision in Dodd-Frank!

The proposed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes a provision that goes by the acronym QRM, or Qualified Residential Mortgage.

I recently attended a meeting of the Empire State Mortgage Bankers Association (ESMBA) at which this piece of legislation was debated for quite some time.

The main focus of the attendees centered on the proposed requirements that lenders who sell their loans rather than portfolio them, set aside an amount equal to 5% of the loan as risk retention.

In other words, the QRM provision would mandate that they have some "skin in the game." This 5% risk retention rule would apply to any non-QRM loan.

Those lenders not falling into the "too big to fail" category of banks would simply not be able to tolerate or compete with that amount of capital in essence being locked up. It would further constrict a lending environment that is already quite constricted.

Some of the other findings concerning the current form of the QRM provision:

  • Regulators should go back to the drawing board on the proposed QRM rule. As written, it violates Congressional intent, makes home ownership more expensive for millions of responsible consumers, and jeopardizes the fragile housing recovery.


  • Congress left a down payment requirement off the list of suggested QRM standards in the Dodd-Frank Act because it determined that the cost of excluding responsible middle-class families would exceed the modest improvement in default rates.


  • Requiring strong underwriting; documentation of income and financial resources; and safe mortgage products is the best way to minimize defaults while making safe and affordable mortgages available to a wide range of creditworthy borrowers.


  • Existing homeowners, who have suffered declines in the value of their homes in the past few years, would be denied access to the best products and the lowest-cost credit when they attempt to refinance their existing mortgages if this proposed rule remains unchanged.



Calls for change in the language of the legislation has come from more than 250 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, many U.S. Senators and by industry groups such as The Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy.

Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is MERS is viable despite some significant losses in court?





















Does the controversy that's surrounding
MERS and the foreclosure process signal a death knell for the firm or is it much ado about nothing?

In an article here last week a New York State Appellate Court decision was discussed which held that the foreclosing entity needs to be in possession of both the mortgage and the note in order to have the proper "standing" to foreclose. This is an excerpt:

"... Finally, the recent New York State Appellate Court ruling upholds the idea that the entity foreclosing needs to be in possession of both the mortgage and the note! Because MERS was a mortgage registry and not a holder of the note, in essence this ruling says that MERS cannot assign the right to foreclose because it was never in the possession of the note - Strike Three?

Said the judge in the case: “... This matter involves the enforcement of the rules that govern real property and whether such rules should be bent to accommodate a system that has taken on a life of its own...”

While this ruling appears to be extremely detrimental to the operations and longevity of MERS, at HousingWire there is an article that offers a different view.

It provides the opinions attorney's who feel that while MERS is down it is definitely not out. This view stems partially from the fact that there are so many different courts around the country coming to different conclusions concerning the legality of foreclosures that MERS is involved in.

While the fix won't be quick, cheap or easy, they feel that MERS will ultimately survive.

It is an extremely informative article at HousingWire you can find here.

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