(DES MOINES, Iowa) Bank of America has agreed to Attorney General Tom Miller’s request on Thursday to halt all foreclosure proceedings in Iowa. Today Bank of America contacted the Iowa Department of Justice and indicated that, effective immediately, the bank is suspending all sheriff’s sales and evictions for bank-held properties subject to foreclosure in Iowa. Bank of America had previously indicated it had suspended only mortgage foreclosure cases that had not yet proceeded to judgment.
“Bank of America has responded favorably to our request. It’s the right thing to do, considering the circumstances,” said Miller. “I hope other mortgage lenders, including Ally/GMAC and JPMorgan Chase, follow suit.” Miller, along with attorneys general in several other states, called on all three institutions to fully suspend foreclosure proceedings, sheriff’s sales, and evictions.
Miller is investigating the three mortgage lenders over reports that, without personal knowledge, individuals routinely submitted foreclosure affidavits in Iowa and elsewhere. Miller is seeking information about the lenders’ foreclosure review policies and practices, their verification procedures, and information about cases they have handled in Iowa.
The practice of submitting affidavits to Iowa courts without the signer verifying the supporting information has been referred to as “robo-signing,” and may violate Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act and other Iowa laws and court procedures.
Miller is leading a bipartisan multistate working group comprised of a large number of state attorneys general and state banking regulators. In addition to coordinating the multistate response, Miller has also been in contact with federal regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice.
“With today’s announcement by Bank of America, the ongoing discussions we’re having with other lenders, and the work we’re doing in tandem with other states and the federal government, we’re that much closer to halting a widespread, troubling practice that helped facilitate shortcuts to foreclosure,” said Miller. “The mortgage industry is getting the message that this is serious, it’s wrong, and we will stop it.”
Iowans who believe their current or past foreclosure cases are affected or may have been affected by improper affidavit verification, may contact the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or outside the Des Moines area at 1-888-777-4590. Consumers may also send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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