Saturday, February 18, 2012

In the News

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is still at an all-time low of 3.87 percent and it's been there since the first week of February, according to the weekly market survey published by Freddie Mac. The 30-year average has managed to remain below 4 percent for the past 11 weeks, and below 5 percent for the past 52 weeks, dating back to February 17, 2011. The 15-year rate was also unchanged in the GSE's study, while the 5-year adjustable rate posted a slight decline and the 1-year adjustable rate increased.

CitiMortgage, a subsidiary of CitiBank, agreed to pay $158.3 million due to claims that the bank failed to comply with HUD and FHA requirements in underwriting loans for federal insurance, and for stating certain loans were eligible for FHA's mortgage insurance program when they were not. As a result of these actions, HUD incurred losses from defaulted loans that should not have been approved. CitiMortgage accepted responsibility for specific actions including failing to conduct a full review of certain loans it endorsed.


The 11th Circuit handed down a summary judgment on claims under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., and affirmed that (a) a letter sent to an invalid address was not "initial communication" but rather later phone call was initial communication that was not followed by required written notice within 5 days, (b) a call to a third party to locate the debtor failed to include required disclosure, and (c) the debt collector's statement based on general knowledge of insurance practices and not specific knowledge of the debtor's circumstances was "false, deceptive, or misleading representation" under the applicable "least sophisticated consumer" standard.


On December 5, 2011, the court began operations under Bankruptcy CM/ECF Release 4.2. Release 4.2 will support an additional noticing-related improvement provided by the court’s Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) contractor.

Previously, you received the notice of 341 meeting of creditors by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) with the debtor's redacted Social Security Number (SSN), and by U.S. Mail through the BNC with the debtor’s full SSN. The improvement provided with CM/ECF Release 4.2 will allow the BNC to send you an email containing a secure hyperlink to the unredacted 341 notice in place of a paper notice. The BNC will send one summary email per day containing hyperlinks to one or more notices. Each hyperlink provides one free look to the full notice. You will no longer receive the paper 341 notice from the BNC.

A sample BNC email notification is provided at the following web page: