Thursday, October 7, 2010

How is the "Robo-Signer" Issue Affecting Title Insurance in MD, DC and VA?

Even those not in real estate are now familiar with the term "Robo-Signer" - a term describing a mortgage company employee who allegedly signed thousands of documents authorizing foreclosures across the country, without actually having personally reviewed the loan documents. If you're not familiar with the story, this is one of the earlier pieces which brought the matter to light.

What impact has this had on the market nationally?

The investigation has caused lenders such as JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and GMAC to cease their foreclosure practices in a number of jurisdictions while these entities take inventory and review procedures relating to the processing of these types of transactions. In addition, Bank of America announced today that it is halting foreclosures in all 50 states due to concerns that this practice affects all foreclosures, not just judicial ones.

What is the status in MD, VA, and the District of Columbia?

As of the writing of this post, only Bank of America has an outright freeze on foreclosures in MD, VA and DC. These jurisdictions are not considered pure "judicial foreclosure" states, and therefore are not included in the list of 23 states that Ally/GMAC (among others) is halting foreclosures in.

How does this affect how we evidence or insure title?

At this time, whenever there is a foreclosure in the chain of title or we are passing title from a lender to a new buyer as a result of foreclosure, we carefully examine the title and if we see irregularities we consult with our underwriter before insuring. At least one of our underwriters has instructed us to consult with them before insuring a foreclosure from Ally/GMAC.

Please be advised that this is a very fluid and dynamic situation. As we receive more updates from either lenders/servicers, or our underwriters, we will keep you updated.

Any questions? Please call your Title Service Representative or email us at info[at]MASettlement[dot]com today!