Countrywide is one of the largest, if not the largest, mortgage companies in the country. They started backing out of sub-prime loans before a lot of companies, and they have plenty of prime loans in their inventory. Countrywide’s stock fell 10.5% earlier this week, and its Chairman says not to expect a reocovery in the housing market until at least 2009. (Most of these facts come from articles in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. They aren’t linked to here, because I have seen several over the last few days.) Oh, and it isn’t just their subprime loans that are showing increasing delinquency rates either. The delinquency rates for their prime loans, although still much lower than for subprime loan, has more than doubled.
So, what does this have to do with lawyers? Simple. Lawyers who represent consumers need to be up to speed on foreclosure defenses, mandatory loss mitigation procedures, foreclosure accounting techniques — all the stuff you didn’t learn in law school. It is no longer true that there are no defenses to a foreclosure action.
I will be in St. Louis September 7 – 9 at the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Mortgage Lending Litigation Conference: Representing Homeowners Facing Foreclosure with the Support of the AARP Foundation. Later this Fall, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys is sponsoring a Members-Only Workshop with one day focused exclusively on mortgage issues.
If you reprsent consumers and are concerned about rising foreclosures, now might be the time to look at doing a little out of state CLE. It really is worth the money.