In my newly formed practice and thanks to the diligent work of my partners at GGKW, we have discovered something that is over the top even by current standards in the current mortgage mess, to wit: servicers, banks and other entities are receiving complete payoffs of the mortgage upon the death of the insured homeowner and then either (1) getting the heirs to sign a modification agreement as though the debt was still owed or (2) FORECLOSING. (OR BOTH).
This is not accident. The Banks are rolling the dice. Many of the mortgages were in foreclosure or had been declared in default before the payment came in. Others were completely current. But the common factor is that the heirs did not know the policy existed because it was done at closing of the loan. The heirs either didn't know or forgot if they were told. Either way the Bank received payment directly or through one of the many agents in the securitization chain and continued to collect the money as though it was due. And the affidavit or testimony of the bank representative does not disclose the payment even though it was received, cashed and posted --- and that goes a long way toward showing that the corporate representative is neither corporate, a representative or with any knowledge.
This phenomenon is entirely different than the mortgage bond insurance that was also paid to the bank or one of its many agents in the securitization chain.
Why is this happening? Because the banks have elected not to make it a data input factor at LPS whose roulette wheel decides who to foreclose, when, how, and by whom regardless of the facts of the case. Nobody seems to know just how many homes were foreclosed on mortgages that were paid once by accidental death coverage or other PMI, and paid several times over by mortgage bond insurance and credit default swaps.
The bottom line is that if one of the alleged mortgagors (homeowners) has died, check thoroughly to see if an insurance policy may have been in force and if it is already paid off. It is obvious that the banks would rather pay the damages and sanctions when they caught than change their practices. The reason is that only 5% of foreclosures are contested. If they win most of those, which they have been doing, the benefits of taking multiple payments on the same mortgage are far outweighed by the occasional sanction or damage award.
Until Judges start assuming that they should be vigilant and instead of expedient, the tide will turn.