(Reuters) – In July 2009, Roy and Sheila Bowers refinanced the mortgage on their suburban ranch home in Topeka, Kansas. The couple wanted to take advantage of the low interest rates that were all the rage at the time…. But what the Bowers never imagined was that their old loan, the one Wells Fargo told them was paid off, would resurrect itself, trashing their credit report, scotching their son’s student loans and throwing the whole family into foreclosure. All, they say, even though they didn’t miss a single mortgage payment.
More and more, homeowners say that mortgages they thought were dead and buried are springing back to life, sometimes haunting them all the way into foreclosure…
Diane Thompson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, says she has defended hundreds of foreclosure cases, and in nearly all of them, the homeowner was not in default. “The record-keeping on the part of the mortgage servicers is not to be trusted.”
The problems grew from a lot of sloppy recordkeeping that began during the housing boom, when Wall Street built a quick-and-dirty back-office operation to process mortgages quickly so lenders could sell as many loans as possible. As the loans were later sold to investors, and then resold around the world, the back office system sidestepped crucial legal procedures.
Now it’s becoming clear just how dysfunctional and, according to several state attorneys general, how fraudulent the whole system was.
Read more: Reuters January 26, 2012