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Mortgage Mistakes

posted by Katie Porter

I'm celebrating the close of data collection in my current empirical project, which studies the intersection of homeownership and bankruptcy. With funding from the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judge's Endowment for Education, my co-investigator, Tara Twomey, and I have data on more than 1500 Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases filed by homeowners in 2006. The particular twist of this project is its focus on examining the mortgagees' proofs of claims and that actual loan documents. Most past research on consumer bankruptcy has focused on the debtor's schedules.

Part of our inquiry is the accuracy of mortgagees' proofs of claim, including what types of supporting documentation are attached to the claim form as required by Rule 3001 and whether arrearage amounts are detailed. This element of the project took its inspiration from the multiple recent judicial decisions in which bankruptcy judges express consternation and even anger at mortgage companies' inability to explain the amounts requested on proofs of claims. If you haven't seen this line of cases, here are a few very recent examples: In re Allen (Bankr. S.D.Tx. 1/9/07) and In re Sanders (Bankr. D. Mass. 1/23/07).

As the project moves forward and we finish coding and cleaning the data, I'll post some of our findings. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from CreditSlips readers on either side of the aisle, so to speak. What is the extent of documentation/detail required by Rule 3001 in your district? How do those who represent mortgage lenders/servicers prepare their proofs of claims and document the amount owing? What are the difficulties that they face in getting accurate information about the loan? For debtors' attorneys, how frequently do you object to mortgagee proofs of claims? What is your internal process, if any, for verifying or having debtors verify the mortgagees' proof of claim?


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