BERKELEY, Calif.–The Greenlining Institute Wednesday called for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures in California and asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to join the push to halt foreclosures until it can be confirmed that California consumer protection laws are being followed.
In a letter to major California banks, Greenlining wrote, “It has become clear in the last two weeks that California’s homeowners, who have already suffered an unprecedented foreclosure crisis in recent years, may be the victims of potentially fraudulent practices by those foreclosing on them . . . We strongly urge you to immediately institute an initial 90-day statewide foreclosure moratorium in California, until more facts can come out.”
In simultaneous letter to Brown, Greenlining said, “Since California is generally a non-judicial foreclosure state, we lack an additional level of scrutiny provided by the courts that would protect homeowners from any fraudulent foreclosure practices. Your office is best poised to act as this safeguard and to actively intervene to make sure the law is being followed.”
The letters also pointed out that nearly one-quarter of both the Latino and African American communities nationally are at imminent risk of foreclosure.
The call for a moratorium comes in the wake of reports that in other states that require court approval prior to foreclosing institutions like Ally Financial and JP Morgan/Chase are allowing people to sign documents without making sure they read and understand them.
“There is no reason to believe that Ally Financial and JP Morgan/Chase are unique. More likely they’re the tip of the iceberg-an iceberg that threatens disaster for thousands of homeowners.
Let’s not forget that Bank of America, which recently suspended foreclosures in 23 other states, had said only a week earlier that they had no involvement in this crisis,” said Greenlining executive director Orson Aguilar.
Officials in Texas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan and North Carolina, which like California do not require judicial approval of foreclosures, have already called for a broad foreclosure moratorium.