Who’s foreclosing Cleveland?

October 30, 2007

Search terms that produce 400 or more case numbers when querying the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas online database for the term (e.g. “Deutsche Bank”) as a plaintiff in civil cases filed so far in 2007:

  • “Deutsche Bank” — 1,400 hits
  • “Wells Fargo” — 1,257
  • “US Bank” — 1,065
  • “JP Morgan” and “Chase” combined — 687
  • “Citi” — 638
  • “Bank of New York” — 594
  • “HSBC” — 544
  • “Homecomings” — 443
  • “Sky Bank” — 421
  • “Countrywide” — 414

Remember that the foreclosing lender isn’t often the same institution that originated the mortgage in the first place. Deutsche Bank files foreclosures almost exclusively as the trustee or servicing agent for other lenders and/or mortgage-backed investment pools. Wells Fargo and US Bank (and others) are often in the same role, even though they also originate a lot of subprime loans themselves.

Some of the the county’s biggest subprime lenders, like Argent Mortgage, file very few foreclosures themselves, even though hundreds of their mortgages are in foreclosure at any given moment.

Also remember that a single foreclosure case often has multiple plaintiffs.

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Map: Wells Fargo properties in Cleveland

October 30, 2007

The second most active forecloser, and second biggest holder of foreclosed properties in the city of Cleveland, is Wells Fargo & Co., headquartered in San Francisco. Unlike Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo is a major subprime lender in the Cleveland market; it originated almost 2,000 Cuyahoga County mortgages in 2006 and nearly 900 in the first half of this year. But from January through June 2007, Wells Fargo started foreclosures on almost as many mortgages as it originated, and filed a completed sheriff’s deed for every two new mortages.

As of yesterday (October 29), according to the County Auditor, Wells Fargo held title to 443 properties in the city — up from 419 six weeks earlier.

Click on the graphic for a Google map of these properties (not including a few vacant lots without addresses).

(Map created with GPS Visualizer.)


ODB: Three Treasurers in Cleveland

October 29, 2007

Posted yesterday at Ohio Daily Blog, Jeff’s thorough coverage of the joint press conference held Thursday by the Treasurers of the U.S., Ohio and Cuyahoga County at Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Family Service Center. With audio.

Probably the highlights of the officials’ statements were the U.S. Treasurer acknowledging that something like half of the 2.2 million homeowners who face adjustable rate mortgage interest resets during the next two years won’t have the financial ability to meet their new payment obligations, and County Treasurer Rokakis citing a Congressional Budget Office study that concluded that every foreclosure costs the affected community $224,000, while loan workouts on average cost only $3,300. Although Ohio Treasurer Cordray included “funding” in his description of the role that the federal government needs to play in response to the crisis, the U.S. Treasurer carefully avoided mentioning any kind of financial assistance in her remarks, focusing instead on amending lending laws, encouraging lenders to restructure loans, and educating consumers about credit products.


Two down, thousands to go (or, Eloise Anderson’s amazing summer)

October 28, 2007

PD this morning:

A Solon builder who has been tied to mortgage fraud has agreed to get out of the construction business as part of his punishment.

Edward Emery Jr. pleaded guilty Thursday to submitting a false loan application for a woman who bought a $490,000 home on Sedge Circle in Solon that he built. Emery also admitted to similar schemes involving 37 homes that he built in Solon and Glenwillow.

Eloise Anderson of Richmond Heights pleaded guilty to using bogus job and income information to buy the Solon house, two houses in Cleveland and another house in Pepper Pike — closing more than $1.3 million in deals over a five-month span in 2005.

Emery was not connected to Anderson’s other homes, Assistant Prosecutor Michael Jackson said. A title company owner, a mortgage broker and two officials from another mortgage company also face charges in the case.

Anderson, a 60-year-old postal clerk, was passed off as a postal inspector earning twice her $55,000 salary.

She planned to quickly dispose of the homes under rent-to-own deals, Jackson said. Solon police broke the case when neighbors on Sedge Circle complained that the tenants were not keeping up the property.

Here’s the indictment, courtesy of the excellent Mortgage Fraud Blog.

So who lent Eloise Anderson all that money?

The First National of Arizona and Meritage loans were actually provided by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., which would have gotten the applications from the local mortgage broker(s) working with Anderson, signed up the two lenders, and then peddled the paper to Deutsche Bank.

Anderson got all of these mortgages approved between the beginning of May and the end of September, 2005!

None of the lenders listed above are implicated in Anderson and Co.’s fraud — in fact, they’re mostly listed in the indictment as victims. But think about it: She faked her income, faked her credit, applied to borrow a million and a half dollars in five separate steps over a five-month period, from four different subprime lenders, and they all bought it.

Maybe they were all just too busy to notice.

Or maybe they liked what they saw.


“Foreclosure Crisis – Shaping the Consumer Response”

October 27, 2007

An email last evening from Larry Bresler of Organize! Ohio:

Organize! Ohio and Bromley & Associates are sponsoring a one day fair lending conference: “Foreclosure Crisis-Shaping the Consumer Response”. It will be held on Friday, November 9, 2007 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland. Free parking is available off the East 22nd Street and Prospect Avenue entrance to the church.

The conference will feature national and regional experts presenting strategies to combat predatory lending and payday lending. Among the speakers will include Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, Ohio Representative William Batchelder (R), Stephen Dane, nationally recognized attorney in fair housing and mortgage lending, and Marty Gelfand, counsel from Congressman Kucinich’s office who organized a series of public hearings related to sub prime lending and foreclosures. An overview of Governor Strickland’s Foreclosure Task Force will be also presented.

More information at the Organize! Ohio site.


Foreclosures recorded in the last week

October 26, 2007

177 sheriff’s deeds were filed with the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office in the past week (October 22 through October 26).

Here’s who filed five or more of them:

Deutsche Bank (30)
Wells Fargo (15)
US Bank (14)
Dept of HUD (12)
Bank of New York (11)
Household Realty (11)
Lasalle Bank (10)
City of East Cleveland (6)
National City (6)
Washington Mutual (5)
JP Morgan Chase (5)

(Previous week.)

(c/p CCD)


Map: Deutsche Bank properties in Cleveland

October 26, 2007

The most active forecloser and biggest title-holder of foreclosed properties in Cleveland is Deutsche Bank, a German corporation which has no office I can find in Cleveland or even in Ohio, and which does virtually no lending here.

At the beginning of this week (October 22), according to the County Auditor, Deutsche Bank held title to 570 properties in the city — up from 532 one month earlier.

Click on the graphic for a Google map of all these properties (not including a few vacant lots without addresses).

(Map created with GPS Visualizer.)