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Will the big banks ever be held accountable?

Many Americans are aware that banks have been less than fair in their handling of foreclosures. They foreclosed when they could have modified. They filed false court documents. Though there were investigations, we are still waiting for the banks to be held accountable.

The measures that have been taken to address and correct banks' wrongful conduct are likely to leave Americans disappointed. Rather than imposing strict penalties on banks for robo-signing (approving foreclosure agreements without having a qualified person actually review their contents) and charging exorbitant late fees that leave borrowers without any hope of catching up on past due payments, it appears that banks will receive a veritable slap on the wrist. They will be required to abide by existing laws and contracts – something that they should have been doing anyway.

A draft agreement published by the American Banker does not call for penalties for past violations, for strict new regulations that will put an end to these abuses or for more mortgage modifications. It merely requires that banks improve the management of their foreclosures. It requires that lenders set up phone numbers where delinquent borrowers can seek support from someone who can answer their questions. It requires that lenders halt foreclosure proceedings while borrowers seek modifications. Change is good, but shouldn't these common-sense measures already be in place?

With approximately 6.7 million homes already lost in the housing crash, it is estimated that another 3.3 million will be lost through 2012. These foreclosures affect the entire market, dragging down all home prices. If the big banks aren't held accountable, Americans are likely to be dealing with foreclosures for years to come.

Jacoby & Jacoby is a Long Island bankruptcy and foreclosure defense firm that is committed to preserving the rights of borrowers who are dealing with unfair, deceptive or outright illegal practices by lenders. Contact a Long Island foreclosure attorney at the firm today to learn more about foreclosure and what you can do to in the face of foreclosure if you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments.

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