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Lots of money is being spent in the month of May 2013 on the continuing Florida foreclosure crisis, providing some good news for Florida borrowers and Florida home owners — however, not all of the news is good — including the news on how the law may be changing regarding how foreclosures are handled in Florida.

Consider the following five changes facing Florida foreclosure borrowers and Florida home owners now:

1.  Pam Bondi announces Floridians paid approximately $8.6 billion from national mortgage settlement with the Big Banks.

Last week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that Florida home loan borrowers have been paid almost $9 billion as a result of the national mortgage settlement agreement with the five biggest mortgage lenders / mortgage servicers.

The May 2013 Report from the Settlement Monitor tallies over 111,000 Floridians have been paid around $8.6 billion and received another $315 million in principal reduction via pending home loan modifications.

2.  Wells Fargo Announces Approx $20 Million Settlement in Force-Place Insurance Fraud Case Brought By Home Owners in Miami Federal Lawsuit

On May 20, 2013, a settlement agreement was revealed between Wells Fargo Bank and insurer QBE and over 24,000 Florida home owners who sued them in Miami federal district court (it still needs the federal judge Robert Scola Jr.’s approval before it is a done deal).

Wells Fargo Bank, under the settlement, will pay (with the insurance company) around $19.25 million in settlement of a lawsuit where the plaintiffs alleged that “force placed” insurance policies were bumped up to over 5 or 6 times the normal policy rates on people already facing foreclosure on their homes.  The defendants are not admitted to doing anything wrong.

3.  Florida State Budget Provides Millions to State Court Administrator To Push Through Bottleneck of Florida Foreclosure Lawsuits

Florida Senate Bill 1852 became law this week, which means more big money going toward helping fix the big Florida foreclosure mess.  Here, another stack of cash has been marked by the State of Florida’s Office of the State Courts Administrator to move along the bottleneck of Florida foreclosure lawsuits.  This money comes out of the big national foreclosure settlement, too, but this money was moved into a separate bucket from the money to be distributed to home owners and borrowers who have been victims of foreclosure fraud and into a fund to pay for making the bottleneck go away.  This just got approved as part of the new State of Florida budget okayed by Florida Governor Rick Scott in SB1852.

From the Florida State Courts Administrator:

  1. $16 million for the courts to pay for increased use of senior judges, general magistrates, and case managers to help dispose of foreclosures.
  2. $5.3 million to the state courts system to pay for technology to help handle foreclosures to be spent over the next two years.
  3. $9.3 million to county clerks of courts to help courts with foreclosure paperwork.
  4. $10 million for legal aid agencies to help low- and moderate-income homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

4.  Florida Supreme Court Issues Order Allowing “Magistrates” To Preside Over Foreclosure Trials

This month, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously issued an order (read the Order here) that okays Florida chief judges to put “general magistrates” in charge of backlogged foreclosure dockets in their jurisdiction.  These are not judges who have to answer to voters: these “magistrates” will be ruling on foreclosure actions and deciding what will happen to family homes without having to worry about answering to the voting public for their decisions.

Of course, the bottleneck is a real problem.  Estimates are that we face around 400,000 pending foreclosure lawsuits now, statewide, and that this may be the tip of the iceberg with as many as another 700,000 being filed by 2016.

Another 700,000: think about that.  

5.  Today, HB87 Was Presented to Florida Governor Rick Scott for His Signature

Today, May 28, 2013, the controversial bill HB87 was officially placed on Governor Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.  (Read about this proposed law here.)  There are those that are urging the Governor to veto this bill, in order to do justice for Florida home owners and Florida borrowers victimized in the past (and who will be victimized in the future) by mortgage lenders and home loan banks.

People like State Senator Darren Soto are working hard to block this bill from becoming law.  Read his letter to Governor Scott here.


Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments.

“I’m happy to take your call.”

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