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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fed hits Wells Fargo with $85 million fine

On the heels of their Florida expansion, Wells Fargo hit with a large fine.  Are there more to come?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Federal Reserve announced a record $85 million fine Wednesday against Wells Fargo for allegedly pushing borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsifying loan applications.
The Fed accused the nation's fourth largest bank by assets of steering potential borrowers who could have qualified for prime rates into more expensive subprime loans.
The authorities also claimed that employees of Wells Fargo Financial, a non-bank subsidiary closed last year, doctored income information on mortgage applications to push through borrowers that would not have qualified for based on income.
The fine is the largest the Fed has ever issued under its consumer-protection authority and is the first action taken against a bank for predatory lending practices related to the housing bubble.
The loans in question were made between 2004 and 2008 and are estimated to involve up to 10,000 borrowers.

FTC: Countrywide borrowers to get $108 million in refunds

The Fed also ordered Wells Fargo to compensate borrowers who were affected by the alleged activities.
Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) agreed to pay the fine without admitting any wrongdoing.
The Fed blamed compensation and sales quota policies at Wells Fargo Financial for encouraging employees to falsify documents. It also faulted the bank for having inadequate controls in place to manage risks.
In a statement, Wells Fargo said the allegations stem from a few former employees and pledged to increase oversight of its lending practices.
"The alleged actions committed by a relatively small group of team members are not what we stand for at Wells Fargo," said chief executive John Stumpf. "Fair and responsible lending practices have been at the core of our culture, and they will continue to guide us as we work closely with the Federal Reserve to provide restitution to customers who may have been harmed."

Bank of America in single-digit stock club

The loans in question were primarily made to home owners looking to refinance existing mortgages and often involved additional cash payments, according to the Fed.
Under the Fed's order, Wells Fargo is required to review subprime loans made between January 2006 and June 2008. In cases where borrowers were pushed into loans or had their income information altered, the bank is required to make restitution.
The Fed estimated that up to 10,000 borrowers could be eligible for compensation ranging between $1,000 and $20,000.
Wells Fargo said it has already compensated 600 customers as part of an internal investigation.
Wells Fargo expects that less than 4% of the 300,000 loans it originated over the last four and a half years will be eligible for compensation. The payments have already been factored into reserves, according to Wells Fargo.
On Tuesday, Wells Fargo reported record net income of $3.9 billion for the second quarter on more than $20 billion in revenue

For Property Tax Appeal assistance: www.PTAGflorida.com

Link to story

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Historical Designation and Property Value

If your property has a Historical Designation, you can still appeal your taxes.  In fact, you may have even more grounds for your appeal as your costs for maintenance are higher than a comparable property as well as all the difficulties that would be involved with development in the area, tenant build outs and various other factors. 

We would be happy to look at your property an give you our opinion.

www.PTAGflorida.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tax hike proposed in North Lauderdale

July 17, 2011|By Lisa J. Huriash, Sun Sentinel
  • The tax rate is likely to go up in North Lauderdale, and condo owners could pay more for fire service.
This year's tax rate is being tentatively set at $7.75 for each $100,000 of assessed value — up from $7.23 last year. The owner of a house assessed at $80,000, with a $50,000 homestead exemption, would pay $232.51 in city property taxes, up by $15.
Fees for fire service are expected to change. The budget proposal calls for single-family homes to pay $169, down from $228. Multi-family homeowners, including condos and townhouses, will pay more $363 instead of $358.
City officials said there are no planned cuts in staff or service levels and no money coming out of reserve funds to balance the budget.
Public hearings are set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 14 and 7 p.m. Sept. 22.

For Property Tax Appeal assistance: www.PTAGflorida.com 

link to story

Monday, July 18, 2011

Texas squatter claims $330,000 house, police can’t remove him

The quick Summary: Homeless man, filed some paperwork and paid $16.00 and is taking over an abandoned house and the police can not remove him as it appears he is doing everything legally.  A house was being foreclosed on, the owners abandoned the house, the bank that owned the note went out of business and then the homeless gentleman stepped in.  If the loophole can not be corrected, in three years, he will own the house free and clear.  
As we all know, unpaid Property Taxes will play a factor in the end, but for now, it appears he is taking over the house legally.  

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FLOWER MOUND — A little-known Texas law and a foreclosure could have a man in Flower Mound living on Easy Street.
Flower Mound's Waterford Drive is lined with well-manicured $300,000 homes. So, when a new neighbor moved in without the usual sale, mortgage-paying homeowners had a few questions.
"What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn't legally own the house?" said Leigh Lowrie, a neighboring resident. "He just squats there."
Lowrie and her husband said the house down the street was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owner walked away. Then, the mortgage company went out of business.
Apparently, that opened the door for someone to take advantage of the situation. But, Kenneth Robinson said he's no squatter. He said he moved in on June 17 after months of research about a Texas law called "adverse possession."
"This is not a normal process, but it is not a process that is not known," he said. "It's just not known to everybody."
He says an online form he printed out and filed at the Denton County courthouse for $16 gave him rights to the house. The paper says the house was abandoned and he's claiming ownership.
"I added some things here for my own protection," Robinson said.
The house is virtually empty, with just a few pieces of furniture. There is no running water or electricity.
But, Robinson said just by setting up camp in the living room, Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner. If the owner wants him out, he would have to pay off his massive mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a complicated lawsuit.
Robinson believes because of the cost, neither is likely. The law says if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for the title.
He told News 8 his goal is to eventually have the title of the home and be named the legal owner of the home.
"Absolutely," he said. "I want to be owner of record. At this point, because I possess it, I am the owner."
Robinson posted "no trespassing" signs after neighbors asked police to arrest him for breaking in.
Flower mound officers say they can't remove him from the property because home ownership is a civil matter, not criminal.
Lowrie and her neighbors continue to look for legal ways to get him out. They are talking to the mortgage company, real estate agents and attorneys. They're convinced he broke into the house to take possession, but Robinson told News 8 he found a key and he gained access legally.
"If he wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to," Lowrie said. "Get the money, buy the house."
Robinson said he's not buying anything. As far as he's concerned, the $330,000 house is already his and he has the paperwork to prove it.

by CASEY NORTON 

For Property Tax Assistance: www.PTAGflorida.com