Mortgage Litigation Index Tumbles

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    DALLAS - (September 13, 2010) As the government shifted its resources from civil to criminal mortgage-related cases, the Mortgage Litigation Index sank by more than half.

    Active cases totaled 75 in the second-quarter report, which reflects mortgage-related legal actions covered by Mortgage Daily, a dominant source of news for the mortgage industry, between April 1 and June 30. The report was prepared in conjunction with Patton Boggs LLP, a known leader in mortgage banking litigation.

    Activity tumbled 52 percent from the first quarter and was 40 percent lower than a year ago.

    As the government executed Operation Stolen Dreams, mortgage fraud criminal actions leapt -- sending Mortgage Daily's mortgage fraud index higher.

    But criminal fraud cases -- except those primarily involving an insider at the mortgage lender -- are generally excluded from the Mortgage Litigation Index. The reallocation of government resources cut into actions related to modifications, foreclosures and non-fraud criminal cases -- which are included in the Mortgage Litigation Index and helped drag down overall activity.

    "Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a lull in the government's civil litigation efforts against the mortgage industry.  Once federal resources are reallocated in response to the sweeping financial reform legislation passed earlier this year, expect civil enforcement efforts to increase beyond the levels we saw prior to Q2 '10," said Anthony Laura, a partner in Patton Boggs’ New Jersey office.

    A big decline in mortgage insurance litigation was primarily the result of a burst in the prior quarter's FHA-related activity that didn't continue into the latest period.


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