Courtrooms improving attitudes toward lenders

With all of the controversy surrounding the housing market, the public — and several loud members of government — seems to have turned against lenders. 

They are evil! They want our money! They kicked a grandmother out of her house! 

…and so on.

One would assume that this hatred of lenders would translate into an unfavorable environment in the courtroom. But maybe that’s changing. 

I spoke with two lawyers at the Default Attorney Group Symposium held Thursday in Dallas, who seemed very optimistic about the changing perceptions of lenders in the courtroom.

Dan Consuegra, managing partner of the Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra in Tampa, Fla., said that the idea of lenders having the cards stacked against them in the courts is not a new one, but that the “tides are turning.” 

He said because the vast majority of mortgages are now current, less people are likely to hold lenders in such low regard. 

“There is a feeling in the public arena that certainly there should be some concessions, on the one hand, but, on the other, it is fair to enforce the promises that were made and to do so objectively,” he said. 

Top it off with the fact that people are just sick of this crisis, and we might be seeing some progress.

“Everyone at this point — both the public and judges — wants to see it over,” Consuegra said. “There is an emphasis on finishing the work that has to be done.”

Howard Crane, partner at Rochester, N.Y.-based Fein, Such & Crane, said he also believes the negative perception of lenders in courtrooms is beginning to die down, particularly because he believes lenders are improving the way they deal with homeowners.

“The lending community as a whole has responded very positively and has dedicated a significant amount of resources to trying to make sure that (progress) happens,” he said.   

Even though the environment is improving, Crane said the high cost of litigation and the uncertainty of outcome results in a “general tendency to encourage lenders to settle cases, as they always have and as they will probably continue to do.” 

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