New York makes mortgage servicers provide foreclosure "affirmation" certificate
The New York state court system added a step in the foreclosure process, forcing bank attorneys to file an affirmation certifying they have reviewed and verified documents. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman introduced the new rule this week in reaction to the number of banks and mortgage servicers that suspended foreclosures after employees signed affidavits without a review or a notary present. Bank of America (BAC), Ally Financial (GJM) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) recently suspend foreclosures in 23 states, which includes New York, to review processes. BofA and Ally each announced resumed foreclosures in the days ahead. The new requirement in the New York courts is effective immediately and was created with the approval of the Presiding Justices of all four Judicial Departments. "We cannot allow the courts in New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs – such as a family home – during this period of economic crisis," Lippman said in a statement released Wednesday. Attorneys must attach the affirmation to the Request for Judicial Intervention for new cases. In pending cases, it must be submitted with either the proposed order of reference or the proposed judgment of foreclosure. For those cases where a judgment has already been given but the property has not yet made it to auction, the affirmation must be sent to the court referee and another copy filed with the court five days before the auction takes place. Attorneys must also file an amended version of the affidavit if errors are discovered. "This new filing requirement will play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take the drastic step of foreclosure." Write to Jon Prior.