From the Wall Street Journal:
It takes longer to foreclose on homes in New York than any other state—and it’s getting longer every month.
Two years ago, the state began requiring that banks and borrowers attend settlement conferences before a foreclosure takes place.
While the conferences are popular with borrowers and have succeeded in helping some families keep their homes, banks have been reluctant to participate. That, and recent revelations that some lenders have improperly submitted foreclosure documents, has prompted judges to take a harsher stance with lenders.
The foreclosure process typically begins after a borrower misses three consecutive monthly payments and ends once the lender repossesses the home or the borrower brings the loan current. Nationwide, there were 2.1 million mortgages in some stage of foreclosure as of October, according to research firm LPS Applied Analytics.
The average loan in foreclosure had been in default for 492 days as of October, up from 289 days at the end of 2005, according to LPS.
In New York and New Jersey—another state with consumer friendly laws—the waits are longer. The average loan in foreclosure had been in default for 604 days in New York and 544 days in New Jersey as of October.
“We try and help as many people as we can,” says New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Ajello. “We set up a conference and I try and persuade and cajole the banks to reduce the payments,” he says. But the banks, he adds, “are not very cooperative.”