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Mitchell Stein, Esq.: Banks Admission of Expected Fines is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

  (March 01, 2011)

Calabasas, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 01, 2011

Recent announcements by Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo that they expect to pay fines from a regulatory probe of their foreclosure practices are direct admissions that the banks improperly foreclosed on homes and is the start of a wave of public revelations of the banks role in creating the national mortgage foreclosure crisis, according to according to Mitchell J. Stein, Esq. of Mitchell J. Stein & Associates.

No matter what size the federal settlement, we are finally beginning to see justice being brought to bear on the major banks for all the damage they have done, said Mitchell J. Stein, Esq., a 25-year award-winning litigator, trial lawyer, and philanthropist dedicated to protecting consumers and victims' rights in reigning in abusive practices of banks, lenders and others.

In addition to a recent trend of mortgage foreclosure lawsuits that have been decided against the banks and extensive media coverage of the abuses by banks and servicers over wrongful foreclosures against homeowners, the biggest U.S. mortgage lenders are being investigated by 50 state attorneys general and U.S. regulators for foreclosing on homes without having proper paperwork in place or without having properly reviewed paperwork before signing it.

According to media coverage in The New York Times, Bank of America the largest U.S. bank by assets, said the probe could lead to "material fines" and "significant" legal expenses in 2011. Wells Fargo (the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said it is likely to face fines or sanctions, such as a foreclosure moratorium or suspension, imposed by federal or state regulators. It said some government agency enforcement action was likely and could include civil money penalties. Citigroup said it could pay fines or set up principal reduction programs.

The New York Times coverage also included reports that beyond direct fines due to regulators, banks may also end up paying government-controlled mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for the foreclosure delays and have other expenses especially those related to settling legal actions against them. Other banks echoed the concern over foreclosures in a wave of annual report filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday such as Atlanta-based SunTrust which said it expects regulators may issue a consent order requiring the largest mortgage lenders to fix problems with their foreclosure processes and potentially levy fines.

The fact that other banks, in addition to the largest banks, are anticipating orders to fix the problems they have created for homeowners clearly shows that they expect the penalties and court decisions against them to continue, said Mitchell J.Stein, Esq.

Additionally, The New York Times reported that Bank of America said it recorded $230 million in compensatory fees in the fourth quarter that it expects to owe the government mortgage companies. The bank said its projected costs for settlements for all legal matters it is facing, including mortgage issues, could be $145 million to $1.5 billion beyond what it has already reserved. Wells Fargo said that in the worst-case scenario, as of the end of 2010, it could have to pay $1.2 billion more than it has set aside to cover legal matters. Citigroup said it could face up to about $4 billion more in losses from all sorts of lawsuits, including but not limited to those relating to mortgages and foreclosures. Wells Fargo said in October that it plans to amend 55,000 foreclosure filings nationwide, amid signs that documentation for some foreclosures was incomplete or incorrect.

Although there has been speculation of a $20 billion settlement from lenders, it is important for homeowners to remember the banks will be involved in the terms of the settlement, so they will do everything they can, such as not significantly reducing principals, to save money at the expense of consumers, said Mitchell J. Stein, Esq. The need is greater than ever for homeowners who feel they have been wrongly foreclosed on to ensure their rights are protected.

Mitchell J. Stein & Associates is a California-based law firm founded by M.J. Stein, Esq. a 25-year award-winning litigator, trial lawyer, financier, and entrepreneur who has represented many of the world's largest companies and has been involved in some of the highest profile cases in the Nation's history. The Firms philosophy is based on the belief that their clients needs are of the utmost importance and, as a result, a high percentage of the Firms business has been from repeat customers and referrals. The Firms practice areas include Complex Litigation, Bank Problems, Mergers & Acquisitions, Commercial and Residential Foreclosures , and Bankruptcy Litigation. Mr. Stein is also the founder of VIPS Foundation (Victims of Injustice Pain and Suffering), through which victims nationwide, over the last 15-years, have received assistance following unfortunate events that subjected them to oppression or mistreatment. In that regard, Mr. Stein received the inaugural Mitchell J. Stein Benefactor Award from the National Organization for Victims Assistance (NOVA) for his work in protecting victims rights. Visit or for more information.

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