Archive for the ‘foreclosure mediation’ Category

News Round Up

October 16, 2009

I am back home in the U-S-of-A! and now back to our regular Friday news…

Mediation Option in New Anti-Racism Code

The ICC has included a mediation process in its new anti-racism code to help cricketers settle such conflicts amicably between themselves. This mediation process, which will be the first step towards any resolution if agreed upon within 48 hours of the incident being reported, could lead to voluntary suspensions and a public apology.

Full article [here]

Arms-length agencies can become monsters wreaking havoc on government: ombudsman
TORONTO — Ontario’s ombudsman says the lack of accountability at government agencies underscores a systemic failure that cannot be ignored.

Andre Marin says Ontario’s recent troubles show that arms-length agencies can become monsters wreaking untold havoc on their creators.

He says the government must learn from previous mistakes at agencies like eHealth Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to avoid further costs to taxpayers and erosion of service.
Read more [
here].

New Zealand Austism Group Heads to Mediation
Autism New Zealand is set to enter mediation after disestablishing its Auckland branch committee, unhappy with communication, abuse of power and running of programmes “not endorsed” by the parent body.

The two parties met in late August to try to reach a compromise after the Christchurch head office learned of Auckland’s plans to move to new premises in Albany, and demanded to know more details.

Autism NZ is a support group for sufferers of autism, Asperger syndrome and associated disorders. It has 15 branches nationwide, and a membership of more than 4000.

Read more [here]

Community Mediation to Get 6 Month Check Up

It’s time for the city’s community mediation program to have its six-month checkup.
Police officials were expected to attend this week’s City Council meeting to give a department report on the effectiveness of the program since it was implemented in April.

Bickering neighbors who call the police, people who’ve contacted code enforcement and those who’ve completed a form on the city’s website are referred to the community mediation program to help work out their disagreements, according to Sgt. Don Aguilar of the T.O. police.
“The program has been very successful so far,” Aguilar said.

In the past, addressing property line or landscape disputesloud music and other problems was time-consuming for police officers, who repeatedly had to return to the same address to resolve the issue, Aguilar said.

Read more [here]

‘Bad Faith’ Mediation in Nevada Foreclosure Mediations?

The Nevada Supreme Court passed tougher rules to force lenders to work with homeowners in foreclosure, but some lenders are worried that they may be unfairly sanctioned.Mediators working with homeowners have the power to find that a lender acted “in bad faith” during a mediation and to halt a foreclosure. The state high court passed its new rules on Sept. 28, in response to a request by state Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley.

Full article [here]

New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Update

More than 2,600 New Jersey homeowners have received counseling assistance through the State’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, Governor Jon S. Corzine said today. Of the 2,500 mediation cases that have been scheduled, 1,450 cases have been completed, with more than 50 percent of families able to remain in their homes.

More [here]

This is why I like Ombuds: “My bias is to deal with systemic change. That is much more cost-effective and results in individuals not repeatedly complaining about the same thing,” she said.”

Read it all [here].

Advertisements

Foreclosure Mediation Round-up

September 14, 2009

As foreclosure mediation become more and more prominent, I thought I would dedicate today’s post to various, current, new articles.

Firstly, I would like to mention that tentatively an article of mine titled, Introduction to Foreclosure Mediation & Tips For The Mediator is set to be published in the California State Bar Association’s magazine Trial Style. The article, as the title states, will be a brief introduction to the process and key terms a mediator should know and understand before venturing into this new field. Terms include: Reinstatement, Forbearance, Loan Modification, Reverse Mortgage and Short Sale among others.

The article includes tips on how to properly organize yourself as well as questions you might want to ask yourself when considering participating in a court connect foreclosure mediation program.

Onto the recent news:
When foreclosure looms, mediation offers lifeline
But court can’t help consumers who don’t seek the option.

Mediation could be a borrower’s last lifeline — negotiating revised loan terms and a household budget that could keep a family in its home. Another outcome could be to allow a borrower to walk away without ruined credit.

Jim Drubert, Montgomery County Court General Division administrator, said that despite dwindling resources and the recent retirement of the court’s only full-time mediator, an additional 50 foreclosure mediation cases could be handled.

Hall’s records show 62 cases directed to mediation by a judge. But of those, 40 home owners did not respond. Of the rest, 13 are pending mediation or in process, seven were settled with the lender prior to mediation or went to mediation, and two referrals were canceled.
Read the Full article [here]

Task Force Urges Foreclosure Mediation
MANATEE — Florida should require mediation between mortgage lenders and borrowers to help courts better manage the crush of foreclosure cases and improve borrowers’ chances of keeping their homes, a judicial task force is recommending.

…The task force did not say how much mediation would cost, but said lenders should foot the entire bill — a recommendation that exposed a division on the panel.

In a dissenting report, Haworth — joined by a circuit judge, a lawyer and a banker — argued that lenders won’t be able to afford to pay for tens of thousands of mediations and that non-indigent borrowers should pay half the cost as a matter of fairness.

Full article [here]

State (Nevada) closer to launching foreclosure mediation program
CARSON CITY – A mediation program to help stop the large number of foreclosures on Nevada homeowners should begin soon, a state official says.
Originally it was announced it would start in August but has been delayed to train the mediators. So far more than 450 requests for mediation from homeowners have been filed.

Full article [here]

Homeowners Avoiding State Foreclosure Mediation Program
The state’s hallmark foreclosure mediation program continues to have a high success rate for homeowners, but still relatively few people have chosen to participate in the program.
Statewide, 2,932 foreclosure mediation cases have been completed as of May 31, and of those 60 percent, or 1,771 cases, have reached a settlement that allows individuals and families to stay in their homes. Of those who stayed in their homes, 41 percent or 1,224 homeowners, received a loan modification from their lender, according to data from the state’s judicial department.
Full article [here]

Providence mayor signs rules to slow foreclosures
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence Mayor David Cicilline has signed two city ordinances designed to protect tenants whose rental homes are foreclosed upon, and to banks to enter mediation before foreclosing upon homeowners.

Florida Court Wants Mandatory Mediation on Foreclosures
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court’s residential foreclosure task force recommended Monday that all cases involving primary homes should be mediated and that judges should expedite cases dealing with vacant and abandoned properties.
The recommendations will go to the justices, who are looking for ways to help the court system cope with a flood of foreclosure cases caused by the national recession and Florida’s housing bust. Florida has one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates. It was third at 3.4% behind Arizona and California in June.

Full article [here]

New Niche Market For ADR Professionals?

August 31, 2009

For those not sure if the foreclosure mediation programs popping in numerous states is a market for mediators to make some income, think again. All one has to do is look at Nevada, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation [from a recent WSJ article here].

Mediators, in certain court connected programs have received payment previously, but with the launch of many of these foreclosure programs, this is the first time payment is being offered to such a large amount of mediators. Additionally, the rate is a decent wage as a recent Las Vegas Sun article states [full article here]:

More than 400 people, many of them attorneys and retired judges, have come forward to serve as mediators. They are paid $400, $200 from each side, for the sessions that can last up to four hours.

With this new niche for mediators, it also creates a new market for conflict specialists/strategists/coaches/consultants. Reading further into the article one finds out just how much a specialist charges:

Michael Joe, an attorney and foreclosure specialist for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, said he has seen attorneys advertise their services for $1,500 to $3,500 to help homeowners in mediation. It’s piggybacking on attorneys’ ads to help homeowners modify loans, he said.

What the above quote is referring to is how attorneys, not mediators or conflict specialists, have seen the light of this new niche field and are seizing the opportunity.
The article has this to add:
“What they are doing is trolling the county recorder’s site to see who is getting foreclosed upon and mailing them,” Joe said. “It is preying upon the weak and the desperate.”
Joe said homeowners don’t need attorney representation because the mediators are supposed to be knowledgeable, fair and unbiased. There are programs for homeowners to learn how to represent themselves in mediation and understand how the process works, he said.
With this new field, there are always the scammers and it should be no surprise there are many taking advantage of people. Since these foreclosure programs are new, there are many questions arising such as what is the exact role these ‘assistants’ play?
From ReviewJournal.com:
“The scams have been very rampant.”
Unlicensed consultants often charged up-front fees and then provided no assistance to desperate homeowners facing foreclosure.

Read the rest of the article [here]

Are mediators and other conflict resolvers also seeing this an a prime opportunity to get in on the action and offer their services? I mentioned [here] about the divide between attorney-mediators and non-attorney mediators, and this can be another example of it.
If this becomes the case, the non-attorney mediators and ADR professionals have no one to blame but themselves. If attorneys are reaching out to possible clients, why are not other ADR professionals? An immediate observation I had when reading the article was the fee currently being charged to offer assistance- $1,500 to $3,500. And that is for just the mediation!

I will stop here to keep things brief and give you all a chance to have a read and develop your own opinions. As always, comments and feedback are always welcome!

Mediation & ADR News

February 25, 2009

New Foreclosure Mediation Costlier and Longer
Several bankers said the mandatory mediation program for home mortgage foreclosure lawsuits ordered Friday by the chief judge of the Treasure Coast court system could increase the cost and length of the cases.

…“I have mixed feelings about it. I understand what the reason is, but any time the judicial system or the government gets involved, I think it could be troublesome,” said Bill Pittenger, senior vice president at Seacoast National Bank in Stuart. “I hate to see anything interfere with the free market and we’ve seen a lot of that lately.”

Full article [here]

Activists Seek to End Street Violence

Ministers and community activists gathered Sunday at a spot a few steps away from where three teenagers were gunned down Friday afternoon in the South Chicago neighborhood.

“Violence is definitely a sickness. It’s a disease, and we need to start treating it like a disease,” he said. “I want youth to know that they can call CeaseFire before someone gets shot.”Hardiman said he can be reached at 773-391-9072 for mediation services. He hopes CeaseFire will be able to go into schools in the neighborhood to tell students they can call on CeaseFire to mediate conflicts.

Full article [here]

Swedish Diplomat Shares Insights on Conflict Resolution

BEIRUT: Swedish diplomat and long-time conflict negotiator Jan Eliasson shared his experiences and outlined a general plan for conflict resolution on his fourth trip to Lebanon during a lecture yesterday at the American University of Beirut dubbed, “Peace-Making Under the United Nations Flag: Reflection on a Quarter Century of Mediation.”
Eliasson, who served as Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Darfur from 2007-2008 and worked extensively to secure peace during the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s, said that effective resolutions must involve the right actors, be well-timed and take into account cultural and communicative aspects.

Full article [here]

India-Pak Don’t Need Chinese Mediation

I usually put just a tidbit of an article, then put a link to it, but the article is this short (really):

New Delhi: Union Minister of state for home Sri Prakash Jaiswal has assured that Pakistan will get the desired reply from India soon that will help the neighbouring country to successfully complete its probe in 26/11 terror attacks case.However, the minister refused any mediation from China. Talking to the reporters he said, ‘No mediator is required for solving issues between India and Pakistan and any kind of arbitration will not be tolerated.”India is capable of handing attacks,’ he further added.

Don’t believe me, see how short it is [here]


Sync Your Blackberry Contacts with Google
Not really mediation related or maybe? For those out there like me who constantly has their Blackberry at their side and use Gmail, this is a great new feature. You can now sync your contacts together, which for your Blackberry, it also serves as a way to back up your information on Gmail too.

Read it [here]