Superior Court Chancery Division says banks may resume mortgage case proceedings

TRENTON – The Superior Court of New Jersey Chancery Division has ruled today that several banks may resume prosecution of uncontested residential mortgage foreclosure cases.

The order issued today states that Bank of America’s BAC Home Loan Servicing arm, Citibank and Citi Residential Lending Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank and Chase Home Finances, and Wells Fargo Bank may all proceed with mortgage foreclosure cases.

A special master appointed in the case is authorized to monitor their compliance, and the banks are ordered to cooperate with the special master.

In December, the court acted in response to the practice known as “robo-signing’’ used by some mortgage lenders, in which a person signs sometimes hundreds of documents a day without knowing what they state.

The court often relies on the truthfulness of such documentation in uncontested cases when a lender is seeking a foreclosure judgment.

In December, General Equity Judge Mary Jacobson entered an order to the banks to show cause why the filing of such foreclosure actions should not be suspended.

In some cases, the banks already had ceased processing foreclosures in New Jersey while addressing the “robo-signing’’ problem.

The court stated it chose these banks because they handle a large majority of foreclosures in the state, and because there had been depositions or other testimony elsewhere in the country indicating these banks had encountered “robo-signing’’ issues.

As a result, the banks and the court entered into a consent order that led to the appointment of a special master who had jurisdiction to review whether each of the banks has proper procedures in place to ensure that foreclosure affidavits are properly executed.

Superior Court Chancery Division says banks may resume mortgage case proceedings