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IL AG Demands GMAC Meeting

State to determine if law broken

Sept. 24, 2010

By staff

The attorney general in Illinois has sent Ally Financial Inc. a letter demanding a meeting about whether state laws were broken by its mortgage servicing unit. The U.S. government stands to be impacted by the growing foreclosure issue given the size of its investment in Ally and the potential for other local and state governments to follow with similar or worse actions.

The letter, from Attorney General Lisa Madigan, was announced Friday. It noted that Illinois was among 23 states where the company said it would suspend foreclosures.

The state is requesting data about the number of impacted Illinois borrowers and the names of the law firms that are used to pursue foreclosure actions. It also want information about how the law firms will monitor suspensions in the state and how long the suspensions will last.

Madigan said the state is addressing concerns about whether GMAC Mortgage LLC violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act as it pursed foreclosure against borrowers in the state.

The state cited testimony in a Florida case by an employee who said he routinely signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the borrowers' documents and then submitted the documents to the company's attorneys.

"These affidavits were then filed with the court as evidence of Ally's right to foreclose on the homes," the news release stated. "The employee testified that he signed at least 10,000 affidavits a month without reviewing the underlying paperwork.

Madigan threatened to "take appropriate action" should the state find that "Ally is rubber-stamping affidavits and filing them with our courts as evidence."

In a ratings action disclosed today, Moody's Investors Service warned that timelines could be extended in jurisdictions that require the servicer to restart the foreclosure process.

"These incidents could result in delayed foreclosures and longer REO timelines, as well as reputational risk, legal challenges to previously completed foreclosures and long-term liquidity concerns for GMAC Mortgage," the ratings agency said.

The U.S. government has a 56 percent interest in GMAC, and published reports suggest that level could increase.

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