A mortgagor who is not personally liable for payment of the note securing a property loan cannot rescind the loan transaction or mortgage, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts has held. In re Smith-Pena v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.In re Smith-Pena v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2013 WL 28696 (Bankr. D. Mass. Jan. 2, 2013).
Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the "SJC") held that a plaintiff who is not a present mortgagee (or the mortgagee's agent) has no standing to bring an action under the Massachusetts Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act for a determination that the named defendant is not entitled to the protections of the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (the "SCRA").
A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral argument in the matter of Oratai Culhane v. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska earlier this week. The panel was comprised of Chief Judge Hon. Sandra L. Lynch, Senior Circuit Judge Hon. Bruce M. Selya, and retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Hon. David H. Souter, sitting by designation. The Culhane case is notable for District Court Judge Hon. William G. Young's discussion in a summary judgment decision of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") and the propriety of MERS's system of assigning mortgages held in its name to loan servicers prior to foreclosure. See Culhane v. Aurora Loan Serv. of Neb., 826 F. Supp.2d 352 (2011).
Banks and other financial institutions that maintain ATMs got good news from Congress to close out the year. On December 11, 2012, the Senate passed H.R. 4367 by unanimous consent, following passage by the House of Representatives in July. The bill now moves to the President's desk for his signature. H.R. 4367, as passed, amends the Electronic Funds Transfer Act to remove the placard fee disclosure requirement for ATMs operated by a financial institution other than the institution at which a consumer has an account.