The First Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a case in which the plaintiff alleged that Citizens Bank's "Sustained Overdraft Fees" on overdrawn checking accounts were usurious interest charges in violation of Section 85 of the National Bank Act (the "NBA"). Fawcett v. Citizens Bank, N.A.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") has held that a bank's failure to comply with post-foreclosure notice provisions in Mass. G.L. c. 244, § 15A ("Section 15A"), does not render a foreclosure void. Turra v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, 476 Mass. 1020 (2017). The SJC's decision clarifies its prior rulings that appeared to state that any failure to comply with a provision appearing in Mass. G.L. c. 244, §§ 11-17C, rendered a foreclosure void.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court, in a Rule 1:28 decision, has once again reaffirmed its holdings in Sullivan v. Kondaur Capital Corp., 85 Mass.App.Ct. 202 (2014) and Shea v. Federal Natl' Mort. Assn., et al., 87 Mass.App.Ct. 901 (2015), that the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") system of mortgage assignments comports with Massachusetts law. The Appeals Court further reaffirmed that MERS' status as mortgagee, even "solely as nominee for [lender] and [lender]'s successors and assigns," grants to MERS all the rights and powers of a mortgagee, including the right to foreclose and exercise the power of sale in the mortgage. Epps v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., 15-P-1095, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 974 (Oct. 11, 2016).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has refused to reinstate a putative class-action suit accusing numerous banks and other mortgage servicers of fraudulently enticing mortgagors into applying for mortgage loan modifications to continue collecting servicing fees prior to foreclosure. The Ninth Circuit panel agreed with the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the defendants that the servicers were not at fault for the foreclosures where the borrowers failed to pay their mortgages. Casault v. OneWest Bank, et al., 2016 WL 4137656 (9th Cir. Aug. 4, 2016).
In AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333 (2011), the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state laws that prohibit consumer contracts from disallowing class-wide arbitration. On May 5, 2016, however, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new rule that would restore consumer's rights to bring class action lawsuits against banks and other certain financial firms.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the "SJC) has rejected a challenge to the authority of an attorney to conduct foreclosure activities on behalf of clients without specific written authorization to perform those activities. See Federal National Mortgage Association v. Rego, et al., No. SJC-11927, 2015 WL 10895667 (Mass. May 24, 2016). At a foreclosure sale conducted by GMAC Mortgage, LLC, Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") purchased the home formerly owned by Edward and Emanuela Rego. When Fannie Mae filed a complaint for summary process in the Housing Court seeking possession of the home, the Regos argued that the foreclosure sale was void because the attorneys for GMAC lacked authority to undertake foreclosure activities on GMAC's behalf because their actions had not been authorized by a prior writing pursuant to Mass. Gen. L. c. 244, § 14 ("Section 14").
The Massachusetts Division of Banks (the "Division") has issued a letter to Non-Bank ATM Registrants in the Commonwealth to warn them about a "concerning increase" in ATM skimming fraud. The Division's March 16, 2016 letter is published on its website.