The state of New York is suing HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE:HBC) for flouting a law designed to ensure struggling homeowners’ right to renegotiate their mortgages before facing foreclosure.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said on Tuesday that the lawsuit filed in Buffalo, N.Y., accuses HSBC of ignoring state laws that require lenders to make a “request for judicial intervention” when they begin the foreclosure process. That would require a settlement conference to be held within 60 days to allow the homeowners to negotiate an alternative to their foreclosure.
An investigation conducted by Schneiderman showed that HSBC repeatedly failed to “timely file” for the court intervention, allowing more lender fees, interest and penalties to pile on the homeowner. Because the bank was too slow to file, some homeowners in four counties – Erie, Monroe, Suffolk and Bronx – were disqualified from modifying their loans.
“Companies like HSBC are brazenly ignoring state law, leaving homeowners across New York stuck in a legal limbo where they can’t even get the legally required settlement conference that could help them keep their homes,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “For homeowners facing foreclosure, time is their greatest enemy.”
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Laura S. Powers, a spokeswoman for HSBC, did not immediately have a comment when reached by International Business Times, but said the company would release a statement later.
A month ago, Schneiderman announced plans to sue Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) for violating a $25 billion nationwide settlement over mortgage servicing abuses that covered five major banks, but not HSBC.