Saturday night I had dinner at Kona Brewing Co. in Hawaii Kai with some friends after hiking the beautiful and relatively unknown Tom Tom trail by Makapuu. Someone had picked up the recent Honolulu Weekly and conversation quickly turned to Hawaii real estate matters and the foreclosure mess that’s invaded the national psyche and wreacked havoc throughout our islands. The cover story, “The Foreclosure Fiasco”, takes a stab at the big banks and lenders, namely Bank of America which has a large share of the mortgages here in Hawaii. A lot of is apparently justified as there has been a tremendous amount of mortgage impropriety and nonsense. MERS, robo-signing – pick your poison. This is serious news in any state, but it’s widely known that Hawaii’s foreclosure rate was ranked 11th in the nation in 2010, so the issues surrounding foreclosures is especially critical to our community welfare.
So where’s the problem? Is it the banks? The lenders? Or is it a lack of regulatory oversight? What about homeowner responsibility? All of the above?
More importantly, what’s the way out? The moratorium debate rages on with nothing to show for it yet. According to the article, Bank of America is sending a team of a dozen employees here this week to presumably right the ship on all the statewide troubled loans, face to face. While it’s too early to gauge any results, the in-person meetings being arranged between lender and borrower are at the least a step in the right direction. Maybe that course of action will be followed in turn by the other lenders when a borrower enters into preforeclosure. Or maybe that’s reaching for the stars.
Your thoughts? Opinions?
Side note – the article quotes four of the most important foreclosure bills currently being reviewed in the state legislature: HB 1411 (Omnibus reform bill), HB 894 (five month foreclosure moratorium), SB 651 (mandatory mediation) and SB 652 (task force recommendations).