January 26 2020
PORTLAND — Oregon is bucking a declining national trend in new foreclosure filings with a big increase in April, all of it from one loan servicer.
The surge in "notices of default" by Bank of America Corp.'s foreclosure arm, ReconTrust Co., boosted the number of notices in Oregon by 236 percent, to 3,700 from 1,100, according to figures from ForeclosureRadar.com.
Another foreclosure data tracker, RealtyTrac Inc., showed 3,200 notices in Oregon. Nationally, RealtyTrac said the number declined by 14 percent in April.
The increase in April filings follows a jump in canceled foreclosures filed by ReconTrust in late February and March. Those came after rulings by federal judges halting out-of-court foreclosures in Oregon, saying lenders failed to follow state recording law.
The judges said documents showing the successive chain of mortgage ownership had not been filed publicly in county recorders' offices.
Bank of America spokesperson Jumana Bauwens said the withdrawals and new filings resulted from a review late last year of its foreclosure process when it halted sales in all 50 states.
But real estate experts say little changed with the new filings.
Phil Querin, a real estate attorney and critic of the finance industry's handling of foreclosures, said ReconTrust's new foreclosure starts are no different.
"They're doing the same thing they were before," Querin said. "They've not recorded successive assignments."
The bank also might have been running up against a legal deadline that limits postponed foreclosures to six months, he said.