Colorado AG Asks Lenders To Stop Foreclosures

Attorney General Wants To Make Sure Lenders Are Following The Law

Colorado's attorney general is asking 15 of the top lenders in the state to halt foreclosures temporarily.

"It's become apparent that lenders are certifying informationÂ…. where they haven't actually gone to the file to make sure it's correct," said John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General. "They have just signed off (on foreclosure documents) willy nilly."

As a result, Suthers said 23 other states have halted foreclosures. Suthers said he believes the same needs to be done in Colorado.

"It's not get out of your foreclosure free card," said Suthers. "It's just simply, we ought to know that these companies that are foreclosing on thousands of properties are doing what they are legally required to properly foreclose on a home."

"It is an issue of great concern," said Jose Vasquez, a foreclosure attorney with Colorado Legal Services, an organization that provides legal counseling to low-income Coloradans.

"Foreclosures are processed lightning quick," said Vasques. "I doubt very highly that there is scrutiny given to the files, the documents, the affidavits submitted."

Vasquez said he welcomes any scrutiny given to the foreclosure process and applauds the attorney general for asking lenders to stop the process.

"It could be that people are certifying the documents without actually taking the time to make sure the information is correct," said Suthers.

Reporters with 7NEWS asked Suthers if this would really change anything for homeowners in the foreclosure process.

"Probably not," said Suthers. "There is not assurance that the people that are certifying the documents are doing exactly what they are supposed to do."

Suthers warns homeowners to not assume a home in foreclosure is safe as a result of this possible change; however, foreclosure attorneys said this could mean big changes.

"It could be significant," said Vasquez. The freeze "could result in many foreclosures being withdrawn altogether."

As of Wednesday, Suthers had only sent one letter to Ally Financial asking it to extend its freeze by its GMAC mortgage to Colorado. He plans to ask Colorado's other large lenders to do the same. But unlike the 23 other states where lenders were forced to stop foreclosures, Suthers doesn't have the authority to force them to comply because Colorado has what's called a non-judicial foreclosure process.