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Hundreds of foreclosure sales halted

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High Five
Monday, March 07, 2011

Hundreds of sales of foreclosed homes in Oregon have been stopped after federal judges questioned their legality.

The developments underscore that the challenges disrupting foreclosures in other states have finally hit home in Oregon. Foreclosure sales in the state totaled 10,500 last year, or 28 percent of all home sales, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Federal agencies and state attorneys general are investigating the foreclosure and loan-modification practices of the nation's largest banks.

The legal concerns revolve around Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., a Reston, Va., corporation set up in the mid-1990s by the mortgage banking industry to rapidly record the ownership of mortgages so they could be packaged and sold as securities.

MERS essentially allowed lenders to sell loans without recording each transaction with county recorder offices, experts say. That rapid and sometimes reckless securitization of such loans contributed to the 2008 financial crisis and housing slump. The problems clouding the foreclosure process -- including last year's robo-signing scandal that forced several big banks to suspend foreclosures in about two dozen states -- continue to drag down the housing market today.

Read more at OregonLive.com.

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