in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

Many institutional lenders have started "Cash for Keys" programs incentivizing homeowners in default on their mortgage payments to hand over the keys and leave the property in good repair. The Cash for Keys program is a win–win for both the homeowner and lender. The homeowner usually receives $20,000 to $30,000 to offset relocation expenses, while the lender receives the property, used as collateral for the loan, in a timely fashion and in good shape to list and resell.

The Cash for Keys programs, however, are seen by 2nd lienholders as an opportunity to receive more funds toward their outstanding debt than they would under any other type of short sale program. Read how a 2nd lienholder demanded funds from the cash due to the seller at closing in the story entitled "WHO would close with an outstanding condition like that?"

Bank of America has become aware of a short sale scam in which fraudulent short sale approval letters are provided to title companies. The intention of the fraudulent letters is to close short sale transactions without the approval of the holder of the note.

These fraudulent letters mimic legitimate approval letters from Bank of America in several ways, including logos, formatting and language. Read "BANK OF AMERICA short sales" to discover the new process Bank of America put in place to verify their short pay letters.

Unclaimed property is something escrow settlement offices are used to dealing with, right? Some consumers find their names on a state's Unclaimed Property website. Others are contacted by shysters looking to help consumers locate their unclaimed property in exchange for a fee, and as a result contact our offices for proof the funds belong to them.

Did you know Our Companies have several thousands of dollars on various states' Unclaimed Property lists? Find out how a consumer informed us of the funds in the story entitled "GOOD samaritan."


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