Hugh Balsam (Chicago), Tom Cunningham (West Palm Beach) and Tara Trifon (Hartford) obtained a judgment in favor of their client U.S. Bank in an appeal from a dispute over whether a bank was required to conduct a face-to-face meeting with a mortgage borrower before initiating foreclosure proceedings. Federal regulations generally call for such a meeting where the mortgage is insured by HUD, but there is an exception for cases in which a mortgage lender does not have a branch office within 200 miles of the borrower’s home. The question here is whether a bank office that conducts no mortgage-related business qualifies as a “branch office” of a “mortgagee” under the regulatory exception. The appeals court affirmed a ruling by the district court’s judgment that U.S. Bank's only office within 200 miles of the borrower’s home was not open to the public, does not perform any mortgage-related functions, is therefore not a qualifying "branch office” and therefore was not required to conduct a face-to-face meeting.
Posted on April 22, 2020