Outside Counsel. Inside Perspective. Call on Ben Hillard’s unique professional experience as a former investment banker and mortgage lending consultant.
In his own foreclosure defense practice, Ben Hillard applies his knowledge of the banking and mortgage industry to aggressively defend foreclosure suits with the litigation goal of helping residential and commercial clients avoid deficiency judgment or modify their loan(s).
Ben maintains that big lenders should bear some or all of the loss – citing the lenders’ gross deviations from historically sound lending standards that in turn caused hyperinflation in real estate prices followed by inevitable decline in property values as the real cause of the lender’s losses. What’s more, there is a legal concept that between or among innocent parties, the party in the best position to assess the risk, must bear the loss. The lenders, with their teams of analysts, were in a better position to “recognize or “foresee” the real estate bubble, especially after having created the bubble by offering stated income “no doc” loans and 100% financing. Despite “seeing” the real estate bubble develop, the lenders, driven by short-term profits, continued to innovate, coming up with even more egregious forms of loans [negative amortization] which further contributed to the bubble and inevitable decline. While I use the word “decline” here, it’s really more of a “return” to a historically-normal relationship relative to borrower income.
Ben has also developed detailed statistical analysis concerning the relationship between average incomes and average home prices in the Tampa Bay area. The correlation between average home prices and average incomes clearly shows the impact that unsound lending standards had on the Tampa Bay area.
Experts are typically called upon at trial. Trial is the conclusion of the average case. If you have not set yourself up for success from the beginning of the case, expert testimony at trial may be worthless. If you have not conducted the proper discovery relative to underwriting guidelines, appraisals, real estate values, mortgage insurance and credit default swaps to name a few, or if you have not properly pled good affirmative defenses, expert testimony may not help you. Therefore, if you are considering an expert, make sure that the defense strategy is cohesive and coordinated with the expertise required.
With over 7 years’ experience in the banking industry, Ben has spent much of his career as an investment banker and consultant conducting residential and commercial loan acquisitions due diligence on literally tens of billions of dollars of loan purchase transactions. More specifically, Ben’s duties often included: review for compliance with federal lending regulations, deal selection, underwriting (including loan documents, real estate and non-real estate collateral, legal compliance, title, environmental and litigation review), leveraged asset pricing, credit committee presentations, negotiating purchase and sale agreements, individual asset underwriting and overall project cash-flow analysis for commercial mortgage backed securities (“CMBS”) and collateralized loan obligations (“CLO”) transactions, and purchasing hundreds of millions of assets and loans from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), Resolution Trust Corporation (“RTC”) and the Small Business Association (“SBA”).
Ben began his banking career at Berkley Federal then Ocwen Financial managing a portfolio of approximately 500-700 ongoing mortgage foreclosures across 15 states. His unique background and experience makes him the ideal expert foreclosure defense witness.
Defending a foreclosure suit can provide not only legal leverage but also time to get a loan modification, to conduct a short sale or to avoid a deficiency.Learn More
A deficiency judgment can last up to 20-years unless paid or otherwise resolved. A deficiency judgment can be a lien on all non-homestead real estate and other assets.Learn More
Even if you perfectly “qualify” the lender does not have to modify your particular loan. Lenders cannot modify everyone’s loan; it’s simply not economically feasible.Learn More
Short Sale Consulting
Castle Law Group helps clients decide if a short sale is right for them by explaining the risks and potential rewards relative to our clients’ unique financial situation.Learn More
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