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Proposed Law Amendment Could Lead To Foreclosure Spike

Nevadans could see a spike in foreclosure activity in 2013 if banks and lawmakers agree to proposed amendments to a current law designed in the wake of the robo-signing crisis. The law requires banks to prove their legal rights to foreclose on a property, but it has also resulted in a temporary slowdown in foreclosures and a bottleneck for housing market recovery, according to some analysts.

Passed in 2011, the law was designed to protect homeowners in one of the states hit hardest by the housing crisis by providing more secure document transactions. Among its provisions, the bill requires bank officials to sign affidavits attesting to their personal knowledge of a property’s document history — or face criminal and/or civil penalties. While banks are not looking to repeal the law entirely, they are seeking ways to amend it to help expedite the process.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has been working with banks, lawmakers, title and real estate interests and consumer groups to strategize changes to the current law so that it may encourage a more streamlined process without jeopardizing the protections the law grants to consumers.

“The Attorney General’s Office and affected parties are working to change the affidavits so it’s workable, without fear of criminal or civil liability,” said Bill Uffelman, president and CEO of the Nevada Bankers Association.

With banks still working to comply with the terms of the $26 billion National Mortgage Settlement, it could take some time yet for the focus to turn back to foreclosures. But most experts and analysts are expecting that that time will come sooner than later.

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