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Richmond evictions behind the scenes

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The same scene was witnessed 14 times by a Washington Post reporter one November morning in this state capital, which according to data collected at Princeton’s Eviction Lab has the second-highest eviction rate in the country.

The Richmond City Sheriff’s Office had a light load that day: 55 eviction orders. On more typical days, the number jumps to 70 or higher, officials said.

In Southwood, a neighborhood where rents range from $500 to $800 a month for two-bedroom townhouses and apartments, advocates say it has become common to see people cram their belongings in plastic bags, place them in car trunks and leave their apartments before a handful of deputies come to knock on their door.

For many, these scenes are not new.

Advocates and experts say the eviction tradition in Richmond and other Southern cities and towns dates back generations, and has affected black communities the most.

“There has been a housing crisis, an eviction crisis and a displacement crisis for several decades,” said Benjamin Teresa, co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has studied housing issues in Virginia and other Southern states.

He points to laws favoring landlords like “pay or quit,” which allows landlords to launch eviction proceedings five days after the payment grace period (other states provide up to 30 days).

Civil Process Sgt. Larry Trotter and Deputy John Vaughan enter an apartment that had received an eviction order in Richmond. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

Tenants’ rights

Teresa said minority communities in Richmond are subjected to predatory lending and discrimination, especially renters who use federal housing vouchers. Landlords can refuse to accept vouchers, and he said landlords who do accept them often steer tenants to housing in poor neighborhoods.

With a new Democratic majority in the General Assembly, advocates were hoping for ambitious housing reform across the commonwealth this year. More than a dozen measures were introduced to tackle housing issues, but none “explicitly deals with eviction,” said Christie Marra, a family and housing attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

She said most of the focus has been on giving tenants tools to ensure their housing is safe and habitable, cap fees assessed after late rent payments and force landlords to make or pay for repairs.

A measure requiring landlords to provide tenants a list of their rights and responsibilities at the beginning of the lease term was approved by the Senate with bipartisan support and is awaiting action by the House.

The Senate unanimously approved and sent to the House a bill that would give tenants the right to make essential repairs and deduct them from their rent if a landlord refuses or does not take care of the issue within 14 days.

Another bill, proposed by state Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) would allow judges to expunge eviction records from cases that were dismissed or withdrawn by the landlord. Such records can make it hard for renters to secure leases in the future. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is expected to be heard in the House next week.

And despite opposition, the House approved 61 to 37 a bill that bans landlords from refusing housing vouchers as payment. The measure was referred to the Senate.

Marra said the legislation is leading the state in the right direction.

“I think we all needed time to see what could get done in some of these other areas,” she said. “And then regroup once this session ends to try to really focus on gathering together groups of tenants in the high evicting areas to hear directly from them.”

Phone calls and motels

Laurette Turner looks at her cellphone as she tries to find cheap hotels around Richmond. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

A few days after Vaughan searched the apartment with the red scooter, Laurette Turner, 64, sat at the end of a hotel bed on the other side of Richmond. She was talking to yet another employee of a housing organization that aims to help evictees.

She was evicted in June, along with her daughter and three grandchildren, from a government-subsidized apartment complex where she had lived for more than eight years, mostly on disability payments and government assistance.

Turner said the property managers at Townes at River South apartments lost two of her rent payments; staff at the complex said they were unable to comment on her case.

For more than six months, Turner sought help from nonprofits and government organizations in searching for permanent housing. Having an eviction on her rental record meant many landlords turned her away, she said, so cheap hotels were often the only option.

The Turner family belongings packed in plastic bags. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

She compared rates, called reception desks, negotiated with case managers for enough funding to stay for a few days or a week. Each time she needed to leave, she moved her family’s belongings in plastic bags.

“Everybody thinks the homeless are the people on the street or the people walking up and down the street for money. Or people sleeping in their cars,” she said in her room at the Quality Inn in Northside Richmond. “But it’s more than that.”

Before Christmas, she found a landlord willing to rent them a townhouse for six months. “It has three bedrooms, one bath, living room, dining area and kitchen with washer and dryer hookups,” she texted a Washington Post reporter. “Thank God for his grace and mercy.”

Turner has been trying to get the landlord to install a washer and dryer, and hopes to extend the lease until the end of 2020. She also wants to pay a credit repair service she saw on television, which she believes could get the eviction erased from her record.

“I’m going to find out,” she said Tuesday.

Doing his job

Those carrying out removals were unaware an eviction epidemic was plaguing their hometown until Princeton’s Eviction Lab study, which found that the 10 U.S. cities with the highest eviction rates included five from Virginia: Richmond, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

“It was an eye-opener,” said Civil Process Sgt. Larry Trotter. “We have five deputies and we’re at number two. It’s not a number you celebrate. Nobody was celebrating.”

Trotter reads lists of eviction orders from his desk in Richmond. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

The attention, he says, prompted roundtable discussions with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and local officials, who sought his input on how to decrease the eviction rate. He believes, however, those efforts were flawed.

“The ones at the roundtables should have been the judges, and the ones who make these laws,” Trotter said. “Everybody wants a quick fix. There is no quick fix to it.”

Trotter, who is black and grew up in Petersburg, a city 21 miles south of Richmond, said he became a deputy sheriff because he wanted to help society and give law enforcement a positive light in his community.

“ I wanted to be the person that people can say, ‘Okay, he has a badge, but he’s still him. He has a badge, but he’s not out here abusing me,’ ” he said. “Because that’s what I seen coming up.”

Years ago, Trotter was on the other side of an eviction order. He was unemployed and recovering from knee surgery when he was put out of his apartment.

He lived in his car and sent his family to stay with his in-laws.

He draws from his personal story to try to help those he evicts, telling them that instead of putting blame on others, they should instead learn what options are available and ask, “Where do I go from here?”

He carries pamphlets in his shirt pocket with information on legal and housing services, and even talks to evictees about openings at the Sheriff’s Office.

“I can do no more, no less with the power that I’m given,” Trotter said. “You don’t want to put people out, but you have to because you have to do your job.”

Vaughan and Trotter count eviction orders. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)

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TML introduces mortgages for credit impaired borrowers

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TML introduces mortgages for credit impaired borrowers

The Mortgage Lender (TML) is launching a range of residential mortgages to cater for borrowers who have suffered some form of credit issue through a change in circumstance.

 

The Lumi-branded range is available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV), across four categories to support customers with defaults, county court judgements (CCJs) and mortgage arrears.

The products are available for employed, self-employed and complex income applicants.

Rates start at 4.98 per cent for a two-year fix and 5.29 per cent for a five-year fix at 70 per cent loan to value and are open for loans between £25,001 and £1m.

It also offers criteria for unsecured arrears, bankruptcy and pay day loans outside that of TML’s standard range.

The lender said it was taking a pragmatic approach to the real-world experience many clients are facing and it was providing “a stepping-stone for homemovers or those remortgaging and, in some cases, credit repair”.

TML sales and product director Steve Griffiths said: “Now more than ever lenders need to have criteria that caters for a wide range of customer circumstances and recognise that the last 12 months has been financially difficult for many people.

Doug Hall director of distributor 3mc added: “We are seeing increasing numbers of customers whose financial situation has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic who need products that are appropriate for their circumstances now.

“Through sharing our knowledge and challenges with lenders, like TML, the specialist lending sector is proving it can meet those needs in a responsible way.

“The launch of Lumi is great news for brokers and customers. It shows lenders are listening and able to respond to the market, improving customer choice and competition.”

 



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Landmark Point Predictive Fraud Study Details Record Year for Auto Loan Fraud in 2020

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SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apr 15, 2021–

Point Predictive Inc., the San Diego-based artificial intelligence and data science company that helps lenders predict the trustworthiness of loan application information, published research detailing increased levels of attempted loan fraud in 2020, which the company believes could continue through 2021.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210415005688/en/

US Auto Loan Fraud Reaches $7.3 Billion in 2020 (Graphic: Business Wire)

The company’s Auto Fraud Report is the auto finance industry’s most comprehensive annual assessment of application fraud risk. The 2020 edition includes unique insights about income and employment misrepresentation, identity fraud, and collateral fraud for US auto lenders, as well as the impacts of the pandemic on this important sector of the economy.

“2020 was a pivotal year for fraud risk, with auto loan fraud reaching $7.3 billion of originations,” said Frank McKenna, Chief Fraud Strategist for Point Predictive. “The pandemic heightened fear and anxiety and likely made consumers more vulnerable to scams and frauds. The ensuing economic turmoil caused an immediate and dramatic rise in unemployment, increasing some people’s willingness to engage in loan fraud. Furthermore, a flood of stimulus money and generous lender forbearance programs simultaneously increased the level of fraud while delaying lenders’ ability to recognize it.”

Many lenders have praised Point Predictive’s research due to the breadth, detail, and scope of the analysis. This year’s analysis drew from the Point Predictive anti-fraud Consortium dataset, a secure and private data science collaboration among dozens of US lenders. The Consortium now includes over 94 million loan applications containing 85 individual fields of data on each application. Every month, activity from 45,000 dealerships contributes to a view of vehicle financing that spans nearly all 157,000 US auto dealers. This data set tracks over $2.7 billion in known early payment default and the company’s machine learning techniques have generated more than 10 billion risk attributes, offering unparalleled insight into mostly hidden risk trends and the ability to predict more fraud than ever before.

“Consortium data is deeper and more predictive of risk than any credit bureau or public records source,” said McKenna. He continued, “This vast and deeply-specific data on each loan application gave us incredible clarity into fraud risk that lenders are exposed to. And one thing is for sure: the risk of fraud to auto lenders rose dramatically as the pandemic unfolded.”

One of the most significant trends addressed by the analysis was the marked uptick in income and employment misrepresentation. As the lockdowns began, Consortium members were suddenly impacted by a 100% year-over-year increase of falsified income and employment claims on auto loan applications, a level of risk which continued throughout the year. Detected among the trend was the use of over 300 new, but bogus employers each month, used by applicants to fraudulently convince lenders of steady sources of income.

Completing a complex risk picture for fraud managers, the report notes that scams like synthetic identity creation, credit washing, and even lawful impacts of credit repair efforts complicate efforts by lenders to guard against fraud in order to more quickly serve trustworthy borrowers.

“As a lender, you have to keep your guard up at all times. No assumptions can be made about any loan application until every single one clears a satisfactory fraud review,” said Steve Christensen, Executive Vice President of Elite Acceptance Corp. “The analysis and outlook from Point Predictive is essential reading in order to be prepared. For Elite Acceptance, the crucial trends to get ahead of are the dealer implications, such as a sale price inflation of over 10% on the top 10 models,” said Christensen. He concluded, “I credit Point Predictive for exposing the truth behind what is presented to lenders by dealers and borrowers.”

Additionally, the analysis of auto loan fraud in 2020 covers other concerning trends, including clusters of fraud in certain states and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), new tactics used by self-employed borrowers, patterns of suspicious and ambiguous naming conventions for fake employers, synthetic identity centers, Social Security number manipulation tactics, vehicles subjected to inflated pricing, and the systematic disputing of multiple negative tradelines on a credit report in order to make the borrower appear to be more creditworthy. Power booking is also on the rise, wherein dealers inflate sale prices and falsify down payments to increase the chances of loan approval.

The Auto Fraud Report concludes with recommendations from Point Predictive’s fraud experts for staying ahead of fraud in 2021. Tim Grace, Chairman and CEO of Point Predictive, encourages lenders to bolster fraud defenses and staff. “In times of crisis, there is often a need to reduce costs to stay profitable amidst decreasing volumes. But this is a mistake. The rate of fraud and risk will increase over the next 18 months, making fraud prevention and staffing one of the most important investments you can make in maintaining the health of your portfolio. Resist the urge to cut costs where it matters most.”

Auto, mortgage, and student lenders who are interested in receiving a copy of Point Predictive’s 2020 Annual Auto Fraud Report should contact [email protected].

About Point Predictive Inc.

Point Predictive enables lenders to fund more loans simply with a unique combination of Artificial and Natural Intelligence™ (Ai+Ni™) to power machine learning technology solutions. Point Predictive helps automotive, mortgage, retail and personal loan finance companies to identify the consumer applications with truthful and reliable information without the intense interrogation and verification of data caused by lower tech solutions currently in use. Highly regarded as the most trusted fraud and misrepresentation analytic solution providers, Point Predictive has transformed that trust to enable lenders to fund more loans to more consumers simply. Point Predictive uses big data powerfully orchestrated from millions of examples of true and falsified loan applications, billions of derived proprietary data elements, and scientifically selected third-party data sources to build powerful machine learning models with the added natural intelligence of human experience.

Located in San Diego, California, more information about Point Predictive can be found at www.PointPredictive.com.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210415005688/en/

CONTACT: Dennis Behrman

VP of Marketing & Growth, Point Predictive

858-227-6644

[email protected]

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TECHNOLOGY FINANCE AUTOMOTIVE GENERAL AUTOMOTIVE SECURITY BANKING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES SOFTWARE DATA MANAGEMENT

SOURCE: Point Predictive Inc.

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

PUB: 04/15/2021 10:57 AM/DISC: 04/15/2021 10:57 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210415005688/en



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TML announce launch of new residential Lumi products

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Steve Griffiths TML





A new, Lumi-branded, residential product has been launched by The Mortgage Lender, following a rise in demand from borrowers who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

TML say that the range is available up to 75% loan to value, across four Lumi categories and caters for customers with defaults, CCJs, and mortgage arrears. It also offers enhanced credit criteria for unsecured arrears, bankruptcy and payday loans when compared to TML’s core range.

Lumi products are available for employed, self-employed and complex income applicants. The minimum loan is £25,001 and the maximum loan is £1m with rates starting at 4.98% for a two-year fix and 5.29% for a five-year fix at 70% loan to value.

Steve Griffiths, The Mortgage Lender sales and product director, said: “Now more than ever lenders need to have criteria that caters for a wide range of customer circumstances and recognise that the last 12 months has been financially difficult for many people.

“Our Lumi range, which is available through specialist distributors, takes a pragmatic approach to the real-world experience many of our broker partners are presented with when they are sourcing a mortgage for their clients.

“It offers fair rates combined with a flexible approach to underwriting that provides a stepping-stone for home-movers or those remortgaging and, in some cases, credit repair.”

Doug Hall, 3mc director, adds: “We are seeing increasing numbers of customers whose financial situation has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic who need products that are appropriate for their circumstances now.

“Through sharing our knowledge and challenges with lenders, like TML, the specialist lending sector is proving it can meet those needs in a responsible way. The launch of Lumi is great news for brokers and customers. It shows lenders are listening and able to respond to the market, improving customer choice and competition.”

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