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Wells Fargo Bank v. Isaacs

Date Of Involvement: 07/20/2011
Docket: 11-32


Federal regulations require that before a lender forecloses on certain homes the lender must arrange a face-to-face meeting with the homeowner, to discuss options to avoid foreclosure. This requirement does not apply if the lender does not have a “branch office” within 200 miles of the home.

In this case, Wells Fargo initiated foreclosure proceedings against Isaacs without attempting to arrange a face-to-face meeting, even though it has numerous branch offices within 200 miles of her home. Wells Fargo argues that it is exempt from this requirement because the term “branch office,” as used in the federal regulation, does not refer to all branch offices, but only to branch offices that a lender chooses to staff with loan servicing personnel. The Ohio Court of Appeals rejected this argument. Wells Fargo has now petitioned the Supreme Court, and Public Citizen assisted Isaacs’s attorneys in their preparation of a brief in opposition. This brief argues that the lower court’s decision is correct and emphasizes that no state supreme court or federal court of appeals has ever addressed this issue.