Florida Supreme Court terminated the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mandatory Mediation Program.   However mediation firms continue statewide mediation programs, (see below):

In the May 2010 issue of Florida Realtor Magazine, there is a short article labeled Mediation for Foreclosures.  In larger than normal print it states, 

“The Florida Supreme Court mandates mediation in homestead mortgage foreclosure actions.”   

According to the article, as of December 28, 2009, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that any newly filed mortgage foreclosure action against a HOMESTEAD residence shall be referred to as a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFM Program) UNLESS the lender and the borrower agree otherwise in writing or unless pre-suit mediation was conducted.  The lender CAN NOT APPLY for a default judgement, a summary judgement or a final hearing in an action to foreclose a mortgage on a HOMESTEAD residence, before completing the mediation process.

         On February 2nd (2011) the Palm Beach Post wrote that, “Even though only 6 percent of borrowers in Florida's foreclosure mediation program have negotiated an agreement with their lenders, it's too soon to call the program a failure.”  And in the same article they wrote that, “Florida's economic recovery depends on the recovery of its housing market.” wrote on January 2,2012 :  

On Tuesday, December 19, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court effectively terminated the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mandatory Mediation Program. Any pending mediations would not be affected and the Order specifies that Circuit Courts can still refer cases to mediation on a “case by case” basis but for all intents and purposes the Supreme Court’s Order is the death knell for residential mortgage foreclosure mediations.

Why did it fail? Some say it was due to lenders having no economic incentive to settle and a lack of participation in the program by borrowers. With many more foreclosure cases on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if any new ideas crop up this year and whether or not they will have more staying power and success than the mortgage mediation program did.

We have already been told that non-judicial foreclosures are the answer to speeding up foreclosures as well as clarifying that banks are not liable for anything more than the lesser of 12 months or 1% of the original mortgage debt in order to facilitate conveyances. There are legislative proposals currently being debated for both of these ideas. Will these proposals also deliver less than they promise? Time will tell, however, it’s much harder to reverse a state law than it is to terminate a court-ordered program. The high hopes for the residential mortgage foreclosure mediation program (and its realtively quick death) should be a cautionary tale of sorts.

For the full text of the Florida Supreme Court Order please click:

Florida appears to need more organizations like the one below:
Daytona Beach, Fla., January 12, 2012 -- Upchurch Watson White & Max, a mediation specialty firm and national leader in alternative dispute resolution, has created a statewide mediation program for all foreclosures not governed by a local administrative order.  Developed as a fast-track 90-day program (“the UWWM Program”), the new streamlined process offers lenders and borrowers an alternative approach that makes efficient use of limited judicial and clerk resources, and allows lenders to have consistency and continuity in a state court system where some circuits still mandate mediation in foreclosure matters, while other neighboring circuits may not.

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