In some cases, it was found that banks brought foreclosure proceedings upon homeowners when they had no standing to do so. Sloppy paperwork sometimes made it impossible to tell which entity was the rightful owner of the mortgage notes.
To help fix the mess, foreclosure proceedings were temporarily suspended. Even though the suspension has since been lifted, the pace of foreclosures remains significantly slower as banks more thoroughly review each case to ensure they are being handled legally and properly.
There's another factor at play, as well. The banks can't sell the homes they've already seized so they aren't as incentivized to repossess more homes.
"[There's] weak demand from buyers, making it tough for lenders to unload their REO inventory," said Saccacio. "Even at a significantly lower level than a year ago, the new supply of REOs exceeds the amount being sold each month."
The banks don't want to take on the expense of maintaining the homes -- property taxes, heating costs, repairs and insurance -- if they can't sell them quickly. Selling off the inventory of repossessed homes is crucial to the housing market, said Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker. Sold at steep discounts, REOs compete with new homes for buyers and have severely depressed new home sales.
The steepest drops in filings have come from judicial states, ones in which the courts are involved in repossessions. In these states, where foreclosure proceedings are subject to the scrutiny of the courts, it appears banks are taking special care to make sure they've stamped out the last vestiges of the robo-signing issues.
Nevada, where most cases are handled outside of court, continued to be foreclosure central. One of every 103 households received a notice of some kind in May. However, that was an improvement of 23% compared with May 2010. Arizona, with one filing for every 210 households, and California, one for every 259, were second and third.
The judicial state of Florida, where the housing market is no better, has seen a much greater drop-off in filings over the past year, down 62%. It now has the eighth highest foreclosure rate, of one filing for every 461 households. A year ago, it was in the top four, along with the other "Sand States." provided by cnn money.
Even though bank repossessions are down they are still going on since the unemployment rate is still high in the US up to 9.1%, Florida at 10.6% and California at 11.7%. When employment goes down then the repossession are going to be down as well.