Wood v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (Opinion)Annotate this Case
In 2004, the Woods obtained a $76,000 home-equity loan secured by their homestead. Nearly eight years later, the Woods notified the note holder, HSBC, and loan servicer, Ocwen that the loan did not comply with the Texas Constitution because the closing fees exceeded 3% of the loan amount. Neither of the lenders attempted to cure the alleged defects. In 2012, the Woods sued, seeking to quiet title and asserting claims for constitutional violations, breach of contract, fraud, and a declaratory judgment that the lien securing the home-equity loan is void, that all principal and interest paid must be forfeited, and that the Woods have no further obligation to pay. The trial court granted the lenders summary judgment and the court of appeals affirmed, citing the statute of limitations. The Texas Supreme Court reversed in part.“No . . . lien on the homestead shall ever be valid unless it secures a debt described by this section[.]” TEX. CONST. art. XVI, § 50(c). This language is clear, unequivocal, and binding. Liens securing constitutionally noncompliant home-equity loans are invalid until cured and thus not subject to any statute of limitations. The Woods do not, however, have a cognizable claim for forfeiture.