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In the final analysis, I think a reverse amortization loan is a way of hiding the true amount of the debt. —- Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me
As an introduction, let me remind you that the viability and affordability of the loan, the loan to value ratios and all the other facts and ratios and computations are the responsibility of the lender, who must faithfully disclose the results to the borrower. It is a myth that these bad loans were in any way related to the bad intent of borrowers.
I have been examining and analyzing loans that are referred to as “reverse amortization loans”. They are, in every case, “teaser payments” that trap homeowners into a deal that guarantees they will not keep their home — even if it has been in their family for generations. And they are loans, in my opinion, that contain secret balloon payments. Nothing in this article should be construed as abandoning the fact that the “lender” never actually made the loan, nor that the actual lenders (investors) would never have approved the loan. The point of this article is that the borrower would not have approved the deal either if they had been informed of the real nature of the sham loan (even if it was real).
Teaser payments are neither illegal nor unfair (if they don’t involve reverse amortization). They have been used all over the world with great success. The deal is that they pay a lower payment before they get to the real payment. Nothing is owed on the lower interest or even lower escrow that results from such a loan product devised and prepared for signature by the Banks or agents for the Banks.
And remember again that when I refer to the Banks, I am talking about intermediary banks that in the “securitization” era were not making loans but were approving paperwork that nobody in their right might would have have approved under any interpretation of national underwriting standards. These banks diverted money and title from the actual transaction in which money from strangers and title of the homeowners was diverted from the real transaction — giving a problem to both. This left “investors” without an investment and the borrowers with corrupt title.
In my opinion the way the teaser payment option was handled in the era of securitization, the borrower ended up with an unaffordable loan with terms that he or she would not have approved and which no bank was permitted to approve under State and Federal lending laws. The result was a hidden balloon and hidden payments of principal and interest payments far higher than the apparent interest rate on the face of the note. In most cases, the requirement that the documents and good faith estimate were never provided to the borrower, to make sure that the sophisticated borrower would not have an opportunity to think about it.
In one case that is representative of many others I have seen, the interest rate was stated as 8.75%, but that was not true. The principal was fixed at $700,000, but that wasn’t true either. The principal was definitely going higher each month for about 26 months, at which point, the principal would have been 115% of the original principal on the note. THAT is because each teaser payment of a fraction of the amount due for interest alone, was being added to the principal due. That is reverse amortization. But that is only part of the story.
When the principal has risen to 115% of the stated principal due in the closing documents, the loan reverts from a teaser payment — promised for several years — to a full amortized payments. So the original teaser payments was $2300 per month, while the amount added to principal was around $3000 PER MONTH. Thus after her first payment, the borrower owed $703,000. While the note and disclosure documents referred to a teaser payment that would continue for five years, that was impossible — because deep in the riders to the note there was a provision that stated the teaser payment would stop when the accrued payment exceed 115% of the original principal stated on the promissory note.
With the original principal at $700,000, the interest due was around $5100 per month on the original principal. 115% of $700,000 is $805,000, which represents a hidden increase of principal built into the payment schedule. That is an increase of $105,000 for as long as it takes with the hidden accrued interest computed in the background and not disclosed to the borrower before, during or after the “loan closing.” For a loan requiring “20% down payment” this is lost money. The 20% vanishes at the loan closing while the borrower thinks they have equity in their property. They don’t — even if property prices had been maintained.
The hidden increase of $105,000 happens a lot sooner than you think. It is called “reverse amortization” for a reason. But the unsophisticated borrower, this computation is unknown and impossible to run. In the first month the interest rate of 8.875% is now applied against a “principal” due of $703,000. This raises the hidden interest due from around $3000 per month to $3025. Each month the hidden accrued interest being added to “principal” rises by $25 per month. At the end of the first year, the payment due and unpaid principal is rising by $3300 per month. At the end of the second year it is more than $3600 per month. And at the end of the third year, if you get that far the actual computation makes the accrued interest (and therefore the principal due) rise by over $4,000 per month.
Using the above figures which are rounded and “smoothed” for purposes of this article (they are actually higher), principal has gone up by around $20,000 in the first year, $56,000 in the second year, and $76,000 in the third year. So by the end of the third year, the principal due has changed from the original $700,000 to over $850,000. But this passes the threshold of $105,000 beyond which interest will no longer accrue and will be payable in full. And THAT means that during the third year, the payment changes from $2300 to the full interest payment of $5900 per month plus amortized principal plus taxes plus insurance. Hence the payment has changed to over $6500 per month plus taxes and insurance.
For a household that qualified for the $2300 payment, the rise in payment means a guaranteed loss of their home if the loan was real and the documents were enforceable. This is a hidden balloon. The company calling itself the “lender” or “servicer” is obviously not going to get many payments at the new rate. So you call up and they tell you that in order to get a loan modification, which was probably promised to you at your original “loan closing” you must be three months behind in your payments.
Relieved that you don’t need to pay an amount you can’t pay anyway, and afraid you are going to lose everything if you don’t follow the advice of the “customer service representative, you stop paying and find yourself looking at a notice of default. The company tells you don’t worry you are in process for modification when i fact they are preparing to foreclose. There are probably a few million families that have been through this process of “lost paperwork” redoing it several times, “incomplete” etc. only to be told that you don’t “qualify” or the “investor has turned down your offer (which is a lie because the investor has not even seen your file much less considered any offer for modification).
Next comes the notice of acceleration either in a letter or in a lawsuit for foreclosure and suddenly the borrower knows they are screwed but feels it is their own fault. They feel ashamed and they feel like a deadbeat but they really don’t understand how they got to this point. THAT is the hidden balloon — an acceleration in about 26 months that is virtually guaranteed. The entire balance becomes due which of course you cannot pay. If you could have paid the full balance you would not have have taken a loan. You never had a chance. But that is only the first balloon payment that is not revealed to the borrower at his or her “loan closing.”
The second one comes at the end of 36 months. And that is because the computation of the amortized payment has been based upon the original principal and the original interest rate, both of which has changed. So even if you made it to 36 months, you would be told that you will be in foreclosure unless you pay the unpaid principal balance as the “bank” has computed it, which will probably be around $50,000-$70,000.
Florida law requires balloon payments to be disclosed in very prominent fashion. In these cases it not only was not disclosed, it was hidden from the borrower.
It is unfair and illegal to force this idiotic loan upon either the investor whose money was used to fund it without their knowledge or consent, or the borrower who obviously would not have signed a loan that he or she had no chance of paying. This is why forensic reviewers are necessary and expert witnesses are necessary. But for those of you who are entering into trial without benefit of forensic reviews and experts, you can still do this computation yourself and see what happens. Or any accountant can compute the final figures for you.
It is simple and simply wrong. And while you are at it, ask any lender of any kind anywhere if they put THEIR OWN MONEY at risk making a loan like that. Notice that I have not even bothered to mentioned the inflated appraisal.
FYI. Failure to Disclose in capital letters with the statutory language in Florida extends the maturity date indefinitely untinl interest and principal are paid in full. For Florida law see
Florida Balloon Payments
But in addition, the failure to disclose this also violates the Federal Truth in Lending Act. And the failure to provide a good faith estimate three days prior to closing is also a violation — all leading to rescission. The 9th Circuit, which had said that rescission requires tender or ability to tender the money back, reversed itself and said that is no longer necessary. But there is a three day right of rescission and a three year statute of limitations on rescission. In my opinion, both time limits would probably be applied BUT I also think that the legislation can be used defensively as corroboration for your argument that the borrower had no way of knowing what he or she was signing. AND the hidden nature of the balloon payments can arguably be said to be a scheme to trick the borrower, which MIGHT extend the running of the statute.
See Reg Z in full, but here is the part that I think is important:
(e) Prohibition on steering.
Prohibits a loan originator from “steering” a consumer to a lender offering less favorable terms in order to increase the loan originator’s compensation.
Provides a safe harbor to facilitate compliance. The safe harbor is met if the consumer is presented with loan offers for each type of transaction in which the consumer expresses an interest (that is, a fixed rate loan, adjustable rate loan, or a reverse mortgage); and the loan options presented to the consumer include:
- (A) the loan with the lowest interest rate for which the consumer qualifies;
- (B) the loan with the lowest total dollar amount for origination points or fees, and discount points, and
- (C) the loan with the lowest rate for which the consumer qualifies for a loan without negative amortization, a prepayment penalty, interest-only payments, a balloon payment in the first 7 years of the life of the loan, a demand feature, shared equity, or shared appreciation; or, in the case of a reverse mortgage, a loan without a prepayment penalty, or shared equity or shared appreciation.
To be within the safe harbor, the loan originator must obtain loan options from a significant number of the creditors with which the originator regularly does business. The loan originator can present fewer than three loans and satisfy the safe harbor, if the loan(s) presented to the consumer otherwise meet the criteria in the rule.
The loan originator must have a good faith belief that the options presented to the consumer are loans for which the consumer likely qualifies. For each type of transaction, if the originator presents to the consumer more than three loans, the originator must highlight the loans that satisfy the criteria specified in the rule.
< Back to Regulation Z
Filed under: AMGAR, CORRUPTION, escrow agent, evidence, expert witness, foreclosure, foreclosure defenses, GTC | Honor, investment banking, Investor, MBS TRUSTEE, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, originator, Pleading, securities fraud, Servicer, STATUTES, Title, TRUST BENEFICIARIES, trustee | Tagged: accleration, amortization, balloon payment, Florida LAw, hidden balloon provisions, interest rates, reverse amortization, teaser payments | 15 Comments »