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I attended Darrell Blomberg’s Foreclosure Strategists’ meeting last night where Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne defended the relatively small size of the foreclosure settlement compared with the tobacco settlement. To be fair, it should be noted that the multi-state settlement relates only to issues brought by the attorneys general. True they did very little investigation but the settlement sets the guidelines for settling with individual homeowners without waiving anything except that the AG won’t bring the lawsuits to court. Anyone else can and will. It wasn’t a real settlement. But the effect was what the Banks wanted. They want you to think the game is over and move on. The game is far from over, it isn’t a game and I won’t stop until I get those homes back that were ripped from the arms of homeowners who never knew what hit them.
So this is the first full business day after AG Horne promised me he would get back to me on the question of whether the AG would bring criminal actions for racketeering and corruption against the banks and servicers for conducting sham auctions in which “credit bids” were used instead of cash to allow the banks to acquire title. These credit bids came from non-creditors and were used as the basis for issuing deeds on foreclosure, each of which carry a presumption of authenticity. But the deeds based on credit bids from non-creditors represent outright theft and a ratification of a corrupt title system that was doing just fine before the banks started claiming the loans were securitized.
Those credit bids and the deeds issued upon foreclosure were sham transactions — just as the transactions originated with borrowers were based upon the lies and false pretenses of the acting lenders who were paid for their acting services. By pretending that the loan came from these thinly capitalised sham companies (all closed with no forwarding address), the banks and servicers started the lie that the loan was sold up the tree of securitization. Each transaction we are told was a sale of the loan, but none of them actually involved any money exchanging hands. So much for, “value received.”
The purpose of these loans was to create a process that would cover up the theft of the investor money that the investment bank received in exchange for “mortgage bonds” based upon non-existent transactions and the title equivalent of wild deeds.
So the answer to the question is that borrowers did not make bad decisions. They were tricked into these loans. Had there been full disclosure as required by TILA, the borrowers would never have closed on the papers presented to them. Had there been full disclosure to the investors, they never would have parted with a nickel. No money, no lender, no borrower no transactions. And practically barring lawyers from being hired by borrowers was the first clue that these deals were upside down and bogus. No, they didn’t make bad decisions. There was an asymmetry of information that the banks used to leverage against the borrowers who knew nothing and who understood nothing.
“Just sign everywhere we marked for your signature” was the closing agent’s way of saying, “You are now totally screwed.” If you ask the wrong question you get the wrong answer. “Moral hazard” in this context is not a term anyone knowledgeable uses in connection with the borrowers. It is a term used to express the context in which unscrupulous Bankers acted without conscience and with reckless disregard to the public, violating every applicable law, rule and regulation in the process.
Why Did So Many People Make So Many Ex Post Bad Decisions? The Causes of the Foreclosure Crisis
Public Policy Discussion Paper No. 12-2
This paper presents 12 facts about the mortgage market. The authors argue that the facts refute the popular story that the crisis resulted from financial industry insiders deceiving uninformed mortgage borrowers and investors. Instead, they argue that borrowers and investors made decisions that were rational and logical given their ex post overly optimistic beliefs about house prices. The authors then show that neither institutional features of the mortgage market nor financial innovations are any more likely to explain those distorted beliefs than they are to explain the Dutch tulip bubble 400 years ago. Economists should acknowledge the limits of our understanding of asset price bubbles and design policies accordingly.
To ready the entire paper please go to this link: www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppdp/2012/ppdp1202.htm
Filed under: foreclosure Tagged: | AG Horne, asset price bubbles, asymmetry of information banks used to leverage against borrowers, attorney general, AZ AG Tom Horne, borrower, bostonfed.org, Christopher L Foote, compare the tobacco settlement to the foreclosure settlement, corrupt title system, credit bids, credit bids from non-creditors, criminal actions against banks and services, Darrell Blomberg, deeds on foreclosure, design policies, Economists, foreclosure, foreclosure defense, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure offense, FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT, Foreclosure Strategist, foreclosures, homeowners tricked, Kristopher S Gerardi, Moral Hazard, Mortgage, mortgage bonds, mortgage fraud, mortgage meltdown, mortgages, Paul S Willen, predatory lending, public policy discussion paper no. 12-2, racketeering of banks and services, reckless disregard, securitized loans, settlement, sham auctions, sham transactions, The causes of the foreclosure crisis, theft of investor money, TILA, Tom Horne, uninformed mortgage borrowers, unscrupulous bankers, wild deeds