Securitization for Lawyers

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

The CONCEPT of securitization does not contemplate an increase in violations of lending laws passed by States or the Federal government. Far from it. The CONCEPT anticipated a decrease in risk, loss and liability for violations of TILA, RESPA or state deceptive lending laws. The assumption was that the strictly regulated stable managed funds (like pensions), insurers, and guarantors would ADD to the protections to investors as lenders and homeowners as borrowers. That it didn’t work that way is the elephant in the living room. It shows that the concept was not followed, the written instruments reveal a sneaky intent to undermine the concept. The practices of the industry violated everything — the lending laws, investment restrictions, and the securitization documents themselves. — Neil F Garfield, Livinglies.me

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“Securitization” is a word that provokes many emotional reactions ranging from hatred to frustration. Beliefs run the range from the idea that securitization is evil to the idea that it is irrelevant. Taking the “irrelevant” reaction first, I would say that comes from ignorance and frustration. To look at a stack of Documents, each executed with varying formalities, and each being facially valid and then call them all irrelevant is simply burying your head in the sand. On the other hand, calling securitization evil is equivalent to rejecting capitalism. So let’s look at securitization dispassionately.

First of all “securitization” merely refers to a concept that has been in operation for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands of years if you look into the details of commerce and investment. In our recent history it started with “joint stock companies” that financed sailing expeditions for goods and services. Instead of one person or one company taking all the risk that one ship might not come back, or come back with nothing, investors could spread their investment dollars by buying shares in a “joint stock company” that invested their money in multiple sailing ventures. So if some ship came in loaded with goods it would more than offset the ships that sunk, were pirated, or that lost their cargo. Diversifying risk produced more reliable profits and virtually eliminated the possibility of financial ruin because of the tragedies the befell a single cargo ship.

Every stock certificate or corporate or even government bond is the product of securitization. In our capitalist society, securitization is essential to attract investment capital and therefore growth. For investors it is a way of participating in the risk and rewards of companies run by officers and directors who present a believable vision of success. Investors can invest in one company alone, but most, thanks to capitalism and securitization, are able to invest in many companies and many government issued bonds. In all cases, each stock certificate or bond certificate is a “derivative” — i.e., it DERIVES ITS VALUE from the economic value of the company or government that issued that stock certificate or bond certificate.

In other words, securitization is a vehicle for diversification of investment. Instead of one “all or nothing” investment, the investors gets to spread the risk over multiple companies and governments. The investor can do this in one of two ways — either manage his own investments buying and selling stocks and bonds, or investing in one or more managed funds run by professional managers buying and selling stocks and bonds. Securitization of debt has all the elements of diversification and is essential to the free flow of commerce in a capitalistic economy.

Preview Questions:

  • What happens if the money from investors is NOT put in the company or given to the government?
  • What happens if the certificates are NOT delivered back to investors?
  • What happens if the company that issued the stock never existed or were not used as an investment vehicle as promised to investors?
  • What happens to “profits” that are reported by brokers who used investor money in ways never contemplated, expected or accepted by investors?
  • Who is accountable under laws governing the business of the IPO entity (i.e., the REMIC Trust in our context).
  • Who are the victims of misbehavior of intermediaries?
  • Who bears the risk of loss caused by misbehavior of intermediaries?
  • What are the legal questions and issues that arise when the joint stock company is essentially an instrument of fraud? (See Madoff, Drier etc. where the “business” was actually collecting money from lenders and investors which was used to pay prior investors the expected return).

In order to purchase a security deriving its value from mortgage loans, you could diversify by buying fractional shares of specific loans you like (a new and interesting business that is internet driven) or you could go the traditional route — buying fractional shares in multiple companies who are buying loans in bulk. The share certificates you get derive their value from the value of the IPO issuer of the shares (a REMIC Trust, usually). Like any company, the REMIC Trust derives its value from the value of its business. And the REMIC business derives its value from the quality of the loan originations and loan acquisitions. Fulfillment of the perceived value is derived from effective servicing and enforcement of the loans.

All investments in all companies and all government issued bonds or other securities are derivatives simply because they derive their value from something described on the certificate. With a stock certificate, the value is derived from a company whose name appears on the certificate. That tells you which company you invested your money. The number of shares tells you how many shares you get. The indenture to the stock certificate or bond certificate describes the voting rights, rights to  distributions of income, and rights to distribution of the company is sold or liquidated. But this assumes that the company or government entity actually exists and is actually doing business as described in the IPO prospectus and subscription agreement.

The basic element of value and legal rights in such instruments is that there must be a company doing business in the name of the company who is shown on the share certificates — i.e., there must be actual financial transactions by the named parties that produce value for shareholders in the IPO entity, and the holders of certificates must have a right to receive those benefits. The securitization of a company through an IPO that offers securities to investors offer one additional legal fiction that is universally enforced — limited liability. Limited liability refers to the fact that the investment is at risk (if the company or REMIC fails) but the investor can’t lose more than he or she invested.

Translated to securitization of debt, there must be a transaction that is an actual loan of money that is not merely presumed, but which is real. That loan, like a stock certificate, must describe the actual debtor and the actual creditor. An investor does not intentionally buy a share of loans that were purchased from people who did not make any loans or conduct any lending business in which they were the source of lending.

While there are provisions in the law that can make a promissory note payable to anyone who is holding it, there is no allowance for enforcing a non-existent loan except in the event that the purchaser is a “Holder in Due Course.” The HDC can enforce both the note and mortgage because he has satisfied both Article 3 and Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The Pooling and Servicing Agreements of REMIC Trusts require compliance with the UCC, and other state and federal laws regarding originating or acquiring residential mortgage loans.

In short, the PSA requires that the Trust become a Holder in Due Course in order for the Trustee of the Trust to accept the loan as part of the pool owned by the Trust on behalf of the Trust Beneficiaries who have received a “certificate” of fractional ownership in the Trust. Anything less than HDC status is unacceptable. And if you were the investor you would want nothing less. You would want loans that cannot be defended on the basis of violation of lending laws and practices.

The loan, as described in the origination documents, must actually exist. A stock certificate names the company that is doing business. The loan describes the debtor and creditor. Any failure to describe the the debtor or creditor with precision, results in a failure of the loan contract, and the documents emerging from such a “closing” are worthless. If you want to buy a share of IBM you don’t buy a share of Itty Bitty Machines, Inc., which was just recently incorporated with its assets consisting of a desk and a chair. The name on the certificate or other legal document is extremely important.

In loan documents, the only exception to the “value” proposition in the event of the absence of an actual loan is another legal fiction designed to promote the free flow of commerce. It is called “Holder in Due Course.” The loan IS enforceable in the absence of an actual loan between the parties on the loan documents, if a third party innocent purchases the loan documents for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defense of failure of consideration (he didn’t get the loan from the creditor named on the note and mortgage).  This is a legislative decision made by virtually all states — if you sign papers, you are taking the risk that your promises will be enforced against you even if your counterpart breached the loan contract from the start. The risk falls on the maker of the note who can sue the loan originator for misusing his signature but cannot bring all potential defenses to enforcement by the Holder in Due Course.

Florida Example:

673.3021 Holder in due course.

(1) Subject to subsection (3) and s. 673.1061(4), the term “holder in due course” means the holder of an instrument if:

(a) The instrument when issued or negotiated to the holder does not bear such apparent evidence of forgery or alteration or is not otherwise so irregular or incomplete as to call into question its authenticity; and
(b) The holder took the instrument:

1. For value;
2. In good faith;
3. Without notice that the instrument is overdue or has been dishonored or that there is an uncured default with respect to payment of another instrument issued as part of the same series;
4. Without notice that the instrument contains an unauthorized signature or has been altered;
5. Without notice of any claim to the instrument described in s. 673.3061; and
6. Without notice that any party has a defense or claim in recoupment described in s. 673.3051(1).
673.3061 Claims to an instrument.A person taking an instrument, other than a person having rights of a holder in due course, is subject to a claim of a property or possessory right in the instrument or its proceeds, including a claim to rescind a negotiation and to recover the instrument or its proceeds. A person having rights of a holder in due course takes free of the claim to the instrument.
This means that Except for HDC status, the maker of the note has a right to reclaim possession of the note or to rescind the transaction against any party who has no rights to claim it is a creditor or has rights to represent a creditor. The absence of a claim of HDC status tells a long story of fraud and intrigue.
673.3051 Defenses and claims in recoupment.

(1) Except as stated in subsection (2), the right to enforce the obligation of a party to pay an instrument is subject to:

(a) A defense of the obligor based on:

1. Infancy of the obligor to the extent it is a defense to a simple contract;
2. Duress, lack of legal capacity, or illegality of the transaction which, under other law, nullifies the obligation of the obligor;
3. Fraud that induced the obligor to sign the instrument with neither knowledge nor reasonable opportunity to learn of its character or its essential terms;
This means that if the “originator” did not loan the money and/or failed to perform underwriting tests for the viability of the loan, and gave the borrower false impressions about the viability of the loan, there is a Florida statutory right of rescission as well as a claim to reclaim the closing documents before they get into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value in good faith with no knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.

 

In the securitization of loans, the object has been to create entities with preferred tax status that are remote from the origination or purchase of the loan transactions. In other words, the REMIC Trusts are intended to be Holders in Due Course. The business of the REMIC Trust is to originate or acquire loans by payment of value, in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. Done correctly, appropriate market forces will apply, risks are reduced for both borrower and lenders, and benefits emerge for both sides of the single transaction between the investors who put up the money and the homeowners who received the benefit of the loan.

It is referred to as a single transaction using doctrines developed in tax law and other commercial cases. Every transaction, when you think about it, is composed of numerous actions, reactions and documents. If we treated each part as a separate transaction with no relationship to the other transactions there would be no connection between even the original lender and the borrower, much less where multiple assignments were involved. In simple terms, the single transaction doctrine basically asks one essential question — if it wasn’t for the investors putting up the money (directly or through an entity that issued an IPO) would the transaction have occurred? And the corollary is but for the borrower, would the investors have been putting up that money?  The answer is obvious in connection with mortgage loans. No business would have been conducted but for the investors advancing money and the homeowners taking it.

So neither “derivative” nor “securitization” is a dirty word. Nor is it some nefarious scheme from people from the dark side — in theory. Every REMIC Trust is the issuer in an initial public offering known as an “IPO” in investment circles. A company can do an IPO on its own where it takes the money and issues the shares or it can go through a broker who solicits investors, takes the money, delivers the money to the REMIC Trust and then delivers the Trust certificates to the investors.

Done properly, there are great benefits to everyone involved — lenders, borrowers, brokers, mortgage brokers, etc. And if “securitization” of mortgage debt had been done as described above, there would not have been a flood of money that increased prices of real property to more than twice the value of the land and buildings. Securitization of debt is meant to provide greater liquidity and lower risk to lenders based upon appropriate underwriting of each loan. Much of the investment came from stable managed funds which are strictly regulated on the risks they are allowed in managing the funds of pensioners, retirement accounts, etc.

By reducing the risk, the cost of the loans could be reduced to borrowers and the profits in creating loans would be higher. If that was what had been written in the securitization plan written by the major brokers on Wall Street, the mortgage crisis could not have happened. And if the actual practices on Wall Street had conformed at least to what they had written, the impact would have been vastly reduced. Instead, in most cases, securitization was used as the sizzle on a steak that did not exist. Investors advanced money, rating companies offered Triple AAA ratings, insurers offered insurance, guarantors guarantees loans and shares in REMIC trusts that had no possibility of achieving any value.

Today’s article was about the way the IPO securitization of residential loans was conceived and should have worked. Tomorrow we will look at the way the REMIC IPO was actually written and how the concept of securitization necessarily included layers of different companies.

Holder in Due Course and Due Process

The first thing I want to do is add to my previous comments. I believe there is an implicit admission of failure of consideration in any case where a holder in due course is not identified. In addition, where a REMIC trust not alleged or asserted to be a holder in due course it means by definition that they did not purchase the loan for value in good faith without knowledge of the defense of the “borrower” (maker of the note).

 

I believe that what this means is that any court that enters an order or judgment against the homeowner, who was the maker of the note, is implicitly entering an order or judgment against the trust beneficiaries and the trust, resulting in a loss of favorable tax status and just as importantly an economic loss directly resulting from being forced to accept a loan that is presumed to be in default. The failure of the trust to pay for the loan and receive delivery of the loan documents to the depositor leaves one with the question of “what is the relationship of the Trust to the subject loan?”

 

The same logic would apply regardless of whether the citizens trust is in dispute or not. There is circular logic in the argument of the bank. On the one hand they want to be seen as a holder with rights to enforce but on the other hand they don’t want to disclose, alleged, assert, or prove the foundation or source of the right to enforce.

 

Based upon the provisions and restrictions of the pooling and servicing agreement, the investors who purchased mortgage backed securities issued by the Trust were intended to be the collective creditor for loans that were accepted into the Trust. The acceptance is stated in the pooling and servicing agreement and the exhibits to the pooling and servicing agreement should have the loans that were accepted. After the cutoff period, the only way a loan could be accepted was by acceptance by the Trustee. And the only way there could be acceptance by the trustee would be upon receipt of an opinion letter from counsel for the trust stating that they would be no adverse effect on the beneficiaries. The adverse effects are clear. One is the loss of advantageous tax treatment and the other is the economic loss from accepting a loan does not conform to the types of loans that are acceptable to the trust, as per the terms of the pooling and servicing agreement.

 

Pooling and servicing agreement is the trust instrument. Since the pooling and servicing agreement is governed under the laws of the state of New York, a violation of the restrictions and provisions of the trust is void, not voidable. The acceptance of a loan that is in default is not possible. The acceptance of any transaction that would violate the terms of the Internal Revenue Code sections on REMIC Trusts is not possible.

 

Thus the hidden issue here is that the real parties in interest who will be affected by the outcome of the litigation have not been given any notice of the pendency of the action. And the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement prevent the trust beneficiaries from knowing or even inquiring about the status of any particular loan.

 

The confusion comes from the fact that the investors are indeed the creditors in practice. But because the trust was actually not utilized in the transaction they are direct creditors whose money was used to fund origination or acquisition of loans, contrary to the subscription agreement which promised that their money would be given to the issuer of the mortgage-backed securities that were being issued and purchased by the investors.

 

It seems obvious that the trust cannot be held to have acted in bad faith. It is equally obvious that the trust would have no knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. As the only element left for a holder in due course is the purchase for value. Since there is no allegation that the trust is a holder in due course, the bank is admitting that the trust never purchased the loan. It may be presumed that the trust might have originated or purchased the loan if it had received the proceeds of sale of the mortgage-backed securities issued by the trust. The logical assumption is that the trust never received those proceeds. The logical assumption is that the underwriter used the funds in ways that were never contemplated by the investors.

 

A further logical assumption would be that the underwriter kept the funds in its own name or in the accounts of entities controlled by the underwriter and is operating contrary to the interests of the investors.

 

The logical conclusion would be that the underwriter conducted a series of disguised sales of the same loan to multiple parties. Since the mortgage-backed securities were issued in the name of the underwriter as nominee (“street name”) they were able to trade on the loan and securities in their own name and receive the benefits without accounting to the investors or the borrower. The allocation of third-party funds (servicers, insurers, guarantors etc.) cannot be determined except by reference to books and records in the exclusive care, custody and control of the parties involved in the claims of securitization. It may be fairly concluded that such claims are false.

 

Now I will address the issues presented as to constitutional disposition of the case. It has long been judicial doctrine to avoid constitutional issues if the case can otherwise be decided on other grounds. It is also true that equal protection has proved more difficult than due process as the basis of any relief.

 

The problem in foreclosure litigation is that it must in my opinion include a claim for both due process and equal protection. The claim for lack of due process is not technically true. The true claim, in my opinion, would be lack of sufficient due process.

 

In actuality due process varies from state to state and even from county to county. If a party has been heard in court and presented arguments, then it may be fairly concluded that some due process was provided to that party. If presumptions arise against that party that give rise to orders and judgments that are contrary to the actual facts, a claim for denial of due process could be present. But the better claim, in my opinion, is to look at the state appellate decisions to show that more due process is allowed to debtors who are not involved in foreclosure litigation. I think this is a more accurate description of the actual situation.

 

The due process argument is simple: presumptions are used as shorthand for the facts. In this case the facts don’t match up with the presumptions. The only question is whose burden of proof is it. If the allegation was that a holder in due course was known and identified there is no doubt that anything the borrower had to say would be an affirmative defense, and thus after a prima facie case was made showing payment in good faith without knowledge of borrower’s defenses, the burden would shift to the alleged borrower who definitely was the maker of the note even if they were not the borrower in a loan transaction with the designated “lender.”

 

But, this is not the case at bar. The foreclosing party is asserting “holder” status, with dubious rights to enforce that are denied by the maker/homeowner. Absent is any allegation of status of a holder in due course, and of course noticeably absent is any allegation of the expenditure of funds or other consideration in exchange for delivery of the loan to the Depository designated in the PSA to receive the delivery. Thus neither the purchase nor the delivery are alleged. While being a holder might raise the presumption of being a holder with rights to enforce, it does not remove the burden of proving that said rights to enforce have been delivered from a party who definitely had the right to enforce — i.e., the holder in due course or “owner” of the loan.

 

The absence of the HDC allegation is an admission that the Trust did not buy the loan. The fact that the Trust did not buy the loan means that it is not and cannot be in the pool owned by the trust, with fractional shares owned by the investors who bought the MBS issued by the Trust. And that can ONLY mean that the right to enforce cannot be delivered or conveyed by the Trust because the Trust never received delivery and never had a right to receive delivery because they didn’t pay for the loan.

 

Thus on the face of the pleading it is up to the foreclosing party to prove its right to enforce the note by showing the identity of the party for whom the loan is being enforced, the fact that the party for whom it is being enforced owned the loan at the time the right to enforce was granted, the current balance ON THE BOOKS OF THE CREDITOR, the presence of a default ON THE BOOKS OF THE CREDITOR, and that the loan is still owned by the party who owns the loan (i.e., the HDC). Hence the burden is on the foreclosing party to reach the point where the borrower assumes the burden of refuting the case against him or her. The maker of the note is in an exclusive position of being shut out of the facts that would either corroborate or refute this narrative.

 

If the burden is placed on the borrower, it would be the equivalent of a murder on video in possession of the murderer but the State and the heirs of the victim are charged with proving the case without the video. The facts suggest here that the Trust paid nothing because it had no money to pay for a loan. The facts suggest that if it were otherwise, the Trust would have paid for the loan and be most anxious to plead HDC status. And thus the facts show that the foreclosing party cannot claim the right to enforce based upon a presumption without violating the due process rights of the homeowners here. Only the foreclosing party and its co-venturers have in their care, custody and control, the necessary information to refute or prove the facts behind the presumptions they are attempting to raise.

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Pretender Mender: Foreclosure Crisis Continues to Rise Despite Obama Team Reports

Despite various “reports” from the Obama Administration and writers in the fields of real estate, mortgages and finance, the crisis is still looming as the main drag on the economy. Besides the fact that complete strangers are “getting the house” after multiple payments were received negating any claim of default, it is difficult to obtain financing for a new purchase for the millions of families who have been victims of the mortgage PONZI scheme. In addition, people are finding out that these intermediaries who received an improper stamp of approval from the courts are now pursuing deficiency judgments against people who cooperated or lost the foreclosure litigation. And now we have delinquency rates rising on mortgages that in all probability should never be enforced. And servicers are still pursuing strategies to lure or push homeowners into foreclosure.

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

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Most people simply allowed the foreclosure to happen. Many even cleaned the home before leaving the keys on the kitchen counter. They never lifted a finger in defense. As predicted many times on this blog and in my appearances, it isn’t over. We are in the fifth inning of a nine inning game.

Losing homes that have sometimes been in the family for many generations results in a sharp decline in household wealth leaving the homeowner with virtually no offset to the household debt. Even if the family has recovered in terms of producing at least a meager income that would support a down-sized home, they cannot get a mortgage because of a policy of not allowing mortgage financing to anyone who has a foreclosure on their record within the past three years.

To add insult to injury, the banks posing as lenders in the 6 million+ foreclosures are now filing deficiency judgments to continue the illusion that the title is clear and the judgment of foreclosure was valid. People faced with these suits are now in the position of having failed to litigate the validity of the mortgage or foreclosure. But all is not lost. A deficiency judgment is presumptively valid, but in the litigation the former homeowners can send out discovery requests to determine ownership and balance of the alleged debt. Whether judges will allow that discovery is something yet to be seen. But the risk to those companies filing deficiency judgments is that the aggressive litigators defending the deficiency actions might well be able to peak under the hood of the steam roller that produced the foreclosure in the first instance.

What they will find is that there is an absence of actual transactions supporting the loans, assignments, endorsements etc. that were used to get the Court to presume that the documents were valid — i.e., that absent proof from the borrower, the rebuttable assumption of validity of the documents that refer to such transactions forces the homeowner to assume a burden of proof based upon facts that are in the sole care, custody and control of the pretender lender. If the former homeowner can do what they should have done in the first place, they will open up Pandora’s box. The loan on paper was not backed by a transaction where the “lender” loaned any money. The assignment was not backed by a purchase transaction of the loan. And even where there was a transfer for value, the “assignment turns out to be merely an offer that neither trust nor trustee of the REMIC trust was allowed to accept.

All evidence, despite narratives to the contrary, shows that not only have foreclosures not abated, they are rising. Delinquencies are rising, indicating a whole new wave of foreclosures on their way — probably after the November elections.

http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/31089-are-we-facing-yet-another-foreclosure-crisis

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119187/mortgage-foreclosures-2015-why-crisis-will-flare-again

http://susiemadrak.com/2014/08/25/here-comes-that-deferred-mortgage-crisis/

“Teaser” Payments: Trick or Treat?

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

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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

 

Nuclear Questions and Logic in Foreclosure Litigation

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

I had the honor of receiving a response from Gary Dubin who is pursuing a writ of certiorari to the Hawaii Supreme Court. I had expressed my view that equal protection more aptly describes the situation than mere denial of due process. He responded that due process is hard enough to push through and that equal protection is even harder. I agree and so his strategy might be correct, but I still wonder if the bullet might be loaded into a lawsuit in Federal court suing the state for systematic deprivation of due process to a class of Defendants in civil litigation, based upon the faulty premise that the loans subject to litigation are real. Here is what I wrote to Gary Dubin:

I know the difficulty of arguing equal protection but I believe that the due process argument based upon the note alone leaves room for the court to decide against you. Either way, you have a tough road ahead of you. At this point, the Courts are faced with the fact that they approved millions of foreclosures based upon the thought in the mind of every jurist that the loan is real and the borrower stopped paying. 15 million people were dislocated. Deciding the other way now would be acknowledging an error of monumental proportions.
That said, it would be very interesting to see a brief asking the question about why the “creditor” never alleges it is a holder in due course. That would solve everything for the banks — so why don’t they do it? It would bar the signatory on the note and probably the mortgage from raising most defenses.The corollary question is if they are a holder, from whom did they get the right to enforce? And the last question is that if the securitization IN PRACTICE was real and valid, then the Trust was the end of the line and could not possibly have been merely a holder unless they are willing to concede they did not act in good faith or purchased the loan WITH knowledge of the borrower’s defenses; that leaves “for value” as the only issue in play raising the question “how could the trust be merely holder” and if it is a holder how could a holder give rights to enforce to a third party without notice to the actual owner (HDC)?

Logically (and confirmed by me through “anonymous”interviews with actual traders involved in this scheme) it MUST be true that the Trust never purchased the loan. And the ONLY reason that could be true is if the Trust didn’t have the money. After all, the Trust was created for the sole purpose of buying loans. If the Trust didn’t buy the loan then it follows that the assignor or endorser received no payment; that would mean they had no interest in the loan because otherwise they would have insisted on payment. If they didn’t insist on payment, they did not pay for it either. And if they didn’t pay the originator for the loan, it must be because of a prior agreement (assignment and assumption) that governed the closing with the borrower. Hence the table funded loan resulted in no claim for payment in order to “transfer” the loan. If the originator didn’t get paid for the loan, then it obviously wasn’t entitled to it. It isn’t reasonable to assume otherwise.
So if the originator (“lender”) did not receive payment it must result from the fact that they never made the loan. If they did make the loan then they would have insisted on receiving payment. That leaves us with money on the table from an unknown undisclosed source, clearly in violation of Federal and state lending laws. AND THAT is what leads us back to the top of the food chain where the Trust received no investor money and therefore could not purchase the loans and therefore was not the owner of the loans but is claiming “holder” status. The investors were clearly unaware and may still be unaware that their “trust” and their trust shares are worthless. The bonds were thus issued by an unfunded trust that received neither money nor loans.
So if the Trust was unfunded but it was still investor money that was used to fund the loan, that would explain the absence of any monetary transactions (except fees and profits) relating to the loan origination and transfers. And THAT leads back to the question of law and equity that every court is dodging — if the borrower received an undocumented loan from investors, what rights are created for those who intervene in the transaction and make claims of default and rights to foreclose? Which leads to the final nuclear question: Are the courts inadvertently creating equitable mortgages in favor of investors or their designee when the original transaction was fatally flawed and in violation of all known lending and closing standards?

The Logic of Wall Street “Securitization:” The transaction that never existed

For more information on foreclosure offense and defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

The logic of Wall Street schemes is simple: Create the trusts but don’t use them. Lie to everyone and assure everyone that Trusts were used to “securitize” loans. The strategy is so successful and the lie is so big and has been going on for so long, that most people believe it.

You see it in the decisions of the appellate courts who render opinions like the recent 3rd district in California which expresses the premise that the borrower was loaned money by the originator. Once you start with THAT premise, the outcome is no surprise. But start with reverse premise — that the borrower was NOT loaned money BY THE ORIGINATOR and you end up with a very different result.

We could assume that Wall Street is reckless in lending money. They can afford to be reckless because they are using investor money. And, so the story goes, the boys on Wall Street got a little wild with loans that they would never have approved for themselves.

Without risk of any loss, Wall Street investment banks make money regardless of whether the loan succeeds or goes into default.

But Wall Street is not content with earning fees. The basic credo is a question: “How can we make YOUR money OUR money.” And they have successfully devised and followed that goal for many years. As one insider told me in an interview that must remain anonymous, “It is like a magic trick. You create a trust and everyone is looking at the trust and everyone is looking at transactions affecting the trust, when in fact all the action is occurring off record, off the books and away from scrutiny by investors, trustees, rating agencies, insurers, borrowers, and of course, the courts.” 

So the question becomes “what happens to investor money after it is received by the investment bank?” If the money passes from the bank account of the managed fund (pension) fund to the bank account of the investment bank that sold bonds issued by a Trust then the Trust would receive the money. It didn’t.

The Trust would then issue funds for the origination or acquisition of loans. In return it would get the loan documents and they would be placed with the Depositor or Depository — pretty much the way ordinary loans are done. It didn’t. Instead we had millions of loan documents lost or destroyed and then re-created for litigation purposes. Why would an entire industry have engaged in that behavior? Was it really a “volume” problem where there was too much paper or was it something more sinister?

The problem is that the investment bank that acts as broker in selling the bonds is in control of the loans and investments of the Trusts. Since the fees of the investment bank are based on the existence of transactions in which the Trust issues money in exchange for investment certificates, the Wall Street bank is incentivized to make that Trust money move regardless of the quality of the investment. And since the Trust has no say in the actual underwriting decision to originate or acquire the loan, the investment bank is the only one in charge. That leaves the fox guarding the hen house.

But that doesn’t satisfy Wall Street either. They realized that they can create “proprietary profits” for the investment banks by creating a yield spread premium. A yield spread premium is the difference in value between two different loans to the same party for the same transaction — one is the honest one and the other is fictitious.

At closing the borrower is steered into the fictitious one which is far more risky and expensive than the one the borrower is actually qualified to receive.

At the investor level the “trust” is ordered to take loans that are far less valuable than they appear. This means that the Trust buys the investment bonds or shares that the investment bank has created with nobody checking the quality or ownership of the investment. The Pooling and Servicing Agreement contains provisions that effectively bars the Trustee or the investors from knowing or even inquiring about these transactions. Look at any PSA and you will see it.

The bottom line is that the worse the loan terms for the borrower and the more likely it is that the loan will fail, the lower the value of the loan. But if it is sold as though it was an ordinary conventional loan at 5%, then the price, charged for a crappy loan is much higher than its true value. Same scenario as the inflated appraisals of real property and homes. 

So the investment bank inserts itself as the Seller of the loan to the trust. At their proprietary trading desk the investment bank sells its ownership interest in the loan to the trust for the higher “value” because the investment bank is making the decisions on what loans the trust will buy. Meanwhile they have created loans that are worth far less and even have principal due on the “notes” that is far less than what the trust is forced to “pay.”

Checking with informed sources, it is evident that those proprietary transactions were fictitious and allowed the investment banks to report huge “profits” while everyone else was losing their shirts trading bonds, equities and anything else. The transaction at the proprietary trading desk of the investment bank was fictitious because the trust did not issue any payment to the investment bank, who never formally owned the loan in the first place.

You don’t see investment banks anywhere in the chain of title whether you review public records or even MERS. So you have the investment bank selling a loan they don’t own to a trust that never paid for it. The entire transaction is recorded but does not exist.

In the case of a 15% $300,000 loan to a “borrower”, it is “SOLD” as a 5% conventional loan giving the investment bank a reason to declare that it made a profit on a “proprietary trade.” How much profit? Figure it out — on the back of a napkin you can see how the investment banks “sold” the $300,000 loan but “received” $900,000 from the Trust leaving the investors with an instant $600,000 loss and the probability of losing the rest of the $300,000 as well. This is exactly opposite to the provisions of the Prospectus and PSA.

Upon examination, my sources tell me, the money to cover that declared “trading” profit does exist at the investment bank. That is because the investment bank took the money from investors, never funded the trust, and pocketed the $600,000 in advance of the “proprietary trade, which they could cause to be recorded and reported at any time, since the investment bank was in total control.

Enter moral hazard.

The only incentive that the investment bank to stay honest is to report good results so the managed funds buy more bonds. But that does not protect investors. The investment bank creates a classic PONZI scheme in which it uses investor money to make the monthly payments on the bonds or shares and reports that “all is well.” The report disclaims reliability, credibility and authenticity. Wells Fargo has an especially strong disclaimer on the distribution report to investors. The disclaimers were ignored as “boiler plate” by fund managers who made the investment on behalf of the their pensioners or mutual fund shareholders.

All the fund managers needed to know was that they were getting paid — but they did not realize that a significant part of the payment came from their own investment dollars advanced to the investment bank, as broker for the purchase of trust bonds or shares.

So the investment bank makes much less money on good investments for the trust than on really bad investments. In fact they have the  incentive to make certain the loan fails. Not only do they get the yield spread premium described above, the investment bank, is trading on inside information in which only the investment bank knows the truth. It places bets against the viability of the loan and bets further against the value of the mortgage bonds, and buys contracts for insurance, betting that the value of the bond will fall in a “credit event” without the necessity of an actual default.

SO IF THE INVESTMENT BANK DID NOT GIVE THE TRUST THE MONEY FROM INVESTORS, WHERE DID THE INVESTORS’ MONEY GO?

That is the trillion dollar question. And THIS is where the Courts have it completely wrong. Either we are a nation of laws or a nation governed by the financial industry. The banks bet on themselves, and so far, they were right to do so.

The money given to the investment banks was spread out over a long list of intermediaries owned or controlled by the investment bank. AND then SOME of it was spread out funding loans to borrowers. But the investment bank obviously could not name itself on the note and mortgage. That would have revealed that the tax advantages of a REMIC trust were nonexistent because the trust was not involved in the transaction.

So an elaborate, complicated, circuitous route was chosen for the “approval” of loans for origination or acquisition. First you have a nominee, which is often MERS plus a “lender” who was also a nominee even though they were called lender. The “lender” was subject to an assignment and assumption agreement that prohibited the “lender” from exercising any control over the closing on the loan that was being “originated.” In short, they were being paid to pretend to be a lender — hence the term pretender lender. 

The closing agent, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the mortgage broker, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the title company, whose fee depends upon the actual closing, have no interest in protecting the borrower from what is about to transpire.

The closing agent gets money from any one of a variety of sources OTHER THAN THE “LENDER.” The closing agent applies those funds to the closing as though the “Lender” made the loan. As stated by one mortgage document specialist for a large “originator”, “We knew that table funded loans were predatory and illegal, but we didn’t take that seriously. And the borrowers didn’t know who the lender was — that was the point. We used table funded loans to conceal the actual lender.”

Those funds came from the investors, although the money did not come through the trust. It came from the investment bank which was acting in the capacity, as they tell it, as a depository bank — which is why the Federal government allowed them to become commercial banks able to act as depositories. And every effort was made to prevent any evidence as to whose money was actually involved in the loan. Since it was the investor money that was used to originate or acquire the loan, it should have been the investors who were named as owner of the loan and recorded as such in the public records.

If you look at the PSA, it requires funding of the trust, of course. But it also requires that its acquisition of loans contain all the elements of a holder in due course, thus barring any claims from borrowers about irregularities at the closing, violations of state and federal law, etc. In summary the only defenses a borrower could raise against a holder in due course is that they paid or that they never signed the note. So a person who pays money in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses is pretty well protected. In litigation with borrowers, borrowers would be told they must sue the intermediaries that caused the problems with their loans.

The fact that no foreclosure of a loan subject to “claims of securitization” alleges HDC (holder in due course) status is very substantial corroboration that the Trust did not pay for the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.

The banks have been betting on a lot of things and winning every bet. In court they are betting that they will be treated as holders in due course and not as simply holders either with or without any right to enforce where they might be required to prove the actual loan of money from the originator, or the payment of money for an assignment and endorsement. And THAT is why the appellate court is assuming that the loan actually occurred — you, know, the loan that is underlying the execution of the note and mortgage, because the borrower didn’t know the truth.

The factual problem is that the presumptions and assumptions relied upon by the courts are in direct conflict with the real facts. The legal problem is that starting with the original loan, many cases, and always with the assignment of loan, is that somewhere in the chain (and probably at more than one point in the “chain”) there is no underlying transaction for the paper upon which the bankers rely in foreclosure.

Some OTHER transaction occurred, which is why the note is evidence of a loan that does not exist between the “lender” and the “borrower” and why the assignment is evidence of a transaction that does not exist between the assignor and assignee. The mistake being made is basic law: the courts are confusing “evidence” of a transaction with the transaction itself. In so doing they are escalating the status of the forecloser from a mere holder to a holder in due course without any actual claim or allegation of HDC status. Once that is done, the borrower is doomed.

The doom should fall on the investment bank and all the intermediaries that participated in this scheme. They left the investors with no coverage — the investors money was used in ways that were expressly prohibited by the offering, the PSA, and even the rules governing investments by stable managed funds whose risk is required to be extremely low in any investment. The investors are the involuntary lenders with no note and no mortgage.

The good news is that nearly all borrowers would be happy to execute a note and mortgage to investors who actually funded their loan or even a trust that was identified by the investors to represent them. The terms would be based upon current economic reality and would thus mitigate the damages to both the investor lenders and the borrowers. The balance, as we have already seen, lies in lawsuits for damages against the investment banks and their intermediaries demanding refunds, damages and even punitive damages. Those lawsuits are being brought by investors, borrowers, insurers, and guarantors and in some cases by counterparties to credit default swaps.

Without the execution of a real note and real mortgage, the foreclosures are fatally defective. So the bad news is that as long as the courts assume and then presume and then enter judgment for the foreclosing party, the Judge is inadvertently sealing a greater loss applied against the investor lender, removing the tax advantages of a REMIC trust, and creating another bar to liability and accountability of the investment bank who effectively has been lying and cheating its way through the system — using legal “presumptions” that are directly contrary to the facts.

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