Monday Livinglies Magazine: Crime and Punishment

Steal this Massachusetts Town’s Toughest New Foreclosure Prevention Ideas
http://www.keystonepolitics.com/2013/06/steal-this-massachusetts-towns-toughest-new-foreclosure-prevention-ideas/

Florida leads nation in vacated foreclosures — and it’s not even close http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=33330748

Editor’s Note:  it is only common sense. There are several things that are known with complete certainty in connection with the mortgage mess.

  • We know that the banks found it necessary to forge, fabricate and alter legal documents illegally in order to create the illusion that foreclosure was proper.
  • We know that the banks manipulated the published rates on which adjustable mortgages changed their payments.
  • We know that the banks typically abandon any property that the bank has deemed to be undesirable (then why did they foreclose, when they had a perfectly good homeowner who was willing to pay something including the maintenance and insurance of the house?).
  • And we can conclude that it is far more important to the banks that they be able to foreclose and have the deed issued then to actually take possession of the property for sale or rental.
  • And so we know that the mortgage and foreclosure markets have been turned on their heads. Lynn, Massachusetts has adopted a series of regulations which appeared to be constitutional and which make it very difficult for the banks to turn neighborhoods that were thriving into blight.  The actions of this city and others who are taking similar actions will continue to reveal the true nature of the mortgage encumbrances (the lanes were never perfected because the loan was never made by the party that is claiming to be secured) and the true nature of foreclosures (the cover-up to a Ponzi scheme and an illegal securities scam that does not and never did fall within the exemptions of the 1998 law claimed by the banks).

The Bank Of International Settlements Warns The Monetary Kool-Aid Party Is Over
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-23/bank-international-settlements-warns-monetary-kool-aid-party-over

Wells Fargo Sells Woman’s House In Foreclosure After She Reinstates Loan for $141,441.81
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/06/20/wells-fargo-sells-womans-house-in-foreclosure-after-she-reinstates-loan-for-141441-81/

Editor’s Note: In all of these cases you need to start with the premise that the bank has a gargantuan liability in the event that it took insurance, credit default swap proceeds, federal bailouts, or the proceeds of sales of mortgage bonds to the Federal Reserve. Most experts in finance and economics agree that if the Federal Reserve stops making payments on the “purchase” of mortgage bonds the entire housing market will collapse. I don’t agree.

It is the banks that will collapse in the housing market will finally recover bringing the economy back up with it. The problem for the Federal Reserve and the economy is that most likely they are buying worthless paper issued by a trust that was never funded and that therefore could never have purchased any loan. Thus the income and the collateral of the mortgage bond is nonexistent.

Many people in the financial world completely understand this and are terrified at the prospect of the largest banks being required to mark down their reserve capital;  if this happens, and it should, these banks will lack the capital to continue functioning as a mega-bank.

So why would a bank foreclose on house on which there was no mortgage and/or no default? The answer lies in the fact that they have accepted money from third parties on the premise that they lost money on these mortgages. If that turns out not to be true (which it isn’t) then they most probably owe a lot of money back to those third parties.

My estimate is that in the average case they owe anywhere from 7 to 40 times the amount of the mortgage loan.  It is simply cheaper to settle with the aggrieved homeowner even if they pay damages for emotional distress (which is permitted in California and perhaps some other states); it is even cheaper and far more effective for the bank to give the house back without any encumbrance to the homeowner. Without the foreclosure becoming final or worse yet, as the recent revelations from Bank of America clearly show, if the loan is modified and becomes a performing loan all of that money is due back to all of those third parties.

“Deed-In-Lieu” of Foreclosure and Other Things
http://www.fxstreet.com/education/related-markets/lessons-from-the-pros-real-estate/2013/06/20/

Editor’s Note: This has come up many times in  questions and discussions regarding dealing with the Wall Street banks. It seems that the banks have borrowers thinking that in order to file a deed in lieu of foreclosure they need the permission of the bank. I know of no such provision in the law of any state preventing the owner of the property from deeding the property to anyone.  Several lawyers are seeing an opportunity, to wit: once the homeowner deeds the properties to the party pretending to foreclose on the property, the foreclosure action against the homeowner must be dismissed. That leaves the question of a deficiency judgment.

The advantages to the homeowner appears to be that any lawsuit seeking to recover a deficiency judgment would be strictly about money and would require the allegation of a monetary loss and proof of the monetary loss which would enable the homeowner, for the first time, to pursue discovery on the money trail because there is no other issue in dispute.

In the course of that litigation the discovery may reveal the fact that the party who filed the foreclosure and misrepresented their right to the collateral would be subject to various causes of action for damages as a counterclaim; but the counterclaim would not be filed until after discovery revealed the problem for the “lender.” Therefore several lawyers are advising their clients to simply file the deed in favor of the party seeking foreclosure based upon the representation that they are in fact the right party to obtain a sale of the property.

The lawyers who are using this tactic obviously caution their clients against using it unless they are already out of the house or are planning to move. Homeowners who are looking to employ this tactic should check with a licensed attorney in the jurisdiction in which their property is located.

Must See Video: Arizona Homeowners Losing their Homes to Foreclosure Through Forged Documents
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/06/21/must-see-video-arizona-homeowners-losing-their-homes-to-foreclosure-through-forged-documents/

Monitor Finds Mortgage Lenders Still Falling Short of Settlement’s Terms

By SHAILA DEWAN

The biggest mortgage lenders in the United States have not met all of the terms of the $25 billion settlement over abuses, an independent monitor found.

British Commission Calls for New Laws to Prosecute Bankers for Fraud

By MARK SCOTT

As part of a 600-page report, the British parliamentary commission on banking standards is urging new laws that would make it a criminal offense to recklessly mismanage local financial institutions.

A Fit of Pique on Wall Street

By PETER EAVIS

Perhaps more than at any time since the financial crisis, Wall Street knows it must prepare for a world without the Federal Reserve’s largess.

S.E.C. Has a Message for Firms Not Used to Admitting Guilt

By JAMES B. STEWART

By requiring an admission of guilt in some cases, the S.E.C.’s new chairwoman is pressing for more accountability at financial firms.

Bank of America’s Foreclosure Frenzy
http://ml-implode.com/staticnews/2013-06-24_BankofAmericasForeclosureFrenzy.html

Seminars Corroborate Title Problems and HAMP LItigation

It might seem to many that the industry is blind to title problems caused by false claims of securitization or even real claims based upon securitization. It might also seem that there is nothing about which you can litigate when it comes to HAMP and HARP modifications. The big seminar promoters are offering a gaggle of of short and long seminars on these subjects, indicating that they recognize that litigation and title snarls are getting traction across the country and they admit that the future litigation will include clearing title and litigating over HAMP modifications.

The principal problem that homeowners and their lawyers are missing is that the duty to consider the modification does not require the the acceptance of a homeowner for modification. Some servicers are getting more lenient than others, including, from what I hear, Ocwen. But the litigation that is being filed and which the pretender lenders are losing is on the precise question of whether the actual creditor was given notice of the offer of modification and whether the servicer did anything to apply any formula to the the almost inevitable denial of modification.

What we have started doing at my firm is (a) supplying the required material, return receipt requested, together with (b) a specific offer of modification on which an expert (real estate broker, mortgage broker or other professional in the real estate industry) gives an opinion that is worded something like the auditors do when they complete an audit, to wit:

“Based upon industry standards and conditions, the enclosed offer of modification reflects actual current conditions in the relevant real estate market and provides the creditor with two benefits that are not present in the event of foreclosure. The first is that the question of the perfection of the mortgage lien and enforcement of the lien is completely resolved, thus clearing title and the second, is that the net proceeds from the enclosed proposal for modification results in a far higher benefit to the actual creditor than the proceeds from foreclosure, which is a fraction of the offer. There is no known criteria in the industry under which this proposal would be rejected under normal circumstances unless the parties rejecting the modification had some risk of loss unrelated to the loan itself.”

When the denial comes back, you have a basis for alleging that they are lying to the court, that the modification was never considered, that inappropriate criteria was used to guarantee denial and that the creditor was never notified. The anecdotal reports I am receiving strongly suggests that this strategy is getting a lot of traction and is resulting in very favorable settlements within hours after the Judge enters an order requiring the servicer and pretender lender to show cause why they should not be ordered to provide a evidence of the “consideration” and the reasons why the proposal or request was denied.

The National Business Institute is offering three seminars that will be the subject of the member teleconferences (become a member of this blog now to get into the discussion: Become a member, for discounts, online teleconferences etc.). I strongly recommend that these short seminars be attended and that you even order the recordings as well.

Go to http://www.nbi-sems.com (livinglies is not paid for this endorsement directly or indirectly). I would suggest ordering the following seminars:

  1. HAMP litigation: breach of contract and related claims, June 21, 2013 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  2. Resolving complex commercial title defects June 11 2013 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  3. Handling short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 11 2013

  4. The Role of MERS in Mortgage Origination and Foreclosure June 3 2013 1PM-2:30PM

Citi to Try New Version of Cash for Keys

Editor’s Note: The decision about flight or fight is deeply personal and there is no right answer. The decision you make ought not be criticized by anyone. For those with the fight knocked out of them the prospect of taking on the giant banks in court is both daunting and dispiriting. So if that is where you are, and this Citi program comes your way, it might be acceptable to you. AT THE MOMENT, CITI IS SAYING YOU NEED TO BE 90 DAYS BEHIND IN YOUR PAYMENTS AND NOT HAVE A SECOND MORTGAGE. (A quick call to the holder of a second mortgage or the party claiming to be that holder could result in a double settlement since they are going to get wiped out anyway in a foreclosure. You can offer them pennies on the dollar or simply the chance to avoid litigation.)
Citi, faced with the prospects of increasing legal fees even if they were to “win” the foreclosure battle in court, along with the rising prospects of losing, is piloting a program where they will give you $1,000 and six months in your current residence — and then they take over your house by way of a deed in lieu of foreclosure, which you sign as part of a settlement. Make sure all terms of the settlement are actually in writing and signed by someone who is authorized to sign for Citi.
The deed is simply a grant of your ownership interest to Citi and frankly does little to “cure” the title defect caused by securitization. HOPEFULLY THAT WILL NEVER BE A PROBLEM TO YOU, EVEN THOUGH IT PROBABLY WILL BE CAUSE FOR LITIGATION OR OTHER CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN PARTIES OTHER THAN YOU WHEN ALL OF THIS UNRAVELS.
The possibility remains that you will have deeded your house to Citi when in fact the mortgage loan was owed to another party or group (investors/creditors).
The possibility remains that you could still be pursued for the full amount of the loan by the REAL holder of the loan.
Yet in this topsy turvy world where up is down and left is right, the Citi program might just take you out of the madness and give you the new start. They apparently intend to offer to waive any claim they have for deficiency which in states where deficiency judgments are allowed at least gives you the arguable point that you gave the house to some party with “apparent” authority. And the hit on your FICO score is less than foreclosure or bankruptcy, under the proposed Citi plan.
In the six months, which can probably be extended through negotiation or other legal means, you can accumulate some cash from what otherwise would have been a rental or mortgage payment. Taken as a whole, even though I would say that you are probably dealing with a party who neither owns the loan nor has any REAL authority to offer you this plan, it probably fits the needs of many homeowners who are just one step away from walking away from their home anyway.
As always, at least consult a licensed real estate attorney or an attorney otherwise knowledgeable about securitized loans before you make your final decision or sign any documents. BEWARE OF HUCKSTERS WHO MIGHT SEIZE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AS A MEANS TO GET YOU TO PART WITH YOUR MONEY. THERE IS NO NEED FOR A MIDDLEMAN IN THIS TYPE OF TRANSACTION.
February 24, 2010

Another Foreclosure Alternative

By BOB TEDESCHI

HOMEOWNERS on the verge of foreclosure will often seek a short sale as a graceful exit from an otherwise calamitous financial situation. Their homes are sold for less than the mortgage amount, and the remaining loan balance is usually forgiven by the lender.

But with short sales beyond the reach of some homeowners — they typically won’t qualify if they have a second mortgage on the home — another foreclosure alternative is emerging: “deeds in lieu of foreclosure.”

In this transaction, a homeowner simply relinquishes the property, turning over the deed to the bank, in exchange for the lender’s promise not to foreclose. In a straight foreclosure, a lender takes legal control of the property and evicts the occupants; in deeds-in-lieu transactions, the homeowner is typically allowed to remain in the home for a short period of time after the agreement.

More borrowers will at least have the chance to consider this strategy in the coming months, as CitiMortgage, one of the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders, tests a new program in New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

Citi recently agreed to give qualified borrowers six months in their homes before it takes them over. It will offer these homeowners $1,000 or more in relocation assistance, provided the property is in good condition. Previously, the bank had no formal process for serving borrowers who failed to qualify for Citi’s other foreclosure-avoidance programs like loan modification.

Citi’s new policy is similar to one announced last fall by Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage company. Fannie is allowing homeowners to return the deed to their properties, then rent them back at market rates.

To qualify for the new program, Citi’s borrowers must be at least 90 days late on their mortgages and must not have a second lien on the home.

That policy may be a significant obstacle for borrowers, since many of the people facing foreclosure originally financed their homes with second mortgages — called “piggyback loans” — or borrowed against the homes’ equity after buying them.

Partly for that reason, Elizabeth Fogarty, a spokeswoman for Citi, said that the bank had only modest expectations for the test. Roughly 20,000 Citi mortgage customers in the pilot states will be eligible for a deed-in-lieu agreement, she said, and of those, about 1,000 will most likely complete the process.

As is often the case with deed-in-lieu settlements, Citi will release the borrower from all legal obligations to repay the loan.

In some states, like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, banks can legally retain the right to pursue borrowers for the balance of the loan after a foreclosure, a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. That is one reason why housing advocates say borrowers should carefully weigh these transactions with the help of a lawyer or nonprofit housing counselor before proceeding.

Ms. Fogarty said Citi had no specific timetable for rolling out the program nationally.

Among the other major lenders, there is no formalized program for deeds-in-lieu. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, for instance, generally require borrowers to try a short sale before considering a deed-in-lieu transaction.

A deed-in-lieu is better for banks than a foreclosure because it reduces the company’s legal costs, and it is better for the homeowners because it is less damaging to their credit score.

Banks may also end up with homes in better condition.

J. K. Huey, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo, says her bank usually offers relocation assistance — often $1,000 to $2,500 — as long as the borrower leaves the property in move-in condition after a deed-in-lieu transaction.

“The idea is to help them transition in a way where they can keep their family intact while looking for another place to live,” Ms. Huey said. “This way, they only have to move once, as opposed to getting evicted.”

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