It is FACT not THEORY: Money Trail is a Trail of Facts; Paper Trail is a Trail of Lies

Neil F Garfield, July 1, 2013: Modification “experts” are criticizing what they see on this site. It gives them the willies to think that they are participating in a fraud or enabling a fraud when they modify a loan with someone who doesn’t own it. So lately they are saying that the articles here have been discredited in court decisions (not true) and that the “theories” described here lack credibility.

What we are talking about here is facts, not theory. Either the foreclosing party, modifying party, or party accepting the short sale owns the note or not — and the FACTS lead wherever they bring us, namely, that if they didn’t pay for the funding of the origination of the loan, they didn’t pay for the acquisition of the loan, and that they didn’t acquire servicing rights to the loan, the lack of standing (legal doctrine, not theory) is complete. The non-ability to submit a credit bid at auction is complete (state statutes, not theory). The liability for slander of title, abuse of process, fraud, forgery, and fabrication of documents describing non-existent transactions needs to be proven, and the damages must also be proven. But with a dismissal or judgment for borrower, the liability part of the case is fairly easy.

Whether you are buying, selling, refinancing, short-selling, modifying or in any way settling or resolving issues with a mortgage loan you do so at your own risk. Banks that offer refinancing are either part of the securitization scheme and are kicking the liability can down the road or they are ignorant of the risk elements of title and liability for a loan that is subject to securitization claims.

If you want to criticize, go ahead and do it. But all people need to know is they can ask the questions in litigation and get the answers and the facts are whatever they are — there is either a cancelled check or wire transfer receipt or there is nothing. If you want to know if it is hot outside, just stick your head out a window, if reading the thermometer is too theoretical for you.

It is often true that the borrower admitted the debt, the note, the mortgage and the default. The trial judge had no choice and neither did the appellate court. These cases come from the inexperience of the pro se litigant or the lawyer who has not researched all of the material.

Don’t get caught in a spitting match about my “theories” versus the rulings of some courts. This is all a work in progress and there are going to be conflict in rulings. One state may appear to give one set of rulings another state may seem just the opposite. the point is that if you are doing good lawyering you are following the facts wherever they take you. And what we are saying is that the money trail does not support the paper trail that the banks have fabricated forged or proffered.

For example: Go to eFANNIE site. They are boasting about funding even before allocating your whole loan commitment or MBS pool, so you can maximize your execution. TRANSLATION: we’ll give you the money before you have to come up with it in real time. The investors put up the money,then the loan applications are solicited, then the money is funded with investor money, then the originator reports the loan closing and assigns it without a paper assignment to the next party in the paper train (securitization) usually the aggregator who assigns them without an actual assignment to the CDO manager at the investment bank that created the mortgage bonds and sold them through a “third party” which was owned or controlled by the investment bank. The paper trail neither reflects nor follows the money trail.

Full Deposition of Angela Edwards “Robo-Verifier” as Servicer for the Plaintiff for Verification of Foreclosure Complaint
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-28/full-deposition-angela-edwards-“robo-verifier”-servicer-plaintiff-verificatio

 

 

Sales by Insiders AT BOA — RATS JUMPING SHIP? THE MARKET TRADERS ARE TAKING POSITIONS FOR A DEATH SPIRAL BY BOA: Somebody knows something… Rats are jumping ship  http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/bank-of-american-corp-director-sells-580k-shares-and-4-insider-sales-to-note.html/?a=viewall

COURTS CAN RETURN PARTIES TO THEIR ORIGINAL POSITION: this would apply to cases where there is no default – through the “stop payment” script and through those who were actually paying. The Court can return the parties to the original position and wipe out arrears and fees.

INVESTIGATION: BOA TRIES SELLING OFF SERVICING RIGHTS TO AVOID LIABILITY (Remember just because they SAY they sold it doesn’t mean they did. We have seen several instances where BOA announced the loan or servicing rights or both were sold off but they were not and BOA ended up being the one “approving” the short-sale or modification).: GREEN TREE SERVICING AND BANK OF AMERICA

“Settlement” Checks Are Bouncing

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Editor’s Note: Adding insult to injury the checks being sent out for the so-called settlement that replaces the foreclosure review required by the federal reserve and the OCC are bouncing causing homeowners to be charged for the bounced check. The banks of course say it is all a big mistake that they forgot to transfer funds. That is probably true.

But it is equally true that these paltry settlement checks are in no way equal to the damage that was caused by the illegal foreclosures which were surfacing during the time that the review process was taking place. The OCC says that we are not allowed to look at that review process or the results because of privacy issues. I say that under the freedom of information act we are entitled to see everything and I’m betting on Elizabeth Warren to get that material and make it public.

It appears that the general context and status of these illegal foreclosures is that they are left standing as though they were legal and that the perpetrators are being let off the hook for a mere payment of $1000 on an average mortgage of $200,000.

It is important to remember that the settlement does not preclude homeowners from filing whatever claims they have even if they have accepted the check. It is also quite clear that the OCC is walking in lockstep with the banking lobby in an effort to protect the megabanks from extinction.

Several practitioners have asked me how to get past the judge who thinks the case is quite simple, to wit: the borrower accepted a loan  and failed to pay it back in the manner specified by the promissory note and therefore borrower’s  contractual  consent to the sale of the home should be enforced. My answer is that there is an issue that needs to be introduced early, repeatedly and emphatically. The issue boils down to whether or not the court is going to decide the case on the actual facts or on faulty presumptions.

The faulty presumption is that the possessor of the note is deemed to be the holder of the note and therefore the holder in due course. That is not what the Uniform Commercial Code says. If it said that than any Courier carrying promissory notes endorsed in blank could collect on those notes to the detriment of both the borrower and the lender. The difference between a possessor of the note and a holder of the note is that the holder of the note acquired the note by virtue of a monetary transaction in which the new entity in the chain paid a sum of money to the last holder of the note. The Uniform Commercial Code specifically requires that in order for an instrument to be construed as a negotiable instrument the transaction requires consideration and consideration consists of payment. Payment means that money actually changed hands. Thus you have a party in possession of the note with proof that they paid for ownership of the note.

The Uniform Commercial Code is quite clear that the transaction must take place in the context of value received by the assignor from the assignee.

The other question  that I have heard from both judges and attorneys relates to the so-called open endorsements. First, there is no transfer of ownership without consideration as I have detailed above. Second, open endorsements are specifically prohibited in the body of the pooling and servicing agreement upon which the forecloser  relies for authority to proceed with the notice of default and the notice of sale or the filing of a judicial action seeking foreclosure.

I have heard a judge say that it doesn’t make any difference to him what details were involved in the transaction as long as the original note shows that it was endorsed in blank or otherwise constituted an open endorsement. Those judges are ignoring the requirements for consideration or value in order to treat the note as a negotiable instrument and thus apply the presumptions set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code.

They are also ignoring the fact that the pooling and servicing agreement specifically prohibits the open endorsement, which is no surprise since an open endorsement would not protect the investors whose money was used to fund the alleged mortgage loan. In fact it could fairly be said that the open endorsement or endorsement in blank produces a unique result, to wit: the only party who could not accept the note and claim ownership of the loan is the party that is doing exactly that. They can’t say that their authority comes from the pooling and servicing agreement but that the prohibition against open endorsements does not apply. Either the pooling and servicing agreement means something or it doesn’t.

But the key issue is actually the money and the money trail. Neither the trust nor any other party is entitled to a presumption of the status of a holder without alleging and proving that they paid for the note and attaching the relevant documents showing the sale of the note from the former holder of the note (if in fact they were actually a former holder of the note), giving the date, identifying the parties and showing the amount paid.  Alleging that they are the holder of the note is a legal conclusion and not a short and plain statement of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted. The short and plain statement of ultimate facts should be that on a certain date they paid a certain amount of money to a certain party who all owned the loan and that therefore they are a holder entitled to enforce the note and mortgage.

A failure to state that they were in fact damaged or to allege facts from which the trier of fact could conclude that they were damaged is a fatal defect in pleading and is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time including on appeal —  unless of course in the trial court the borrower admitted that the party seeking foreclosure was in fact the holder of the note.

If you follow these simple steps,  the attorneys for the bank will fight tooth and nail for presumptions rather than facts.  The reason is simple. They have no evidence of payment for the origination or transfer of the loan and therefore the presumption they wish to raise as a holder of the note is rebutted.
So you might want to ask the judge a question that goes something like this: “Judge, do you want to decide this case on the actual facts or do you want to decide this case on the basis of faulty presumptions that are contrary to the facts.

Foreclosure Review Report Shows That the OCC Continues to Bury Wall Street’s Bodies
http://truth-out.org/news/item/15767-foreclosure-review-report-shows-that-the-occ-continues-to-bury-wall-streets-bodies

Foreclosure-abuse settlement checks bounce
http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-foreclosure-settlement-checks-bounce-20130418,0,5585306.story

Independent Foreclosure Review Fiasco: OCC and Fed Decided Not to Find Harm
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/independent-foreclosure-review-fiasco-occ-and-fed-decided-not-to-find-harm.html

Jeffrey Sachs Calls Out Wall Street Criminality and Pathological Greed
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/jeffrey-sachs-calls-out-wall-street-criminality-and-pathological-greed.html

Banks Throw $20 Billion at Securitized Debt Market to Avoid Markdowns

Bloomberg Reports that the big banks are borrowing big time money using money market funds as source money for financing repurchase agreements. This stirs the obvious conclusion that the mortgage bonds — and hence the claim on underlying loans — are in constant movement making the proof problems in foreclosure proceedings difficult at best.

The underlying theme is that there is tremendous pressure to make good on the mortgage bonds that never actually existed issued by REMIC trusts that were never actually funded who made claims on loans that never actually existed. All that is why I say you should argue away from the presumption and keep the burden of persuasion or burden of proof on the party who has exclusive access to the actual proof of payment and proof of loss.

The banks are still claiming assets on their balance sheet that are either without value of any kind or something close to zero. If I was wrong about this, the banks would be flooding all the courts with proof of payment (canceled check, wire transfer receipt etc) and the contest with borrowers would be over.

Instead they argue for the presumption that attaches to the “holder” and mislead the court into thinking that possession is the same as being the holder. It isn’t. The holder is someone who acquired the instrument “for value.” By denying the holder status and contesting whether there was any consideration for the endorsement or assignment of the loan, you are putting them in position to force them to come clean and show that there was NO consideration, NO money paid, and hence they are not holders in any sense of the word.

If you research the law in your state you will find that the prima facie case required from the would-be forecloser depends factually upon whether they are an injured party. If they didn’t pay anything for the origination or transfer of the loan, they can’t be an injured party. They must also show that their injury stems from the breach of the borrower and the breach of some intermediary. That is where the repurchase agreements and financing for all those purchases comes into the picture.

So far the banks have been largely successful in using bootstrap reasoning that a possessor is a holder and a holder is therefore a holder in due course by operation of the presumptions arising from the Uniform Commercial Code. And since normally a presumption shifts the burden to the other side (the borrower in this case) to come up with legally admissible evidence that the facts do not support the presumption, the borrower or borrower’s counsel sits there in the courtroom stumped.

Further research, however, will show that if the facts needed to prove the presumption to be unsupported by facts are in the sole care, custody and control of the claiming party, you are entitled to conduct discovery and that means they must come up with the actual cancelled check, wire transfer receipt, wire transfer instructions etc. The would-be forecloser cannot block discovery by asserting the presumption arising from their own self-serving allegation of holder status.

In this case the presumption arising from the allegation that the would-be forecloser is a “holder” is defeated by mere denial because it is ONLY the would-be forecloser that has access to the the actual proof of payment and proof of loss. I remind you again that the debt is not the note and the note is not the mortgage. They are all separate issues.

This is becoming painfully obvious as reports are coming in from across the country indicating that courts at all levels and legislatures are under intense pressure to find a loophole through which the mega banks can escape the truth, to wit: that they are holding worthless paper and that the only transaction that ever actually occurred was the one between the investors and the borrowers without either  of those parties in interest being aware of the slight of hand pulled by the banks. The banks diverted the money invested by pension funds from the REMIC trusts into their own pockets. The banks diverted the documents that would have solidified the interest of the investors in those loans to themselves.

And let there be no mistake that the banks planned the whole thing out ahead of time. The only reason why MERS and other private label title databases were necessary was to hide the fact that the banks were trading the investments made by pension funds as if they were their own. Otherwise there would have been no reason to have anyone’s name on the note or mortgage other than the asset pool designated as a REMIC trust.

These exotic instruments are being tested by the marketplace and they are failing miserably. So the banks are throwing tens of billions of dollars to refinance the repurchase of the derivatives that were worthless in the first place. It’s worth it to them to retain the trillions of dollars they are claiming as assets that are unsupported by any actual monetary transactions. AND THAT is why in the final analysis, after they have beaten you to a pulp in court, if you are still standing, you get some amazing offers of settlement that actually are still fractions of a cent on the dollar.

Banking giants lead repo funding of securitized debt
http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/04/16/banking-giants-lead-repo-funding-securitized-debt

Banks Get Amnesty in Pieces: Reviews to Be Halted

CHECK OUT OUR DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Comment: Hat tip to Brent Bertrim. The banks  have sought amnesty in dozens of attempts in legislation, judicial decisions, and with law enforcement. The multistate settlement effectively stopped the criminal investigation. The other “settlements” have effectively stopped other administrative actions that should have revoked bank charters and dismembered the mega banks.

Now even the review process intended to reveal the monetary damage and theft by the banks is about to be stopped by yet another “settlement” for $10 Billion — an amount that is less than the interest earned in one month by the major bank players under current “bailout” deals with the Federal Reserve. This money will do nothing for most people but because it sounds like a lot of money, some are expressing happiness over it. The government just didn’t do its job on the most pressing problem in American economic history caused by criminal conduct.

The loss of income and wealth by the majority of homeowners is and will continue to be devastating to the families of this flagrant abuse of power and trust by the nation’s largest banks. Correcting the corruption of title records will take decades alone. And income and wealth disparity caused by bank theft will take the same amount of time except for those who fight and win, one case at a time.

This effectively leaves the homeowner out in the cold and it does damage to the investors who put up the money for bogus mortgage bonds. Bottom Line: It’s all on a case by case basis one battle at a time for homeowners who in many cases lack resources or have just moved on —- with the knowledge the viewpoint that that the system is rigged. So much for the shining city on the hill.

Settlement Expected on Past Abuses in Home Loans

Published:31-Dec’12 01:39 ET

By:Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Banking regulators are close to a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks that would end the government’s efforts to hold lenders responsible for foreclosure abuses like faulty paperwork and excessive fees that may have led to evictions, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.

Under the settlement, a significant amount of the money, $3.75 billion, would go to people who have already lost their homes, making it potentially more generous to former homeowners than a broad-reaching pact in February between state attorneys general and five large banks. That set aside $1.5 billion in cash relief for Americans.

Most of the relief in both agreements is meant for people who are struggling to stay in their homes and need the banks to reduce their payments or lower the amount of principal they owe.

The $10 billion pact would be the latest in a series of settlements that regulators and law enforcement officials have reached with banks to hold them accountable for their role in the 2008 financial crisis that sent the housing market into the deepest slump since the Great Depression . As of early 2012, four million Americans had been foreclosed upon since the beginning of 2007, and a huge amount of abandoned homes swamped many states, including California, Florida and Arizona.

Federal agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are continuing to pursue the banks for their packaging and sale of troubled mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis.

Housing advocates were largely unaware of the latest rounds of secret talks, which have been occurring for roughly a month. But some have criticized the government for not dealing more harshly with bankers in light of their lax standards for making loans and packaging them as investments, as well as their problems with modifying troubled loans and processing foreclosures.

A deal could be reached by the end of the week between the 14 banks and the nation’s top banking regulators, led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, four people with knowledge of the negotiations said. It was unclear how many current and former homeowners would receive money or when it would be distributed.

Told on Sunday night of the imminent settlement, Lynn Drysdale, a lawyer at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and a former co-chairwoman of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said: “It’s certainly a victory for consumers and could help entire neighborhoods. But the devil, as they say, is in the details, and for those people who have had to totally uproot their lives because of eviction it may still not be enough.”

In recent weeks within the upper echelons of the comptroller’s office, pressure was mounting to negotiate a banner settlement with the banks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The reason was that some within the agency had started to realize that a mandatory review of millions of bank loans was not yielding meaningful examples of the banks’ wrongfully evicting homeowners who were current on their payments or making partial payments, according to the people.

Representative of banking regulators did not return calls for comment on Sunday.

The biggest action against the banks for foreclosure-related abuses has been the $26 billion settlement between the five largest mortgage servicers and the state attorneys general, Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development after allegations arose in 2010 that bank employees were churning daily through hundreds of documents used in foreclosure proceedings without properly reviewing them for accuracy.

The same banks in that settlement — JPMorgan Chase , Bank of America , Wells Fargo , Citigroup and Ally Financial — are included in the current negotiations.

Under the terms of the settlement being negotiated, $6 billion would come from banks to be used for relief for homeowners, including reducing their principal, helping them refinance and donating abandoned homes, the people said.

The proposed settlement would also halt a separate sweeping review of more than four million loan files that the comptroller’s office and the Federal Reserve required the banks undertake as part of a consent order in April 2011.

Under the terms of the order, the 14 banks had to hire independent consultants to pore through the loan records to determine whether the banks illegally charged fees, forced homeowners to take out costly insurance or miscalculated loan payment amounts. Consultants initially estimated that each loan would take about eight hours, at a cost of up to $250 an hour, to go through.

The costs of the reviews have ballooned, though, according to people with knowledge of the reviews, in part because each loan file is taking up to 20 hours to review. Since its inception, the reviews have cost the banks about $1.5 billion, according to those people.

Pressure to reach a settlement with the banks has been building, particularly within the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, amid widespread frustration that the banks’ mandatory review of loan files was arduous and expensive, and would not yield promised relief to homeowners, according to five former and current banking regulators.

In private meetings with top bank executives, these people said, regulators have admitted that the reviews had gone awry. At one point this month, an official from the comptroller’s office said the agency had “miscalculated” the scope and requirements of the reviews, according to the people with knowledge of the negotiations.

When the settlement discussions heated up this month, some banking executives said they felt they would be vindicated by the regulators. These executives said that they had raised objections to the reviews early on, but those concerns were largely dismissed by regulatory officials, according to the people with knowledge of the negotiations.

Instead, officials from the comptroller’s office, these people said, have used the loan reviews as a negotiating tool, telling banks that they can either sign on to a large settlement or be forced to pay billions over several more years until the consultants finish the reviews.

When regulators approached the banks to broach a settlement this month, they met first with Wells Fargo and proposed that the banks pay $15 billion, according to the people familiar with the discussions. After negotiations, though, the regulators agreed to $10 billion.

All of the 14 banks are expected to sign on.

Monday is Last Day to File for Review and Damages Under Settlement Agreement

CHECK OUT OUR DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

I have written extensively about the OCC review process, the consent decrees and the settlement wherein you can file for a review of a wrongful foreclosure. Whether this includes foreclosures that are in litigation is doubtful. But if you have already been foreclosed and the “lender” used improper means to do it, the review process is something supposedly designed to give you monetary damages up to $125,000.

I stopped writing about it because the results have been largely unproductive. The good news is that the agreement does NOT preclude you from filing a common law or statutory wrongful foreclosure claim and associated claims like slander of title and quiet title.

The review process, like the judges sitting on the bench basically looks at the claim with a view that the foreclosure would have and should have been completed anyway, even if papers were forged, fabricated and so forth. THAT is because the assumption is still out there that the debt is real, the default is real, the note is valid and the mortgage was valid. Our strategy of Deny and Discover addresses exactly that point.

If you want to preserve your rights under the review process then you need to file by Monday. My suggestion is that lawyers assist clients with preparing the demand for review and specify that the client was not and never was in a financial transaction with the foreclosing entity nor any parties from whom they allege to have received an assignment. Thus the debt. default, note and mortgage were all faked.

It probably ought to be framed pretty much as an objection to claim, in which you make no affirmative allegations but simply deny that the homeowner ever received money from any of those entities. If you make the allegation that you DID receive money from someone else you are creating a burden of proof for the homeowner that cannot be easily met without discovery. The demand in the review should be to produce the wire transfer receipt, wire transfer instructions, cancelled check or any other actual proof of the movement of money in the name of the supposed “lender” or “assignor” or endorser.

The foreclosing entity is going to respond with some version of the property would have been foreclosed anyway, they did act improperly and they offer a couple of thousand dollars for their “error.” If you don’t intend to take them on, then you certainly should file for review because there is a relatively high probability of getting a few thousand dollars — but nothing like $125,000 unless you are successful at showing that there was no right to foreclose because of standing or lack of perfecting the mortgage lien.

Accepting the money doesn’t waive your rights and could pay for a retainer of a lawyer to start wrongful foreclosure proceedings seeking either monetary damages, getting title back in the name of the homeowner or other remedies. But people are getting tired of this entire mess and I don’t blame them for just walking away. At some point it is a personal more than a financial decision.

Yet it irks me that that these bankers sucked something like 1/3 of the world’s wealth out of the system and brought about calamitous results both here and abroad. It bothers me that there is no prosecution, receivership and restitution. So I would like to see more people pursue their rights judicially and administratively.

AP Fannie, Freddie and BOA set to Reduce Principal and Payments

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Editor’s Comment:

Partly as a result of the recent settlement with the Attorneys General and partly because they have run out of options and excuses, the banks are reducing principal and offering to reduce payments as well. What happened to the argument that we can’t reduce principal because it would be unfair to homeowners who are not in distress? Flush. It was never true. These loans were based on fake appraisals at the outset, the liens were never perfected and the banks are staring down a double barreled shotgun: demands for repurchase from investors who correctly allege and can easily prove that the loans were underwritten to fail PLUS the coming rash of decisions showing that the mortgage lien never attached to the land. The banks have nothing left. BY offering principal reductions they get new paperwork that allows them to correct the defects in documentation and they retain the claim of plausible deniability regarding origination documents that were false, predatory, deceptive and fraudulent. 

Fannie, Freddie are set to reduce mortgage balances in California

The mortgage giants sign on to Keep Your Home California, a $2-billion foreclosure prevention program, after state drops a requirement that lenders match taxpayer funds used for principal reductions.

By Alejandro Lazo

As California pushes to get more homeowners into a $2-billion foreclosure prevention program, some Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers may see their mortgages shrunk through principal reduction.

State officials are making a significant change to the Keep Your Home California program. They are dropping a requirement that banks match taxpayers funds when homeowners receive mortgage reductions through the program.

The initiative, which uses federal funds from the 2008 Wall Street bailout to help borrowers at risk of foreclosure, has faced lackluster participation and lender resistance since it was rolled out last year. By eliminating the requirement that banks provide matching funds, state officials hope to make it easier for homeowners to get principal reductions.

The participation by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, confirmed Monday, could provide a major boost to Keep Your Home California.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own about 62% of outstanding mortgages in the Golden State, according to the state attorney general’s office. But since the program was unveiled last year, neither has elected to participate in principal reduction because of concerns about additional costs to taxpayers.

Only a small number of California homeowners — 8,500 to 9,000 — would be able to get mortgage write-downs with the current level of funds available. But given the previous opposition to these types of modifications by the two mortgage giants, housing advocates who want to make principal reduction more widespread hailed their involvement.

“Having Fannie and Freddie participate in the state Keep Your Home principal reduction program would be a really important step forward,” said Paul Leonard, California director of the Center for Responsible Lending. “Fannie and Freddie are at some level the market leaders; they represent a large share of all existing mortgages.”

The two mortgage giants were seized by the federal government in 2008 as they bordered on bankruptcy, and taxpayers have provided $188 billion to keep them afloat.

Edward J. DeMarco, head of the federal agency that oversees Fannie and Freddie, has argued that principal reduction would not be in the best interest of taxpayers and that other types of loan modifications are more effective.

But pressure has mounted on DeMarco to alter his position. In a recent letter to DeMarco, congressional Democrats cited Fannie Mae documents that they say showed a 2009 pilot program by Fannie would have cost only $1.7 million to implement but could have provided more than $410 million worth of benefits. They decried the scuttling of that program as ideological in nature.

Fannie and Freddie last year made it their policy to participate in state-run principal reduction programs such as Keep Your Home California as long as they or the mortgage companies that work for them don’t have to contribute funds.

Banks and other financial institutions have been reluctant to participate in widespread principal reductions. Lenders argue that such reductions aren’t worth the cost and would create a “moral hazard” by rewarding delinquent borrowers.

As part of a historic $25-billion mortgage settlement reached this year, the nation’s five largest banks agreed to reduce the principal on some of the loans they own.

Since then Fannie and Freddie have been a major focus of housing advocates who argue that shrinking the mortgages of underwater borrowers would boost the housing market by giving homeowners a clear incentive to keep paying off their loans. They also say that principal reduction would reduce foreclosures by lowering the monthly payments for underwater homeowners and giving them hope they would one day have more equity in their homes.

“In places that are deeply underwater, ultimately those loans where you are not reducing principal, they are going to fail anyway,” said Richard Green of USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. “So you are putting off the day of reckoning.”

The state will allocate the federal money, resulting in help for fewer California borrowers than the 25,135 that was originally proposed. The $2-billion program is run by the California Housing Finance Agency, with $790 million available for principal reductions.

Financial institutions will be required to make other modifications to loans such as reducing the interest rate or changing the terms of the loans.

The changes to the program will roll out in early June, officials with the California agency said. The agency will increase to $100,000 from $50,000 the amount of aid borrowers can receive.

Spokespeople for the nation’s three largest banks — Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — said they were evaluating the changes. BofA has been the only major servicer participating in the principal reduction component of the program.

White Paper: Many Causes of Foreclosure Crisis

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Editor’s Comment:

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


by Christopher L. Foote, Kristopher S. Gerardi, and Paul S. Willen

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

People Have Answers, Will Anyone Listen?

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Editor’s Comment: 

Thanks to Home Preservation Network for alerting us to John Griffith’s Statement before the Congressional Progressive Caucus U.S. House of Representatives.  See his statement below.  

People who know the systemic flaws caused by Wall Street are getting closer to the microphone. The Banks are hoping it is too late — but I don’t think we are even close to the point where the blame shifts solidly to their illegal activities. The testimony is clear, well-balanced, and based on facts. 

On the high costs of foreclosure John Griffith proves the point that there is an “invisible hand” pushing homes into foreclosure when they should be settled modified under HAMP. There can be no doubt nor any need for interpretation — even the smiliest analysis shows that investors would be better off accepting modification proposals to a huge degree. Yet most people, especially those that fail to add tacit procuration language in their proposal and who fail to include an economic analysis, submit proposals that provide proceeds to investors that are at least 50% higher than the projected return from foreclosure. And that is the most liberal estimate. Think about all those tens of thousands of homes being bull-dozed. What return did the investor get on those?

That is why we now include a HAMP analysis in support of proposals as part of our forensic analysis. We were given the idea by Martin Andelman (Mandelman Matters). When we performed the analysis the results were startling and clearly showed, as some judges around the country have pointed out, that the HAMP loan modification proposals were NOT considered. In those cases where the burden if proof was placed on the pretender lender, it was clear that they never had any intention other than foreclosure. Upon findings like that, the cases settled just like every case where the pretender loses the battle on discovery.

Despite clear predictions of increased strategic defaults based upon data that shows that strategic defaults are increasing at an exponential level, the Bank narrative is that if they let homeowners modify mortgages, it will hurt the Market and encourage more deadbeats to do the same. The risk of strategic defaults comes not from people delinquent in their payments but from businesspeople who look at the principal due, see no hope that the value of the home will rise substantially for decades, and see that the home is worth less than half the mortgage claimed. No reasonable business person would maintain the status quo. 

The case for principal reductions (corrections) is made clear by the one simple fact that the homes are not worth and never were worth the value of the used in true loans. The failure of the financial industry to perform simple, long-standing underwriting duties — like verifying the value of the collateral created a risk for the “lenders” (whoever they are) that did not exist and was present without any input from the borrower who was relying on the same appraisals that the Banks intentionally cooked up so they could move the money and earn their fees.

Many people are suggesting paths forward. Those that are serious and not just positioning in an election year, recognize that the station becomes more muddled each day, the false foreclosures on fatally defective documents must stop, but that the buying and selling and refinancing of properties presents still more problems and risks. In the end the solution must hold the perpetrators to account and deliver relief to homeowners who have an opportunity to maintain possession and ownership of their homes and who may have the right to recapture fraudulently foreclosed homes with illegal evictions. The homes have been stolen. It is time to catch the thief, return the purse and seize the property of the thief to recapture ill-gotten gains.

Statement of John Griffith Policy Analyst Center for American Progress Action Fund

Before

The Congressional Progressive Caucus U.S. House of Representatives

Hearing On

Turning the Tide: Preventing More Foreclosures and Holding Wrong-Doers Accountable

Good afternoon Co-Chairman Grijalva, Co-Chairman Ellison, and members of the caucus. I am John Griffith, an Economic Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where my work focuses on housing policy.

It is an honor to be here today to discuss ways to soften the blow of the ongoing foreclosure crisis. It’s clear that lenders, investors, and policymakers—particularly the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—must do all they can to avoid another wave of costly and economy-crushing foreclosures. Today I will discuss why principal reduction—lowering the amount the borrower actually owes on a loan in exchange for a higher likelihood of repayment—is a critical tool in that effort.

Specifically, I will discuss the following:

1      First, the high cost of foreclosure. Foreclosure is typically the worst outcome for every party involved, since it results in extraordinarily high costs to borrowers, lenders, and investors, not to mention the carry-on effects for the surrounding community.

2      Second, the economic case for principal reduction. Research shows that equity is an important predictor of default. Since principal reduction is the only way to permanently improve a struggling borrower’s equity position, it is often the most effective way to help a deeply underwater borrower avoid foreclosure.

3      Third, the business case for Fannie and Freddie to embrace principal reduction. By refusing to offer write-downs on the loans they own or guarantee, Fannie, Freddie, and their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, are significantly lagging behind the private sector. And FHFA’s own analysis shows that it can be a money-saver: Principal reductions would save the enterprises about $10 billion compared to doing nothing, and $1.7 billion compared to alternative foreclosure mitigation tools, according to data released earlier this month.

4      Fourth, a possible path forward. In a recent report my former colleague Jordan Eizenga and I propose a principal-reduction pilot at Fannie and Freddie that focuses on deeply underwater borrowers facing long-term economic hardships. The pilot would include special rules to maximize returns to Fannie, Freddie, and the taxpayers supporting them without creating skewed incentives for borrowers.

Fifth, a bit of perspective. To adequately meet the challenge before us, any principal-reduction initiative must be part of a multipronged

To read John Griffith’s entire testimony go to: http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2012/04/pdf/griffith_testimony.pdf


Current Bank Plan Is Same as $10 million Interest Free Loan for Every American

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“I wonder how many audience members know that Bair’s plan is more or less exactly the revenue model for all of America’s biggest banks. You go to the Fed, get a buttload of free money, lend it out at interest (perversely enough, including loans right back to the U.S. government), then pocket the profit.” Matt Taibbi

From Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on Sheila Bair’s Sarcastic Piece

I hope everyone saw ex-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chief Sheila Bair’s editorial in the Washington Post, entitled, “Fix Income Inequality with $10 million Loans for Everyone!” The piece might have set a world record for public bitter sarcasm by a former top regulatory official.

In it, Bair points out that since we’ve been giving zero-interest loans to all of the big banks, why don’t we do the same thing for actual people, to solve the income inequality program? If the Fed handed out $10 million to every person, and then got each of those people to invest, say, in foreign debt, we could all be back on our feet in no time:

Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest. The more conservative among us can take that money and buy 10-year Treasury bonds. At the current 2 percent annual interest rate, we can pocket a nice $200,000 a year to live on. The more adventuresome can buy 10-year Greek debt at 21 percent, for an annual income of $2.1 million. Or if Greece is a little too risky for you, go with Portugal, at about 12 percent, or $1.2 million dollars a year. (No sense in getting greedy.)

Every time I watch a Republican debate, and hear these supposedly anti-welfare crowds booing the idea of stiffer regulation of Wall Street, I wonder how many audience members know that Bair’s plan is more or less exactly the revenue model for all of America’s biggest banks. You go to the Fed, get a buttload of free money, lend it out at interest (perversely enough, including loans right back to the U.S. government), then pocket the profit.

Considering that we now know that the Fed gave out something like $16 trillion in secret emergency loans to big banks on top of the bailouts we actually knew about, you might ask yourself: How are these guys in financial trouble? How can they not be making mountains of money, risk-free? But they are in financial trouble:

• We’re about to see yet another big blow to all of the usual suspects – Goldman, Citi, Bank of America, and especially Morgan Stanley, all of whom face potential downgrades by Moody’s in the near future.

We’ve known this was coming for some time, but the news this week is that the giant money-managing firm BlackRock is talking about moving its business elsewhere. Laurence Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, told the New York Times: “If Moody’s does indeed downgrade these institutions, we may have a need to move some business around to higher-rated institutions.”

It’s one thing when Zero Hedge, William Black, myself, or some rogue Fed officers in Dallas decide to point fingers at the big banks. But when big money players stop trading with those firms, that’s when the death spirals begin.

Morgan Stanley in particular should be sweating. They’re apparently going to be downgraded three notches, where they’ll be joining Citi and Bank of America at a level just above junk. But no worries: Bank CFO Ruth Porat announced that a three-level downgrade was “manageable” and that only losers rely totally on agencies like Moody’s to judge creditworthiness. “A lot of clients are doing their own credit work,” she said.

• Meanwhile, Bank of America reported its first-quarter results yesterday. Despite that massive ongoing support from the Fed, it earned just $653 million in the first quarter, but astonishingly the results were hailed by most of the financial media as good news. Its home-turf paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, crowed that BOA “Posts Higher Profits As Trading Results Rebound.” Bloomberg, meanwhile, summed up results this way: “Bank of America Beats Analyst Estimates As Trading Jumps.”

But the New York Times noted that BOA’s first-quarter profit of $653 million was down from $2 billion a year ago, and paled compared to results of more successful banks like Chase and Wells Fargo.

Zero Hedge, meanwhile, posted an amusing commentary on BOA’s results, pointing out that the bank quietly reclassified nearly two billion dollars’ worth of real estate loans. This is from BOA’s report:

During 1Q12, the bank regulatory agencies jointly issued interagency supervisory guidance on nonaccrual policies for junior-lien consumer real estate loans. In accordance with this new guidance, beginning in 1Q12, we classify junior-lien home equity loans as nonperforming when the first-lien loan becomes 90 days past due even if the junior-lien loan is performing. As a result of this change, we reclassified $1.85B of performing home equity loans to nonperforming.

In other words, Bank of America described nearly two billion dollars of crap on their books as performing loans, until the government this year forced them to admit it was crap.

ZH and others also noted that BOA wildly underestimated its exposure to litigation, but that’s nothing new. Anyway, despite the inconsistencies in its report, and despite the fact that it’s about to be downgraded – again – Bank of America’s shares are up again, pushing $9 today.

Foreclosure Strategists: Meeting in Phx: Learn about QWRs

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Editor’s Comment: 

Contact: Darrell Blomberg  Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com  602-686-7355

Meeting: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 7pm to 9pm

Qualified Written Requests (QWRs)

10-day Owner / Assignee Requests

Payoff Demand Requests

The goal of this meeting is to build an effective set of requests that operate within the law get us real answers from our loan servicers.

We will be discussing recent updates to Qualified Written Requests laws.  We will look at what the appropriate contents of the QWR should be.

Many people are blindly sending bloated letters demanding every possible bit of discovery.  A QWR loaded with arbitrary demands diminishes the effectiveness of your effort.  We will focus on drafting a succinct, laser-focused QWR that gets you the results you want.

Well also be studying the key points for effective 10-day Owner / Assignee and Payoff Request Letters.

**** PLEASE SEND ME ANY QUALIFIED WRITTEN REQUESTS (or 10-day assignee or payoff demand requests) THAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TO.  I WILL USE THESE AS A BASIS FOR THIS MEETING. ****

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Special guest speaker:  Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

We will be discussing among other things:

Arizona v Countrywide / Bank of America lawsuit
National Attorneys General Mortgage Settlement
Attorney General Legislative Efforts (Vasquez?)
OCC Complaints notarizations and all that is associated with that.

Please send me your thoughts and questions you’d like to ask Tom Horne.  More details for this meeting will follow.

We meet every week!

Every Tuesday: 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Come early for dinner and socialization. (Food service is also available during meeting.)
Macayo’s Restaurant, 602-264-6141, 4001 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012. (east side of Central Ave just south of Indian School Rd.)
COST: $10… and whatever you want to spend on yourself for dinner, helpings are generous so bring an appetite.
Please Bring a Guest!
(NOTE: There is a $2.49 charge for the Happy Hour Buffet unless you at least order a soft drink.)

FACEBOOK PAGE FOR “FORECLOSURE STRATEGIST”

I have set up a Facebook page. (I can’t believe it but it is necessary.) The page can be viewed at www.Facebook.com, look for and “friend” “Foreclosure Strategist.”

I’ll do my best to keep it updated with all of our events.

Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

MEETUP PAGE FOR FORECLOSURE STRATEGISTS:

I have set up a MeetUp page. The page can be viewed at www.MeetUp.com/ForeclosureStrategists. Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

May your opportunities be bountiful and your possibilities unlimited.

“Emissary of Observation”

Darrell Blomberg

602-686-7355

Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com


Bringing in the Clowns Through Breach of Fiduciary Duties

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Editor’s Comment: In my many conversations with both attorneys and pro se litigants they frequently express intense frustration about those invisible relationships and entities that permeate the entire mortgage model starting in the 1990′s and continuing to the present day, every day court is in session.

I think they are right. This article takes it as given, whether the courts wish to recognize it or not, that the parties at the closing table with the homeowner were all fiduciaries and included all those who were getting fees paid out of the closing proceeds — in other words paid out either the homeowner’s hapless down payment (worthless the moment it was tendered) or the proceeds of a loan (undocumented as to the source of the loan and documented falsely as to the creditor and the terms of repayment.

This article also takes it as a given, whether the courts are ready to recognize it or not, that the parties at the closing table with the investors who were the source of funds pooled or not were all fiduciaries and included all those who were getting fees paid out of the closing proceeds — in other words paid out either the hopeless plunge into an abyss with no loans purchased or funded until long after the money was in “escrow” with the investment banker in exchange for a completely worthless mortgage backed security without any mortgages backing the security.

But the interesting fact is that while some of the parties were known to the investor, and some of the parties were known to the homeowners, the investor did not know the parties at the closing table with the homeowner; and the borrower did not know the parties at the closing table with the investor.

In point of fact, the borrower did not even know there was a table or an investor or a table funded loan until long after closing, if ever. Remember that for years MERS, the  servicers and others brought foreclosures that are still final (but subject to challenge) while they vigorously denied the very existence of a pool or any investors.

While this is interesting from the perspective of Reg Z that states that a pattern of table-funded loans is to be regarded as “predatory” per se, which the courts have refused to enforce or even recognize, I have a larger target — all the participants in the securitization chain, each of whom actually claims to have been some sort of escrow agent giving rise to a fiduciary relationship per se — meaning that the cause of action is simple and cannot be barred by the economic loss rule because they had no contract with the homeowners and probably had no contracts with the investors.

Again, I warn about the magic bullet. there isn’t one. But this one comes close because by including these fiduciaries by name from your combo title and securitization report and by description where the fake securitization was dubbed “private label” they are all brought into the courtroom and they are all subject to a simple action for accounting which can be amended later to allege damages, or if you think you have enough information already, state your damages.

Based upon my research of the fiduciary relationship there are no limits anywhere if the action is not based upon a direct contract, and some states and culled that down to a “no limit’ doctrine (see Florida cases) except in product liability or similar cases.

The allegation is simply that the homeowner bought a loan product that was known to be defective, poorly documented, if at all, and subject to a shell game (MERS) in which the homeowner would never know the identity of the chosen creditor until the homeowner was maneuvered into foreclosure. There are several potential channels of damages that can be alleged.

Lawyers are encouraged to do about 30 minutes of research into fiduciary liability in your state and match up the elements of the cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty with the securitization documents that either has already been admitted or that has been discovered.

Go through the PSA and look at it from the point of view of assumed agency and escrowing or holding documents, receivables, notes, money and mortgages. Each one of those is low hanging fruit for a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit.

And of course any party specifically named as a “trustee” whether a trust exists or not raises the issue of trust duties which are fiduciary as well, whether it is the trustee of a “pool” or the trustee on the deed of trust (or more likely the alleged substitution trustee on the DOT).



FireDogLake: How the Corruption of the Land Title System is NOT Being Fixed

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“You’re talking about massive, massive fraud. And this is what the state Attorneys General and the federal regulators gave up, in exchange for their non-investigatory investigation.”

The Real Foreclosure Fraud Story: Corruption of the Land Title System

By: David Dayen

George Zornick carries a rebuttal from Eric Schneiderman’s team on yesterday’s damaging expose of the securitization fraud working group. Here’s what it has to say:

• There are 50 staffers “across the country” working on the RMBS working group (the official title).
• DoJ has asked for $55 million for additional staffing.
• The five co-chairs of the working group meet formally weekly, and talk daily.
• There are no headquarters for the working group, but that’s because it’s spread across the country.
• There is no executive director.
• Activists still think the staffing level is too low.

If any of this looks familiar, it’s because it’s EXACTLY what Reuters and I reported a week ago. In other words, it was unnecessary. And it doesn’t contradict what the New York Daily News op-ed said yesterday, either. Like that op-ed, this confirms that there is no executive director and no headquarters for the working group, which sounds more like a central processing space for investigations that could have happened independently, at least at this point.

Meanwhile, if you want actual news, you can go to this very good story at MSNBC, revealing the truth that nobody wants to talk about: the inconvenient detail that the land title and property rights system that has served this country well for over 300 years has been irreparably broken by this gang of thieves at the leading banks.

In a quiet office in downtown Charlotte, N.C., dozens of Wells Fargo’s foreclosure foot soldiers sit in cubicles cranking out documents the bank relies on to seize its share of the thousands of homes lost to foreclosure every week [...]

The Wells Fargo worker, who first contacted msnbc.com via email in late January, told of a wide range of concerns about the foreclosure documents she processes. Some families apparently were denied loan modifications after only cursory interviews, she said. Other borrowers applying for help sent comprehensive personal financial documents to a fax machine that she discovered had been unattended for weeks. Others landed in foreclosure after owing interest payments of as little as $1.18 a day, according to documents she said she reviewed.

“There was one file where they weren’t even past due and they were in foreclosure status,” the loan processor said. “They’re pushing these files and pushing these files….”

Five years into the worst housing collapse since the Great Depression, the foreclosure pipeline that is removing tens of thousands of families from their homes every month rests on a legal process that has been badly compromised by errors, misrepresentation and outright fraud, according to consumer attorneys, state attorneys general, federal investigators and state and federal judges.

I must confess that I don’t throw this in everyone’s face nearly enough. What is being described in this article is the product of a completely broken system. The low-level grunts are being forced to sign off on a quota of loan files every day, and push the paper through the pipeline. Veracity, or even knowledge of the underlying data in the files, is irrelevant. This is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place, and it’s still happening. And these grunts, making $30,000 a year, are given titles like “Vice President of Loan Documentation” to sign off on affidavits attesting to the loan files. That’s basically robo-signing. It’s still happening.

Check out this part about LPS:

Like many mortgage servicers, Wells Fargo relies on a company called Lender Processing Services to assemble some of the information used to foreclose on properties.

With each file they prepare, the bank’s document processors must swear “personal knowledge” the information in each affidavit was properly collected and is accurate and complete.

But they have no way of making good on that promise because they are not able to check whether LPS properly collected and processed the data, according to the document processor.

“We’re basically copying and pasting” information from the LPS system, she said. “It’s data entry. We just input (on the affidavit) what’s on that system. And that’s it. We don’t go back through system and look.”

You’re talking about massive, massive fraud. And this is what the state Attorneys General and the federal regulators gave up, in exchange for their non-investigatory investigation.

This story is familiar here, but not necessarily to the MSNBC.com audience. I applaud them for putting this long piece together that synthesizes a lot of the information that’s been out there for years. This is the real scandal here, a corrupted residential housing market that actually cannot be put back together.

 

Citi’s Parsons Blames Glass-Steagall Repeal for Crisis

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Editor’s Comment: So here we have one of the guys that was part of the team that overturned Glass-Steagal saying that their success led to the failure of our financial system. But then he says it is too late to change what we have done. It is not too late and if we are ever going to correct the financial system and hence the economy, we need to fix what we have done — separate the banks back into investment banks that take risks and commercial banks that are supposed to minimize risks. Instead we have a system where there is a virtually unlimited supply of other people’s money in the form of deposits and taxpayer bailouts that is the engine for leading what is left of the financial system into another ditch, this one deeper and worse.

Think about it. The banks are reporting record profits while the rest of us are experiencing record problems. That means that the banks are reporting gargantuan profits trading paper based upon economies that are in a nose-dive. How is that possible. We have less commerce (buying and selling) and more money being made by banks trading paper to each other. Or is this simply money laundering — bringing back and repatriating the money they stole in the mortgage meltdown and paying little or no tax?

Parsons Blames Glass-Steagall Repeal for Crisis

By Kim Chipman and Christine Harper 

Richard Parsons, speaking two days after ending his 16-year tenure on the board of Citigroup Inc. (C) and a predecessor, said the financial crisis was partly caused by a regulatory change that permitted the company’s creation.

The 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall law that separated banks from investment banks and insurers made the business more complicated, Parsons said yesterday at a Rockefeller Foundation event in Washington. He served as chairman of Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, from 2009 until handing off the role to Michael O’Neill at the April 17 annual meeting.

A Citigroup Inc. Citibank. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

April 20 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle report that Richard Parsons, speaking two days after ending his 16-year tenure on the board of Citigroup Inc. and a predecessor, said the financial crisis was partly caused by a regulatory change that permitted the company’s creation. They speak on Bloomberg Television’s “Inside Track.” (Source: Bloomberg)

“To some extent what we saw in the 2007, 2008 crash was the result of the throwing off of Glass-Steagall,” Parsons, 64, said during a question-and-answer session. “Have we gotten our arms around it yet? I don’t think so because the financial- services sector moves so fast.”

The 1998 merger of Citicorp and Sanford I. Weill’s Travelers Group Inc. depended on the U.S. government overturning the portion of the Depression-era act that required banks to be separate from capital-markets businesses like Travelers’ Salomon Smith Barney Holdings Inc. Parsons, who was president of Time Warner Inc. (TWX) at the time, had been a member of the Citicorp board before joining the board of the newly created Citigroup.

“Why didn’t he do something about it when he had a chance to?” Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA in New York who rates Citigroup shares “underperform,” said in a phone interview. “He’s a couple days out the door and he’s publicly criticizing the ability to manage the company.”

‘Dynamic World’

Unlike John S. Reed, the former Citicorp CEO who said in 2009 that he regretted working to overturn Glass-Steagall, Parsons said he didn’t think that the barriers can be rebuilt.

“We are going to have to figure out how to manage in this new and dynamic world because there are good and sufficient business reasons for putting these things together,” Parsons said. “It’s just that the ability to manage what we have built isn’t up to our capacity to do it yet.”

Parsons didn’t refer to Citigroup specifically during his comments and Shannon Bell, a spokeswoman for the bank in New York, declined to comment. Mayo said Parsons’ comments show he views the New York-based bank as “too big to manage.”

“This gives more support to the new chairman to take more radical action,” said Mayo, whose book “Exile on Wall Street” was critical of Parsons and the management of banks including Citigroup. “Citigroup needs to be reduced in size whether that’s breaking up or additional asset sales or whatever it takes.”

‘Separate Houses’

Parsons said in a phone interview after the event that it was difficult to find executives who could run retail banks and investment banks in the U.S. because the two businesses had been separated by Glass-Steagall for about 60 years.

“One of the things we faced when we tried to find new leadership for Citi, there wasn’t anybody who had deep employment experience in both sides of what theretofore had been separate houses,” he said. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit is trying to change that, Parsons said. “I think if you ask Vikram he’d say probably his biggest challenge long-term is developing the management.”

Banks are growing because corporations and other clients want them to, and management must meet the challenge, he said.

U.S. Bailout

“People have a sort of a notion that ‘well, we can decide that’s too big to manage,’” he said. “But it got that way because there was a market need and institutions find and follow the needs of the marketplace. So what we have to do is we have to learn how to improve our ability to manage it and manage it more effectively.”

Citigroup, which took the most government aid of any U.S. bank during the financial crisis, has lost 86 percent of its value in the past four years, twice as much as the 24-company KBW Bank Index. (BKX) Most shareholders voted this week against the bank’s compensation plan, which awarded Pandit about $15 million in total pay for 2011, when the shares fell 44 percent.

Shareholders’ views shouldn’t be “given the same level of weight” as those of the board and management, Parsons said. Companies “shouldn’t make the mistake of putting them in the driver’s seat.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Kim Chipman in Washington at kchipman@bloomberg.net; Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Colleen McElroy at cmcelroy@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

 

OCC Review Getting Few Takers

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Demand an Administrative Hearing

Very few people have asked for a review of their wrongful foreclosures. Maybe it is because we are all war-weary from this constant barrage of illegal activity from the banks. But there are avenues to travel, whether your foreclosure is past, present or even future. While the OCC review process has some restrictions announced, it nonetheless allies to all foreclosures whether they like it or not. They are the regulatory agency for certain types of banks and servicers, just like OTS, and the Federal Reserve. If one of their chartered and regulated members commits an atrocity, the agency is required by law to do something about it.

And one more thing. The OCC should be setting up review panels and administrative hearing processes because you can be sure that homeowners are not going to agree with the “review” that is conducted by the bank that is accused of committing the error, which is what the “review process” is all about. Why not ask a rapist to investigate whether he did it or if she was just asking for it?

This stuff is not just made up out of my head. It comes from the Administrative Procedures Act and its likeness in the federal, state and even local systems where any government agency is involved.

So if you are alleging wrongdoing in ANY foreclosure — past, present or future — you should be making your allegations. What do you allege? That is where the COMBO product linked next to my picture comes in and there are other people who do similar work although it is true that the title companies are trying their best to obscure the searches for title information. Getting a loan specific title analysis and a loan specific securitization analysis should provide you with enough information to allege wrongful foreclosure. Getting a Forensic Analysis and loan level analysis might also be helpful in rounding out the allegations.

Here are just a few items to get you going:

  • The debt wasn’t due
  • The debt wasn’t due to the party who  foreclosed
  • The party who foreclosed misrepresented itself as the owner of the debt
  • The debt was paid in full by insurance, credit default swaps or federal bailouts
  • The monthly payment was paid by the servicer to the creditor (or the party they claim is the creditor) at the same time that the servicer was declaring a default to the borrower. If the creditor was getting paid, where is the default?
  • The credit bid was submitted by a party who was not a creditor and therefore should have paid cash at the auction
  • The auction was conducted by an employee or agent of the party seeking to foreclose
  • Payments were improperly applied or were not applied
  • Charges were illegal and unfair and were the reason for the foreclosure
  • You were tricked into foreclosure by the pretender lender’s agent telling you had to skip payments before you could be considered for modification. (known in the industry as dual tracking)
  • The “lender” failed to comply with Reg Z on rescission
  • The loan violated TILA, RESPA
  • The “lender” failed to comply with RESPA

 

Hoping Canadians are Stupid, Stewart Title Skips Warranties of Title

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I’ve been telling Canadians that there is considerable doubt as to whether the investment properties they are buying in the context of foreclosure are going to work out for them because of title defects. Some of them are listening and most see the deals as too good to be true. They are right — it is too good to be true, which means it isn’t true that the prices and title are just find, eh?

Here is the new disclaimer (see below). If you can find anything that protects anyone other than the title company then you are able to drill down further than we can. This disclaimer shows what we have been saying — the very use of the term “virtual” title tells us that there is no basis upon which the title agent or carrier will be held accountable or will pay anything if you buy property and take a policy from any of the major carriers.

Up until now it was standard practice in the industry that lawyers and lay people would rely upon the title report issued by the title company. Now they say it is for general information and you can’t rely on it. This means that virtually every buyer should have an attorney who is competent and has the resources to obtain and independent title report and is able to advise people holding or intending to hold title, mortgage or anything else. This gives them a license to insert or delete almost anything. The only way you can really know your chain of title is to go down to the county recorder’s office and examine the chain, one instrument at a time and to check for cross references where a parcel number or name might have been transposed.

What this also means is that anyone seeking to foreclose now must go through the same process and prove to the judge with a certified copy of the title registry that the mortgage is on there and that no satisfaction or other impediments to foreclosure are present. This is a new development and it therefore calls for new tactics and strategies.

Virtual Underwriter® is an underwriting tool. Stewart Title Guaranty Company and its affiliated underwriters (collectively “Stewart”) does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any content of Virtual Underwriter®, and you may not rely upon any such content. Only Stewart Issuing Offices may rely on Virtual Underwriter and only to issue Stewart insurance forms. Stewart makes no express or implied warranties with regard to Virtual Underwriter® and shall have no liability for any errors or omissions or for the results of the use of such material. You should not assume that Virtual Underwriter® is error-free or that it will be suitable for the particular purpose that you have in mind. Any material, forms, documents, policies, endorsements, annotations, notations, interpretations, or constructions included in Virtual Underwriter® are made available as a convenience only and should not be considered as altering or modifying the text of any matter to which they relate. Virtual Underwriter® should not be relied upon as a basis for interpreting the forms contained herein. Virtual Underwriter® is made available with the understanding that Stewart is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or services. If legal advice or services or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. The material contained in Virtual Underwriter® is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney or other professional person. Preparation/facilitation of documents other than by an attorney may constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

see vubulletins.jsp?displaykey=BL133368894600000002

 

Banks Slammed for Misrepresenting Themselves as Owners of the Loan

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2008 Legal Memo at BKR Conference

Cautions Banks and Lawyers Against Lying About Ownership

A legal compendium of cases published by the American Bankruptcy Institute establishes a pattern of conduct by Ameriquest, Wells Fargo and Chase dating back before 2008 in which these and other banks have intentionally misrepresented themselves to the court as owners of the note, entitled to foreclose and seeking to lift the automatic stay in bankruptcy court under “color of title” arguments. The link to the entire article is below.

What I see is not just wrongful conduct in court but a continuous pattern of lying, fabricating, forging and cheating that has left millions of homeowners without possession of their rightful homes. The ONLY REMEDY in my opinion is to restore these homes to the bankruptcy estate and that the debtor’s be allowed to assert claims attacking the supposed mortgage liens that were based upon false identification of the lender, false and predatory figures used in borrowing and servicing and a large shroud thrown over the entire fictitious securitization process as a place to hide an illegal scheme to issue multiple securities in which the borrower was the issuer of the promissory note under false pretenses and the REMIC was carefully constructed to issue bogus mortgage bonds.

In both cases, the issuer and the investor were dealing with participants in the securitization chain who had no intention of allowing them to keep or recover their investment. In both cases, the instrument was a security that did NOT fall under the exemptions previously used to protect the banks. The borrower as issuer was induced to enter into a securities transaction in which he purchased a loan product under the false assumption created and promoted by the Banks that the real estate market never went down and would always go up, thus allaying the borrowers’ fear that the loan was not affordable. In fact that loan was not affordable and would violate the affordability guidelines in TILA and RESPA if it was classified as a residential mortgage loan. The REMIC that issued the bonds did so without any assets, and even though the disclosure was in the prospectus buried in parts where one would not be looking for that risk, that fact alone removes the REMIC issuance as a REMIC under the Internal Revenue Code, and removes the issuance of the mortgage bond from the cover of exemption under the 1998 Act.

We have all seen Wells Fargo, BOA, Chase, US Bank, Ameriquest and others banged repeatedly fro misrepresenting themselves in court as the owner of the loan when in fact they were not the owner of the loan, never loaned the money to begin with and never purchased the loan obligation from anyone because no money exchanged hands. Even if they tried, the only party who could sell or release claims to the receivable from the “borrower” (issuer) would have been the partnership or individuals or as a group pooled their money into leaky, fictitious entities created for the express purpose of deceiving the pension funds and other investors.

The bottom line is that when it suits them (when they want the property, in addition to the unearned insurance payments, proceeds of credit default swaps and proceeds from other credit enhancements and federal bailouts) these banks assert falsely that they are the creditor, claiming the losses that trigger payments to them rather than the investor. When it does not suit them, like when they abandon the property, or are subject to imposition of fees, sanctions or fines or attorney fees, then they finally fess up and state that they are not the owner of the loan in order to avoid paying appropriate costs, fines, fees, penalties and fees.

Here are some of the notable quotes from the piece written by Catherine V Eastwood, Esq., of Partridge, Snow and Hahn, LLP. At some point the lawyers must be subjected to the same sanctions knowing in the public domain that these practices exist as a pattern of conduct. see Consumer_Sept_2008_NE08_Messing_Mortgages_Cases

QUOTES FROM ARTICLE:

Make Sure Your Pleading Contains Accurate Information Regarding The Identity Of The Real Party In Interest
[AMERIQUEST FINED $250,000, LAW FIRM FINED $25,000, WELLS FARGO FINED $250,000 FOR A TOTAL OF $525,000] On April 25, 2008, Judge Rosenthal issued an memorandum of decision regarding an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed in the matter of Nosek v. Ameriquest Mortgage Company, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 1251 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008). Ameriquest had maintained throughout a prior adversary proceeding and bankruptcy case that it was the “holder” of the note and mortgage. When the debtor filed a second adversary proceeding requesting trustee process from two Chapter 13 Trustees to collect payment on the judgment issued in the prior case, Ameriquest argued that it was merely the servicer of the loans and that it was not the owner of the funds sought to be collected. The court noted that Ameriquest and its attorneys had made misrepresentations to the court throughout the prior proceedings regarding its status as noteholder. Wells Fargo, NA as Trustee for Amresco Residential Securities Corp. Mortgage Loan Trust, Series 1998-2 was the real holder of the note. The Court issued a Notice to Show Cause why sanctions should not be imposed

Make Sure Your Pleading Contains Accurate Financial Information or Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011 May Be Imposed: Judge Bohm asked counsel why a motion from relief from stay was being withdrawn. The lawyer’s answer resulted in the judge issuing two show cause orders in In re Parsley, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 593 (Bankr. S.D. Texas 2008). The real answer should have been that the motion for relief was filed in error on account of an erroneous payment history. Unfortunately, counsel misrepresented to the court that it was a “good motion” and that set off an explosion, leading to evidence of other misrepresentations…. Testimony also revealed that the payment histories were prepared by paralegals and were not reviewed by any attorneys. Countrywide did not review the loan histories either. No one was catching the errors under this system. Judge Bohm wrote “what kind of culture condones its lawyers lying to the court and then retreating to the office hoping that the Court will forget about the whole matter.”

[$75,000 Sanction against Law Firm] In an earlier matter, also in the Southern District of Texas, the Court sanctioned a law firm in the amount of $75,000 for filing an objection to plan and subsequent withdrawal of the objection that was deemed to be “gibberish.”    In re Allen, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2063 (Bankr. S.D. Texas 2007). It was clear to the Court that the pleadings were not being reviewed by an attorney after being generated by a computer as the objection listed reasons that were completely unrelated or blatantly opposite of the contents of the Chapter 13 plan filed by the debtor.

[Chase required to pay legal fees of debtor] On April 10, 2008, Judge Morris, a bankruptcy court judge for the Southern District of New York, issued a decision in the case of In re Schuessler, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 1000 (Bankr. S.D. NY. 2008) regarding an order to show cause why Chase Home Finance, LLC should not be sanctioned for submitting pleadings that were misleading and that had no factual support.

Standing Challenges: Make Sure The Company Bringing The Action Has The Legal Right To Do So
[RELIEF FROM STAY DENIED RETROACTIVELY ON DEBTOR'S MOTION] In re Schwartz, 366 BR 265 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2007) that parties who do not hold the note or mortgage and who do not service the mortgage do not have standing to pursue motions for relief or other actions arising out of the mortgage obligation. In Schwartz the creditor was seeking relief to pursue an eviction action following a foreclosure sale. The assignment of mortgage into the foreclosing mortgagee was executed four days after the foreclosure sale took place. The Court stated that while the term “mortgagee”, as used in M.G.L. c. 244 §1, “has been defined to include assignees of a mortgage, there is nothing to suggest that one who expects to receive the mortgage by assignment may undertake any foreclosure activity.” Id. at 269. The motion for relief was denied.
While not a bankruptcy court case, a United States District Court case worthy of inclusion in this section is In re Foreclosure Cases, 2007 WL 3232430 (N.D. Ohio 2007). The District Court issued an order covering numerous foreclosure cases that were pending in the state. The creditor was ordered by the Court to produce evidence that the named plaintiff was the holder and owner of the note and mortgage as of the date the foreclosure complaint was filed. The court dismissed the foreclosure complaints when the lenders were unable to produce the assignments.
How Many Times Can A Lender Continue a Foreclosure Sale?
In re Soderman, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 384 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008). In Soderman the court recited the “one-time” postponement blessing in order to seek relief from stay but that repeated continuances may be a violation of the automatic stay.    The repeated continuances will be deemed a violation of the stay if the postponements are made in order to harass the debtor, gain an advantage for the creditor or renew the financial strain that led the debtor to file for bankruptcy protection. Id.    One month after the decision in Soderman was released, Judge Hillman also ruled that repeated continuances of a foreclosure sale was a violation of the automatic stay. In re Lynn-Weaver, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 1101 (Bankr. D. Mass 2008).
Challenging the Assessment of Mortgage Fees to a Loan and the United States Trustee’s Office’s Investigation of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
In an unprecedented move, Judge Agresti of the Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court, in April 2008, approved the Justice Department’s further investigation of Countrywide due to widespread allegations that the lender is filing false or inaccurate claims, misapplying funds, assessing unreasonable fees to borrowers’ accounts or ignoring the discharge injunction and other court orders. Countrywide Homes Loans, Inc. f/k/a Countrywide Funding Corp., 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 1023 (Bankr. W.D. PA. 2008).
This matter was precipitated by a Standing Chapter 13 Trustee in Pennsylvania originally filing for sanctions against Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. due to her experience with the lender
The Pennsylvania matters have led the United States Trustee’s Office to file similar suits in Georgia1 and Ohio2 seeking to investigate the servicing practices of Countrywide. Various subpoenas have also been served by the United States Trustee’s office upon Countrywide in Florida regarding the assessment of fees on borrower’s accounts.

1 The United States Trustee’s Office filed a complaint on February 28, 2008 styled as Walton v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.,08-06092-mhm in the Northern District of Georgia. The related bankruptcy case is In re Atchley, 05- 79232-mhm. In Atchley, the homeowners eventually sold their home to avoid foreclosure but believe the payoff amount cited by Countrywide contained excessive fees and that Countrywide continued to accept trustee payments after the loan paid off.
2    The United States Trustee’s Office filed a complaint on February 28, 2008 styled as Fokkena v. Countrywide Homes Loans, Inc., 08-05031-mss in the Northern District of Ohio. The related bankruptcy case is In re O’Neal, 07- 51027. In O’Neal, Countrywide filed a proof of claim and objection to plan when it had already accepted a short sale on the property prior to the bankruptcy filing.

ALL LENDERS ARE FAIR GAME
[Forensic Audits Suggested --- $10,000 damages, $12,350 Legal Fees, Wells Fargo sanctioned $5000] in the matter of In re Dorothy Stewart Chase, Docket 07-11113, Chapter 13 (Bankr. E.D. LA 2008), Judge Magner issued a 49 page decision on April 10, 2008 which ordered Wells Fargo to audit every proof of claim it filed in the district since April 13, 2007 and to provide a complete loan history on every account. If the audits reveal additional concerns, the judge reserved the right to appoint experts to do forensic accountings at the expense of Wells Fargo. She also ruled that Wells Fargo was negligent in the loan servicing of Ms. Chase’s loan and assessed damages of $10,000, legal fees of $12,350 and sanctioned Wells Fargo $5,000 for filing a consent order that did not reflect the agreement of the parties and for filing erroneous proofs of claim.
[Wells sanctioned $67,202.45] The decision in Chase was on the heels of Judge Magner’s earlier decision in In re Jones, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2984 (Bankr. E.D. LA. 2007). In Jones, Judge Magner sanctioned Wells Fargo $67,202.45 for violating the order of confirmation and the automatic stay by improperly assessing the debtor’s loan with fees in the amount of $16,852.01 and diverting payments made by the Chapter 13 trustee and the Debtor to satisfy fees that had not been authorized by the Court. The judge stated that the Jones case would provide guidance in the post-petition administration of home mortgage loans to a degree that, until this decision issued, had been lacking in the industry.

Moynihan Must Testify in Fraud Suit Brought by Bond Insurer

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Editor’s Comment; The fact they he is being forced to testify is a major breakthrough the wall silence used by the banks and servicers. BY this article I am asking for people to review the court file, get the pleadings and memorandums and send them to me at neilFgarfield@hotmail.com. Everyone should be paying attention to this case, and everyone should be reading everything. The insurer is making the case for the borrowers at the the same time as they are making the case for recovery of money paid by them under false pretenses to the wrong parties, screwing both the investors and the borrowers.

NEW YORK | Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:00pm EDT

(Reuters) – A New York judge has ruled that Bank of America (BAC.N) CEO Brian Moynihan must testify in a lawsuit brought by bond insurer MBIA Inc.(MBI.N) which claims the bank fraudulently induced it to insure risky mortgage-backed securities.

The judge said Moynihan could provide relevant testimony in the case due to his position as CEO, former president of investment banking and the fact that he oversaw the process of integrating Countrywide into Bank of America.

Bank of America acquired mortgage lender Countrywide in July 2008. MBIA filed a Countrywide later that year. In 2009, MBIA claimed Bank of America was liable for Countrywide’s conduct.

Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, is fighting several legal cases following the global financial crisis and had sought to block MBIA efforts for Moynihan to give evidence.

MBIA was once the largest U.S. municipal bond insurer. It announced a restructuring in 2009 after incurring large losses insuring mortgage debt.

Bank of America had asked New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten to rule that Moynihan did not need to testify, arguing that MBIA was seeking his deposition only to harass the bank and that Moynihan had no unique knowledge about the case.

But the judge on Wednesday denied the request, according to court papers made public on Thursday.

“The knowledge Moynihan gained as part of the (Countrywide) Steering Committee is unique, and it is material and necessary to MBIA’s successor liability claim,” the judge said.

Moynihan was involved in “high-level decisions regarding the Countrywide transaction” and his testimony will not duplicate that of lower-level employees, she said.

MBIA declined to comment and Bank of America did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The cases is MBIA Insurance Corp v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 602825/2008.

State and Federal Agencies Should Brace for Demands for Administrative Hearings

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Editor’s Comment: We had an interesting exchange in a civil, almost charming meeting with the Arizona Secretary of State last night at Darrell Blomberg’s Tuesday night meeting. He has the  AZ AG coming in a couple of weeks.

One thing that came out is that the oath of the notary is missing in many cases and there were some people who thought this might be the magic bullet that would bring down the entire foreclosure process. I don’t know how this got started but the responses from the Secretary and his manager of business affairs were mostly correct — although they point to serious deficiencies in the system and training of the people.

The oath and the bond are usually on the same page. That it is not recorded anywhere is flimsy at best and even if correct would be a source of annoyance to a judge rather than convincing him that the mortgage origination was defective and the foreclosure wrongful.Proving the notary to have been incorrectly affixed might accomplish a right to have the mortgage or deed of trust removed from the title records — but it does NOT invalidate the document itself. There is no magic bullet.

I again say: there is no magic bullet, and there is no paper defect that will discharge a debt. Debts are discharged by payment or waiver of payment (and waived could be involuntary, like in bankruptcy). By concentrating upon the possibility of a defect in the process of record-keeping on the oath of office of a judge or notary, you are essentially admitting the debt, the default and the right to collect and even foreclose, although your intent is otherwise.

The attestation by the notary has nothing to do with the validity of the contents of the document. It serves only to say that a person appeared before the notary and fulfilled the statutory requirements by identifying themselves. The notary is merely attesting to the fact that this is what happened. Someone appeared, gave a drivers license etc., and signed in front of the notary. That is the fullest extent of the attestation of the notary and the power of the notary.

In Arizona, any attestation by the notary that includes corroboration that the person whose signature is being notarized is in fact that person or has a particular relationship with a particular company is void to the extent that the attestation of the notary includes assurance of the signor’s official position or representative powers.

California has a similar provision but allows notaries — if they actually know — to attest to the official capacity of the signor. But California law has an important caveat. Any attestation as to the powers, rights and obligations of the signor cannot be used and is of no effect if it is being used outside the state. So if you are in Arizona and the notary was in California and included an attestation that the signor was vice president of MERS, the part about the signor being a VP of MERS counts for nothing.

The secretary stepped in immediately when his manager tried to say that any decision by the office of the secretary of state is final and cannot be reviewed. However, as he pointed out, the finding of an administrative agency is presumptively true unless you can prove otherwise. That is why the OCC decrees etc. should be viewed as valuable to homeowners because there have already been admissions and findings that the foreclosures were wrongful, and in some studies (San Francisco). Those findings after investigations are also entitled to a presumption of validity and throws the burden of proof onto the the pretender lender IF you show that the bad practices cited by the agencies show up in your particular case.

It is disturbing that (a) a state official second only to the secretary of state himself actually believed that she had supreme authority that was never subject to review. And (b) although the secretary affirmed his believe that his office was a record keeper and not an enforcement arm of the executive branch, I think that is a contradiction in terms. The purpose of the executive branch of government is to enforce the law. If a filing is required with the Secretary of State providing information about the activities of a limited partnership along with the fees payable to the State of Arizona, it is a mistake, in my opinion, to believe that such an agency lacks the right to prosecute those who fail to register, do business in the state and don’t pay their fees.

After decades of practice in administrative law all over the country, I believe I have discovered a mistaken impression that is often found amongst state departments, both as to their powers and their obligations to enforce those powers. I think a lawsuit in mandamus against the office of Secretary of State requiring them to use the Administrative Procedures Act and participate in hearings conducted by administrative hearings judges who are objective and unbiased, may well be necessary unless the Secretary rethinks his position and does so on his own.

This might be particularly important to the State of Arizona and other states since the REMIC pools appear to be either general or limited partnerships and not Trusts as they are described in the PSA and prospectus. This ought to be at least tested.

But whether the restrictive power of the secretary of state extends only to limited partnerships and not corporations and other business entities ( division that is peculiar at best) the major point is still the same. A foreign entity or person holding money in their hands, solicited applicants for loans and then closed transactions for those loans within the state of Arizona and with respect to an interest or potential interest in real property located strictly within the state of Arizona, violated state law and must suffer the consequences.

If they want to say that these leads to an unfair or inequitable result, they must allege and prove that they will lose money by applying the law and that means proving that they funded the loan, bought it or otherwise advanced real money where money exchanged hands. At this point everyone who knows the logistics here knows that there is not one party, group or person that can prove that case, which is why the rejection of modifications is so ridiculous and born of pure arrogance.

The real lender or creditor is now admitted to be an out of state group or entity of some kind that never registered in the state, never paid the fees, and never gave any required information about the group or entity. Perhaps the Secretary of state should be more intrigued when he realizes that hundreds of thousands of such transactions occurred in the State of Arizona over the last 12 years and they continue to be conducting business activity and legal activity in the state all without the required registration. The exemptions from registration do not apply.

Under normal rules of engagement, the party failing to properly register is subject to fees, fines and penalties for doing business without registration and may neither bring any legal claim or defend against one in the absence of the proper registration. So whether it is the office of the Secretary of State or some other department that somehow does not fall under the authority of the secretary of state (a peculiar circumstance at best) the State is (a) missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from out-of-state carpet baggers and (b) missing its chance to stop the foreclosures and even return the wrongfully foreclosed homes to their rightful owners.

So my question to the Secretary of State is this: As the putative lieutenant governor of the State who might be seeking higher office (the governor’s mansion), which would you rather do — run with the backing of back s  tabbing bankers who have already shown their willingness and desire to lie, forge documents and otherwise cheat the state’s citizens out of the right to possession of their own homes AFTER payment has been received in full — or would you rather ride the crest of anti-bank sentiment that can be found lurking in almost every voter regardless of the status of the ir mortgage or living arrangements? My bet is that the politician who seeks higher office or to maintain incumbency, would best be served by leading a populist revolt against the major out of state banks and a movement toward local in-state banks that had nothing to do with the mortgage mess created by false claims of securitization.

My second piece of advice is that the head of any agency having anything to do with regulation of business entities , banking and lending had best brush off their old copy of the Administrative Procedure Act because in my view there is right to bring a complaint against the agency that cannot be denied. And without having procedures and facilities for administrative hearings, complainants cannot fulfill the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies. That allegation alone in state or federal court could bring a mountain of constitutional issues crashing upon the shoulders of agency heads who thought they were immune from some issues.

Occupy Homes Protest Forces Delay of Sheriff Sale

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Occupy Homes Protest Forces Delay of Sheriff Sale
By Ty Moore

US Bank buckles under pressure, delaying sale of veteran John Vinje’s home until May 29th

After a week of escalating pressure demanding US Bank postpone the sheriff’s sale of John and Lucinda Vinje’s home, Occupy Homes won another 11th hour victory today. John Vinje led a contingent of 50 Occupy Homes MN supporters into the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Civil Division where the sale was to take place at 11:00am this morning.

Speeches, chants, and song filled the marbled hallways in the ground floor of city hall. No potential buyers were seen entering the courtroom the entire time, and just after 11:30am it was announced that US Bank had delayed the sale to May 29th. Following the victory, John said: “This shows that the power is now with the people, and not with large, monolithic corporations, like US Bank.

Homeowners throughout Minnesota facing foreclosure, facing sheriff’s sales, should get together with their community and demand a postponement and renegotiation. They should get connected with Occupy Homes because we can save homes throughout the state of Minnesota when we all work together.” Today’s action followed a week of escalating pressure on US Bank, including a national call-in campaign aimed to VP Tom Joyce, and a march on US Bank CEO Richard Davis’ mansion on April 7th. Ty Moore, an organizer with Occupy Homes explained: “We’ve got the banks scrambling already, but this fight is just beginning. John’s victory, following Monique and Bobby’s victories, is sending a message. Minnesota homeowners aren’t going to leave their homes quietly and in shame anymore. It’s the banks and CEOs like Richard Davis who should be ashamed!”

Occupy Homes MN achieved national media attention after winning Bobby Hull’s foreclosed home back after US Bank bought his property at a sheriff sale, and repeatedly delaying the eviction of Monique White, who also received her original mortgage through US Bank. John and Lucinda Vinje are among a growing number of homeowners joining together through Occupy Homes to fight back against the unjust and illegal banking practices behind the foreclosure crisis. John and Lucinda Vinje bought their home in 2008, the first house either of them had ever owned. John is an Air Force veteran now working as a security guard, and Lucinda has worked a government job for ten years.

But when financial difficulties caused them to fall behind on payments by just two months, US Bank refused their request to repay their arrears in installments and immediately began foreclosure proceedings. Meanwhile, Lucinda has been forced into “medical retirement” due to a chronic condition, adding financial strain on the family. If US Bank would renegotiate their mortgage to current market value as the Vinje’s request, they could afford the payments. After six months of delays, in March US Bank offered them a measly $97 less on their monthly payments. Both John and Lucinda have worked their entire lives, but now stand to lose the only home they have ever owned.

 

Home Prices Still Spiralling down

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EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: As this article demonstrates in sampling some counties in the Northeast, there is no indication that the prices of homes are stabilizing nor that there is any prospect of anything but further reductions in prices of homes. The reason is simple. Price is not the same as value. The value of the homes are still at least 15% lower than the current prices. Thus it is not difficult to recognize that when the market catches up with the current reality, the prices will come down to meet the actual values.

That is exactly how in 2007 I was able to call with precision, the collapse of the housing market, the collapse of the stock market and the freezing of the credit markets — and the resulting effect on some brokerage houses who neither loaned any money nor bought any of the bogus mortgage bonds they were selling, but rather created fictitious losses that were carefully manipulated to extract taxpayer money for toxic assets that could have been protected and improved but for the narrative created and controlled by the banks and servicers.

Brad Keiser deserves some credit here for predicting the actual order and timing of the crash of each investment house. All he did was put pen to paper and figure out how many time each investment firm was leveraged on the same bond pools. He was exactly right. You can see it on the DVD package we offer that describes securitization.

The more pernicious part of this process is that the capital sucked out of the economy by the banks (who are now reporting “profits” of high magnitude) this money was tucked away and NOT used to finance start-ups, expansion or even maintenance of existing business. Just as the clear policy of the banks and service is to foreclose on residential property, they have followed the path of starving new and existing capital for the sole purpose of favoring competition and financing the purchase of what is left after these companies die, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers.

As for the workers, they are still out there or giving up on finding a job that will pay anything for their household expenses after deductions of work-related expenses. Hence median income has no current prospect of stabilizing or increasing under the current circumstances. In fact median income continues to decline. A decline in median income means that there will be further decline in home values which in turns means further decline in home prices.

Add to this deadly cycle the fact that title to the “foreclosed” properties is very much in doubt, at best, and probably fatally defective at worst, and you have a very slow moving, downward market in residential home sales and financing for at least the next ten years. My projection is that overall, there will be at least another 30% drop in prices over the next 10 years. This will be offset by inflation averaging at least 3% per year under the best of circumstances. We have now more than tripled our currency volume and we still can’t get out of this mess. Follow the example of Iceland and watch what happens — huge fiscal stimulus to the economy, the banks taking the hit for their own misdeeds, the each household getting enough relief that they can start purchasing things besides  food.

Follow the examples of our own common law history and the homes that were the subject of wrongful foreclosure are re turned to their rightful owners and if someone wants to make a claim for collection or even foreclosure they still can — if they can prove each and every essential element of their case.

And it seems clear that nothing can stop this drag on the entire U.S. economy except the application of law. BUT the application law goes both ways. Having truth on your side makes no difference at all if you don’t present in the right way, at the right time and prove it. And THAT is the reason for the many negative positions taken by Judges. If you go in and concede that you know owe the money, you agree you failed (not refused) to make scheduled payments, and that you defaulted on the loan, the Judge really has very little choice except granting whatever motions the banks and servicers present. You have conceded your case away.

This is why you need title, securitization and forensic reporting from reliable third parties whose credentials are indisputable in court. Take these issues to your accountants and see what they think. You may come up with some surprising answers.

The point you need to know and believe is that the money went down one path and the documents went down an entirely different path so the banks could oversell the loans and the bets on those loans. This leaves the banks and servicers in a vulnerable position but it is a complex set of facts. You have about 30 seconds to get the Judge’s attention and 5 minutes to make your point. After that, expect nothing.

But the single-most important ingredient in the recovery is the resistance and fear of the borrowers who feel like deadbeats, and do not appreciate how they were used as pawns in getting  tons of money from investors that far exceeded the amount of their loans. There is a new diagnosis created by the authors of the book, Legal Abuse Syndrome. You all ought to look it up, and order it. They hit the nail on the head. Without the outrage shown in Iceland, our country’s finances will never be fixed.

www.businessinsider.com/home-prices-across-the-northeast-are-still-declining-2012-4

The Truth About The ‘Housing Bottom’: Home Prices Across The Northeast Are In Total Freefall

Keith Jurow | Apr. 16, 2012, 9:00 AM
For nearly two years, I have been warning in my articles posted on BUSINESS INSIDER that there is no housing bottom in sight.  I’ve been correct.

Yet one analyst after another has been proclaiming that the housing bottom is finally here.  This is nonsense!

Many of these “experts” have skin in the game and hope to lure you back into the market. They base their assumptions on the fact that housing prices seem to be falling more slowly.  They’re not.  Take a look at these shocking numbers I uncovered in the last two weeks:

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME PRICES IN THE NORTHEAST
February 2012

Location      Avg. Price Per Sq. Ft     Change from Feb. 2011
Connecticut
Fairfield County              $260           down 16.6%
City of Bridgeport              $86           down 17.3%
City of New Haven              $88           down 31.2%
City of Hartford              $72           down 10.1%
Westport              $311           down 30.3%
Greenwich              $481           down 34.8%
Darien              $354           down 19.3%
New Canaan              $371           down 10.1%
Branford              $126           down 41.4%
Glastonbury              $161           down 19.1%
Simsbury              $129           down 13.2%
Massachusetts
Framingham              $157           down 9.2%
Newton              $313           down 13.5%
Scituate              $215           down 16.5%
Rhode Island
Providence              $101           down 5.5%
Warwick              $120           down 12.2%
Pawtucket              $91           down 18.3%
New York State
Westchester County              $276           down 10.1%

Source:  Wm. Raveis & Co. – raveis.com

These are real, raw numbers, not an index like Case-Shiller.  They come from the largest family-owned brokerage firm in the northeast — Raveis and Co. whose reputation is impeccable.  I spent several days reviewing the terrific raveis.com search tool and found similar price declines in more than 150 towns and cities.

Sales volume was way down in most towns in the northeast.  To my surprise, inventories are up substantially from a year earlier.  All that talk last fall about shrinking MLS inventories is history.  Listings are soaring in most towns.

Some people I speak with are skeptical about these numbers.  Check them for yourself if you think I’m making them up.   Go to the raveis.com homepage and the drop-down menu for “Housing Data.”  Then hit the link to “View local housing data” and this will take you to their search page where you can see the latest sales and price statistics for towns in seven northeast states.  You’ll be as shocked as I was.

Here is my warning:  Prices are crumbling and homeowners have perhaps six months to decide what to do.  I strongly suspect that a year from now will be too late.

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