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Mortgage Lenders Network v Wells Fargo, Chapter 11, Case 07-10146(PJW), Adv. Proc., Case 07-51683(PJW)
In an adversary proceeding in which evidence was presented, Judge Walsh dissected the confusing complex agreements involving the real set of co-obligors’ liability to the Creditor REMIC trust. Many thanks to our legal intern, Sara Mangan, currently a law student at FSU.
I had no idea the case existed. It apparently got buried because of all the ancillary issues presented. If you really want to understand the complexity of repayments to the creditor, this is one case that deserves your full attention.
As usual the best decisions are found when the adversaries are both institutions. We are looking for more such cases. This certainly applies to any Wells Fargo case and explains the nervousness of the witness during trial when I asked him about whether the records he brought were complete.
The LPS Desktop system (formerly Fidelity) INCLUDES servicer advances and computations made based upon that. The unavoidable conclusion, drawn by this Judge, is that everything we have been saying about servicer advances is true. Everything in our forensic report is true as to all properties. The servicer makes those payments based upon a payment of enlarged fees for taking the risk on itself, according to the agreements. Whether there is an actual right to recover from anyone is actually not specifically stated except that the net proceeds of liquidation of REO properties after the auction are subject to servicer claims. This might include other insurance or guarantees.
There is no default experienced by the creditor. There is a new potential for a new party (not mentioned in note or mortgage) for recovery outside the terms of the note and mortgage. The expectation is that there will be a foreclosure and there will be a sale. If there is no foreclosure and there is no sale, then the amounts are not recoverable — unless the servicer too is insured. But all of those insurance contracts seem to have been purchased and procured by the broker-dealer (investment bank) that sold the bogus mortgage bonds. The conclusion to be drawn is that the default notice to the homeowner-borrower might be valid (probably not, because servicer advances have already begun) but it is cured immediately after it is sent by payments, often from the same party who sent the default notice.
In this case, the following issues are addressed:
1. Servicer advances — in 4 categories. Why they are advanced and when and how they might be recoverable — when the properties are liquidated. There is some confusing language in there about the trusts, so you need to read it carefully. But the main point is that this is a case of prior servicer and new servicer, both of whom take on the obligation of making servicer advances whether the borrower pays or not. If there is a short fall, the servicer pays — or an insurer. In reality, and not addressed by the Court is the fact that in all probability the actual money advanced by the servicer most likely comes from a slush fund created by language buried deep inside the Prospectus or Pooling and Servicing Agreement that allows the investment banker to pay the trust beneficiaries using their own money advanced by them when they became trust beneficiaries.
2. Recovery is clearly stated as whatever money is left after the REO property has been liquidated or from the borrower. [Note there is ONE reference by the Judge to recovering from the Trust but he doesn’t explain it nor does he cite to anything in the agreements]. Since this provision is not referenced in the mortgage, they cannot be traveling under the mortgage and there is no mention of the mortgage provisions in this decision. Since those proceeds frequently are far less than the amount advanced, there is ono direct right of action by the servicer against the borrower, although I postulate that they could potentially bring an unsecured claim for restitution or unjust enrichment.
3. In the end one previous servicer owes the other new servicer the advances, not the trust and not the borrower.
4. There is insurance that makes sure that if the servicer doesn’t make the payments, then the insurer will make-up the shortfall. The insurers do not appear to have any recourse against anyone.
5. There can be no doubt that there are two types of default — one where the borrower stops paying on a note and mortgage (assuming the note and mortgage are valid) and the other, where the REMIC trust beneficiaries fail to get the required distribution as set forth by the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement.
6. The conclusion I draw is that the recovery of advances “by the servicer” takes place after the mortgage has been foreclosed, by which time the initial homeowner borrower is out of the picture. Hence, it seems that while there are “proceeds” that can be claimed by the servicer, it is under a separate transaction with the REMIC Trust and under a potential right to claim money from the borrower for contribution or unjust enrichment — with unjust enrichment being a center-point of this case.
This case also explains many other transactions that occur between the servicer and other entities. It isn’t the encyclopaedia of servicer advances, but it explains a lot of what I have been talking about. When the borrower stops making payments for any reason (and perhaps legal reasons for withholding payment, or being prevented from making payments by a servicer who proclaims the loan to be in default), the creditor keep getting paid. So even if the allegation is that the cessation of payments was a default under the note and mortgage, the fact remains that the creditor is not experiencing any default because payments are being made in full by various parties to the creditor. Hence, my question to corporate representatives, about whether they are showing the full record, and whether the books of the creditor show a default. They don’t, if servicer advances were made. I have personally seen a Wells Fargo witness get quite agitated as I approached this subject.
Servicers have kept this information away from borrowers and have withheld it from the courts when they do their accounting. I would add that if the argument from opposing counsel is that the servicer advances are secured by the mortgage because of language that includes the word “advances” then they are admitting at this point that the entire structure of the loan as presented to the homeowner borrower was a lie. Under the federal truth in lending act such disclosure was entirely necessary to complete the transaction.
It will also be inevitably argued that this gives the homeowner borrower a free ride. Of course we all know that there is no free ride in this. The homeowner has usually made a substantial down payment and has made monthly payments for years. The homeowner had spent a lot of money on furnishing and completing the house. There is no free ride. But the best argument against the “free ride” allegation is that this is asserted by the party with unclean hands (and often intentionally withheld information from the court or even committed perjury).
read all about it: case on servicer advances and unjust enrichment
Filed under: CASES, CDO, CORRUPTION, Eviction, evidence, expert witness, Fannie MAe, foreclosure, foreclosure mill, GARFIELD KELLEY AND WHITE, GTC | Honor, investment banking, Investor, MBS TRUSTEE, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Motions, Pleading, securities fraud, Servicer, TRUST BENEFICIARIES, trustee | Tagged: borrower default, business records, co-obligors, cross examination, insurance, MLN, Mortgage Lenders Network, Servicer advances, servicer default, voir dire, Wells Fargo |