As Danielle Kelley, Esq. (Tallahassee) has repeatedly predicted, the trial modification practices of the big banks are getting them into hot water. Scenarios vary. But one typical scenario is that the trial modification is “approved” (which under current law means that it has been through underwriting) and the borrower makes the trail payments. Then the bank says the “investor” (with whom they have most likely NOT been in contact) has denied the modification. After receiving the trial payments and assuring the borrowers that they were safe in their home, the bank then forecloses. Many homeowners, unaware that they in fact probably have a binding contract with the bank on the modification, walk away.
Kelley has won cases based upon the argument that the bank had no choice but to modify the loan according to the terms of the trial modifications — and to make any other adjustments necessary to make the numbers come out right. The important point being that the payments offered in the trial modification are the same payment they will have for the rest of the term of the loan. The Bank argued that they were under no obligation to make the trial modification permanent. The Judge was furious with the bank and its attorneys, reminding them that forfeiture of one’s home is an extreme remedy, not to be taken lightly.
Of course the game of the Banks has been, all along, that they want as many of the mortgage loans in foreclosure, because that is the only way out of potential liability for refunds and buybacks of loans that have now been “assigned” to REMIC trusts, most of which were never funded and thus lacked the capacity to originate or acquire any loans. The servicers are rushing to foreclosure sale because that is an opportunity for them to claim the proceeds of liquidation of the property to get back “servicer advances” paid while they claimed the homeowner was in default (but the creditors (investors) were being paid on time in the right amount — i.e., NO DEFAULT).
The investors are suing the broker dealers (investment banks) for fraud, mismanagement of funds, documents and title. The investors affirmatively allege that the loan documents are unenforceable but when it gets down to state court level in the foreclosure cases, those assertions by the creditors are not considered relevant by a standard that does not seem to have any support under the law but which is nonetheless applied.
In all probability no investor knows of any foreclosures nor do they get notice of how the Servicers and Trustees are forcing the cases into foreclosures where the investors do the worst, the borrowers do the worst, and the banks, trustees and servicers get to take all the spoils of the largest economic fraud in human history. I know that sounds like hyperbole. But I will bet anything that the time will come when the real truth comes out in its entirety — and the shock and awe of the whole thing becomes apparent to everyone.
While most of the cases involving trial modifications result in confidential settlements that cannot be discussed here or I would be violating the confidentiality agreement, one case recently stands out as having been at least partially litigated now.
The 9th Circuit, which has been considered unfriendly to borrowers, changed course in this decision.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wells Fargo was required under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program [HAMP] to offer loan modifications to borrowers who demonstrated their eligibility during a trial period. … the appeals court rejected the argument that Wells Fargo became bound only upon sending borrowers signed modification agreements.
The court said this would create “unfettered discretion” for the San Francisco-based bank to reject modifications “for any reason whatsoever – interest rates went up, the economy soured, (or) it just didn’t like the borrower.”
While a federal appeals court in Chicago reached a similar conclusion last year, the 9th Circuit decision applies in several western U.S. states – among them California, Arizona and Nevada – that have been particularly hard-hit by foreclosures.
Corvello v. Wells Fargo Bank NA et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-16234.
This decision, like others coming out of Federal and State courts shows a growing anger and mistrust of the banks and their attorneys that most borrowers would say is long overdue.
For people familiar with determining the present value of a flow of funds, the analysis of the modification deals is easier. The average length of time a home is held by its owner is around 7 years, but many people stay in the home for life. Just to make things easier, here is a way of looking at certain modifications that don’t seem to offer anything of value on their face.
Assuming the original mortgage was $500,000 and now with default interest, attorneys fees etc. the total demanded is $600,000 the bank might offer a low interest rate (2%-5%) with amortization for forty years at a payment you can afford. But you don’t like the deal because you were the victim of appraisal fraud so you would be accepting a mortgage and waiving your defenses and ratifying the ownership of the loan in exchange for what?
The payment over 40 years changes the equation dramatically and does address the appraisal fraud if you stay in the house for a long time. In 40 years, with even low inflation, each dollar you are spending now is going to be worth around 20 cents. And even without any organic growth in prices from demand, your house might be worth $300,000 now, will be priced in 40 years at around $1,200,000. This assumes 2% rate of inflation. The risk factors are deflation and stagnation, which at this point most economists are not predicting.
For more information on trial modifications, litigation support, or other related information contact Danielle Kelley at 850-765-1236.
Filed under: CDO, CORRUPTION, expert witness, foreclosure, foreclosure defenses, foreclosure mill, GARFIELD KELLEY AND WHITE, GTC | Honor, investment banking, Investor, MBS TRUSTEE, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Motions, Pleading, securities fraud, Servicer, STATUTES, TRUST BENEFICIARIES, trustee | Tagged: 9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, Corvello V Wells Fargo Bank, Danielle Kelley, permanent modification, present value, trial modification, Wells Fargo |