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Editor’s Note: The solution is obvious. Remove the servicers, Trustees and other “collection” entities from the situation. Those entities have been working against investors, lenders, the Trusts, and borrowers from the start. They continue to obstruct settlements and modifications because they have substantial liability for performing loans.
Their best strategy is to create the illusion of defaults even when the creditor has been paid in full.
Our best strategy is to remove them from the mix. And then let the chips fall. Since they ignored the PSA they are not authorized to act anyway.
For those who are religious about free market forces, this should be appealing inasmuch as it lets the marketplace function without being hijacked by players who illegally cornered the marketplace in finance, currency and economic activity. — Neil Garfield, livinglies.me
Continuing with my article THE CONCEPT OF SECURITIZATION, and my subsequent article How Securitization Was Written by Wall Street, we continue now with the reality. What we find is predictable conflict arising out of the intentional ambiguity and vagueness of the securitization documents (Prospectus, Pooling and Servicing Agreement, Assignment and Assumption Agreement etc.). The conclusion I reach is that the Banks gambled on their ability to confuse lender/investors, borrowers, regulators, the rating agencies, the insurers, guarantors, counterparties to credit default swaps, the courts and the gamble has paid off, thus far.
THE ECONOMICS OF TOXIC WASTE MORTGAGE LOANS
It is easy to get lost in the maze of documents and transactional analysis. The simple fact is that the banks wanted to make more risky loans than the less risky loans that always worked but gave them only a sliver of the potential profit they would make if they threw their status and reputations to the wind. If they could cash in on the element of “trust” and that people would rather keep their money in a bank than under their mattress there was literally no end to the amount of money they could make. They could even use their hundred year old brand names to create the illusion that THEY would never do something as stupid as what I am about to show you:
- To make things simple assume that a pension fund has $1,000 that the fund manager wishes to invest in a low risk “investment.”
- Assume that the fund manager wants a 5% return on investment (ROI)
- That means of course that the fund manager expects to get his money back ($1,000) PLUS $50 per year (5% of $1,000 invested).
- So the fund manager calls one of his “trusted” brokers and tells the broker what the pension is looking for as a return.
- The broker tells the fund manager that there is an investment that qualifies.
- The fund manager sends the $1,000 from the pension fund to the broker.
- The broker lends 25% or $250 out of the $1,000, or so it seems, for interest at 5%, as demanded by the fund manager. It looks good enough that the fund manager wants to give the broker more money.
- The fund manager gets deposits of $50 per year and is quite happy.
- Skipping a few steps assume that the pension fund has been happily buying into this “investment” for a while.
- But the broker takes the next $1,000 and lends out only $500 at 10%, yielding a rate of return of 10% or $50. Oddly, the dollar return is exactly what the fund manager is expecting — $50 per year for each thousand invested.
- But the “investment” is only $500.
- So the broker forms a series of companies and has his “proprietary trading desk” execute a transaction in which the $500 loan is sold to the pension fund for $1,000. No money exchanges hands because the broker has already “invested” the money for his own purposes. Neither the pension fund nor the Trust gets anything from the broker-controlled entity that “sold” the loan that in many cases had not even been yet originated!
- The pension fund’s money is traveling a road very different than the one portrayed in the Prospectus and the Pooling and Servicing agreement. That pension money was used to originate most of the loans without even the originator knowing it. Unknown to the pension fund the pension money was sued to fund origination and acquisition of loans; this is opposite to the apparent IPO scenario where the Trust issued “mortgage-backed bonds” that the lender/investors thought they were buying. The transaction between the REMIC Trust and the pension fund was never completed. The REMIC Trust is left unfunded and the contract documents for the formation and operation of the REMIC Trust were completely ignored in reality, while the illusion was created that the REMIC Trusts (completely controlled by the broker who “sold” the “bonds”) were operating with the money from the pension fund.
- It is the money of the pension fund that appears at closing, having been sent there by the broker. The only lender is the pension fund and the only debt is between the homeowner and the pension fund. But that loan is never documented and that is how the brokers get to claim almost anything. They are quintessential pretender lenders operating through a veil of cloaks and curtains and peculiarly NOT branding the product because they knew it was beyond wrong. It was probably criminal.
- This evens things out — the fund manager sees his $1,000 “invested” and the return of $50 per year. So the fund manager is clueless as to what is happening. The fund manager does not realize that the pension fund is the direct creditor of the debtor/homeowner.
- Now assume that the “investment” is a bond issued by a trust that will loan money or acquire loans.
- That means the “sale” transaction is between the Trust created and controlled by the broker and the company that is created and controlled by the broker to loan the money. This trade occurs at the proprietary trading desk of the broker. It shows up as a sale between the Trust and, for example, Countrywide. Countrywide gets no money and delivers no documents. The Trust pays no money nor receives any documents (note or mortgage). The “depositor” for the Trust is left out of all transactions.
- And THAT means the broker can declare a “profit” from his proprietary trading desk of $500 — because he only loaned $500 and the pension fund gave him $1,000. That leaves $500 of uninvested capital that the broker converts to “profit” at the broker’s trading desk.
- The broker knows that the $500 loan is priced at 10% interest because there is a substantial likelihood that the borrower will default. The higher the risk, the higher the interest rate. Nobody would question that. This gives the broker a chance to “bet” on the failure of the loans and the consequent failure of “bonds” that derived their value from the nonexistent assets of the Trust. Frequently at “closing” the title and liability insurance names a payee other than the originator — maintaining the distance between the originator and the closing.
- Getting insurance and credit default swaps is difficult because of the higher risk. So the broker buys a credit default swap from another Trust he has created where the loans are conventional 5% loans. This is the conventional loan Trust, which is also probably mostly unfunded. The sale of the swap actually means that the conventional loan trust has agreed to buy the toxic loan Trust “assets” (which do not exist) if there are a sufficient number of defaults on loans on the list for that toxic waste Trust.
- This means that the Trust “selling” the credit default swap will make up for losses in the toxic waste trust containing loans at interest rates of 10% or higher.
- When the Trust with the 10% loans goes up in smoke because the loans fail at predictable rates, the conventional Trust is on the hook to bail out the toxic waste trust.
- The bailout virtually bankrupts the conventional trust. Both the toxic waste trust and the conventional trust have been essentially wiped out. But the pension fund continues to receive payments as long as the broker can maintain the illusion — a device created as “servicer advances” so that the pension fund will continue to buy more of these bonds which were sold as loans to the Trust.
- This causes a “credit event” which the broker declares and sends to the insurance company that insured the risk on the conventional loan trust. The insurer (AIG, AMBAC etc) pays the loss declared by the broker as “Master Servicer”. This further enhances the illusion that the Trust was funded and that the bonds were in fact sold and issued by the Trust in exchange for the investment by the pension fund.
- The losses in the toxic waste trust are covered by the credit default swap with the conventional loan trust, and the losses in the conventional loan trust are covered by insurance.
- When the borrower in the toxic waste trust finally stops paying, the broker orders the servicer to declare a default and foreclose. The “default” is declared based upon the provisions of the note executed at the borrower’s loan closing. But the note is evidence of a loan that does not exist — i.e., a loan by the originator to the borrower. And the mortgage therefore exists to provide security for a nonexistent debt based upon legal presumptions regarding the note, which in actuality is worthless and should be re turned to the borrower for destruction.
- Meanwhile the pension fund continues to get the $50 per year from the broker. So the fund manager is blissfully ignorant of the fact that the “investment” was a scam that has already blown up.
- Eventually the loan in “default” is sold at a foreclosure sale in the name of the broker-controlled Trust.
- The proceeds are not sent to the pension fund because that would alert the fund manager of the default. So the property is kept as “REO” property as long as possible. As long as the pension fund is buying bonds, the bank retains the property in REO status and keeps paying the pension fund $50 per year.
- CONCLUSION: The broker has created a $500 “profit” from the proprietary trading desk, the pension fund is going to get a loss from a loan that was not what they ordered, and the broker collects the proceeds of the credit default swap and the insurance without accounting to anyone. Altogether, the broker makes around $1500 on a $500 loan in which the broker received $1,000 from the pension fund. This is a general and oversimplified example of what happened in virtually all the REMIC trust financing.
- If the broker had put the money into the Trust and made the loans from the trust then the profit of $1500 disappears. Any profit becomes the profit of the Trust and the Trust beneficiaries. And the broker is left accepting only his typical sliver of the pie as a commission. Why accept the miniscule commission when you can claim it all and then some?
- When most loans are originated, they are funded by the pension fund without the pension knowing about it. In standard transactional analysis that makes the pension fund the creditor and the borrower the debtor.
- But the only way the broker could make his “proprietary trading profits” is by placing the name of a third party on the note and mortgage. This raises the prospect of “moral hazard” where originators claim loans as their own even though the money for the loan came from third parties. The originator thinks the money came from an aggregator. In that scenario, the aggregator would be getting the money from the Trust but in fact, the aggregator gets no money which stays with the broker. The entire “chain” is an illusion culminating with the illusion that the Trust was an actual real party in interest. But in that case the Trust would be a holder in due course. That is the way it is supposed to be as per the Concept and the Securitization documents. Experience shows that no claims of any holder in due course are ever made.
- The broker’s position was protected by (a) the Assignment and Assumption Agreement with the originator and (b) control over the money going into each loan closing and coming out of it.
- The Assignment and Assumption Agreement is executed before the loan is originated and governs the transaction without disclosure to the borrower. It is the ONLY real assignment (sort of) in that it is the contract in which actual funds are sent to the closing table — albeit not from the originator.
- The originator does not get to touch the money and has no rights to the note and mortgage even if the originator’s name is on it. But to make sure, many loans were made using MERS as nominee which was also bank controlled, thus preventing the originator from “moral hazard” in claiming the loan as its own. The real purpose of MERS was not to sidestep recording fees (a perk of the plan) but rather to make sure originators had no legal or equitable claim to the fake mortgage paper that was executed by the borrower. This might constitute an admission in conduct that neither the note nor the mortgage should have been executed, much less delivered and recorded. This leads to the conclusion that none of the mortgages or notes are in actuality enforceable unless they end up in the hands of a holder in due course.
- To further protect the broker from the originator taking delivery of the note and doing something with it, the instructions were to destroy the note signed by the borrower which would be resurrected later through mechanical means as needed. (See Katherine Ann Porter study —2007 — when she was at University of Iowa).
- Control over the fictitious note and mortgage was thus secured to the broker.
- When and if the loan goes into foreclosure and it is contested, then the false paper is mechanically created and signed and then sent up a chain of companies none of which pays any money for the loan because none of their predecessors had anything to sell. Eventually when a loan goes into foreclosure, the paperwork appears and the assignment to the Trust is then created and executed by robo-signors etc.
- The only time an assignment appears is when the loan is sent into foreclosure. I have made hundreds of attempts to get the closing documents and assignments to the Trust where the loans were NOT in “default”. None of the banks had the documents. Creative discovery directed at the records custodian will confirm this basic fact.
- Loan are sent into foreclosure because the borrower stopped paying — even though the creditor has continued to receive all expected payments. Hence the real creditor, the pension fund, has not experienced a “Credit event” (i.e., a default). Legally no default exists unless the creditor fails to receive a required payment. In nearly all cases the creditor continued to get paid regardless of whether the payments were made by borrowers on the “faulty” notes and mortgages (see below). So the notice of default is merely the intermediaries covering their tracks as often as possible luring people into the illusion of a default or just declaring it even if the payments are current. And that is why modifications and settlements are kept to a minimum so that the government sees efforts being made to help borrowers when in fact the only real instruction is to foreclose because the $500 loan represents at least $1500 in liability to the broker and its co-venturers.
- In court, the broker-controlled foreclosing party asserts ownership over the debt, the note and the mortgage. The loans are “scrubbed” by LPS in Jacksonville or some other company or division (like Chase) so that only one party is selected to claim rights to enforce the false closing documents. Occasionally they still get it wrong and two parties sue for foreclosure each filing the “original” note. In truth the debt is the property of the pension fund who will receive very little money even after the property is completely liquidated, because each of the participants in this scheme gets fees for the “work” they are doing.
- The REMIC Trust is left as an unfunded entity except for loans that are the subject of a final judgment of foreclosure in the name of the Trust, which is why they didn’t name the Trust as Plaintiff until recently when they couldn’t avoid it.
- The final judgment ends the potential liability to refund the $1500 in “profits” that the broker “made” because it is proof that the loan failed. Then the broker eventually collects the proceeds of liquidation of the property acquired in foreclosure. If such liquidation is not possible, then the broker abandons the property and it is demolished. (see Detroit, Cleveland and other cities where entire neighborhoods were demolished and parks put in their place).
- By adding a healthy scoop of toxic waste loans and nearly toxic waste loans to the mix, the broker makes far more money in fees, profits and commissions than the original principal of the loan. By adding multiple sales to the mix of the same loan or the same bond, they made even more. And each time a foreclosure judgment is entered, and each time a foreclosure sale is said to be completed, the brokers are laughing their heads off because they got away with it.
The gamble has worked very well for the brokers (investment banks) because even now, all these parties are assuming there is at least some truth in what the Banks are saying in Court. They are wrong. Most of the positions taken in court are directly in conflict with the actual facts, the actual transactions and the actual movement of money. These banks continue to profit from the confusion and the inability or unwillingness of all those parties to actually read the documents and then demand proof that the transactions were real.
The press has not done much good either. Take a look at virtually any article written by financial and other types reporters. They get close to the third rail of journalism but they fail or refuse to take it to the next step — a report or declaration that most of the mortgages are fatally defective, incapable of being legally enforced, and leaving the borrowers and lenders with nothing but their own wits to figure out what to do with the debt that was created. Such a paradigm shift would mirror the policy adopted in Iceland where household debt was reduced by more than 25% providing the earliest evidence of a stimulus to a failing economy — producing positive GDP growth and low unemployment far ahead of the gains reported in other economies, including the U.S. The fact remains that the debt is no longer as much as what was loaned, it is not owned by any of the strangers who are enforcing them, and the note and mortgage are fatally defective.
If I am a borrower and I receive a loan of money from one person and then I am tricked into signing a note and mortgage in favor of someone else, there are TWO potential liabilities created — in exchange for ONE loan of money. If the signed paperwork gets into the hands of someone who is a Holder in Due Course, the fact that the borrower was cheated is irrelevant. I will owe the entire loan to both the person who loaned me the money AND the person who paid for the fake paperwork in good faith without knowledge of my defenses. But if the end party with the paperwork does NOT claim Holder in Due Course status, then the borrower has a right to show the loan on THAT PAPERWORK never happened. So then I will owe only the person from whom I received the money — a loan that is undocumented (except for proof of payment) and thus unsecured. Thus borrowers should not be seen as seeking relief; they should be seen as seeking justice — one debt for one loan.
The fact is that the borrower is treated as the party with the burden of proving that no loan actually underlies the paperwork upon which the forecloser is placing reliance. It is unfair to place the burden on the borrower, and within the Judge’s discretion, based upon common law, the Judge has the power to require the foreclosing party to prove the underlying loan if it is merely denied (as opposed to appearing in the affirmative defenses).
Both the closing documents with the lender (pension fund) and the closing documents with the borrower (homeowner) should be considered void, in the nature of a wild deed. Hence there could be no foreclosure and any foreclosure that already happened would be wrongful. In a quiet title action the mortgage on record should be nullified first, and then the homeowner could move on to seeking a declaration of rights from the court in which his title is not impaired by the bogus mortgage based upon a bogus note which is evidence of a loan of money that does not exist.
If I am lender and I give a broker money to deliver to a trust that is the borrower in my transaction and then the broker gives my money to someone else as a loan, the same reasoning applies. The mistake made is calling these lenders “investors”. They are not. They think they are investors and everyone calls them that but they have not invested in any Trust because their money was never delivered to the intended borrower and was instead loaned to borrowers that the lender would never have approved in a manner that was specifically prohibited by the securitization documents (which were routinely ignored).
Like the borrower, the lenders are stuck with documentation for a loan that never happened. The loan was intended (concept and written documents) to be between themselves and a trust. But the REMIC Trust never got the money. The lender (pension fund) is left with an undocumented loan to an actual borrower without a note or mortgage made in favor of the lender or any agent of the lender. Neither the common law nor the securitization documents were followed — delivery of the loan documents simply never happened; nor did payment for those documents (except for exorbitant fees and “profits” declared by the participants in the scheme).
If you look at an article like Trustees Seek $4.5 Billion Settlement with JP Morgan, you see the usual code language. But like the court room, follow-up questions would be appropriate. “Mortgage-bond trustees including U.S. Bank N.A. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. asked a New York state court judge to approve a $4.5 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) over investor claims of faulty home loans.”
US Bank is consolidating its position as the Trustee of multiple REMIC Trusts whose documents name other parties and conditions for replacement of Trustee that prohibit US Bank from becoming the “new Trustee.” This is like a stranger to the transaction in non-judicial states who declares that it the beneficiary without proving it and then names a “substitute trustee” on the deed of trust. This substitution is frequently bogus. But if it goes unchallenged, it becomes the law of that case. The “beneficiary” under the deed of trust is nothing of the kind and the substitution of trustee is just plain wrong.
Bank of New York Mellon is essentially clueless as to what actions are pending in its name and they never produce a witness even when they are the plaintiff in the judicial foreclosure states. The current common practice is to rotate “servicers” such that the witness at a foreclosure trial is a person employed by a servicer who is new to the transaction — long after the loan was claimed to be in default and long after the “assignment” appeared and long after even the foreclosure litigation commenced. There also exists a confused claim because of rotation of Plaintiffs without amendment to the pleadings. Plaintiffs are rotated as though it were only a name change. At trial there exists an amorphous claim of being the owner of the debt which is more like an implication or presumption.
The broker (investment banks) never claim to be a holder in due course because THAT would require proof of payment, delivery of the documents, good faith and lack of knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. But worse, it would reveal that BONY/Mellon has no records, knowledge, possession or accounts relating to the trust, the pool or any individual loan — except those that have been foreclosed on false pretenses.
JP Morgan has been caught in flat out lies repeatedly as to “ownership” of loans allegedly obtained from Washington Mutual for a price of “ZERO” without any agreement or assignment even claiming that the loans were purchased by Chase. Many of their claims are based upon “loans” originated by non-existent entities like American Broker’s Conduit. We see the same entities or non entities used by Wells Fargo, Bank of America and CitiMortgage with great regularity.
“Faulty home loans” is a phrase frequently used in press releases and press reports. What does that mean? If they were faulty, in what way? If they were faulty how could they be enforceable? This goes back to what I said above. The real loan was never documented. And what was documented was not a real loan. This enabled the banks to create the illusion of normal paperwork for “standard home loans” as they frequently claim through their attorneys in court. By trick and intentional confusion they often convince a Judge to treat them as though they were holders in due course even without the claim of HDC status thus defeating the borrower before the case ever gets to trial.
So why are they settling for $4.5 Billion on more than $75 Billion in “securitized” “mortgage backed” bonds? Notice that 5 of them won’t settle which is to say they won’t join the party. The rest are willing to continue playing games with these worthless bonds and worthless loan documents. By “settling” for $4.5 Billion, the Trustees are taking about 6 cents on the dollar. They are also pretending that they are the ultimate owners of the bonds and mortgages. And they are pretending that the bonds and mortgages are real, hoping that the courts will continue to treat them as such. Hence they maintain the illusion that securitization of home loans was real.
The real problem can be seen by reference to the shadow banking marketplace, where the nominal value of cash equivalent instruments are now estimated to be around 1 quadrillion dollars — which is around 12-14 times the actual amount of all the government fiat money issued in the current world. Nobody knows if there is any real value in those instruments but current estimates are that they might be worth as much as $27 Trillion which is still more than 1/3 of all government fiat money issued in the current world. Why so much?
The loans and the bonds were all sold multiple times under various disguises. The simple truth is that a final deed issued as a result of an “auction” from a foreclosure seals off much of the liability for returning the money that the banks received when they posed as lenders and sold, insured or hedged their interest in the bonds and mortgages, neither of which could they possibly own and neither of which had any value in the first place. The original debt between the lenders (pension funds etc) and the borrowers (homeowners) remains in place and is continued to be carried on the books of multiple institutions who think they own it.
The practical solution might be a court recognition of the banks as agents of the lenders, and allocating the multiple payments received by the lenders, the banks and all the other intermediaries. This will vastly reduce or even eliminate the debt from the homeowner leaving the defrauded lender/investors to sue the banks not for 6 cents on the dollar but for 100 cents on the dollar. Any other resolution leaves homeowners holding the bag on transactions they could not possibly have understood because the information — that would have alerted them to these issues — was intentionally withheld.
The behavior of the brokers (investment banks) lends considerable support to the defense of unclean hands. Even if they somehow validated or ratified the closing foreclosure procedures they should be left with an unenforceable mortgage and then a note on which they could sue — if they could prove that the loan of money came from someone in their alleged chain of title.
The solution is to recognize the obvious. This will restore household wealth and prevent further gains by the banks who created this mess.
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