Five Questions with David Dayen about Foreclosure Fraud, Activism and Hope

dayencot

 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/9/24/1572040/-Five-questions-with-David-Dayen-about-foreclosure-fraud-activism-and-hope

David Dayen (dday to old-timers at Daily Kos) has been the most single most dogged journalist digging into the massive fraud perpetuated on American homeowners in the last decade, the fraud that almost brought down the global economy. In fact, he wrote the book on it—Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize (reviewed here). He is a contributing writer to The Intercept, and a weekly columnist for The Fiscal Times and The New Republic. He also writes for The American Prospect, Vice, The Huffington Post, and more. He lives in Los Angeles. Here I followed up with him about his reporting on the foreclosure fraud and the book for our five questions feature.


1. You wrote about it in the book, but can you tell us how you connected with Lisa, Michael, and Lynn, the people at the heart of your story?

So there’s a scene in the second half of the book where Lisa, Michael, and Lynn are invited to Washington to discuss the foreclosure fraud scandal (that’s the mass delivery of false documents in foreclosure cases by financial institutions who do not have the legal right to foreclose) with a bunch of activists, lawyers, writers, some political staffers. I think someone from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was there. And I was asked to be there. At the time I was writing for Firedoglake and was just starting to wrap my head around this particular scandal.

I knew of Michael’s website but didn’t know him. And I don’t think I knew Lisa and Lynn at all at that time. But their stories stood out, because they were the only foreclosure victims in the room. They had something to bring to the crisis that none of us shared. So they became sources of mine. I’d read their websites and ask them questions. Years later, one of them, I think Lisa, told me that they were surprised I was interested in this and even though I was not in foreclosure. In their experience everybody fighting foreclosure fraud was personally affected. So their world was foreign to me and my world was foreign to them.

2. What led to your interest in the issue?

I was blogging at FDL, I was editing the news desk. And the portfolio of what I was to write about was “the news.” So, be it The Huffington Post or Talking Points Memo while sitting in your living room 3,000 miles away from Washington, or sitting in an office, I was still working my day job off and on at that time. (I edited television shows for many years.)

So I was always looking for those stories where I could add value, something to set me apart from other writers, something I could cover that wasn’t being covered. It still kind of amazes me that foreclosures could fall into that bucket. Over 9.3 million people were evicted in foreclosures or some other transaction that forced them to give up their homes from 2006 to 2014. This is the largest financial purchase that most people will ever make, the source of a large portion of their wealth, and the human drama associated with it is really incalculable. And yet the foreclosure crisis still remains on the fringes, on the business pages if anywhere.

What brought it home for me was a personal interaction. My wife and I have a friend who was very involved with the Obama campaign in 2008, he traveled to Nevada to knock on doors for him, was a major supporter. And one day, in the middle of an email conversation, he just came out with, “What I want to know is, why was President Obama’s plan to help those struggling with their mortgage written to favor the banks instead of the people?” At the time none of us knew that he was even having a problem with his mortgage. But I asked him to tell me his story, and it turns out it was a very familiar situation, he was trying to get a loan modification from his mortgage company (Citi Mortgage), and they approved him for a trial payment that was several hundred dollars a month lower. The trial payments were supposed to convert to permanent within three months, but Citi dithered and stalled for half a year, and then told him he was denied a permanent modification, and that he owed the difference between his trial payment and his original payment within 30 days or they would kick him out of his house.

This was very common, it turned out, a way for the banks to weaponize Obama’s modification program (called HAMP) and turn it into a predatory lending scheme. And I wrote that up and posted it at FDL (using an assumed name for my friend because he was still negotiating with Citi Mortgage). And I put out the call for more stories. Dozens of them came in, and the rest is history.

3) The book has been extremely well-received and well-reviewed. In fact, Sen. Elizabeth Warren raved about it: “If you’re looking for a book to read over Labor Day weekend—one that will that will get your heart pumping and your blood boiling and that will remind you why we’re in these fights—add this one to your list.” You’ve had numerous appearances talking about it around the country. What have you learned from that experience?

First of all, this is an ongoing nightmare. I wrote this book as sort of a work of history, to rescue something that had verged on going down the memory hole—that for all the excuses about how no high-ranking executives went to jail for the sins of the financial crisis because there were no good cases or what they did wasn’t illegal, there was an alternate history to be written, led by these three remarkable people who took it upon themselves to expose the greatest consumer fraud in American history while fighting their own punishing foreclosure cases. But in talking to people and getting feedback through email and social media, it reinforced what I already knew, that this is a living history. Every day in America, someone is thrown out of their home based on false documents, and both the political system and the justice system is thoroughly disinterested in changing that fact to arrive at a different outcome.

In St. Louis, I had a guy drive four hours from Chicago to tell me his story about experiencing fraud on his home and starting to work with a half-dozen lawyers to fight foreclosures in his city. In Philadelphia a woman told me she was about to be evicted in a week; the bank just got awarded summary judgment in her case. In Los Angeles a man told me he’d been in court over his home for almost a decade. And I’m pen pals with at least two dozen other homeowners keeping up the fight. It’s remarkable that these cases go on, that these people summon the inner courage to persevere against incredible odds. But Americans have this emotional connection to their homes and a resistance to injustice. They care enough to see things through, to not extinguish the fire burning inside them. Though the stories are horrible, they’re oddly life-affirming at the same time.

4. The book leaves us with kind of a frustrating ending—as admirable and important as the work these activists have done is, it’s still happening. What would it take to fix it, and do you think your book can help kick-start a reaction?

No.

I try to be very clear with the people who ask me for advice. I’m not a lawyer and I cannot counsel them. But it’s very, very hard to win these cases. I didn’t set out to write a book that someone at the Justice Department would read and say “He’s right, we screwed up, let’s round up everyone on Wall Street.” It’s not going to happen.

I’d say two things—one looking backward, and one looking forward. One, I do think that people in high-ranking positions were shaken by the work they did, or rather didn’t do, in the face of this crisis. I have been told by people that the work of the activists, for which I was mostly a conduit, made a real difference. Someone who didn’t give me his name, but who told me he worked at a very high level on this issue, came up to me at an event and said that the $25 billion settlement we got over these practices, which was woefully inadequate, would have been much worse without my efforts. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that.

The other point is that this is a book that tells the story of a movement. And movements don’t always succeed. We hear about the great successful movements in history in our textbook, the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement, but lots and lots of smaller groups failed leading up to those victories. I say in the book that movements crash on the shore like waves, and each one gets a little bit closer to its destination. These three people didn’t have anything—no resources, no institutional knowledge, no history of activism. But they got on the Internet and built websites and collected knowledge and pushed this huge scandal into the public consciousness, if only for a brief moment. And without them, you don’t have Occupy Wall Street, and you don’t have the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party, and you don’t have the Bernie Sanders campaign. There’s a level of awareness about the financial industry now that didn’t exist in 2008, one that’s not going away. And Lisa, Michael, and Lynn helped to forge that.

5. What do Daily Kos readers need to know and do to help fight this ongoing battle?

Stay educated and involved! And recognize that the financialization of our economy, the power and hold that the banks retain, is about more than just foreclosures. Just after Labor Day we saw Wells Fargo fined for creating high sales targets that led its workers to forge documents and create millions of phony customer accounts. That’s not exactly what happened in the foreclosure fraud scandal but it’s a close cousin. And the real scandal there is not about consumer fraud actually—most of these accounts sat dormant, and only a few generated fees. It was securities fraud; Wells Fargo demanded high sales targets because they wanted to show robust growth to their shareholders and boost the stock. Incidentally, Wells Fargo’s CEO took $155 million in stock options from 2012 to 2015, giving him a real incentive to kick up the stock in whatever phantom way possible. That drive for short-term profits remains the biggest single source of recklessness among major banks, with consequences for consumers and investors and the broader economy. Dodd-Frank has not come close to wiping that away. And we need to be speaking out about how we can.

 

CHAIN OF NOTHING: Wells Fargo Fraud Is Causing the Curtain to Fall Revealing Fraud in Foreclosures and Ultimately Mortgage Bonds

“Defendant Wells Fargo’s deceptive and intentional conduct displayed a complete and total disregard for the rights” of the couple, wrote Judge Elliott, a circuit judge in the 43rd Judicial District of Missouri. “Wells Fargo took its money and moved on, with complete disregard to the human damage left in its wake.”

see http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/business/in-wells-fargos-bogus-accounts-echoes-of-foreclosure-abuses.html?_r=0

Gretchen Morgenson of the New York times has revived the issues of fraudulent foreclosures in mainstream media by publishing a sharply critical attack on Wells Fargo. Like Elizabeth Warren has done, Morgenson brings attention to two connected policies of the TBTF banks: (1) the the recent revelation that Wells Fargo forced 8 accounts upon each customer of the commercial banking side of the bank — regardless of whether the customer even knew those accounts existed and (2) the obvious similarity with the fraudulent sales of MBS and the fraudulent foreclosures initiated by Wells Fargo.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who always knows more than she says, made a statement on one of the network news shows that the Banks decided that the best way to make more money was to cheat their customers. She went on to say that the latest Wells Fargo scandal was revealing something that has always been the case with the large banks since the early 1990’s, to wit: that there is a commonality between this one Wells Fargo abuse that occurred over many years and the conduct of the same bank and the other major banks in the global economic crisis of 2008 caused by those banks.

Warren chooses her words carefully. So her use of the word “customers” instead of consumers might be an indication that she was thinking about the “investors” in mortgage bonds as customers of the same bank. Pension Funds and other managed funds were customers of the banks when they gave those banks money for the purchase of mortgage bonds issued by a new business – a REMIC Trust that would use the money to acquire residential mortgage loans. The banks called it securitization. But the rest of us who have analyzed it are quite sure that it was a fraudulent scheme from the very beginning. — And it was not a securitization scheme.

The “new business” did not exist. In most cases the illusion of its existence was created by partially complete written documents that were never used or followed. The new business never had a bank account and never received the proceeds from the sale of the mortgage bonds. This was no ordinary IPO. The “new business” was actually just a proprietary arm of the investment bank that used the false documents to claim a position as Master Servicer — over a Trust that was empty.

Pretending that the “new business” was real, Wells Fargo and other participants in the scheme pocketed the money from the managed funds except for that part that was used to fund the origination of mostly toxic loans. They needed the loans to be toxic so they could foreclose. When they foreclosed they received the first legal document in the entire chain — either a foreclosure judgment or a Trustee’s deed.

CHAIN OF NOTHING: The banks treated the deposits of money from the managed funds as if it were their own. They broke every promise they made to the “investors”, commingled the money and acquired no loans because the loans were already funded at origination by the illegal use of investor (bank customer) money. In all the assignments ever represented over the last ten years, at least, there is zero evidence that any transaction occurred in which the assignee paid anything for the loans said to have been transferred by the words in the assignment. Why would the assignor not insist on receiving money in exchange for the assignment? The answer is obvious — they didn’t own the loan. And following all that back to origination you find that the originator was, in nearly all cases, never paid for the assignment of the loan because the originator did not make the loan. In fact, you find that there was no loan contract between the “borrower” and anyone who advanced money to or on behalf of the homeowner. The investors were left out in the cold while the supposed “intermediary” banks played as though they were the lenders.

 

 

 

The Neil Garfield Radio Show Tonight 6 pm Eastern: Foreclosure Settlements and Negotiations

The JPMorgan Paper Chase Live at 6 pm

The JPMorgan Paper Chase Live at 6 pm

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

At a time when approximately two percent of legal disputes are ended by a trial, the walk-up to trial itself is often a game of negotiation and posturing. The strategy is to stick with an improbable “we’ll see you in court” message for as long as possible in order to bring the other side around to your settlement demand.  However, this is often a mistake and creates resistance and a stale-mate.

A better strategy is to conduct your pre-trial research. What are typical settlement values for similar cases?  Evaluate what the strengths and weaknesses are of your case and lay out a realistic window regarding what you are willing to settle for prior to litigation.

California Attorney Charles Marshall joins us this evening and can be contacted at:

415 Laurel Street, Suite 405 San Diego CA 92101 US

+1. 619.807.2628.

Email:       Charles@MarshallLawCa.com

Website:  http://www.marshalllawca.com/home.html

Gretchen Morgenson: In Wells Fargo’s Bogus Accounts, Echoes of Foreclosure Abuses

John Stumpf, the chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo, won a dubious achievement award from one of his interrogators during Tuesday’s scorching hearings on Capitol Hill. The bank’s yearslong practice of opening bogus accounts for customers and charging fees to do so, said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, had united the Senate Banking Committee on a major topic for the first time in a decade. “And not in a good way,” he added.

But this was not the first time problematic and pervasive activities at Wells Fargo succeeded in uniting a disparate group. After observing years of abusive mortgage loan servicing practices at the bank, an increasing number of judges hearing foreclosure cases after the financial crisis grew to understand that banks could not always be trusted in their pleadings.

This was a major shift: For decades, the nation’s courts had been largely pro-bank when hearing foreclosure cases, accepting what big financial institutions produced in documentation and amounts owed by borrowers.

“Wells didn’t intentionally educate judges. They didn’t raise their hand and say, ‘Judge, we’re sorry,’” said O. Max Gardner III, a prominent foreclosure defense lawyer who teaches consumer counsel how to represent troubled borrowers. “It was people really digging in and having the resources and the time to ask the right questions about what they were doing with the money.” Those practices included levying improper fees and incorrectly foreclosing on homes.

Tom Goyda, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said: “The housing downturn was a challenging time for our nation, and Wells Fargo has acknowledged that we made mistakes in the handling of mortgage foreclosures along the way. Lenders, investors, along with policy makers and regulators — all sides — learned foreclosure processes had to be addressed, and Wells Fargo made significant improvements to the way we work with customers when they fall behind in their payments and during the foreclosure process.”

During the financial crisis, Wells Fargo was at a remove from Wall Street and was not a big player in creating toxic and complex mortgage securities that were engineered to fail. But the bank’s ability to emerge from the crisis with a relatively good reputation is something of a mystery to anyone who paid attention to its aggressive foreclosure activities.

There were enough problematic foreclosure cases involving Wells Fargo moving through the courts that the bank’s dubious practices seemed as pervasive then as the questionable account-opening scheme does now. And some of the elements of both scandals — improper fees and forgeries — are the same.

  The only difference: Mr. Stumpf, who was named Wells’s chief executive in 2007, has apologized to the customers his bank harmed with its account opening charade. Lawyers who represented troubled borrowers say no such apology came from Mr. Stumpf during the foreclosure mess.

“I sure as heck haven’t seen it,” said Linda Tirelli, a longtime foreclosure defense lawyer at Garvey Tirelli & Cushner in White Plains, who has often battled Wells Fargo. “I don’t remember ever hearing him apologize, because that would admit wrongdoing, and that’s not part of Wells Fargo’s corporate culture. Their culture is about not holding anybody at the top accountable.”

Some judges tried to hold Wells Fargo to account for its foreclosure practices. One was Elizabeth W. Magner, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana. She was among the first judges to identify problematic patterns in Wells Fargo’s foreclosure practice and to respond with vigor.

In an early 2008 case, she assessed damages and sanctions against Wells Fargo after concluding that the bank had levied fees on Dorothy Chase Stewart, a widowed borrower, without notifying her. This had the effect of pushing Ms. Stewart deeper into default and increasing the amounts she owed.

Judge Magner highlighted Wells’s “abusive imposition of unwarranted fees and charges” and its improper calculation of escrow payments. And, she added, Wells Fargo’s practice of not telling borrowers about the fees they were being charged “is not peculiar to loans involved in a bankruptcy.” Wells had also failed to credit Ms. Stewart with $1,800 that it had charged her for an eviction that did not occur.

An especially egregious aspect of the case involved Wells Fargo’s regular appraisals of the Stewart property. Banks conduct such appraisals when a property is in default to ensure that it is being maintained properly.

But in the Stewart case, the court cast doubt on two of the appraisals Wells Fargo charged Ms. Stewart for in 2005, noting that they were said to have been completed on the same day that Jefferson Parish, the location of the Stewart home, was under an evacuation order because of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the court found that a unit of Wells had done the appraisals, charging double its costs for them.

In a 2013 Massachusetts case, William G. Young, a Federal District Court judge overseeing a foreclosure, was so distressed by Wells Fargo’s litigation tactics that he required the bank to provide him with a corporate resolution signed by its president and a majority of its board stating that they stood behind the conduct of the bank’s lawyers in the case.

“The disconnect between Wells Fargo’s publicly advertised face and its actual litigation conduct here could not be more extreme,” Judge Young wrote. “A quick visit to Wells Fargo’s website confirms that it vigorously promotes itself as consumer-friendly,” he continued, “a far cry from the hard-nosed win-at-any-cost stance it has adopted here.”

In Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, made a similar observation, comparing Wells Fargo’s stated rules of the road — respecting its customers — with its improper account-opening activities.

When judges criticized Wells Fargo in foreclosure cases, bank officials either maintained that the situation was unusual or that the judge was being unreasonable. Only occasionally did the bank concede that it had handled a case badly.

Responses like these also ring a bell today.

One remarkable foreclosure ruling against Wells Fargo came in January 2015, in a Missouri state court. Judge R. Brent Elliott ordered Wells to pay more than $3 million in punitive damages and other costs for harming David and Crystal Holm, borrowers in Holt, Mo., who fought the bank’s improper foreclosure of their home for more than six years.

“Defendant Wells Fargo’s deceptive and intentional conduct displayed a complete and total disregard for the rights” of the couple, wrote Judge Elliott, a circuit judge in the 43rd Judicial District of Missouri. “Wells Fargo took its money and moved on, with complete disregard to the human damage left in its wake.”

Punctuating his view, Judge Elliott cited the testimony of a bank employee who told the court: “I’m not here as a human being. I’m here as a representative of Wells Fargo.”

Wells Fargo said it was appealing the case.

Finally, there was the scathing 2010 contempt ruling in a Wells Fargo foreclosure case by Jeff Bohm, a federal bankruptcy judge in Houston. To the bank’s argument that unintentional errors, including a computer malfunction, had caused Wells to demand money from two borrowers who had previously settled with the lender, Judge Bohm conceded that mistakes could happen.

“However, when mistakes happen not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” he continued, “and when actions are not taken to correct these mistakes within a reasonable period of time, the failure to right the wrong — particularly when the basis for the problem is a monthslong violation of an agreed judgment — the excuse of ‘mistakes happen’ has no credence.”

Seems as though Judge Bohm was onto something.

Twitter: @gmorgenson


Uniform Trust Code (UTC)

Hat tip to David Belanger

see utc_final_rev2010

see also utc-itc

Readers and analysts should refer to this as very persuasive authority and if enacted by the State legislature, it is the law. But this is not the Uniform Commercial Code. The UCC applies in all cases where paper instruments are involved and transfers of that paper are involved — although you wouldn’t know it looking at many case decisions that essentially ignore the UCC and apply common law contract law and interpretation. This approach was knocked down by the Jesinoski decision on rescission — the courts are meant to enforce the law and are not authorized to make the law. The courts may interpret the law only if they find a specific provision that is ambiguous.

The UTC is different. It applies only where the trust itself is ambiguous or fails to address an issue. The Pooling and Servicing Agreements of the alleged “REMIC Trusts” purport to be the trust agreement; those agreements are ambiguous, opaque, and contain conflicting provisions and are nearly always missing key provisions like the actual acquisition of loans in exchange for payment by the trust.

Banks are counting on lawyers and pro se litigants to either not read the statutory laws or other persuasive and authoritative materials or not understand them. The reason why the banks have been so successful at prosecuting fraudulent foreclosures is that they made the false securitization scheme so complex that government and lawyers and judges look to the authors of these documents to tell them what it means — i.e., they are asking the banks to explain their fraudulent documents. The only way to counter that is to drill down on specific provisions and show that the “explanation” offered by the banks is simply compounding the initial lie — i.e., that the REMIC Trusts actually purchased the loans. They didn’t.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.

RE-REMIC: The Re-Securitization of Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits.

The Art of Re-REMICing Fraudulent REMICs

The Re-REMIC Gimmick at JPMorgan Chase

see http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/secondary/jpmorgan-revives-the-re-remic-cmbs-style-1087036-1.html

Ever since the 2008 implosion that was created by the TBTF banks, investors have awakened to the fact that the mortgage bonds in their portfolio are worthless. They are worthless because they were issued by a nonexistent REMIC Trust that has never been activated by the receipt of cash from the sale of those securities.

So the Trusts were unable to fulfill their one basic function — acquisition of high-grade mortgages. Instead the money was used or originate mortgages without the use of the Trust as Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC).  And the mortgages that were originated were mostly fatally flawed in their underwriting and fatally flawed in their execution.

Caught with their giant hands in the largest cookie jar ever imagined, the banks negotiated with investors who still don’t want to tell their pensioners or investors that there isn’t enough money in the fund to pay for the retirement benefits that were promised. In some cases they offered cash payouts, but those were limited to a mere fraction of the money that was taken by the banks in the false securitization scheme.

So by late 2008, the standard operating procedure was to offer the investors a replacement for their worthless mortgage backed securities. The process is called “RE-REMIC.” The banks create new proprietary entities (REMIC Trusts on paper) that issue new mortgage bonds. The investors give up their claims to the worthless mortgage backed securities. SO the investors in the original REMIC are no longer investors in that REMIC. They are investors in a new REMIC. Both the old REMIC and the new REMIC are fictional entities that are proprietary to the investment bank that created the illusion of their existence.

The legal question is the status of the mortgages that were allegedly purchased by the old REMIC. There is no evidence in any RE-REMIC deal that there was even the pretense of transferring those over to the new REMIC. But there is also zero evidence that any REMIC, old or new, has actually entered into a purchase transaction where it paid any amount of money for any pool of mortgage loans. The absence of a cash payment from investors in the Second REMIC (RE-REMIC) process is corroboration that they were finally (perhaps) getting the benefit of the bargain they were supposed to get in the first REMIC.

And THAT is corroboration that the first REMIC was never funded and explains why the first REMIC never had a bank account or even any financial statement, because there was nothing to put on the financial statement — there was no business — even for the 90 days in which the REMIC could have acquired mortgage loans, if only they had the money.

This leaves borrowers with a trial narrative that sounds like a fairy tale but is nonetheless true. The trust never made any purchase of any of loans not because it didn’t want to but because it was never intended to make that purchase. THAT is why the exhibit with the mortgage loan schedule (MLS) is missing on virtually all Pooling and Servicing Agreements. Like the magical assignments, endorsements and powers of attorney that pop up shortly before trial, the mortgage loan schedule is not created until long after the so-called REMIC Trust was partially created on paper.

To make matters worse, the RE-REMIC process leaves the playing field with no trust, no investors and no creditor. And the really odd thing about this, as if it was not odd enough already, is that it leaves the homeowner battling ghosts who frankly don’t care what happens in their foreclosure — except for the investment bank who appointed itself “Master Servicer” and then “recovered” money from liquidation of the property to satisfy its false claim that it had paid the investors “servicer advances” which actually came from a dark pool consisting entirely of money from the same investors, along with thousands of others,

So the real basis for foreclosure is that the investment bank, masquerading as the “Master Servicer” wants to get its hands on money that should actually go back to the investors. The continuing foreclosures are actually the investment bank leveraging the fact that there is no real party in interest in the foreclosure because there was no loan contract at origination — since the origination of the loans was accomplished through the use of funds that were due to the REMIC but never made it there.

Perhaps this might help explain why the Trustees don’t know or care anything about the outcome of the foreclosure process. The Trustees simply have nothing to do. And it explains why every modification or settlement is done in the name of a subservicer working for the Master servicer with no signature from anyone representing the REMIC Trustee or the REMIC Trust.

The article below demonstrates a JPMorgan RE-REMIC:

http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/secondary/jpmorgan-revives-the-re-remic-cmbs-style-1087036-1.html

JPMorgan is dipping into its toolbox for a type of financial engineering rarely seen these days: “re-REMIC,” or a securitization of real estate mortgage investment conduits.

The $485 million JPMCC 2016-FLRR is a securitization of the senior notes issued in other recent commercial mortgage securitizations: JPMCC 2016-FL8 and JPMCC 2016-H2FL.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, re-REMICs were used to make soured securities look better, allowing the banks and insurers that held them to achieve better capital treatment.

Mortgage bonds that had been sharply downgraded were bundled into collateral for new bonds that were tranched according to their payment priority. Those bonds first in line to receive cash from the underlying collateral received investment grade credit ratings.

This transaction is also achieving a rating uplift. They were rated BBB- (the lowest investment grade rating) by Standard & Poor’s at issuance in March, but KBRA expects to assign an AAA rating to the senior tranche of the re-REMIC. It is not rating the four subordinate tranches.

The JPMCC 2016-FL8 class A certificates have a stated annual coupon of one-month Libor plus 222 basis points and the JPMCC 2016-H2FL class A certificates have a stated annual coupon of Libor plus 210 basis points. Each of these classes of securities, in turn, are backed by five first-lien commercial mortgages that are also index to Libor.

All of the underlying loans were originated between November 2014 and December 2015 and were structured with an initial loan term of two years with three 12-month extension options.

The 36 underlying properties are located in 11 states with four state exposures that each exceeds 10% of the resecuritization trust balance: Texas (22.4%), Virginia (14.1%), California (12.8%) and Massachusetts (10.9%). The underlying loan pool has exposure to four property types: office (43.8%), lodging (34.5%), retail (13.5%) and industrial (8.2%).

Why The Investors Are Not Screaming “Securities Fraud!”

Everyone is reporting balance sheets with assets that derive their value on one single false premise: that the trusts that issued the original mortgage bonds owned the loans. They didn’t.

SUPPORT LIVINGLIES!

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
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This article is not a substitute for an opinion and advice from competent legal counsel — but the opinion of an attorney who has done no research into securitization and who has not mastered the basics, is no substitute for an opinion of a securitization expert.

Mortgage backed securities were excluded from securities regulation back in 1998 when Congress passed changes in the laws. The problem is that the “certificates” issued were (a) not certificates, (b) not backed by mortgages because the entity that issued the MBS (mortgage bonds) — i.e. the REMIC Trusts — never acquired the mortgage loans and (c) not issued by an actual “entity” in the legal sense [HINT: Trust does not exist in the absence of any property in it]. And so the Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) was a conduit for nothing. [HINT: It can only be a “conduit” if something went through it] Hence the MBS were essentially bogus securities subject to regulation and none of the participants in this dance was entitled to preferred tax treatment. Yet the SEC still pretends that bogus certificates masquerading as mortgage backed securities are excluded from regulation.

So people keep asking why the investors are suing and making public claims about bad underwriting when the real problem is that there were no acquisition of loans by the alleged trust because the money from the sale of the mortgage bonds never made it into the trust. And everyone knows it because if the trust had purchased the loans, the Trustee would represent itself as a holder in course rather than a mere holder. Instead you find the “Trustee” hiding behind a facade of multiple “servicers” and “attorneys in fact”. That statement — alleging holder in due course (HDC) — if proven would defeat virtuality any defense by the maker of the instrument even if there was fraud and theft. There would be no such thing as foreclosure defense if the trusts were holders in due course — unless of course the maker’s signature was forged.

So far the investors won’t take any action because they don’t want to — they are getting paid off or replaced with RE-REMIC without anyone admitting that the original mortgage bonds were and remain worthless. THAT is because the managers of those funds are trying to save their jobs and their bonuses. The government is complicit. Everyone with power has been convinced that such an admission — that at the base of all “securitization” chains there wasn’t anything there — would cause Armageddon. THAT scares everyone sh–less. Because it would mean that NONE of the up-road securities and hedge products were worth anything either. Everyone is reporting balance sheets with assets that derive their value on one single false premise: that the trusts that issued the original mortgage bonds owned the loans. They didn’t.

Banks are essentially arguing in court that the legal presumptions attendant to an assignment creates value. Eventually this will collapse because legal presumptions are not meant to replace the true facts with false representations. But it will only happen when we reach a critical mass of trial court decisions that conclude the trusts never owned the loans, which in turn will trigger the question “then who did own the loan” and the answer will eventually be NOBODY because there never was a loan contract — which by definition means that the transaction cannot be called a loan. The homeowner still owes money and the debt is not secured by a mortgage, but it isn’t a loan.

You can’t force the investors into a deal they explicitly rejected in the offering of the mortgage bonds — that the trusts would be ACQUIRING loans not originating them. Yet all of the money from investors who bought the bogus MBS went to the “players” and then to originating loans, not acquiring them.

And you can’t call it a contract between the investors and the borrowers when neither of them knew of the existence of the other. There was no “loan.” Money exchanged hands and there is a liability of the borrower to repay it — to the party who gave them the money or that party’s successor. What we know for sure is that the Trust was never in that chain.

The mortgage secured the performance under the note. But the note was itself part of the fraud in which the “borrower” was prevented from knowing the identity of the lender, the compensation of the parties, and the actual impact on his title. The merger of the debt into the note never happened because the party named on the note was not the party giving the money. Hence the mortgage should never have been released from the closing table much less recorded.

So if the fund managers admit they were duped as I have described, then they can kiss their jobs goodbye. There were plenty of fund managers who DID look into these MBS and concluded they were just BS.

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