Feds allow high-profile case against Bank of America to quietly fizzle out

The Department of Justice had until Monday to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its 2012 ‘Hustle’ lawsuit against Charlotte-based Bank of America. The DOJ let the deadline pass.

The Department of Justice had until Monday to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its 2012 ‘Hustle’ lawsuit against Charlotte-based Bank of America. The DOJ let the deadline pass.

 The U.S. government let a high-profile mortgage case against Bank of America quietly fizzle out this week.

Who is the Creditor? NY Appellate Decision Might Provide the Knife to Cut Through the Bogus Claim of Privilege

The crux of this fight is that if the foreclosing parties are forced to identify the creditors they will only have two options, in my opinion: (a) commit perjury or (b) admit that they have no knowledge or access to the identity of the creditor

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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see http://4closurefraud.org/2016/06/10/opinion-here-ny-court-says-bank-of-america-must-disclose-communications-with-countrywide-in-ambac-suit/

We have all seen it a million times — the “Trustees”, the “servicers” and their agents and attorneys all beg the question of identifying the names and contact information of the creditors in foreclosure actions. The reason is simple — in order to answer that question truthfully they would be required to admit that there is no party that could properly be defined as a creditor in relation to the homeowner.

They have successfully pushed the point beyond the point of return — they are alleging that the homeowner is a debtor but they refuse to identify a creditor; this means they are being allowed to treat the homeowner as a debtor while at the same time leaving the identity of the creditor unknown. The reason for this ambiguity is that the banks, from the beginning, were running a scheme that converted the money paid by investors for alleged “mortgage backed securities”; the conversion was simple — “let’s make their money our money.”

When inquiry is made to determine the identity of the creditor the only thing anyone gets is some gibberish about the documents PLUS the assertion that the information is private, proprietary and privileged.  The case in the above link is from an court of appeals in New York. But it could have profound persuasive effect on all foreclosure litigation.

Reciting the tension between liberal discovery and privilege, the court tackles the confusion in the lower courts. The court concludes that privilege is a very narrow shield in specific situations. It concludes that even the attorney-client privilege is a shield only between the client and the attorney and that adding a third party generally waives that privilege. The third party privilege is only extended in narrow circumstances where the parties are seeking a common goal. So in order to prevent the homeowner from getting the information on his alleged creditor, the foreclosing parties would need to show that there is a common goal between the creditor(s) and the debtor.

Their problem is that they can’t do that without showing, at least in camera, that the identity of the creditor is known and that somehow the beneficiaries of an empty trust have a common goal (hard to prove since the trust is empty contrary to the terms of the “investment”). Or, they might try to identify a creditor who is neither the trust nor the investors, which brings us back to perjury.

FDCPA and FCCPA: Temperatures rising

FDCPA and FCCPA (or similar state legislation) claims are getting traction across the country. Bank of America violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the related Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”). (Doc. 26). The Goodin case is a fair representation of the experience of hundreds of thousands of homeowners who have tried to reconcile the numbers given to them by Bank of America and others.

In a carefully worded opinion from Federal District Court Judge Corrigan in Jacksonville, the Court laid out the right to damages under the FDCPA and FCCPA. The Court found that BOA acted with gross negligence because they continued their behavior long after being put on notice of a mistake on their part and awarded the 2 homeowners:

  • Statutory damages of $2,000
  • Actual damages for emotional distress of $100,000 ($50,000 per person)
  • Punitive damages of $100,000
  • Attorneys fees and costs

 

See http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020150623E16/GOODIN%20v.%20BANK%20OF%20AMERICA,%20N.A.

The story is the same as I have heard from thousands of other homeowners. The “servicer” or “bank” misapplies payments, negligently posts payments to the wrong place and refuses to make any correction despite multiple attempts by the homeowners to get their account straightened out. Then the bank refuses to take any more payments because the homeowners are “late, ” “delinquent”, or in “default”, following which they send a default notice, intent to accelerate and then file suit in foreclosure.

The subtext here is that there is no “default” if the “borrower” tenders payment timely with good funds. The fact that the servicer/bank does not accept them or post them to the right ledger does not create a default on the part of the borrower, who has obviously done nothing wrong. There is no default and there is no delinquency. The wrongful act was clearly committed by the servicer/bank. Hence there is no default by the borrower in any sense by any standard. It might be said that if there is a default, it is a default by Bank of America or whoever the servicer/bank is in another case.

Using the logic and law of yesteryear, we frequently make the mistake of assuming that if there is no posting of a payment, no cashing of a check or no acceptance of the tender of payment, that the borrower is in default but it is refutable or excusable — putting the burden on the borrower to show that he/she/they tendered payment. In fact, it is none of those things. When you parse out the “default” none of the elements are present as to the borrower.

This case stands out as a good discussion of damages for emotional distress — including cases, like this one, where there is no evidence from medical experts nor medical bills resulting from the anguish of trying to sleep for years knowing that the bank or servicer is out to get your house. The feeling of being powerless is a huge factor. If an institution like BOA fails to act fairly and refuses to correct its own “errors,” it is not hard to see how the distress is real.

I of course believe that BOA had no procedures in place to deal with calls, visits, letters and emails from the homeowner because they want the foreclosure in all events — or at least as many as possible. The reason is simple: the foreclosure judgment is the first legally valid instrument in a long chain of misdeeds. It creates the presumption that all the events, documents, letters and claims were valid before the judgment was entered and makes all those misdeeds enforceable.

The Judge also details the requirements for punitive damages — i.e., aggravating circumstances involving gross negligence and intentional acts. The Judge doesn’t quite say that the acts of BOA were intentional. But he describes BOA’s actions as so grossly negligent that it must approach an intentional, malicious act for the sole benefit of the actor.

 

PRACTICE NOTE ON MERGER DOCTRINE AND EXISTENCE OF DEFAULT:

It has always been a basic rule of negotiable instruments law that once a promissory note is given for an underlying obligation (like the mortgage contract), the underlying obligation is merged into the note and is suspended while the note is still outstanding. Discharge on the note would (due to the rule that the two are merged) result in discharge discharge of the underlying obligation. Thus paying the note would also pay the obligation. Because of the merger rule, the underlying obligation is not available as a separate course of action until the note is dishonored.

 

The problem here is that most lawyers and most judges are not very familiar with the UCC even though it constitutes state law in whatever state they are in. They see the UCC as a problem when in fact it is a solution. it answers the hairy details without requiring any interpretation. It just needs to be applied. But just then the banks make their “free house” argument and the judge “interprets a statute that is only vaguely understood.

The banks know that judges are not accustomed to using the UCC and they come in with a presumed default simply because they show the judge that on their own books no payment was posted. And of course they have no record of tender and refusal by the bank. The court then usually erroneously shifts the burden of proof, as to whether tender of the payment was made, onto the homeowner who of course does not  have millions of dollars of computer equipment, IT platforms and access to the computer generated “accounts” on multiple platforms.

This merger rule, with its suspension of the underlying obligation until this honor of the note cut is codified in §3-310 of the UCC:

(b) unless otherwise agreed and except as provided in subsection (a), if a note or an uncertified check is taken for an obligation, the obligation is suspended to the same extent the obligation would be discharged if an amount of money equal to the amount of the instruments were taken, and the following rules apply:

(2) in the case of a note, suspension of the obligation continues until dishonor of the note or until it is paid. Payment of the note results in the discharge of the obligation to the extent of the payment.

thus until the note is dishonored there can be no default on the underlying obligation (the mortgage contract). All foreclosure statutes, whether permitting self-help or requiring the involvement of court, forbid foreclosure unless the underlying debt is in”Default.” That means that the maker of the promissory note must have failed to make the payments required by the note itself, and thus the node has been dishonored. Under UCC §3-502(a)(3) a hello promissory note is dishonored when the maker does not pay it when the footnote first becomes payable.

4th DCA Florida: Exploding the Merger Myth

Achieving standing via merger also requires that the surviving entity prove that it “acquired all of [the absorbed entity’s] assets, including [the] note and mortgage, by virtue of the merger.”Fiorito v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, 174 So. 3d 519, 521 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015).

see http://4closurefraud.org/2016/06/07/fl-4th-dca-segall-v-wachovia-bank-na-reversed-wachovia-failed-to-prove-standing-to-foreclose/

Finally the courts are turning back to the simple rules of law that always applied until the era of false claims of securitization. Hopefully this decision will be persuasive authority in all jurisdictions. As stated in other cases, the banks can’t continue to operate using multiple choice assertions. Either their entity is real or it isn’t. Either they acquired the loan or they didn’t — and the fact that there was a merger does NOTHING for them in asserting transfer of the loan. They must show that the subject loan was in fact acquired by the surviving entity in the merger. This was always the law before and now we are simply turning back to it.

Red Oak Merger Corp. a/k/a Countrywide, a/k/a BAC a/k/a Bank of America

When BOA says it is a “Successor by merger” to Countrywide, it is no more true than Chase’s claims that it is the successor by merger to WAMU and no different than the false claims of OneWest as to IndyMac. In each instance there was a merger but in none of them were loans acquired because they had already been sold.
If you look at the actual merger disclosures, it is highly doubtful and even inconsistent with other disclosures that Bank of America Corp or Bank of America N.A. actually owns any loans originated by Countrywide. In fact, as you drill deeper you will be drawn to my conclusion —— that Countrywide was a conduit and not a lender, who operated through other thinly capitalized “originators” none of whom were actually making loans.
None of them were lenders. None were creditors. The money for the alleged loans came from a dynamic dark pool consisting solely of money from investors — by-passing the so called “REMIC” Trust that claims ownership even though it was never active as a business entity or as a pass-through entity. The Trust never received the proceeds of sale of securities the Trust issued.  Nobody complained because it was really not the Trust that was the active entity, it was the investment bank that had created the illusion of mortgage backed securities that were not backed by mortgages and not securities under deregulation back in 1998-1999. Investors who failed to peek under the hood jumped at high ratings and insured investments. But other fund managers who did peek under the hood, discovered at best a very high risk venture and at worst, a criminal conspiracy. These conduits were all getting signatures that were then parlayed into the illusion of assets that were sold into the secondary mortgage market and then subjected to false claims of securitization.
This situation is like Chase claims that WAMU originated mortgages. The only difference is that WAMU was actually capitalized to start off the origination of loans with its own funds and did not start acting as a mere conduit until around 2001, based upon all appearances. WAMU eventually originated almost $1 Trillion in loans despite the fact that it lacked the resources to make those loans. Likewise Countrywide, on a much larger scale was only a conduit rather than a lender for the many trillions of dollars that were originated using the Countrywide “platform.”
In both cases the loans, by all accounts, were presold or contemporaneously sold into the secondary market the moment the “borrower” signed papers that led to doom. In the case of Countrywide, MERS was used extensively, to hide the fact that there were no transactions in which anyone actually bought the loans because the loans were already paid for with investor funds. That’s why you get answers from the “corporate representative” in court saying “Fannie Mae [or Freddie Mac] was the investor “from the start.” That has been accepted in courts across the land despite the fact that the GSE’s were never direct lenders. Their only role at the origination was as guarantor, if that.
So the upshot of all this is that the mega banks are playing musical chairs as servicers and trustees, to be sure, but also playing games with corporate entities such that they shield themselves from violations of Federal and state lending laws. BOA did not merge with Countrywide or BAC (which is a mere name change of Countrywide). CW merged with Red Oak merger Corp. and BOA claims that Red Oak was a wholly owned subsidiary. There is nothing nefarious about forming a subsidiary to facilitate an acquisition. But what is wrong is that when BOA says it is a “Successor by merger” to Countrywide, it is no more true than Chase’s claims that it is the successor by merger to WAMU and no different than the false claims of OneWest as to IndyMac. In each instance there MAY have been a “merger” but in none of them were loans acquired because they had already been sold.
There were no assignments and there was no payment for the loans. The transaction that they have successfully argued in court should be legally presumed to exist, does not in fact exist. The presumption is in direct contradiction to the factual truth.
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SIGTARP HAMP FINDINGS: SERVICERS REVOKING COMPLIANT HAMP PLANS

Why are modifications being undermined when they would so obviously preserve the value of the “loan?” The answer is because the real party in interest in the foreclosures is the servicer, not the trust, which doesn’t own the loan anyway, nor even the investor/beneficiaries, who reap very little out of the proceeds of foreclosure.

The servicer wants the loan to fail. The investor expects the servicer and trustee of the REMIC trust to make sure value is preserved. But that isn’t the game. If the property goes to foreclosure sale then the “servicer” can make its claim for “recovery” of “servicer advances.” The fact that “servicer advances” are made from a pool of funds established by investor money and the fact that the servicer accesses these funds to make payments, regardless of whether the borrower pays or not — all of that makes no difference in the game.

In that context a modified loan is worthless. A failed loan is the gold standard.

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HAMP Modifications Sabotaged to Fail by the Usual Suspects

By William Hudson

https://www.sigtarp.gov/Audit%20Reports/Homeowners_Wrongfully_Terminated_Out_of_HAMP.pdf

On January 27, 2016 The Special Inspector General over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) released data on the poorly executed and enforced Home Affordable Mortgage Program (“HAMP”) that shows that the banks not only have the right to modify loans they don’t own, but have no interest in helping homeowners save their homes through modification when they can set the homeowner up to fail.

HAMP was created to provide sustainable and affordable mortgage assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure but has instead forced many homeowners into foreclosure by requiring homeowners to miss payments, revoking approved modifications and a slew of other unethical practices.

The Inspector General writes that, “mortgage servicers administering HAMP will continue to need strict oversight in upcoming years because apparently the servicers are unable to implement and properly administer the program without resorting to sabotaging compliant homeowners.”

The audit notes that  the “largest seven mortgage servicers in HAMP over the most recent four quarters show disturbing and what should be unacceptable results, as 6 of 7 of the mortgage servicers had wrongfully terminated homeowners who were in “good standing”  with their HAMP modifications.”

These failure rates demonstrate that servicer misconduct is continuing to contribute to homeowners falling out of HAMP by terminating the agreement when homeowners are making timely payments.  This practice is an obvious attempt to put homeowners at risk of losing their home so that when the foreclosure occurs, the servicer can swoop in and steal the home while keeping all of the homeowner’s equity, payments and improvements.

This study provides further documentation that homeowners are being forced out of the HAMP program for no reason and that servicers are using HAMP as another tool to steal homes.  If the servicer can keep the homeowner in a state of vulnerability, create further arrearages and provide the homeowner contradictory and confusing information- their chances of taking back the home increase exponentially. This is the modification business model of the major loan servicers.

The servicers are running the show and the government is apparently impotent to stop them from their illegal tactics. The treasury admits that they have no idea how many other homeowners were forced out of HAMP.  I can attest that I was one of the homeowners forced out of a loan modification in which I was 100% compliant. For a year I repeatedly applied for modifications, sending in documentation and spending hours and hours going through CitiMortgage’s futile application process.  Either CitiMortgage representatives are completely incompetent or their modification process is intentionally set-up to create such a diabolical application process that most borrowers give up.

Thirteen applications later and a year later I was granted an “approved repayment plan” that required three timely payments before becoming permanent.  If all three payments were made  by the first of each month I would be given a permanent modification with no need for further qualification.  After making the third timely payment by certified mail I didn’t hear back from CitiMortgage. By then I was familiar with their lack of competence and accountability so I continued to make payments hoping I would hear from them any day.

When I received the “approved repayment plan” I celebrated thinking that I was finally free from seven years of servicer torment.  The modification would allow me to immediately sell the home in which I had several buyers- and make Citi 100% whole including being paid over 15k in fees they had assessed.  At the time I received the loan modification I had over 100k in equity.  I would have paid CitiMortgage any amount they claimed I owed to be free of their tyrannical servicing practices.

Not trusting CitiMortgage to honor their word- I called CitiMortgage and once again confirmed that “approved” meant “approved” and that I could prepare the home for sale. The CitiMortgage agent promised me that as long as all three payments were made it was a done deal.  I didn’t want any surprises down the road if they changed their minds.  The home needed some updating prior to being placed on the market so I took 35k from my retirement account and went to work renovating the home top to bottom.  By the time my third payment was made I had a beautifully restored home and two anxious buyers for the property.  I was close to grasping the golden ring…..until CitiMortgage grasped the ring right out of my hands.

When I didn’t hear from Citimortgage I continued to make the modification payments for three more months while waiting to hear from them about the new loan terms. Unbeknownst to me the modification payments I had made were not being applied to my loan but placed in a suspense account while CitiMortgage was continuing to add on late payments and other delinquent fees.  I had not agreed to this arrangement but was powerless to complain.

I finally received a letter from CitiMortgage stating my check (my fifth payment) was being returned to me with no reason provided. I knew CitiMortgage was up to something, so I checked the internet to discover that CitiMortgage was dual-tracking me and had filed to foreclose on me while compliant with the modification plan. To add further injury,  I received two more offers from CitiMortgage that week offering to modify my loan! CitiMortgage did not want full payment- they wanted my house and the financial windfall that follows a successful foreclosure.

It has now been six years and the house has sat vacant since Citi revoked my modification.  All the work I did has been reversed by humidity and vacancy.  I no longer have any equity in the property.  I sued CitiMortgage over this egregious bait and switch scheme and even provided evidence to the court that I was granted an “approved repayment plan” with no contingencies.  The judge in my case, with 20 percent of his retirement in CitiMortgage, did not recuse himself but instead threw out my entire complaint and provided no reason for his decision.  Not only did CitiMortgage get away with this fraud, the corrupt judge dismissed my case on summary judgement stating there was no controversy.  Even when you have irrefutable evidence of fraud- if you have a biased and unethical judge you will not prevail.   I reported my experience to SigTarp, the CFPB, FCC and the Office of the Comptroller- and not one agency bothered to respond to my complaint or sanction CitiMortgage for this blatant contract violation.  I requested that CitiMortgage return the modification payments they fraudulently extorted from me- and of course they refused.

My situation appears to be the norm, not the exception.  SigTarp reported that one out of every three homeowners in HAMP re-defaults on their payments. They suggest that the Treasury, “research and analyze whether, and to what extent, the conduct of HAMP mortgage servicers contributed to homeowners redefaulting on HAMP permanent mortgage modifications.”  I can tell them from experience that examining the behaviors and motivations of the servicers would be a great place to start. I can almost guarantee in most modification cases that it isn’t the homeowner who defaults.  In the first place, a homeowner who prevails in obtaining a loan modification may work diligently for years before being granted a modification and persevere against great odds! I would estimate I spent around 45 hours on the phone, faxing and following up with CitiMortgage before receiving my modification.  In fact, dealing with CitiMortgage became my occupation.  The homeowner who receives a modification, in most cases, has fought a long and hard battle for the modification and has no idea that the bank can refuse to honor the agreement.

To get the true story about what is going on, the Treasury could begin by sending out questionnaires to prior homeowners in HAMP that were compliant when their modifications were revoked for no other reason than the servicer wanting to take another stab at stealing the home.  SIGTARP’s concerns over servicer misconduct contributing to homeowner redefaults in HAMP was revealed through the Treasury’s on-site visits to the largest seven mortgage servicers in HAMP over the last year and apparently reveal disturbing and unacceptable results, finding that 6 of 7 of the mortgage servicers had wrongfully terminated homeowners who were in “good standing”.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assume that servicers are up to their same old tricks and forcing compliant homeowners out of HAMP.  Servicers have no incentive to not unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of the homeowner when a successful foreclosure is more lucrative than modifying a mortgage.  The usual six non-compliant culprits are named in the report:

WRONGFUL TERMINATIONS OF HOMEOWNERS FROM HAMP BY SERVICERS:

Q4 2014 TO Q3 2015    

Servicer                                       Wrongful Termination of Homeowner  From HAMP

Bank of America, N.A.                                        X

CitiMortgage Inc                                                  X

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.                              X

Nationstar Mortgage LLC                                    X

Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC                               X

Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.                                       X

According to SIGTARP, homeowners who make their modified mortgage payments on time, or who do not fall three months behind on those payments are entitled to remain in HAMP. However, the Treasury’s results found that, within the last year, Bank of America,CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase, Nationstar, Ocwen and Wells Fargo all claimed that homeowners had redefaulted out of HAMP by missing three payments when, in reality, they had not.

These six mortgage servicers account for 74% of non-GSE HAMP modifications funded by TARP since the start of the program. Upon further reading, and despite the fact that the Treasury has done nothing to stop this misconduct, the servicers are engaging in a process of holding the homeowner’s payments in suspense accounts (so they can continue accruing late fees and other delinquent charges), reversing and reapplying the homeowner’s payments improperly and terminating homeowners who have not defaulted on the required three payments.

This misconduct is also probably much larger in scale than it appears because the Treasury only samples 100 redefaulted homeowners per servicer each quarter.  It is possible that the number of homeowners impacted is much, much larger.  This has been going on since the inception of the program and the Treasury’s response over time has been anemic and unresponsive.  The servicers appear to have an understanding that if they don’t comply there is no consequence other than a little bad publicity (as if a little more bad publicity would impact them at this point).

The potential profit of a fraudulent foreclosure is incentive enough to kick compliant homeowners out of the HAMP program. It should be known that many of the servicers making offers to modify do not have legal standing to make an offer to modify the loan in the first place and are simply engaging in a process to get the homeowner further into default.

In my particular case, all I wanted was to modify my mortgage, sell my home, and go forward with my life.  CitiMortgage did NOT want payment- they WANTED the HOME and used modification as a tool to  obtain this goal.  A modification is nothing short of a tool of deception used by servicers to steal a home.  Servicers use modification for these purposes:

1.  Intimidate the unsophisticated or vulnerable Homeowner- Create Fear and Confusion by processes of circular phone transfers, lost documents, false claims, conflicting messages and blatant lies.

2. Time Destruction- Time spent in modification compromises other available options like refinancing, a short sale or hiring an attorney.  A consumer’s options diminish as time goes by. It is to the bank’s benefit to not modify the loan but to paint the homeowner into a corner.

3. Equity Erosion- Every month while in a modification the equity in the home is eroded by late fees and other charges the consumer is not advised about in advance.

4. Payment Hostage- The servicer retains the monthly modification payment in a suspense account.  These funds then cannot be used for a more beneficial purpose like retaining an attorney or refinancing. The consumer is not told that the payment will not be applied to their mortgage or if the modification fails that the payments will not be returned.

5. Dual-Tracking- A homeowner in the process of modifying their mortgage or who has an approved modification may be subsequently foreclosed upon in violation of law.

6. Government Kickbacks- Servicers who engage in the modification process receive compensation for each modification attempt and successful modification.  Servicers are accepting government payments (from tax payers) only to sabotage modifications.

The time has come for a full investigation into the behavior of loan servicers.  Not only do servicers make offers to modify loans they have no legal right to modify, but they engage in fraudulent practices that are not in the best interest of the homeowner, investor or community.  This article won’t get into the fact that servicers lie about their relationship to the loan, the balance owed and need to be heavily fined and sanctioned for forging documents, filing false affidavits and other criminal acts.  The bottom line is that a servicer is incentivized to lie, to cheat and to steal by a lack of governmental oversight and by the  potential windfall of profits that occur upon a successful foreclosure (including insurance, “servicer advances” and other compensation).  The bank has bet your mortgage will fail, and you can bet they will resort to every trick in the book to take your home including the use of faux modifications.

It is ironic that two months ago I received a letter from CitiMortgage offering to modify again.  This is despite the fact that the note and mortgage were rescinded under TILA.  I’m not sure what CitiMortgage thinks they are going to modify now that the note and mortgage are void by operation of law- but why would I expect rogue servicer CitiMortgage to comply with any state or federal law?

Advice: Your servicer is not your friend and will act only in their best interest.

I have attached copies of my “approved repayment plan” as evidence of the modification agreement.

If you would like to share your modification story with us please email us at: lendingliesconsulting@gmail.com.  We would like to hear about your experiences.

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Repayment Plan One cleanRepayment Plan Two clean

BOA Settlements: $70 Billion and Counting

From http://www.housingwire.com

Reuters published an article on the situation late Friday, BofA settles claims of “misleading shareholders about its exposure to risky mortgage securities and its dependence on an electronic mortgage registry known as MERS.”

So, yes, it’s just another settlement for BofA, which is probably really used to this kind of development.

“The bank has spent more than $70 billion since the financial crisis to resolve legal and regulatory matters, including those tied to its purchases of Countrywide in July 2008 and Merrill Lynch & Co six months later,” the article states.

So here are my questions:

  1. Where is BOA getting the money to pay for these settlements, fines and damages?
  2. We have many billions of dollars of reported settlements with “investors.” (and probably a lot more unreported “off-balance sheet” settlements). How are the proceeds of these settlements allocated if the investors are the end parties in interest on the alleged loans and pass through certificates. If they have been paid, is that reflected in the ending balance of individual loans? If not, why not?
  3. If the loan balances have indeed been paid down by “settlements” why is it so difficult to get principal reductions which would only reflect the fact that the creditors have already been made whole or at least partially paid?
  4. If the loans have been paid off in whole or in part, who is getting the excess and why — in the case of foreclosures and simply collections? The way this is playing out it seems that the investors are getting hush money while the banks pursue the huge rewards of getting “recovery” of servicer advances they never paid out of their own money and loan money that they never advanced out of their money or credit.
  5. Have the pass through certificate holders assigned their rights to the banks that pay them settlements? If not, why are the servicers taking most of the proceeds of a foreclosure sale?

The fundamental problem here is that the courts have been loathe to get into the complex world of financial instruments. The courts would rather simplify the matter even if it leads to the wrong result. So let’s simplify in another way. Is it right to allow the perpetrators of a fraud upon investors to reap the benefits of their fraud? Why does the “free house” myth even come in to play when the creditors have been paid and the intermediaries are soaking up everything in sight without expending a dime on the loan origination or the loan acquisition?

And then the real question — on whose behalf are these foreclosures being filed? Is it the empty trust that never operated? Is it the pass through certificate holders in the empty trust that never operated? Or is it the servicers and other conduits and sham corporations and entities who want virtually the entire proceeds of a foreclosure sale?

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