Relevance: THE FORECLOSER HAS NO RIGHT TO BE IN COURT WITHOUT THE SECURITIZATION DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS

 Courts and lawyers are continually ignoring the obvious. By zeroing in on the NOTE, they are ignoring the documents that allow the person in possession of the note to be in court. That results in elimination of critical elements of a prima facie case in which the Defendant borrower lacks the superior knowledge and resources of the Plaintiff and its co-venturers that would show the truth about his loan ownership and balance.

Premise:

Chronologically the document trail starts with the securitization documents. Without the securitization documents there is no privity or nexus between the borrowers and the lenders. Neither one of them signed the deal that the other signed. Without the Assignment and Assumption Agreement, the Prospectus and the Pooling And Servicing Agreement, the trust does not exist, the servicer has no powers, the trustee has no powers, and there is no right of representation or agency between any of those parties as it relates to either the lender investors or the homeowner borrowers.

 

The Assignment and Assumption Agreement between the originator and the aggregator sets forth all the rules and actions preceding, during and after the loan”closing”, including the underwriting by parties other than the originator and the ownership of the loan by parties other than the originator. It is a contract to violate public policy, the Federal Truth in Lending Law prohibiting table funded loans designed to withhold disclosure, and usually state deceptive and predatory lending statutes.

 

The Assignment and Assumption Agreement was an agreement to commit illegal acts that were in fact committed and which strictly governed the conduct of the originator, the closing agent, the document processing, the delivery of documents, the due diligence, the underwriting, the approval by parties other than the originator and the risk of loss on parties other than the originator. The Assignment and Assumption Agreement is essential to the Court’s knowledge of the intent and reality of the closing, intentionally withheld from the borrower at closing. It cannot be anything other than relevant in any action sought to enforce the documents produced at a loan closing that was conducted in strict adherence to the illegal Assignment and Assumption Agreement.

 

The other closing is with the investors who were accepting a proposed transaction to lend money for the origination or acquisition of loans through a trust. Those documents and records (Prospectus, Pooling and Servicing Agreement, Distribution reports, etc) provide for the creation and governance of the trust, the appointment of a trustee and the powers of the trustee, and the appointment and the powers of the Master Servicer and subservicers. Those documents also provide for there requirements of reporting and record keeping, including the physical location and custody of actual loan documents. Without those documents, there is no power or authority for the trustee, the trust, the Master Servicer, the subservicer, the Depository, the Securities Administrator the purchase of insurance, credit default swap trading, funding the origination or acquisition of loans, or collection and enforcement of loan documents. without those documents the Court cannot know what records should be kept and thus what records need to be produced to show the status of the obligation in the books and records of the creditor — regardless of whether the loan was actually securitized or just claimed to be securitized.

 

Procedure and UCC
In Judicial States, the Plaintiff is bringing suit alleging a default by the Defendant on a promissory note and for enforcement of a mortgage. The name of the payee on the note is different from the name of the Plaintiff in the lawsuit. The name of the mortgagee is different from the the name of the Plaintiff. The suit is bought by (a) a trustee on behalf of the holders of securities that make the holders of those securities (Mortgage Bonds) in a NY Trust (b) the “servicer” on behalf of the trust or the holders or (c) a company that alleges it is a holder or a holder with rights to enforce. None of them assert they are holders in due course which means they concede that the Plaintiff did not buy the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrowers defenses. They assert they are holder in which case they are subject to all of the borrowers defense — which procedurally means the issues concerning the initial loan and any subsequent transfers can be in issue if the preemptive facts are denied and appropriate affirmative defenses and counterclaims are filed. These defenses are waived at trial if an objection is not timely raised.

 

In Non-Judicial States, the name of the “new” beneficiary is different from the name of the payee on the promissory note and the name of the beneficiary on the Deed of Trust. The “new beneficiary” files a “Substitution of Trustee”, the Trustee sends a notice of default, notice of sale and notice of acceleration based upon “representations” from the “new beneficiary.” This process allows a stranger to the transaction to assert its position outside of a court of law that it is the new beneficiary and even allows the new beneficiary to name a company as the “new trustee” in the Notice of Substitution of Trustee. The foreclosure is initiated by the new trustee on the deed of trust on behalf of (a) a trustee on behalf of the holders of securities that make the holders of those securities (Mortgage Bonds) in a NY Trust (b) the “servicer” on behalf of the trust or the holders or (c) a company that alleges it is a holder or a holder with rights to enforce. None of them assert they are holders in due course which means they concede that the Plaintiff did not buy the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrowers defenses. They assert they are holder in which case they are subject to all of the borrowers defense — which procedurally means the issues concerning the initial loan and any subsequent transfers can be in issue if the preemptive facts are denied and appropriate affirmative defenses and counterclaims are filed. These defenses are waived at trial if an objection is not timely raised. In these cases it is the burden of the borrower to timely file a motion for Temporary Injunction to stop the trustee’s sale of the property.

 

Argument:
By failing to assert with clarity the identity of the creditor on whose behalf they are “holding” the note and mortgage (or deed of trust) and failing to assert the presence of the actual creditor (holder in due course) the parties initiating foreclosure have (a) failed to assert the essential elements to enforce a note and mortgage and (b) have failed to establish a prima facie case in which the burden should shift to the borrowers to defend. The present practice of challenging the defenses first is improper and contrary to the requirements of due process and the rules of civil procedure. If the Plaintiff in Judicial states or beneficiary in non-judicial states is unable to sustain their burden of proof for a prima facie case, then Judgment should be entered for the alleged borrower.

 

Evidence:
Virtually all loans initiated or originated or acquired between 1996 and the present are subject to claims of securitization, which is the first reason why the securitization documents are relevant and must be introduced as evidence along with proof of compliance with those documents because they are almost all governed by New York State law governing common law trusts. Any act not permitted by the trust instrument (Pooling and Servicing Agreement) is void, which means for purposes of the case narrative, the act or event never occurred.

If the Plaintiff or beneficiary is alleging that it is a holder and not alleging it is a holder in due course then there is a 96% probability that the creditor is either a trust or a group of investors who paid money to a broker dealer in an IPO where securities were issued by the trust and the investors money should have been paid to the trust. In all events, the assertion of “holder” status instead of “Holder in Due Course” means by definition that one of two things is true: (1) there is no holder in due course or (2) there is a Holder in Due Course and the party initiating the foreclosure and collection proceedings is asserting authority to represent the holder in due course. In all events, the representation of holder rather than holder in due course is an admission that the party initiating the foreclosure proceeding is there in a representative capacity.

 

THE FORECLOSER HAS NO RIGHT TO BE IN COURT WITHOUT THE SECURITIZATION DOCUMENTS:

 

If the proceeding is brought by a named trust, then the existence of the trust, the authority of the trust, the manner in which the trust may acquire assets, and the authority of the servicer, Master servicer, trustee of the trust, depository, securities administrator and others all derive from the trust instrument. If there is a claim of securitization and the provisions of the securitization documents were not followed then in virtually all foreclosure cases the wrong parties are initiating the foreclosures — because the money of the investors went direct to the origination and purchase of loans rather than through the SPV Trust which for tax purposes was designed to be a REMIC pass through trust.

 

If the foreclosing party identifies itself as a servicer and as a holder it is admitting that it is there in a representative capacity. Their prima facie case therefore includes the documents and events in which acquired the right to represent the actual creditor. Those are only the securitization documents.

 

If the foreclosing party identifies itself as a holder but does not mention that it is a servicer, the same rules apply — the right to be there is a representative capacity must derive from some written instrument, which in virtually cases is the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.

 

Representations that the loan is a portfolio loan not subject to securitization are generally untrue. In a true portfolio loan the UCC would not apply but the rules governing a holder in due course can be used as guidance for the alleged transaction. The “lender” must show that it actually funded the loan, in good faith (in accordance with the requirements of Federal and State law governing lending) and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. They would be able to show their underwriting committee notes, reports and correspondence, the verification of the loan, the property value, the ability of the borrower to repay and all other national standards for underwriting and appraisals. These are only absent when there is no risk of loss on the alleged loan, because if the borrower doesn’t pay, the money was never destined to be received by the originator anyway.

 

In addition, the Prospectus offering to the investors combined with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement constitute the “indenture” describing the manner in which the investment will be returned to the investors, including interest, insurance proceeds, proceeds of credit default swaps, government and non government guarantees, etc. This specifies the duties and records that must be kept, where they must be kept and how the investors will receive distributions from the servicer. Proof of the balance shown by investors is the only relevant proof of a dealt and the principal balance due, applicable interest due, etc. The provisions of the contract between the creditors and the trust govern the amount and manner of distributions to the creditor. Thus it is only be reference to the creditors’ records that a prima facie case for default and the right to accelerate can be made. The servicer records do not include third party payments but do include servicer advances. If records of servicer advances are not shown in court, and the provision for servicer advances is in the prospectus and/or pooling and servicing agreement, then the Court is unable to know the balance and whether any default occurred as a result of the borrower ceasing to make payments to the servicer.

 

In short, it is the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement that provide the framework for determining whether the creditors got paid as per their expectations pursuant to their contract with the Trust. It is only by reference to these documents that the distribution reports to the investors can be used as partial evidence of the existence of a default or “credit event.” Representations that the borrower did not pay the servicer are not conclusive as to the existence of a default. Only the records of the creditor, who by virtue of its relationships with multiple co-obligors, can establish that payments due were paid to the creditor. Servicer records are relevant as to whether the servicer received payments, but not relevant as to whether the creditor received those payments directly or indirectly. The servicer and creditors’ records establish servicer advance payments, which if made, nullify the creditor default. The creditors’ records establish the amount of principal or interest due after deductions from receipt of third party payments (insurance, credit default swaps, guarantees, loss sharing etc.).

For more information call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688.

 

 

Modifications: Interest reduction, Principal reduction, Payment reduction, and Term increase

In the financial world we don’t measure just the amount of principal. For example if I increased your mortgage principal by $100,000 and gave you 100 years to pay without interest it would be nearly equivalent to zero principal too (especially factoring in inflation). A reduction in the interest rate has an effect on the overall amount of money due from the borrower if (and this is an important if) the borrower is given 40 years to pay AND they intend to live in the house for that period of time. To the borrower the reduction in interest rate and the extension of the period in which it is due lowers the monthly payment which is all that he or she normally cares about.

Nonetheless you are generally correct. And THAT is because the average time anyone lives in a house is 5-7 years, during which an interest reduction would not equate to much of a principal reduction even with inflation factored in. Unsophisticated borrowers get caught in exactly that trap when they do a modification where the monthly payments decline. But when they want to refinance or sell the home they find themselves in a new bind — having to come to the table with cash to sell their home because the mortgage is upside down.

So the question that must be answered is what are the intentions of the homeowner. The only heuristic guide (rule of thumb) that seems to hold true is that if the house has been in the family for generations, it is indeed likely that they will continue to own the property. In that event calculations of interest and inflation, present value etc. make a big difference. But for most people, the only thing that cures their position of being upside down (ignoring the fact that they probably don’t owe the full amount demanded anyway) is by a direct principal reduction.

THAT is the reason why I push so hard on getting credit for receipt of insurance and other loss sharing arrangements, including FDIC, servicer advances etc. Get credit for those and you have a principal CORRECTION (i.e., you get to the truth) instead of a principal REDUCTION, which presumes the old balance was actually due. It isn’t due and it is probable that there is nothing due on the debt, in addition to the fact that it is not secured by the property because the mortgage and note do NOT describe any actual transaction that took place between the parties to the note and the mortgage.

MGIC Paid Off 2,400 Loans last month! Why Does the Borrower Still Need to Pay the Same Creditor?

Among the many insurance companies that paid off loans or assets based on loans, MGIC. Off 2400 loans a month of January alone, which appears to be virtually all residential mortgages. Press the reason that nobody is paying any attention to this is that normally the insurer acquires the claim through a legal process called subrogation. In the world of securitization the insurer waives subrogation. So we are left with a payment to a creditor. The creditor is identified as the lender for purposes of the insurance. There is no doubt in any venue that once a settlement is accepted by a creditor or claimant the case is over.

But in mortgage foreclosures in appears as though even the most basic and common sense knowledge is ignored. The creditor receives full payment and then allows an agent to foreclose on the property even though the account receivable not longer exists. The same failure of logic exists with respect to servicer advances where the creditor has been receiving payments regardless of whether the borrower has been making payments or not. For reasons beyond my comprehension courts have thus far mostly accepted the premise that it doesn’t make any difference how much money the creditor has received on this debt, as long as the borrower hasn’t paid the amount stated as due in the promissory note (even if the promissory note has been paid in full by third-party).

To top things off, GKW (my law firm — 850-765-1236) is handling a case where insurance paid off a loan upon the death of the owner. BOA filed the appropriate satisfaction of Mortgage. But then in the giant roulette we know as LPS they still had the loan active and a servicer convinced the decedent’s family to enter into a modification of the loan without telling them that the loan had been paid off. Eventually, after years of “modification” payments on a loan that did not exist, the servicer has filed a judicial foreclosure in Florida! And after being informed we have the recorded satisfaction they had yet another entity file a document that was signed by still another entity and they recorded it in the county records — stating that the BOA satisfaction was a mistake!

Do I still need need to convince anyone that they need a forensic report and expert declaration? Call 520-405-1688. And for the lawyers, my firm also provides litigation support and coaching for this litigation across the country.

Dan Edstrom sent me the following:

Neil,

You said in your seminar there are  on your3 ways to discharge an obligation.  Payment, Waiver of Payment or Magic.  Spend to much for the holidays?  Would you believe in magic …

Quote

There were 9,365 new notices of delinquency in January, 385 more than the number received for December, but a significant improvement over the 11,098 new notices received in January 2013. Meanwhile, 7,745 loans returned to performing status during the month, while MGIC paid the claim on another 2,393 loans.The company denied or rescinded coverage on another 204 loans. This moved the inventory to 102,351 from 103,328 at the start of the month.

In December, 7,259 loans cured and it paid 2,445 claims.

Typically, delinquencies are up in January because of holiday-related spending with those bills coming due.

MGIC wrote $1.7 billion of primary new insurance during the month, compared with $2.2 billion in both December and January 2013.

It would be interesting to know who pays for the coverage and if the homeowner was notified and claim was filed (and paid/denied/rescinded/etc.).  Also, why were the claims denied or coverage rescinded on the other loans?  Was the loan bad, was a defective claim filed, or was a bad faith claim filed?  What government entity (if any) has regulatory authority over MGIC, Radian and others?  What can a homeowner do to find out if insurance coverage exists, whether a claim has been filed and what the status of the filed claim is?

Thanks,

Office: 916.207.6706
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. This is for educational and informational purposes only. Take no action on this information without consulting an attorney in your jurisdiction. If our information conflicts with your attorneys information, disregard our information. it’s’s and the right what

 

Arizona Appeals Court Reverses Direction: Dismissal of Borrower’s Claims Reversed

JOIN US TONIGHT AT 6PM Eastern time on The Neil Garfield Show. We will discuss this decision and other important developments affecting consumers, borrowers and banks.

Congratulations to Attorney Barbara J. Forde!!

HIGHLIGHTS: Steinberger v Hon. McVey/OneWest

Discharge of Debt — money that OneWest received from FDIC to pay off loss on loan discharges the debt. If it is true that the FDIC has already reimbursed OneWest for all or part of [the borrower’s] default, OneWest may not be entitled to recover that amount from [the borrower}. This corroborates what we have been writing in this blog regarding third-party payments and the existence of co-obligors. To the extent that third party payments have been received by the creditor this court is saying that nobody can collect those same payments (on the same debt) from the borrower.

Unconscionability: Procedural and Substantive: Unfair surprise and fairness, respectively, are the main elements. This opinion raises the possibility of bringing claims that might have been barred by the TILA Statute of Limitations. Pleading requirements are strict. But if you read the decision you can tell that there is room for borrowers to oppose enforcement of contracts that produced sticker shock and other unfair surprises.

Quiet title: This Court concluded that you can’t quiet title based upon the weakness of someone else’s claim. You must allege your right to title and that the parties served have no claim.

Negligence Per Se: Opening a whole new area for litigation this Court concluded that negligence and negligence per se, were valid causes of action for damages and other relief in connection with the handling of modification and other requests.

Negligent Performance of an Undertaking:  This court concluded that the borrower has a cause of action is the lender or the lenders agents or representatives Lord her into defaulting on her loan with the prospect of a loan modification and then negligently administered her application for the modification, causing her to fall so far behind on her payments that it was no longer possible to reinstate her original loan. Borrower must allege that she never obtained a loan modification and that the bank’s conduct ultimately led to the foreclosure on her home.

Good Samaritan Doctrine:  Lender may be held liable under the Good Samaritan Doctrine when a lender or its agent or representative induces a borrower to default on his or her loan by promising a loan modification if he or she defaults. If the borrower in reliance on the promise to modify the loan subsequently defaults on the loan and the lender fails to process the loan modification or due to the lender or agent or representative’s negligence the borrower is not granted a loan modification and the lender subsequently forecloses on the borrower’s property. Note: this is in Arizona decision and is subject to review by the Arizona Supreme Court. It is not dispositive as to all actions in Arizona and can only be used as persuasive authority in other states or federal court.

 Cause of action to avoid a trustee’s sale: The Hogan decision was considered governing but as we pointed out when the decision was made, the Arizona Supreme Court went out of its way to say that  the borrower never alleged that the trustee lacked the authority to conduct a trustee sale and therefore its decision did not address this issue. This court points that out and upheld the borrowers cause of action to avoid a trustee sale based upon the claim that the trustee did not have the authority to conduct a sale of the property. The reasoning behind this decision may well apply in judicial states as well.

 This decision needs to be analyzed carefully. I have only just received it. In the coming days I will provide additional analysis.

More Lawsuits, Still No Real Progress and No Coverage by Media

Jon Stewart committed his entire show to the mortgage crisis last Wednesday night. Go watch it. It wasn’t funny although they added some comedic aspects. The bottom line is the question “why aren’t these people in jail?” And the media was scorched with the fact that despite a constant culture of continuing corruption and absurd “transactions” in which paper goes back and forth, and calling that economic activity with”profit,” and stories of the human tragedy of Foreclosures all based on what are now obviously fraudulent schemes, the media is silent. The number of stories on the illegal Foreclosures, the charges of FRAUD by everyone involved from lenders (investors) to insurers to guarantors to borrowers, the verdicts and judgments decided against the banks, and the analysis that the assets of the banks are fictional, the total is ZERO.

My question is why the displacement of more than 15 million people in a single scheme is not the main question in American discourse, media and politics — especially since the banks have admitted by conduct or expressly their wrongdoing? We already know it was a total fraudulent scheme. The banks are settling their ill gotten gains for pennies on the dollar while the victims absorb most of the loss. We already know that the requirements of Federal law were routinely ignored in disclosing the real terms and lenders to borrowers. And if they had made the disclosure, the deals would not have occurred, because if they were disclosed neither the lenders (investors) nor the borrowers (homeowners) would have done the deal.

One particular story was singled out by Jon Stewart to provide an example of what Gretchen Morgenson called “just another day on Wall Street” was the recent transaction between Blackrock and Corere. Blackrock loaned Corere $100 million. Blackrock purchased a credit default swap worth $15 million if there was any default for any reason. Blackrock made a deal with Corere for Corere to default. So Corere defaulted. Blackrock collected the $15 million on the credit default swap PLUS the full repayment from Corere of $100 million, plus interest. Somehow this is considered legal. I call it FRAUD.

When applied to the mortgage market you can easily see how the agent banks (investment banks or broker dealers) made a fortune by creating deals that failed on paper when in fact the loan was already covered in multiple ways. Only in the mortgage situation the lenders got screwed out of repayment and the borrowers got screwed on their deal by either losing their home or getting a deal where they would be underwater for the rest of their lives. As I have been detailing over the last week, I have a currently pending case in which the “successor” trustee with a new aggressive law firm is pursuing foreclosure and collection of rents on loans that they know have been paid, they admit have been paid, but they say it doesn’t matter. Using this theory, if the payment doesn’t come from the named Payor on the note to the now unnamed payee on exhibit note, anyone can collect multiple times on a single debt. This is crazy.

The bastion of our security — judiciary — is succumbing to expediency over truth and justice. Instead of applying the requirements of law and procedure strictly against the same entities that are repeatedly cited for FRAUD AND NON COMPLIANCE by government and lawsuits from investors, insurers and guarantors, the judiciary is ignoring the requirements or applying liberal standards to allow the foreclosure to proceed. What Judges don’t understand yet is that they can clear their docket more quickly if they demand proof of payment by the party seeking foreclosure and proof of authority to represent the real creditors, who must be identified.

If the party pursuing foreclosure has no skin in the game and doesn’t represent anyone who does, the foreclosure fails jurisdictionally. If we apply any other standard, then the courts are opening the door for uninjured people to sue for a slip and fall that happened to someone else.

These Foreclosures would disappear entirely if judges applied the law with or without a proper presentation by defense counsel. In the old days, Judges carefully reviewed the basic documents. If they found a gap, they refused to apply the most extreme remedy of foreclosure until the the creditor could comply. That is all I ask. Instead most lawyers are told to stop arguing because the Judge is uncomfortable with what he is hearing and most lawyers do not have the guts to say to the judge that the purpose of having a lawyer is to “argue” cases. Is the Judge throwing out the right to be heard altogether? That violation of undue process is something that should be taken to task.

At the end of the day, it will be accepted fact that the mortgages were fraudulent unenforceable devices that never should have been recorded, much less used for foreclosure or collection of rents, the note is a fraudulent unenforceable paper designed to mislead the borrower, the lenders, the insurers, the government guarantors, credit default counterparties, and the courts as to the lender’s identity, and the debt was always between the investors who received no documentation for their investment that was real, and the homeowners who were duped into signing papers that made them unwitting participants in a fraudulent scheme.

In the end the intermediary agent banks got paid but the lenders only get their money if they sue the investment banker because the lenders were denied the right to appear on closing paperwork as the lender or on assignments. In other words, the parties who loaned the money got pennies on the dollar. The Banks got paid multiple times on the same debt by selling it multiple times, insuring it multiple times and getting it guaranteed multiple times, and then foreclosing as if they were the lender.

My final question is this: “if we know the mortgage mess was a fraudulent scheme, why are we allowing its continuation in the courts?”

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DOJ plans more MBS fraud cases in New Year

The Department of Justice intends to bring cases against several financial institutions next year for what it says is mortgage-bond fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder told Reuters yesterday.
While Holder said that the DOJ would use JPMorgan’s $13B agreement as a template, he didn’t provide details about which banks are in his crosshairs.
Firms that have acknowledged that they are under investigation include Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS).

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1447021?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

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Insurance and Hedge Proceeds Applied to Loan Balances

One of the more controversial statements I have made is that certain types of payments from third party sources should be applied, pro rata, against loan balances. Some have stated that the collateral source rule bars using third party payments as offset to the debt. But that rule is used in tort cases and contract cases are different. There are certain types of payments, like guarantees from Fannie and Freddie that might not be susceptible to use as offset because they are caused by the default of the debtor and because they are not paid until the foreclosure is complete.

But the insurance, credit default swaps and other hedge products that caused the banks to receive payment are a different story. Those are not paid because of a default by any particular borrower but rather are caused by a unilateral declaration of a “credit event” declared by the Master Servicer and are paid to the holder of the mortgage bonds. The mortgage bonds are issued by a trust based upon the advance of money by investors who wish to pool their money into an asset pool and receive income with what was thought to be a minimum of risk.

Since the broker-dealers (investment banks) were acting as agents for the trust and the bond holders, any money received by them should have first been allocated to the trust, then pro rata to the bond holders. Whether or not this money was actually forwarded to the bond holders is irrelevant if the investment banks were the agents of the investment vehicle and thus owed a duty to the investors to whom they sold the mortgage bonds.

Logic dictates that if the money was paid to the banks as “holders” of the bond (because they were issued in street name as nominee securities) that the balance owed by the trust to the investors was correspondingly reduced — reflecting the devaluation of the bonds declared by the master servicer based upon such criteria as the lack of liquidity of the bonds that had been trading freely on a weekly basis, or because of the severe drop in real estate prices down to their actual values, or because of other factors.

It should be noted that the declaration of the banks is unilateral and in their sole discretion and not subject to challenge by anyone because the declaration creates an irrefutable presumption that the content of the declaration is true. Thus the insurance company must pay, the credit default swap counterparty must pay and other hedge partners must pay as a result of an act by the bank, not the investor nor the borrower.

All the loans contained in the asset pool subject to the declared credit event are affected. And since the reason for the declaration has little relationship to defaults, and plenty of other more important reasons, the amount owed to investors is reduced by the receipt of the payments by their agent, the bank. That means the account receivable of the lender is reduced, regardless of which bank account the money happens to be deposited.

If the account receivable is reduced before, during or after a delinquency of the borrower (assuming the loan is actually in existence) then the borrowers’ balances should be reduced, pro rata for each loan in the asset pool that was the subject of the declaration of a credit event. It is therefore my opinion that the homeowner could and probably should file an affirmative defense for offset for the pro rata share of insurance, credit default swaps etc.

There is one more source that should be considered for offset. Several investors have made claims against the banks claiming that their money was misused and that the terms of the loan were not followed including, bad underwriting and unenforceable documents created at closing. Many of them have already settled those claims and received payment, thus reducing their account receivable from the trust (and by pure logic reducing, dollar for dollar the account payable from the trust). Since the sole source of payment on the bond is the payment of the mortgages, it follows that by utilizing the most simple of accounting standards, the balance owed by the homeowner would be correspondingly be reduced, pro rata, dollar for dollar.

The fact that the underwriting was bad, the loans were not viable or enforceable and based upon inflated appraisals and lies about the income of the borrower, is not something caused by the borrower. The fact that the money was paid to all of the investors in that particular asset pool means that each investor should get a share equal to the amount of money they invested compared to all the money that was invested in that pool.

As to figuring out how much of the offset goes to the borrower’s account payable, it should be calculated in the same way. The amount of the borrower’s debt should be compared with the total amount of loans in the asset pool. This percentage should be applied against all third party payments that did not arise out of the default by the borrowers. In fact, it should be applied against all borrowers whose loans were claimed by that asset pool, whether they were in default or not. This would be grounds for a claim by people who are “current” in their payments for a credit or refund of the amount received from insurance, credit default swaps, or payments by the banks in settlement of investors’ claims of fraud.

This approach should be brought up very early in litigation so that there is plenty of time to pursue the discovery required to determine the amount received and the proper calculation of pro rata shares. If you do it at trial, the best you can hope for is that the judge will take notice of the fact that the foreclosing party only brought part of the documents relating to the loan instead of all of them, which should be the subject of a subpoena for the designated witness of the bank to bring with her or him all of the documents relating to the subject loan or any instrument deriving its value in whole or in part from the subject loan’s existence.

Thus at trial you can have a two pronged attack, getting them coming and going. The first is of course the fact that the originator did not fund the loan and that the break between the money trail (actual transactions) and the paper trail (fictitious transactions) occurred at the closing table. In most cases that is true, but it can be replaced or buttressed by the fact that the same argument holds true for acquired loans that were previously originated. The endorsement of the note or assignment of mortgage is a fictitious instrument if there was no sale of the loan. The important thing is to talk about the money first and then use that to show that the documents are fabricated relating to no real transaction.

Then you also have the argument of offset which hopefully by then you will have set up by discovery.

Practice Note: Many lawyers are accepting fee retainers far below the level that would support properly litigating these cases. Now that the marketplace has matured, lawyers should reconsider their pricing and their prosecution of the defenses, affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Even clients who announce a goal of just staying as long as possible without paying rent or mortgage are probably saying that because they think they owe more money than is actually the case.

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