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This is not a legal opinion on any specific case. Get a lawyer.
The Big Question:
How can there be a declaration of default
when the creditor is showing no default and no loss on its books?
I have been through the ringer myself, as the homeowner in the article linked above said about himself. We have a steady policy of the banks luring homeowners into default or luring them into deeper defaults. The reason is clear. They want the foreclosure — not the house and definitely not the money owed. As one BOA manager said “we are in the foreclosure business not the modification business.” The facts are always the same: the homeowner is faced with two choices based upon the information that comes from the only source he or she knows about — the party claiming to own the loan or claiming the authority to service the loan. In nearly all cases neither representation is true.
The two choices are to find another way to get help from friends and relatives (i.e., forget about modification) or go into a default. The message is perfectly clear that the “customer representative” is inviting them to go into default. But they have a script that carefully avoids the direct words of “I am telling you to go into default.” And so nearly all judges say that this is not illegal legal advice and not fraudulent misrepresentation, even though the homeowner is told that there is nobody else they can talk to about their loan.
Millions of homeowners were looking for modification rather than a free house — mostly on loans that had reset to unaffordable monthly payments that were not properly disclosed at closing and which should never have been approved by any legitimate underwriting process. In fact, such loans were never approved prior to the era of the illusion of securitization in the secondary markets where mortgage loans are bought and sold. Industry practices, rules and regulations preventing banks from approving loans in which it was obvious that some or all of the terms would be breached based upon current information. So if a borrower is approved for a mortgage with a teaser payment of $500 per month in a household that grosses $50,000 per year, it is obvious what will happen when the payment resets to $5,000 per month ($60,000 per year) — $10,000 more than their entire income.
The ONLY reason why such loans were approved is that the banks were not putting the bank at risk in such loans and were making money hand over fist in the “secondary” markets that were completely under the control of the same banks. They sold that loan as though the $5,000 per month would be paid — and even had ratings and insurance indicating that the loan was “low risk” when the bank knew for sure that default was imminent due to the reset of the amount of payments. And in fact, payments were made to the investor creditors just as expected —> but paid by the investment bank as “Servicer advances.”
But were they really paying the certificate holders in REMIC Trusts? Yes, but they were paying investors out of their own money which was hijacked into a commingled slush fund. But since they were called “servicer advances” that are now being bundled as derivatives and sold to the same investors as securitized debt, it is the SERVICER who has a claim for the advanced money even though it wasn’t their money that funded the “advances” which were really refunds out of the money paid by the investors themselves.
The banks created this scheme so that investors would remain ignorant that anything was wrong with the portfolio despite mountains of delinquencies that were DECLARED BY THE SERVICER to be “defaults.” And so the investors would buy more “mortgage backed” securities they were neither mortgage backed nor securities because the Trust never saw a penny of the offering of mortgage backed bonds and never operated nor purchased nor received ownership of the loans.
Those “advances” or refunds or whatever you want to call them can be “recovered” (I would say stolen) by the investment banks masquerading as the Master Servicer of a REMIC Trust that existed only on paper and not in the real world. But they can only “recover” those advances (that they are quickly selling to investors through new securitization schemes) if the property goes into foreclosure. If the property is foreclosed then the servicer no longer needs to make advances although in many cases it continues to do so in order to keep the investors in the dark. But more importantly it is ONLY when the property is sold that the “Master Servicer” can “recover” those servicer advances.
It’s complicated. But if you stop for a moment and put pencil to paper suddenly the reason for those long delays in prosecuting foreclosures becomes crystal clear. The investment bank is using the investor money to make “advances” to the investor to make good on the expectations of the investor in receiving income from their “investment.” Since the investment bank is not actually making the advances, the “receivable” due to the investment bank under this convoluted scheme increases with each passing month (without any corresponding liability or expense). So the investment bank that controls the slush fund where investor money is kept, makes payments to the investor for the amounts due regardless of whether the borrowers are paying.
In the example above, they want to keep that time running as long as possible. By making advances of $5,000 per month, that is $60,000 per year and over an 8 year period, for example, the receivable is now $480,000 without the bank having to spend one dime and in fact, actually collecting fees during the entire time at a premium rate for those loans that are distressed. So they have a $480,000 asset waiting. But there is a catch. They can only get the $480,000 if the property is foreclosed and the property is sold. It is only out of the sale proceeds that the bank as “master Servicer” can lay claim for its $480,000. Of course in the end the investors get screwed because that $480,000 was their money and THEY should have received it. But they didn’t and they don’t. Just read the prospectuses on the bundling of “servicer advances.”
So Wells Fargo and other banks adopted strategies that lure homeowners into default and get them believing and hoping they will get a modification when in fact they don’t give the modifications at all. In truth they are neither authorized to collect the money nor enforce the obligation because their so-called authority comes from the PSA for a REMIC Trust that was never used, never funded, never in operation. And they do it in a variety of ways—
Here are some excerpts from the article in the above link from about a year ago:
Wells Fargo put them “through the ringer”. “We were happy living in a rural-suburban area. Time went by quickly. One thing that we always did was pay our bills on time. We took pride in our credit score, which were 760 each. We were so proud when we needed a new car we could just “walk” off the lot with it. [I’m] not sure what happened, where everything went wrong. I actually believe it was President Obama telling Americans to apply for a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) loan. When job loss occurred in our family, I was aware that we would qualify for that loan and I called Wells Fargo to inquire. They put us through the ringer. That is what started our tumble down the credit hole. Wells Fargo approved a forbearance agreement, while we submitted a HAMP application in 2009.” – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/how-wells-fargo-fraudulently-foreclosed-florida-homeowner#sthash.iIM39zPY.dpuf
[HAMP had been introduced by the Obama administration as a tool to help homeowners keep their homes. It turned out that the yellow brick road led many into foreclosure disasters – a prolonged disaster that kept homeowners’ hope alive while chipping away their savings, their equity, and ruining their credit scores. Americans were watching in disbelief while the servicers and banks didn’t comply with the HAMP requirements, continued with dual tracking (processing modifications and foreclosing at the same time), pushing homeowners towards in-house modifications even when they qualified for HAMP, and many other irregularities.] – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/how-wells-fargo-fraudulently-foreclosed-florida-homeowner#sthash.iIM39zPY.dpuf
This is when the games began,” continued J.S. “The forbearance ruined my credit score. Every fax I sent to Wells Fargo has not been received – that’s what their representatives claimed. Week after week, always [with] a two-week lag. Always something missing. Then I started my Internet research on “lost paper work” and I found Living Lies website, which led to Foreclosure Hamlet, and now Facebook. My search for answers brought many wonderful people in my life together with the answers and they helped me through the darkest moments of my life. [Editor’s note: Ruining the credit score of the homeowner is key to insuring a foreclosure. If their credit score remained high they would be able to refinance and the investment bank as Master Servicer would have no claim for “servicer advances.”]
“In 2009 I was informed by a Wells Fargo representative that I may not be approved because someone moved my application out of the review folder from her computer! Their incompetence was limitless. Eventually I was approved for a modification, but it was more than my original mortgage. However, I wanted to save my house at all costs. At this time I had a good job. [But] after the BP oil spill my salary was cut in half and I re-applied for the HAMP loan in 2010. – [Editor’s Note: I have personal knowledge and tape recordings of Wells Fargo employees speaking without realizing they were being recorded by their own system. In those recordings they acknowledged that images and data from one borrower was mixed in with another. They agree that they shouldn’t admit that to the borrower. Then Wells Fargo blames the borrower for not having sent the required documentation which they have had all along or destroyed. Evidence in a case involving BOA and other banks shows that on a periodic basis the banks simply destroy all applications and submissions by borrowers.]
“I was told by Wells Fargo that we had to be 90 days late before they would consider my HAMP loan application. At that time, I still had a great credit score, and now they were telling me to actually STOP PAYING MY MORTGAGE. I think that I literally freaked out then. I didn’t want to lose my home.” [This is the big one. And up till now it has been foolproof. Most homeowners are unaware of the news or history of other borrowers. So when they are told about the “90 day” requirement, they think they don’t qualify for relief unless they withhold payments for 90 days. But that isn’t true for two reasons — the bank is only telling them about the policy of Wells Fargo, not the investors (sometimes Fannie or Freddie). The bank is creating the impression that they are a reliable source of information when in fact they are lying to the borrower in order to get them into default, foreclosure, sell the property and then claim “Servicer advances.”]
One of the biggest traps by the servicers during the HAMP modification process was pushing homeowners into default without telling them that they would be reported by those same servicers to the credit agencies, thus ruining their credit.] – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/how-wells-fargo-fraudulently-foreclosed-florida-homeowner#sthash.iIM39zPY.dpuf
“After reluctantly not paying my mortgage for 90 days, I was able to apply for a HAMP loan. Again every fax I sent was lost. I didn’t know what to do anymore. My frustration reached its limits and I realized that next time I will FedEx my documents, so they can’t lose it, since there will be a tracking number as a proof of delivery. The new HAMP application letter stated that paper work was due on or before Feb. 14, 2011. I gathered everything and sent on Feb. 3, 2011. It was received on Feb. 4, 2011, and signed via FedEx tracking. On Feb. 16, 2014, I received a letter from Wells Fargo that my documents were not received. WHAT? I called them right away. They say they never received my package. After I cried over the phone, their representative sounded very upset and finally told me, ‘We have some of your documents, but things are missing.’ – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/how-wells-fargo-fraudulently-foreclosed-florida-homeowner#sthash.iIM39zPY.dpuf
“I called FedEx and spoke to the supervisor of the delivery person and she tried to call Wells Fargo but I was told no one would answer the phone and she never contacted me again. I had no choice but to wait for foreclosure proceedings. They obviously wanted to give me the run around. I was served Dec. 27, 2011. I was ready. – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/how-wells-fargo-fraudulently-foreclosed-florida-homeowner#sthash.iIM39zPY.dpuf