How To Tell The Judge “NO” and MAYBE Not Have Him/Her Get Pissed Off

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Did you take a loan?  Did you sign that note?

Editor’s Comment:  The question from the bench is always the same and either  pro se litigant or the attorney is too skittish to take a stand. The question is something like “Did you take a loan?” And the answer could be “Judge I have taken lots of loans,  but I never took any money from these people or any of the their predecessors. I deny the loan, I deny the debt, I deny the default. I deny the note, I deny the mortgage. I deny their right to collection or enforcement of the note or mortgage because I never did any business with them.” If they want to plead and prove otherwise, let them. [This of course ONLY applies to loans that are subject to claims of securitization, which we all know now were routinely ignored by the investment banker just as the assignments into the non-existent pools were routinely ignored, just as the attempt to get a foreclosure judge to rule that an investor without knowing anything about these proceedings is about to get stuck with a bad loan in which there is no value, improperly originated, and never properly assigned or delivered years after the 90 day cutoff period expired.]

The other questions is “Is that your signature on the note? Is that your signature on the mortgage (or Deed of Trust)?” And your answer could be “I don’t know which documents have my actual signature or which ones have been Photoshopped. Therefore I deny and demand they prove that this was my signature on that document. I do know that if they procured my signature on any document it was by trickery, deceit and fraud.” If they want to plead and prove otherwise, let them. But all you are going to see is paper. You will never see a financial transaction between me and them or any of their affiliates or predecessors because no such transaction ever took place.

If the Judge or anyone else asks you anymore questions, and frankly if you are bold enough, if you are asked any questions, your answer could be, “Judge, this is not an evidentiary hearing. If an allegation is being made against me I have a right to know who is making the allegation and what they are accusing me of doing.  Then you have a right to your answers once I have examined the books of records of all servicers — not just the ones that they want to show you, and all depositories wherein documents were supposedly stored. You will not find any record of any kind in which I entered into a financial transaction, loan or otherwise, with these people or any of their predecessors.

CONTRIBUTION: Many payments were made to the creditor that advanced you money. You must remember that they did not advance you money through the securitization chain but instead advanced you money directly from an escrow account, a Superfund, that commingled the money of all investors without regard to REMICS, trusts or any of those niceties and the people to whom the note was made payable and for which the mortgage secured an interest in your property never consummated any financial transaction with you. If they made a payment to the creditors (investors in parternship with each other at the time of the funding) THEN the money received by the agents of the those investors should have been credited against the money owed to those creditors. And part of that allocation should have been applied against the balance due on your loan, meaning your loan balance, unsecured, would be correspondingly reduced or eliminated. End of mortgage, no matter how you approach it. The obligation that originally gave rise to the supposedly secured debt has been satisfied either in part or more likely entirely. 

That leaves a new debt replacing the old debt, which is undocumented and unsecured — and a creditor with an action for contribution because they were obviously a co-obligor. If they say they are not the co-obligor then they are saying the PSA doesn’t apply. If the PSA doesn’t apply then they are not the authorized the servicer or whoever they are pretending to be because there was not actual securitization process.

I’ve been writing about this for years specifically in relation to payments by the servicer and assignments to the servicer or to the REMIC which would in fact extinguish the old debt and originate a new obligation that was neither memorialized by a promissory note from the borrower (because it had been extinguished) nor of course a mortgage or Deed of Trust that secured the extinguished note.

The new obligation may arise between the original borrower and the Assignee or between the original borrower and the payee (where the servicer continued to make payments) but only if the contributor could establish that portion of the claim to which they were entitled.  In other words, an assignment of the entire obligation to a co-obligor would extinguish the entire obligation.  The partial payment by a co-obligor would extinguish the old obligation only to the extent of the payment.  

The problem with getting traction on this is obvious.  It is a frontal assault on the obligation itself leaving the original creditor (if there ever was one) without a claim or with a partial claim, in the event of a partial payment giving rise to an action for contribution. This is only a problem though to the extent that you are asking the court to extinguish an existing obligation between you and the actual creditor — and the only way you can know that is by getting full and complete discovery from the Master Servicer and the Creditor. It’s only a problem if it looks like you are trying to  get out of the debt altogether instead of just attacking the the fact that the new debt could not possibly be recorded.

Complicating issues include establishment of a party as a co-obligor and perhaps even more so, the fact that the promissory note does not actually describe the financial transaction, as we have discussed.  Since the originator of the note did not actually consummate a financial transaction with the borrower, the note is either void or voidable for lack of consideration.  

Further complications arise when the borrower makes payment on the note thus “ratifying” the terms expressed in the note.  But this only occurs because the borrower was the only one at the closing table who did not know the payee, lender and beneficiary were all naked nominees who neither control nor their finances involved in the financial transaction between the borrower and the actual source of funds. 

If the would-be forecloser wants to rely on the PSA then they must accept the WHOLE PSA, which means that a loan in default does not qualify to be assigned, even if in proper form and the trustee or manager of the “pool” has no authority to accept it.  If the Judge in foreclosure court says the trustee or manager MUST accept it then he is adjudicating the rights of investors who explicitly agreed to advance money for performing loans that would be put in a  pool within 90 days to satisfy the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and the provisions of the PSA which merely recite the REMIC provisions of the IRC.  They can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that those provisions don’t apply to the assignment and say that the OTHER PSA provisions giving them the right to service the loans and manage the portfolio also apply.

The fact that the borrower made a payment to a servicer under directions from a representative within the false securitization scheme should not give rise to an obligation to continue such payments; this is because the obligation arose with the actual financial transaction that was consummated between the borrower and the source of funds.  The source of funds was a stranger to the documentation that the borrower signed.  Since the actual handling of the money involved an escrow Superfund (or at least it appears that this is the case) we do not know if the “lender” is or could be identified from the larger group of investors whose money was intermingled and combined into a single escrow account.

The problem with the relationship of loans in “the pool” is that there doesn’t appear to have been a pool in which such a relationship could exist.  The co-mingling of funds in the accounts held by the investment banker might make all of the investors general partners in a common law general partnership.  We have found NO EVIDENCE OF SEPARATE ACCOUNTS for the individual REMICS. And the investment banker, sub-servicer and  Master servicer are fighting us tooth and nail in discovery requests to get that information. IF they had a legitimate claim, they would have produced it as exhibits to their own pleading. Instead they are trying to hide those facts and including the flow of funds starting from before the actual origination of the loan. Too many cases, we see Ginny or Fannie report ownership of a loan that has not even closed in the false sense , much less in the true sense where the borrower and lender are properly disclosed and the terms of repayment are known by both sides of the transaction.

However, this wouldn’t be the first time that we were correct and the judge did not follow the law.  It is for that reason that I have largely abandoned the argument about contribution and I have now started writing about the fact that if the assignment of the note was in fact an assignment of the obligation, the assignment was merely one element out of three required for a valid contract (offer, acceptance, consideration).   And while many people have now picked up on the fact that the trustee of the pool did not have the right to accept a loan which has been declared in default years after the cut off period expired, I have been going a little further suggesting that the state and federal judges are making decisions adverse to the investors by forcing them to accept a loan that they obviously wanted to avoid, and the acceptance of which would violate the terms under which they loaned the money.  

This is a tricky area to navigate because on the one hand you’re saying that the loan never made it into the pool but on the other you’re saying maybe it did get into the pool but if the only vehicle by which it made entry into the pool was a judicial order declaring in effect that the loan became part of the pool and therefore the entity representing the pool had a right to foreclosure, that order would constitute a judicial determination of the rights of investors who did not receive any notice of the proceeding nor any opportunity to be represented or heard before such an order could be entered.  These are difficult waters to navigate.  

Considerable thought should be given as to which strategy will be used.  There is an old adage that basically says you have approximately 30 seconds to get the judge’s attention (at most) and perhaps 5 minutes to make your point (at most).  Thus if you’re going to proceed along any of the tracks stated or discussed in this email you must be prepared to be limited to a ruling on that track alone.  If you have 20 other tracks that you think have validity, then make sure they are in the record by way of pleadings, affidavits and a memorandum of law before the hearing in which you raise one of the above defenses.  It is a good idea to bring up defenses for which the other side is unprepared and which the judge has not yet heard.  It diminishes the appearance of making a decision that will affect 5 million other mortgages.  Ultimately though the decision is between you and your lawyer.

This article was prompted by a very reasoned argument presented by CA Attorney Dan Hanacek:

Even In the Event the Court Finds the “Assignment” Valid, the Assigning of the Note to a Co-Obligor Makes it Functus Officio

“It has long been established in California that the assignment of a joint and several debt to one of the co-obligors extinguishes that debt.” (Gordon v. Wansey (1862) 21 Cal. 77, 79.) “The assignment amounts to payment and consequently the evidence of that debt, i.e., the note or judgment, becomes functus officio (of no further effect)”-and precludes any further action on the note itself. Any action would not be on the note itself, but rather one for contribution. (Id.; Quality Wash Group V, Ltd. V. Hallak (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1687, 1700; Civ. Code §1432.) In the instant case, even if the alleged assignment is seen to be valid, then a co-obligor was assigned the note and the debt has been extinguished.

Note: the trustee of the securitized trust is a co-obligor.

Note: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae are co-obligors.

Note: the servicer is almost always a co-obligor.

Questions for Neil:

Have they extinguished this debt by endorsing it and/or assigning it to the transaction parties?

Does this only apply in CA?  I cannot believe that this would be the case.

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Getting the RIGHT Report: Rebutting the Presumptions That the Original Note and Transfers Had Any Legal Effect

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Editor’s Comment: The biggest problem to knocking the banks on their ass is the feeling deep down inside the homeowner that the loan is valid and so is the mortgage. So people are thinking in terms of buying time rather than winning the case. Lawyers are saying the same things to themselves even as they take your money to represent you which is why I started http://www.garfieldfirm.com — so we would have lawyers who are NOT thinking that way and to get hundreds of other firms to compete with passion in their hearts that the homeowner is the victim.

The current state of affairs is that in most cases, misguided Judges are forcing investors to take bad loans that do not conform with their agreement (e.g. cutoff required under Internal revenue Code and express PSA terms and conditions) in a process that  does not conform to the process of origination and transfer expressly stated in the PSA (as expressed in the prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement), thus enabling the investment bank to throw the loss onto the investor in a newly fabricated (see Congress decision from June 8 in Alabama Appellate Court) — and the kicker is that investor knows nothing about the transaction or litigation and is presumed to have accepted the assignment of a non-existent loan. The borrower is being forced to pay on a non-existent loan or lose his or her house. And still the borrowers persist on thinking they are getting what they deserve, thus leaving the banks with the money while the investors and homeowners get nothing.

Only 2% of the mortgage loans are contested in any meaningful way and 80% go about it in the wrong way. I mean to change that 2% to 75% of the mortgages being contested, and reduce the number of mistakes such that only a small fraction of mortgage contests are done incorrectly.

Have you heard the term “Master Servicer”. Yes, well they are the ones actually orchestrating events on behalf of the investment bank that put up this illusion that we call securitization. They sold the pension funds on what? The pension funds advanced money to the investment banking firm which was placed into a super fund account from which closing money found its way to the closing table with the so-called borrower.

The real reports and accounting are those that are given to the creditor, not the borrower. The reports to the creditor come from the Master Servicer whereas the reports to the borrower come from the subservicer which doesn’t  have access to to creditor’s accounts so it is in no position to report, account or testify through affidavit or in person what the creditor’s ending balance is as of the day of the declaration of default or the day of the testimony. The subservicer’s proffer of testimony should be subject to voir dire in which they admit that there is a master servicer that keep the accounts for the creditor and the subservicer has no knowledge or access tot hat.

This is followed by an objection to the competency of the witness to testify as to anything other than transactions in which it received money from the borrower and transactions (never included) in which it paid out those moneys to the creditor.

Take great care here not to suddenly find yourself carrying the burden of proof on facts that are exclusively within the hands of the pretender or the agents of the pretender. Your motion should be directed at the incompetency of the witness to tesify as to the conclusion that there was a default and the fact that they declared the default without gaining access to the information from the Master Servicer. Hence the objection also to any documents being proffered to the court as evidence, since they clearly do not and cannot by definition establish the default. 

You don’t want to find youself in the position of having the Judge rule that the proffer of that evidence is sufficient for a prima facie case and that if you wish to rebut it you must come forward with proof of other payments. Since THEY are the party seeking affirmative relief, the burden should ALWAYS be on them to produce all relevant accounting and reports nefore they take the home away from a homeowner.

What the borrower and the Courts are getting are simple subservicer reports which amount to no more than a printout from a computer that may or may not have the right data, the right loan or the right starting figures. It may or may not have charges that are permissible or not permissible against the account. But the real information about the account balance is what the creditor is showing on its books and that information comes from the distribution reports and discovery of the accounting records of the Master Servicer and the Tax statements for the creditor.

But here is the kicker. The investment bank (Master Servicer) is NOT reporting the receipt of proceeds from insurance, credit default swaps, and other credit enhancements — not even to the investor. So they are manufacturing (fabricating) a loss that does not exist, at least in part. This is relevant to everything in a foreclosure including the identity of the creditor who is allowed to declare the default, and the identity of the creditor and the amount due so that real creditor can submit a real bid that is called a credit bid because it is the equivalent of the amount due ON THE ACCOUNT.

The magic sleight of hand trick being played is that the subservicer is giving the court an accounting of transactions with the alleged borrower when in fact the creditor is getting a completely different report, many of which show continuing payment from the subservicer or Master Servicer.

The borrower and borrower’s counsel are unaware and in most cases don’t even know enough to ask for these reports. The creditor is entitled to payment on his account — once and only once.  The fact is that insurance and credit default swaps are right there in the pooling and servicing agreements, and so are credit enhancements like overcollateralization and cross collateralization.

That is money that (a) should be reported and paid to the investor creditors and (b) allocated to the loan accounts’ principal reduction as an additional payment. In many cases the creditor’s balance is zero because the creditor has been paid off in total, settled or traded the bogus mortgage bonds for something else of value — which is to say that the “pool” or “trust” proffered by the attorney fro the pretender lender does not even exist anymore.

All this money came from “players” who knew the Wall Street game and were gambling with pension money, depositors money etc, contrary to law and common sense. In no way was any homeowner even mentioned by name much less offered the opportunity to look at the terms offered to the lender, which were substantially different that the terms offered to the homeowner. The homeowners’ signature on “loan papers” was in actuality the issuance of a security that was traded furiously even if it was procured by fraud in the inducement and fraud in the execution.

The result of this frenzy is that through multiple channels including the Federal discount window and the TARP bailout, together with the maiden-lane disposal of toxic waste loans, the creditors were satisfied leaving the homeowner owing nothing to the creditor that loaned him the money. The insurer and the issuer of the credit default swap expressly waived any right to enforce against the homeowner.

AND the homeowner was the innocent bystander who thought he was borrowing money from one party, received it from another and then issued negotiable paper that was filled with misrepresentations. So the pretenders have nothing but dirty hands and the borrowers are clean.

So there is an obligation out there that the homeowner might owe — but the debt that was created at the time of receipt of the funds was never described in any document. In fact, the debt described in the promissory note and mortgage never arose because there was no loan transaction between the homeowner and the originator. This actual debt arising out of an actual transaction in which money was received by or on behalf of the borrower came from a pipeline outside the transactions described in the origination documents and outside the scope of transactions referred to in allonges, assignments and endorsements all fabricated in order to keep the Judge’s eye on the wrong ball.

The real transaction was NOT subject to, described in or referred to in any deed of trust or mortgage and therefore was not secured. If not secured, no valid foreclosure could occur without some sort of waiver by the homeowner that was clear and unequivocal or some order of the court based upon a judicial proceeding in which the terms of the loan are established by court order as of a date that the order says it is effective. Every document relied upon by the pretender lenders was a lie. It described transactions that never occurred. Thus every foreclosure based upon such documents was also a lie.

Interrogatories, requests for Admission and especially requests to produce (not just the documents but the financial records showing that consideration was paid by the party or to the party stated in the instrument), Motions to set aside, vacate, recuse, remove counsel, sanctions, discovery, and reconsideration are being filed to (a) obtain relief and (b) allow the record to be created for appellate review. Without a good record on appeal, the appellate court is hamstrung to affirm a decision it thinks was wrong.

Distribution reports are your first clue that they left out an accounting that they had and we didn’t and they refused to give up. Notice that WF is the party reporting and disclaims the accuracy. Then who DOES know what went on, where are they and was the loan balance even computed on the day that the loan was declared in default — i.e., what did the CREDITOR (not the subservicer) show as the balance due? Getting the “accounting” from the subservicer is useless. If you had 10 children and you gave them each $100 with the responsibility to account for the money, why would you only take the accounting from one of them?

 

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Information vs. Evidence: Challenge to Affidavit in Support of Summary Judgment

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Editor’s Comment:

I’ll be appearing soon at one of Darrell Blomberg’s Strategy Meetings (which take place every Tuesday evening at Macayo Restaurant in Central Phoenix) to do a session on evidence on June 19. The analysis below is the type of thing I do to support lawyers and litigants when the pretender lender submits a bogus “affidavit” in support of some action, usually a Motion for Summary Judgment. Among other things this is what we’ll be talking about on June 19 and this will be subject of much more discussion on July 26 at my 1/2 day seminar overview for Lawyers.

Analysis of Declaration in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

  1. “These facts are personally known to me to be true.” How does he know them? — was he there, did he hear, did he see or was he told and he believes them and therefore he means “personally known” as meaning he knows the people who told him the facts. NOTE: if he was a supervisor of a specific department dealing with the past factual issues leading up to the foreclosure and related issues, and if he can prove that the documents or statements were made in the ordinary course of business and at that time they had no fear or thought of being used in litigation, then it MIGHT be an exception to the hearsay rule.
  2. Otherwise anything he was told or shown are excluded because they (OBJECTION:) lack FOUNDATION because he is not a competent witness to establish the authenticity of the document nor the truth of the matters asserted therein.
  3. In this case the entire affidavit should be struck, it should not be considered to support the motion for summary judgment, and the motion for summary judgment MUST be denied unless they have other affidavits timely filed from people who can establish that they have personal knowledge.
  4. He is the President which most likely means that he had nothing to do with any of the facts of this case and only became aware of the the existence of the case when he was called to execute an affidavit. In fact he identifies himself as the President of a company whose function was to be (1) the “foreclosure trustee” and (2) limited signing agent for the beneficiary under “the deed of trust” without identifying the deed of trust.
  5. Unless he was doing the work himself he is admitting that he is relying upon the word and work of others and is subject to a hearsay objection.
  6. The business records exclusion to the hearsay rule must be proven by the proponent of the exemption, not the objector which means he must prove with documents and testimony how the facts upon which he is testifying became known to him in the ordinary course of business which means that he reviews all documents as they come in, which of course he does not. Neither does he perform the work involved. The trap door to avoid here is that even if he were to satisfy all the requirements, which he obviously cannot, his knowledge is ALL limited to events that occurred before the decision was made to foreclose and there fore the receipt of an accounting from the sub-servicer, no account from the master-servicer and no accounting or instruction or authority from the creditor to go ahead with the foreclosure and submit a credit bid in the name of the identified creditor.
  7. Since his company is the “foreclosure trustee” he is admitting that they only have knowledge on their own as to matter that occurred AFTER they received the file or instructions and we ought to know which it was — the file or the instructions.
  8. Since he identifies his company as the foreclosure trustee he is admitting that the sole purpose of the company, even though it was called a trustee, was to foreclose on the property after the substitution of trustee.
  9. They were ordered to foreclose and NOT to perform due diligence or to take any action to protect BOTH the homeowner and the purported creditor, who in this case is a stranger to the transaction as required by statute.
  10. The Trustee is a substitute for the court and if the facts are in dispute the trustee has no power to decide the merits of competing claims (trustee is a not a special master who can conduct hearings and rule on evidence or make recommendations of findings to the court), which means that the his company was duty bound, upon learning of competing claims, to take the matter to court if the parties could not resolve their differences.
  11. Specifically the “trustee” should have filed an interpleader action in which the trustee would have stated that they had no stake in the transaction (something that was untrue since they were a controlled or owned entity by the party pretending to be the creditor) and that that there is a dispute of facts concerning the procedure and substance of the foreclosure and that the court must rule on the competing claims of the parties — after BOTH have submitting pleadings stating their positions and then proving the claims in accordance with the rules of civil procedure, due process and the rules of evidence and the doctrines concerning the burden of proof.
  12. If you sign this response as an affidavit, then the burden shifts to them to show that they are truly a trustee and not just an agent of the pretender creditor.
  13. Since the party seeking affirmative relief is the pretender creditor seeking to take the house using a credit bid instead of cash when they are not the creditor, the pretender creditor would be required first to submit the pleading and exhibits upon which they depend, and second the homeowner would be required to file responsive pleading — motion to dismiss, motion to strike, etc. or answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaim.
  14. He identifies the COMPANY as the limited signing agent for the beneficiary. There is no definition of limited signing agent. A review of statutes and common law reveals that this term has never been used in any legal document or case EXCEPT where it refers to a notary who is identified by name and license number. It does NOT refer to the authority of any company or person to sign on behalf of another party or company without a separate document providing said authority properly executed and binding under the laws of the state in which the grantor is located and the laws in which the document is to be used. LIke MERS was a naked nominee and the “lender” was a “naked nominee” a limited signing agent is a naked nominee meaning, in the parlance of the industry a bankruptcy remote vehicle that will perform acts which might otherwise subject the principals to criminal or civil liability. It is also used to conceal the the identity of the principals.
  15. Which deed of trust? The one allegedly executed by the homeowner which may or may not be the one produced as the original but without scrutiny cannot be authenticated as anything more than a fabricated document utilizing modern technology and a color printer?
  16. “I have personally reviewed the files.” This phrase has been repeatedly thrown out as establishing the business record exception. The fact  is that somehow he saw documents without establishing how they came into his possession and who the parties are (why are THEY not testifying?) and what knowledge THEY had, who prepared the documents in the file, what security was used for the posting of data to the files, and what security was employed in maintaining the security of the files?
  17. This is layers upon layers of hearsay without any valid exemption. Motion to strike the affidavit.
  18. Motion to remove NDEX as trustee,
  19. Motion to void the substitution of trustee and install the original trustee as the trustee on the deed of trust or some other actually independent party.
  20. Objection in title registry office to the recording of the substitution of trustee because they knew that NDEX was not a trustee but rather was the foreclosure agent, as admitted by this affidavit, masquerading as the substituted trustee
  21. Motion for sanctions and cause of action for slander of title for filing false substitution of trustee directed at parties named on the substitution of trustee and the parties who prepared it and the lawyers who presented it knowing that it was a falsified, fabricated and forged fraudulent document.
  22. “My experience as the officer of the company provides the foundation for my knowledge referenced herein.” This is an outright admission and should be the leading the point. He is saying that he has been in the business a long time so looking at the the records of the homeowner in this case is like looking at the records of thousands of others where he made the same decision (but we must emphasize that he undoubtedly did not and specifically does not say that he reviewed other documents). It is an admission that he has NO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE of the documents, that therefore the affidavit is worthless, and that therefore the affidavit is not the required foundation for admission of the documents because he, the affiant is not a  competent witness (look up competent witness in CA statutes and common law requiring OATH, PERSONAL perception sight,hearing etc., MEMORY and the ABILITY to COMMUNICATE. In fact, he has disqualified his entire firm as a foundation witness since by definition (foreclosure trustee) they received the documents after the decision was made by parties outside the chain of title to foreclose.
  23. “I have personal knowledge of the accuracy of the records.” He already said he doesn’t and that he (a) received the documents when they were to be foreclosed and (b) relied upon his experience when he reviewed the documents, but still fails to state who prepared the data or documents, how they were kept, when they were kept, where they were kept and who was involved. ALl of this could be easily resolved had they chosen the people who actually DID have knowledge, But they didn’t do that. Why? Because either those people refuse to testify to the facts that they want or those people are MIA after being downsized.
  24. At no time does he say that his company acted as the servicer, creditor, or master servicer. He merely says that they received data and documents from unknown undisclosed sources AFTER the decision to foreclose was already made. By definition neither he nor his company would be competent to testify to facts or documents or data that occurred PRIOR to the time that his company was the “foreclosure trustee”
  25. There is no reason to believe that any unauthorized person had access. Nor is there any reason to believe that unauthorized access didn’t occur on a regular basis, just like MERS.
  26. The rest of the paragraphs say what I said above — he knows nothing, saw nothing, heard nothing and was never in any contract with borrower or anyone else as a servicer, never handled any money, and posting, or anything else.
  27. Paragraph 16 is a particularly interesting because to corroborates the argument that they were NOT acting as trustee, they were acting as agent. He says that his company acts ONLY as a limited signatory agent to sign and record the Notice of Default (why doesn’t the creditor do that if this company is not the service nor the conduit or collector of any funds) and that the ONLY other function was to serve as “foreclosure trustee.”
  28.  The last paragraph says it all. They foreclosed because they acted on instructions from the loan servicer without any regard for what the homeowner had to say in objection to the allegations of the loan servicer. (see discussion on interpleader above).

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Information vs. Evidence

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Editor’s Comment:

I’ll be appearing soon at one of Darrell Blomberg’s Strategy Meetings (which take place every Tuesday evening at Macayo Restaurant in Central Phoenix) to do a session on evidence. And in fact, I am thinking about a half-day seminar on evidence, with Darrell as a co-presenter, he may not be a lawyer but he gets it — there is a huge difference between information (data) and evidence. And there is a huge difference between evidence and admissible evidence. And in discovery, you have the right to pursue information in interrogatories, requests for admissions and requests to produce for INFORMATION that might lead to the “discovery” of admissible evidence.

I am adding this overview into the 2d edition Workbook, Treatise and Practice manual. I want to get this lesson out to lawyers and litigants as quickly as possible. And the reason is that these people have forgotten or never knew the difference and they certainly are confused about the procedure. Take a look at the appeals court decisions that slap down the borrower. There is almost always a statement in the opinion that appellant argues XYZ but we don’t see X or Y in the record. In the absence of X and Y being in the record, the appellate court has no authority to find Z and rule in favor of the appellant (borrower).

Every appellate case I have read that ruled against the homeowner falls into this category. Every one of them has a recitation of “facts”, “history” or “background” that is simply untrue but has been made part of the record and which is regarded as “evidence” because it is in the record.

Example: The primary recital in these appeals usually says something like, “The appellant is John Jones. John Jones applied for and received a loan from Mama’s Money Farm on October 16, 2008 in the amount of $869,000. Jones promised to repay the money in monthly installments as set in the promissory note and mortgage (or Deed of Trust) which he signed. Wells Fraudgo is the current holder of that note and seeks enforcement through the power of sale (or in judicial states, through a foreclosure lawsuit) seeking collection of the money due and sale of the home at auction to the extent that the borrower is unable to make the required payments. Jones defaulted on the note by failing to comply with the schedule of payments in the note he executed for the loan he received, to wit: he stopped making the payments that were due under the note on January 1, 2009.”

How did this recital get into the record so that the appellate court could include it in its opinion justifying the affirmation of the trial court’s decision throwing the borrower out of court and even telling the borrower they were “vexatious” etc (Madison v. MERS et al see previous blog post 6-6-2012 entitled “They Will Get You on Procedure Every time”)?  It got there without any evidentiary hearing or without any hearing in which the borrower’s claims and defenses could be given a fair hearing, with full rights of discovery etc.

This could only happen if the litigant was quiet while the lawyer for the pretender lender “proffered” these facts in his opening narrative of each hearing and the homeowner or his attorney failed to object immediately. “Wait your turn” is the polite way of saying let the other guy talk. But if you let the other guy talk and THEN bring up your defenses and claims, your procedural objections, the Judge has already formulated an opinion about the nature of this case. You might buy some time with procedural irregularities but you won’t win the case, force the other side into a settlement, mediation or modification and you certainly won’t get rid of the mortgage that is recorded in the county title registry.

You will be treated like a deadbeat because you have inadvertently confessed to being a dead beat. You have agreed, without realizing you agreed, that everything the lawyer for the pretender lender has said is true, which means that the statements (proffers) of the other lawyer are now evidence in the record, and the rest of the case was you saying “yes but….”

Trial note 101: Never let go of the narrative regardless of who is speaking but always be polite, courteous and respectful in your words even if you make various faces and expressions that the court reporter is missing. Oh yes — if you want a record on appeal you need a court reporter. Your statements about what the Judge said or what happened in court in your appellate brief is useless and will be properly disregarded by any court reviewing the actions in the court below.

So here is what you want the appellate court to see in the record. First a Notice of filing of everything you would offer into evidence that might be rejected by the court. This would include my expert declaration (although I think we found a couple more people with the right credentials to survive as experts located in Maryland) and all exhibits to the reports, opinions and affidavits that you have showing that that you have some reason (not necessarily proof) for denying the debt, denying the default, denying the note, denying the mortgage and denying that the pretender lender is either the lender or anyone who purchased the loan.

Second, a Motion to set discovery schedule together with a SHORT version of your discovery requests.

Third, a transcript showing continual interruptions with proper objections like “Objection your Honor, we demand proof of authority to represent. In cases all over the country this pretender lender and others are represented by lawyers who never speak with the client, don’t get retained by the client and who only know that someone gave them a file that was recently minted from the fabrication factory of fake, forged and fraudulent documents.”

“Objection your honor, counsel is attempting to proffer facts that are not in evidence and that are vehemently denied by the homeowner who is being improperly identified as the borrower.”

“Objection your honor, counsel is attempting to proffer facts or even testify as to matters that are not in the record. If counsel wants to testify then let’s get him sworn in and put in a witness chair where I can cross examine him as to the foundation for his pretender personal knowledge regarding this bogus loan and fraudulent foreclosure.”

Objection: “Counsel is attempting to get into the record that which he could never get into evidence were this an evidentiary hearing. The homeowner vehemently denies that the application on file was filled out by him or that he authorized it. My client denies the signature is valid either because it was forged or it was procured by fraud in the execution in which case he thought he was signing something else while hands covered the true nature of the document.”

“Objection your honor.  Counsel is trying to proffer information into the record that will be perceived as evidence. My client rejects that recital and denies that he ever received a loan from Mama’s Loan Kitchen, denies that the promissory note correctly recited the terms of the loan and therefore denies that the mortgage lien was properly perfected. He further denies that there was any default on any loan and therefore denies that any assignment from Mama to Fraudgo could have been valid. He further denies that the assignments stating “for value received” involved any transaction where any value was received and therefore failed for lack of consideration. He further denies that even if the documents relied upon by the Fraudgo were valid, there would still be no default because the creditor was being paid without interruption according to their very own Pooling and Servicing Agreement and he denies there ever was a meeting of the minds (although the Fraudgo agents from Mama’s Money Kitchen made it appear to the homeowner that the proper disclosures were made, that the lender agreed to these terms) when in fact the lender (the actual source of funds) agreed to an entirely different set of terms for repayment.”

“Your honor it is our position that the promissory note described a transaction that never occurred and that the mortgage was an encumbrance based upon the false representations of the note. This is like one lying and the other swearing to it. If they are not afraid of proving their allegations then by all means we don’t want to deprive the pretender lender of an opportunity to be heard in court. But the homeowner is entitled to the same consideration under the requirements of due process. The homeowner denies that he failed to make any payment that was due and he denies that the obligation to the real lenders (creditors) in this case is currently in default.”

Evidence is whatever the Court lets in as evidence in which case the court says it is letting the information in as evidence to prove that ABC happened. Or, as is usually the case in these foreclosure cases, evidence comes from silence of the lambs.

So if you want to box in the trial judge and the appellate court let there be a record that shows you followed the rules, there were genuine issues of material fact and the trial court still would not allow the homeowner to proceed. That’s enough to eventually get a ruling that allows discovery to proceed.   And Discovery is the magic key to the kingdom of settlement — but probably not until after 5-6 motions to compel answers or better answers to our discovery requests.

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WISCONSIN APPEALS CT: AURORA IS NOT OWNER OF NOTE — TRIAL COURT REVERSED

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary SEE LIVINGLIES LITIGATION SUPPORT AT LUMINAQ.COM

EDITOR’S NOTE: WISCONSIN COURT GETS IT: HEARSAY, PROOF, HOLDER NOT THE SAME AS CREDITOR, ETC. AFFIDAVIT THROWN OUT FOR LACK OF PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. In short everything we have been saying here was followed by the Court. Expect more decisions like this coming from other states.

In other words, false papers and representations by counsel are no substitute for good old-fashioned proof. And proof is what the pretenders don’t have which is why they are pretenders — and losers. The parties initiating foreclosures, declaring the defaults, denying modifications, and buying the home at auction with a “credit bid” are and always have been tricksters who have now screwed up at least 10 million real estate transactions and probably closer to 100 million real estate transactions. These are the people who received the bailout, while the buyers of empty bogus mortgage bonds and the owners of homes with undocumented loans looked on in disbelief.

The great securitization scam, the appraisal fraud, the predatory lending and the TILA violations are coming to light in a wave that possibly not even the trillion dollar banking oligarchy can stop. This case is one of dozens of examples.

STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD

WIS. APPEALS COURT REVERSED “FAILED MERS ASSIGNMENT, FAILED AFFIDAVIT, FAILED STANDING, FAILED CASE” AURORA v. CARLSEN

WIS. APPEALS COURT REVERSED “FAILED MERS ASSIGNMENT, FAILED AFFIDAVIT, FAILED STANDING, FAILED CASE” AURORA v. CARLSEN

AURORA LOAN SERVICES LLC,

PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,

V.

DAVID J. CARLSEN AND NANCY L. CARLSEN,

DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.

APPEAL from a judgment of the circuit court for Rock County:

JAMES WELKER, Judge. Reversed.

Before Vergeront, P.J., Lundsten and Blanchard, JJ.

¶1 LUNDSTEN, J. This appeal involves a foreclosure action initiated by Aurora Loan Services against David and Nancy Carlsen. Following a court trial, the circuit court granted judgment of foreclosure in favor of Aurora, finding that Aurora is the holder of the note and owner of the mortgage and that the Carlsens were in default. We conclude that the circuit court’s finding that Aurora was the holder of the note, a finding essential to the judgment, is not supported by admissible evidence. We therefore reverse the judgment.

Background

¶2 Aurora Loan Services brought a foreclosure suit against David and
Nancy Carlsen, alleging that Aurora was the holder of a note and owner of a
mortgage signed by the Carlsens encumbering the Carlsens’ property. The
Carlsens denied several allegations in the complaint and, especially pertinent here,
denied that Aurora was the holder of the note. Aurora moved for summary
judgment, but that motion was denied.

¶3 A trial to the court was held on June 9, 2010. Aurora called one of
its employees, Kelly Conner, as its only witness. Aurora attempted to elicit
testimony from Conner establishing a foundation for the admission of several
documents purportedly showing that Aurora was the holder of a note that
obligated the Carlsens to make payments and that the Carlsens were in default. It
is sufficient here to say that the Carlsens’ attorney repeatedly objected to questions
and answers based on a lack of personal knowledge and lack of foundation, and
that the circuit court, for the most part, sustained the objections. Aurora’s counsel
did not move for admission of any of the documents into evidence. After the
evidentiary portion of the trial, and after hearing argument, the circuit court made
findings of fact and entered a foreclosure judgment in favor of Aurora. The
Carlsens appeal. Additional facts will be presented below as necessary.

Discussion

¶4 It is undisputed that, at the foreclosure trial, Aurora had the burden
of proving, among other things, that Aurora was the current “holder” of a note
obligating the Carlsens to make payments to Aurora. Because Aurora was not the
original note holder, Aurora needed to prove that it was the current holder, which
meant proving that it had been assigned the note. There appear to be other failures
of proof, but in this opinion we focus our attention solely on whether Aurora
presented evidence supporting the circuit court’s findings that “the business
records of Aurora Loan Services show … a chain of assignment of that … note”
and that “Aurora is the holder of the note.”

¶5 As to assignment of the note, the Carlsens’ argument is simple: the
circuit court’s findings are clearly erroneous because there was no admissible
evidence supporting a finding that Aurora had been assigned the note. The
Carlsens contend that, during the evidentiary portion of the trial, the circuit court
properly sustained objections to Aurora’s assignment evidence, but the court then
appears to have relied on mere argument of Aurora’s counsel to make factual
findings on that topic. We agree.

¶6 We focus our attention on a document purporting to be an
assignment of the note and mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems to Aurora. At trial, this document was marked as Exhibit D. Although
Aurora’s counsel seemed to suggest at one point that certain documents, perhaps
including Exhibit D, were certified, the circuit court determined that the
documents were not certified. Under WIS. STAT. § 889.17,1 certified copies of
certain documents are admissible in evidence based on the certification alone.
Aurora does not contend that Exhibit D is admissible on this basis.

¶7 Aurora argues that Conner’s testimony is sufficient to support the
circuit court’s finding that Aurora had been assigned the note. Our review of her
testimony, however, reveals that Conner lacked the personal knowledge needed to
authenticate Exhibit D. See WIS. STAT. § 909.01 (documents must be
authenticated to be admissible, and this requirement is satisfied “by evidence
sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent
claims”). Relevant here, Conner made general assertions covering several
documents. Conner either affirmatively testified or agreed to leading questions
with respect to the following:

  • · She works for Aurora.
  • · She “handle[s] legal files” and she “attend[s] trials.”
  • · “Aurora provided those documents that are in [her] possession.”
  • · She “reviewed the subject file” in preparing for the hearing.
  • · She declined to agree that she is the “custodian of records for
  • Aurora.”

  • · She “look[s] at documentation … [does] not physically handle
  • original notes and documents, but [she does] acquire
    documentation.”

  • · “Aurora [is] the custodian of records for this loan.”
  • · She is “familiar with records that are prepared in the ordinary course
    of business.”
  • · She has “authority from Aurora to testify as to the documents, of
    [Aurora’s] records.”

As it specifically pertains to Exhibit D, the document purporting to evidence the
assignment of the note and mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems to Aurora, Conner testified:

  • · Aurora has “possession of Exhibit D.”
  • · Exhibit D is “an assignment of mortgage.”

With respect to possession of Exhibit D, Conner did not assert that Exhibit D was
an original or that Aurora had possession of the original document. For that
matter, Conner did not provide a basis for a finding that any original document she
might have previously viewed was what it purported to be.2

¶8 Thus, Conner did no more than identify herself as an Aurora
employee who was familiar with some unspecified Aurora documents, who had
reviewed some Aurora documents, and who had brought some documents,
including Exhibit D, to court. Although Conner was able to say that Exhibit D, on
its face, was an assignment, she had no apparent personal knowledge giving her a
basis to authenticate that document. See WIS. STAT. § 909.01.

¶9 Aurora points to various provisions in WIS. STAT. chs. 401 and 403,
such as those relating to the definition of a “holder” (WIS. STAT.
§ 401.201(2)(km)), to a person entitled to enforce negotiable instruments (WIS.
STAT. § 403.301), and to the assignment of negotiable instruments (WIS. STAT.
§§ 403.203, 403.204, and 403.205). This part of Aurora’s argument addresses the
underlying substantive law regarding persons entitled to enforce negotiable
instruments, such as the type of note at issue here, but it says nothing about
Aurora’s proof problems. That is, Aurora’s discussion of the underlying law does
not demonstrate why Exhibit D was admissible to prove that Aurora had been
assigned the note and was, under the substantive law Aurora discusses, a party
entitled to enforce the note.

¶10 Similarly, Aurora discusses the relationship between a note and a
mortgage and, in particular, the equitable assignment doctrine. But here again
Aurora’s discussion fails to come to grips with Aurora’s failure to authenticate
Exhibit D, the document purporting to be an assignment of the note to Aurora.
Aurora points to testimony in which Conner asserted that Aurora acquired and
possessed Exhibit D, but possession of Exhibit D is meaningless without
authentication of the exhibit.

¶11 Aurora argues that we may look at the “record as a whole,”
including summary judgment materials, to sustain the circuit court’s factual
findings. Thus, for example, Aurora asks us to consider an affidavit filed with its
summary judgment motion. In that affidavit, an Aurora senior vice-president
avers that the note was assigned to Aurora, that the assignment was recorded with
the Rock County Register of Deeds, and that Aurora is the holder of the note. This
argument is meritless. Aurora was obliged to present its evidence at trial. It could
not rely on the “record as a whole” and, in particular, it could not rely on summary
judgment materials that were not introduced at trial. See Holzinger v. Prudential
Ins. Co., 222 Wis. 456, 461, 269 N.W. 306 (1936). For that matter, even if Aurora
had, at trial, proffered the affidavit of its senior vice-president, the affidavit would
have been inadmissible hearsay. See WIS. STAT. § 908.01(3) (“‘Hearsay’ is a
statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or
hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”).

¶12 In sum, Aurora failed to authenticate Exhibit D, the document
purporting to be an assignment of the note. Thus, regardless of other alleged proof
problems relating to that note and the Carlsens’ alleged default, the circuit court’s
finding that Aurora was the holder of the note is clearly erroneous—no admissible
evidence supports that finding. Aurora failed to prove its case, and it was not
entitled to a judgment of foreclosure.

By the Court.—Judgment reversed.

_______________________________________

1 All references to the Wisconsin Statutes are to the 2009-10 version unless otherwise noted.

2 Our summary of Conner’s testimony omits several assertions Conner made that were
stricken by the circuit court. Similarly, we have not included examples of the circuit court
repeatedly sustaining hearsay and foundation objections. For example, the court repeatedly
sustained objections to Aurora’s attempts to have Conner testify that Aurora “owns” the note.
Aurora does not and could not reasonably argue that the Carlsens have not preserved their
authentication objections. The Carlsens’ attorney repeatedly and vigorously objected on hearsay,
foundation, and authentication grounds. The record clearly reflects that the Carlsens were
objecting to the admission of all of Aurora’s proffered documents on the ground that Conner
lacked sufficient knowledge to lay a foundation for admission.

WEISBAND Case No. 4:09-bk-05175-EWH. BKR Tucson Judge HOLLOWELL Denies MLS for Lack of Standing

GMAC has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note because, while it was in possession of the Note at the evidentiary hearing, it failed to demonstrate that the Note is properly payable to GMAC

Once the securities have been sold, the SPV is not actively involved.

IN RE WEISBAND

In re: BARRY WEISBAND, Chapter 13, Debtor.

Case No. 4:09-bk-05175-EWH.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Arizona.

March 29, 2010.

Barry Weisband, Tucson, AZ, Ronald Ryan, Ronald Ryan, P.C., Tucson, AZ, Attorney for Debtor.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

EILEEN W. HOLLOWELL, Bankruptcy Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

The debtor, Barry Weisband (“Debtor”), has challenged the standing of creditor, GMAC Mortgage, LLC (“GMAC”), to seek stay relief on his residence. After reviewing the documents provided by GMAC and conducting an evidentiary hearing, the court concludes that GMAC, the alleged servicer of the Debtor’s home loan, lacks standing to seek stay relief. The reasons for this conclusion are explained in the balance of this decision.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Creation of Debtor’s Note And Asserted Subsequent Transfers

On or about October 6, 2006, the Debtor executed and delivered to GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. (“GreenPoint”) an adjustable rate promissory note in the principal sum of $540,000 (“Note”) secured by a Deed of Trust (“DOT”) on real property located at 5424 East Placita Apan, Tucson, Arizona 85718 (“Property”).

On a separate piece of paper, GreenPoint endorsed the Note to GMAC (“Endorsement”). The Endorsement is undated. The DOT was signed by the Debtor on October 9, 2006, and recorded on October 13, 2006. The DOT lists GreenPoint as the lender, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as the beneficiary of the DOT “solely as nominee for [GreenPoint], its successors and assigns.”

Approximately five months before the creation of the Note and DOT, on April 10, 2006, GreenPoint entered into a Flow Interim Servicing Agreement (“FISA”) (Exhibit D)[ 1 ] with Lehman Capital, a division of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (collectively “Lehman”), pursuant to which Lehman agreed to purchase conventional, residential, fixed and adjustable rate first and second lien mortgage loans from GreenPoint. Under the FISA, GreenPoint agreed to service the mortgage loans it sold to Lehman. According to GMAC, GreenPoint transferred the Note and DOT to Lehman under the FISA.

On November 1, 2006, Lehman entered into a Mortgage Loan Sale and Assignment Agreement (“MLSAA”) with Structured Asset Securities Corporation (“SASC”) (Exhibit E). Under that agreement, Lehman transferred a number of the mortgage loans it acquired under the FISA to SASC. GMAC claims that the Note was one of the mortgage loans transferred to SASC. SASC created a trust to hold the transferred mortgages — GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Trust (“Trust”). The MLSAA also transferred the right to receive principal and interest payments under the transferred mortgage loans from Lehman to the Trust.

Also, on November 1, 2006, SASC entered into a Trust Agreement (Exhibit F) with Aurora Loan Services (“Aurora”) as the master servicer, and U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S. Bank”) as the trustee. A Reconstituted Servicing Agreement (Exhibit G) was executed the same day, which provided that GreenPoint would continue to service the mortgages transferred to the Trust under the MLSAA, but that the Trust could change servicers at any time. Also, according to GMAC, on November 1, 2006, GMAC, Lehman, and Aurora entered into a Securitization Servicing Agreement (“SSA”) (Exhibit H), pursuant to which GMAC would service the loans transferred to the Trust. GMAC claims that under the SSA it is the current servicer of the Note and DOT.

Thus, according to GMAC, as of November 1, 2006, the Note and DOT had been transferred to the Trust, with SASC as the Trustor, U.S. Bank as the Trustee, Aurora as the master servicer, and GMAC as the sub-servicer. GreenPoint went out of business in 2007. According to GMAC, it remains the sub-servicer of the Note, and that is its only financial interest in the Note and DOT. (Transcript Nov. 10, 2009, pp. 44, 47, 75.)

B. Bankruptcy Events

As of March 1, 2009, the Debtor was in default of his obligations under the Note. Debtor filed his petition for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code on March 19, 2009. On May 16, 2009, GMAC filed a proof of claim (“POC”), which attached the Note and DOT. The Endorsement from GreenPoint to GMAC was not attached to GMAC’s proof of claim. On May 12, 2009, MERS, as nominee for GreenPoint, assigned its interest in the DOT to GMAC (“MERS Assignment”). The MERS Assignment was recorded on July 16, 2009.

GMAC filed a Motion for Relief from Stay (“Motion”) on May 29, 2009, on the grounds that the Debtor had no equity in the Property and the Property was not necessary for an effective reorganization. The Motion also requested adequate protection payments to protect GMAC’s alleged interest in the Property. GMAC attached the Note with the Endorsement and DOT as exhibits to the Motion.

The Debtor filed a response challenging GMAC’s standing to seek relief from stay. After various discovery disputes, GMAC sent a letter dated September 17, 2009, to the Debtor which purported to explain the various transfers of the Note and the DOT. (Docket #90). The letter explained that GreenPoint transferred the “subject loan” to Lehman under the FISA, that Lehman sold the “subject loan” to SASC under the MLSAA, that SASC, Aurora Loan Services, and U.S. National Bank entered into a trust agreement, which created the Trust and made Aurora the master servicer for the “subject loan,” and, that GMAC was the servicer of the “subject loan” under the SSA. According to GMAC, its status as servicer, along with the Endorsement of the Note to GMAC and the assignment of the DOT from MERS to GMAC, demonstrated that it had standing to bring the Motion.

On November 10, 2009, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the Motion. GMAC offered the original Note at the hearing and admitted into evidence a copy of the Note, DOT, copies of the FISA, MLSAA, Trust Agreement, the Reconstituted Servicing Agreement and the SSA. However, GMAC did not offer any documents demonstrating how the Note and DOT were conveyed by GreenPoint to the FISA. No document was offered demonstrating how the Note and DOT were conveyed from the FISA to the MLSAA or from the MLSAA into the Trust. Schedule A-1 of the MLSAA, where the transferred mortgages presumably would have been listed, only has the words “Intentionally Omitted” on it, and Schedule A-2 has the word “None.” (Exhibit F, pp. 19-20). Similarly, there is no evidence that the Note and DOT are subject to the SSA. Exhibit A to the SSA, titled “Mortgage Loan Schedule,” is blank. At the conclusion of the hearing, this Court ordered the Debtor to begin making adequate protection payments commencing on December 1, 2009 to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Court further ordered GMAC and the Debtor to negotiate the amount of the adequate protection payments. When the parties were unable to reach agreement, the Court set the amount of the monthly payments at $1,000.

III. ISSUE

Does GMAC have standing to bring the Motion?

IV. JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT

Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(a) and 157(b)(2)(G).

V. DISCUSSION

A. Introduction

Section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that the filing of a bankruptcy petition operates as a stay of collection and enforcement actions. 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). The purpose of the automatic stay is to provide debtors with “protection against hungry creditors” and to assure creditors that the debtor’s other creditors are not “racing to various courthouses to pursue independent remedies to drain the debtor’s assets.” In re Tippett,Dean v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 72 F.3d 754, 755-56 (9th Cir. 1995)); see also In re Johnston, 321 B.R. 262, 2737-4 (D. Ariz. 2005). Despite the broad protection the stay affords, it is not without limits. 542 F.3d 684, 689-90 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Section 362(d) allows the court, upon request of a “party in interest,” to grant relief from the stay, “such as terminating, annulling, modifying, or conditioning such stay.” 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(1). The court may grant relief “for cause, including the lack of adequate protection.” Id. The court may also grant relief from the stay with respect to specific property of the estate if the debtor lacks equity in the property and the property is not necessary to an effective reorganization. 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(2).

Any party affected by the stay should be entitled to seek relief. 3 COLLIER’S ON BANKRUPTCY ¶ 362.07[2] (Henry Somers & Alan Resnick, eds. 15th ed., rev. 2009); Matter of Brown Transp. Truckload, Inc., 118 B.R. 889, 893 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1990); In re Vieland, 41 B.R. 134, 138 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 1984)). Relief from stay hearings are limited in scope — the validity of underlying claims is not litigated. In re Johnson, 756 F.2d 738, 740 (9th Cir. 1985). As one court has noted, “[s]tay relief hearings do not involve a full adjudication on the merits of claims, defenses or counterclaims, but simply a determination as to whether a creditor has a colorable claim.” In re Emrich, 2009 WL 3816174, at *1 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2009).

Nevertheless, in order to establish a colorable claim, a movant for relief from stay bears the burden of proof that it has standing to bring the motion. In re Wilhelm, 407 B.R. 392, 400 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2009). The issue of standing involves both “constitutional limitations on federal court jurisdiction and prudential limitations on its exercise.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975). Constitutional standing concerns whether the plaintiff’s personal stake in the lawsuit is sufficient to have a “case or controversy” to which the federal judicial power may extend under Article III. Id.; see also Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60 (1992); Pershing Park Villas Homeowners Ass’n v. United Pac. Ins. Co., 219 F.3d 895, 899 (9th Cir. 2000).

Additionally, the “prudential doctrine of standing has come to encompass several judicially self-imposed limits on the exercise of federal jurisdiction.’” Pershing Park Villas, 219 F.3d at 899. Such limits are the prohibition on third-party standing and the requirement that suits be maintained by the real party in interest. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 498-99; Gilmartin v. City of Tucson, 2006 WL 5917165, at *4 (D. Ariz. 2006). Thus, prudential standing requires the plaintiff to assert its own claims rather than the claims of another. The requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 17, made applicable in stay relief motions by Rule 9014, “generally falls within the prudential standing doctrine.” In re Wilhelm, 407 B.R. at 398.

B. GMAC’s Standing

GMAC advances three different arguments in support of its claim to be a “party in interest” with standing to seek relief from stay. First, GMAC asserts it has standing because the Note was endorsed to GMAC and GMAC has physical possession of the Note. Second, GMAC asserts that by virtue of the MERS Assignment, it is a beneficiary of the DOT and entitled to enforce and foreclose the DOT under Arizona law. Third, GMAC asserts it has standing because it is the servicer of the Note. The court addresses each of GMAC’s claims in turn.

1. GMAC Has Not Demonstrated That It Is A Holder Of The Note

If GMAC is the holder of the Note, GMAC would be a party injured by the Debtor’s failure to pay it, thereby satisfying the constitutional standing requirement. GMAC would also be the real party in interest under Fed. R. Civ. P. 17 because under ARIZ. REV. STAT. (“A.R.S.’) § 47-3301, the holder of a note has the right to enforce it.[ 2 ] However, as discussed below, GMAC did not prove it is the holder of the Note.

Under Arizona law, a holder is defined as “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” A.R.S. § 47-1201(B)(21)(a).[ 3 ] GMAC has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note because, while it was in possession of the Note at the evidentiary hearing, it failed to demonstrate that the Note is properly payable to GMAC. A special endorsement to GMAC was admitted into evidence with the Note. However, for the Endorsement to constitute part of the Note, it must be on “a paper affixed to the instrument.” A.R.S. § 47-3204; see also In re Nash, 49 B.R. 254, 261 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1985). Here, the evidence did not demonstrate that the Endorsement was affixed to the Note. The Endorsement is on a separate sheet of paper; there was no evidence that it was stapled or otherwise attached to the rest of the Note. Furthermore, when GMAC filed its proof of claim, the Endorsement was not included, which is a further indication that the allonge containing the Endorsement was not affixed to the Note.[ 4 ]

In Adams v. Madison Realty & Dev., Inc., 853 F.2d 163 (3d Cir. 1988), the plaintiffs executed promissory notes which, after a series of transfers, came into the defendant’s possession. At issue was whether the defendant was the rightful owner of the notes. The court held that the defendant was not entitled to holder in due course status because the endorsements failed to meet the UCC’s fixation requirement. Id. at 168-69. The court relied on UCC section 3-202(2) [A.R.S. § 47-3204]: “An indorsement must be written by or on behalf of the holder and on the instrument or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” Id. at 165. Since the endorsement page, indicating that the defendant was the holder of the note, was not attached to the note, the court found that the note had not been properly negotiated. Id. at 166-67. Thus, ownership of the note never transferred to the defendant. Applying that principle to the facts here, GMAC did not become a holder of the Note due to the improperly affixed special endorsement.

While the bankruptcy court in In re Nash, 49 B.R. 254 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1985) found that holder in due course status existed even though an allonge was not properly affixed to an instrument, the court based its determination on the clear intention that the note assignment be physically attached because: (1) the assignment was signed and notarized the same day as the trust deed; (2) the assignment specifically referenced the escrow number; (3) the assignment identified the original note holder; and (4) the assignment recited that the note was to be attached to the assignment. Id. at 261.

In this case, however, there is no proof that the allonge containing the special endorsement from GreenPoint to GMAC was executed at or near the time the Note was executed. Furthermore, the Endorsement does not have any identifying numbers on it, such as an account number or an escrow number, nor does it reference the Note in any way. There is simply no indication that the allonge was appropriately affixed to the Note, in contradiction with the mandates of A.R.S. § 47-3204. Thus, there is no basis in this case to depart from the general rule that an endorsement on an allonge must be affixed to the instrument to be valid.

GMAC cannot overcome the problems with the unaffixed Endorsement by its physical possession of the Note because the Note was not endorsed in blank and, even if it was, the problem of the unaffixed endorsement would remain.[ 5 ] As a result, because GMAC failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the Endorsement was proper, it has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note.

2. The MERS Assignment Of The DOT Did Not Provide GMAC With Standing

GMAC argues that it has standing to bring the Motion as the assignee of MERS.[ 6 ] In this case, MERS is named in the DOT as a beneficiary, solely as the “nominee” of GreenPoint, holding only “legal title” to the interests granted to GreenPoint under the DOT. A number of cases have held that such language confers no economic benefit on MERS. See, e.g., In re Sheridan, 2009 WL 631355, *4 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2009); In re Mitchell, 2009 WL 1044368, *3-4 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2009); In re Jacobson, 402 B.R. 359, 367 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. 2009). As noted by the Sheridan court, MERS “collect[s] no money from [d]ebtors under the [n]ote, nor will it realize the value of the [p]roperty through foreclosure of the [d]eed of [t]rust in the event the [n]ote is not paid.” 2009 WL 631355 at *4.

Because MERS has no financial interest in the Note, it will suffer no injury if the Note is not paid and will realize no benefit if the DOT is foreclosed. Accordingly, MERS cannot satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing. GMAC, as MERS’ assignee of the DOT, “stands in the shoes” of the assignor, taking only those rights and remedies the assignor would have had. Hunnicutt Constr., Inc. v. Stewart Title & Trust of Tucson, Trust No. 3496, 187 Ariz. 301, 304 (Ct. App. 1996) citing Van Waters & Rogers v. Interchange Res., Inc., 14 Ariz. App. 414, 417 (1971); In re Boyajian, 367 B.R. 138, 145 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). Because GMAC is MERS’ assignee, it cannot satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing either.[ 7 ]

3. GMAC Does Not Have Standing As The Servicer Of The Note

(a) Servicer’s Right To Collect Fees For Securitized Mortgages

Securitization of residential mortgages is “the process of aggregating a large number of notes secured by deeds of trust in what is called a mortgage pool, and then selling security interests in that pool of mortgages.” Kurt Eggert, Held Up In Due Course: Predatory Lending, Securitization, and the Holder in Due Course Doctrine, 35 CREIGHTON L. REV. 503, 536 (2002). The process begins with a borrower negotiating with a mortgage broker for the terms of the loan. Then, the mortgage broker either originates the loan in its own name or in the name of another entity, which presumably provides the money for the loan. Almost immediately, the broker transfers the loan to the funding entity. “This lender quickly sells the loan to a different financial entity, which pools the loan together with a host of other loans in a mortgage pool.” Id. at 538.

The assignee then transfers the mortgages in the pool to another entity, which in turn transfers the loans to a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”,) whose sole role is to hold the pool of mortgages. Id. at 539. “The transfer to the special purpose trust must constitute a true sale, so that the party transferring the assets reduces its potential liability on the loans and exchanges the fairly illiquid loans for much more liquid cash.” Id. at 542. Next, the SPV issues securities which the assignee sells to investors. Id. at 539.

Once the securities have been sold, the SPV is not actively involved. It “does not directly collect payments from the homeowners whose notes and deeds of trust are held by the SPV.” Id. at 544. Rather, servicers collect the principal and interest payments on behalf of the SPV. Id. Fees are associated with the servicing of loans in the pool. Therefore, GMAC would have constitutional standing if it is the servicer for the Note and DOT because it would suffer concrete injury by not being able to collect its servicing fees.[ 8 ]In re O’Kelley, 420 B.R. 18, 23 (D. Haw. 2009) . In this case, however, the evidence does not demonstrate that the Note and DOT were transferred to the Trust, and, without that evidence, there is no demonstration that GMAC is the servicer of the Note.

(b) There Is Insufficient Evidence That The Note Was Sold To Lehman And Became Part Of The Trust

When the Debtor executed the Note and DOT, GreenPoint was the original holder of the Note and the economic beneficiary of the DOT. GreenPoint, allegedly, transferred the Note to Lehman pursuant to the FISA. However, the term “mortgage loans” is not defined in the FISA and GMAC’s documents regarding the securitization of the Note and DOT provide no evidence of actual transfers of the Note and DOT to either the FISA or the Trust. Because such transfers must be “true sales,” they must be properly documented to be effective. Thus, to use an overused term, GMAC has failed “to connect the dots” to demonstrate that the Note and DOT were securitized. Accordingly, it is immaterial that GMAC is the servicer for the Trust.

C. Debtor’s Other Arguments

1. Securities Investors Are Not The Only Individuals Who Can Satisfy Standing Requirements When Dealing With A 362 Motion on a “Securitized” Mortgage

The Debtor argues that, in an asset securitization scheme, only the securities investors have standing to seek stay relief because they are the only parties with a financial interest in the securitized notes. However, because the Debtor executed the Note and received consideration (which he used to purchase the house), the contract is enforceable regardless of who provided the funding. In other words, the fact that the funds for a borrower’s loan are supplied by someone other than the loan originator, does not invalidate the loan or restrict enforcement of the loan contract to the parties who funded the loan. A number of cases and treatises recognize that consideration for a contract, including a promissory note, can be provided by a third party. See, e.g., DCM Ltd. P’ship v. Wang, 555 F. Supp. 2d 808, 817 (E.D. Mich. 2008); Buffalo County v. Richards, 212 Neb. 826, 828-29 (Neb. 1982); 3 WILLISTON ON CONTRACTS § 7:20 (Richard A. Lord, 4th ed. 2009); RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 71(4) (2009).

Notes are regularly assigned and the assignment does not change the nature of the contract. The assignee merely steps into the shoes of the assignor. In re Boyajian, 367 B.R. 138, 145 (9th Cir. BAP 2007); In re Trejos, 374 B.R. 210, 215 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). No additional consideration is required, as opposed to a novation which creates a new obligation. Id. at 216-17 citing RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 280, cmt. e. Therefore, the Debtor’s argument that the Note is unenforceable because the funder of the Note was not the payee fails. The Note is still valid and can be enforced by the party who has the right to enforce it under applicable Arizona law.

2. Proof Of A Note’s Entire Chain Of Ownership Is Not Necessary For Stay Relief

A movant for stay relief need only present evidence sufficient to present a colorable claim — not every piece of evidence that would be required to prove the right to foreclose under a state law judicial foreclosure proceeding is necessary. In re Emrich, 2009 WL 3816174, at *1 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2009). Accordingly, not every movant for relief from stay has to provide a complete chain of a note’s assignment to obtain relief.

Arizona’s deed of trust statute does not require a beneficiary of a deed of trust to produce the underlying note (or its chain of assignment) in order to conduct a Trustee’s Sale. Blau v. Am.’s Serv. Co., 2009 WL 3174823, at *6 (D. Ariz. 2009); Mansour v. Cal-W. Reconveyance Corp., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1178, 1181 (D. Ariz. 2009); Diessner v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1184, 1187 (D. Ariz. 2009). It would make no sense to require a creditor to demonstrate more to obtain stay relief than it needs to demonstrate under state law to conduct a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure. Moreover, if a note is endorsed in blank, it is enforceable as a bearer instrument. See In re Hill, 2009 WL 1956174, at *2 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2009). Therefore, this Court declines to impose a blanket requirement that all movants must offer proof of a note’s entire chain of assignments to have standing to seek relief although there may be circumstances where, in order to establish standing, the movant will have to do so.

3. The Movant Has Not Violated Rule 9011

The Debtor argues that GMAC “violated Rule 7011″ by presenting insufficient and misleading evidence. Given that there is no Rule 7011, the Court assumes that the Debtor was actually referring to Bankruptcy Rule 9011. Rule 9011 allows a court to impose sanctions for filing a frivolous suit. FED. R. BANKR. P. 9011(c); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 11(c). As noted at the evidentiary hearing, the Court did not find that GMAC filed its motion for relief stay in bad faith, nor does this Court believe GMAC filed its motion thinking it did not have proper evidentiary support. There are numerous, often conflicting, decisions on the issues of “real party in interest” and constitutional standing, and what evidence must be presented by a servicer seeking stay relief. The record in this case does not support imposition of 9011 sanctions.

VI. CONCLUSION

GMAC has not demonstrated that it has constitutional or prudential standing or is the real party in interest entitled to prosecute a motion for relief from stay.

Accordingly, its motion is DENIED without prejudice.

New Workshop on Motion Practice and Discovery

why-you-should-attend-the-discovery-and-motion-practice-workshop

VISIT LIVINGLIES STORE FOR FREE VIDEOS AND OTHER RESOURCES

START WINNING CASES!!

May 23-24, 2010 2 days. 9am-5pm. Neil F Garfield. CLE credits pending but not promised. Register Now. Seating limited to 18. INCLUDES LUNCH AND EXTENSIVE MANUAL OF FORMS, NARRATIVE AND CASES. An in-depth look at securitized residential mortgages and deeds of trust. Latest cases on standing, nominees, splitting note from security instrument, bankruptcy strategies, expert declarations, forensic analysis reports.

Lawyers, paralegals, experts, forensic analysts will all benefit from this. This workshop includes monthly follow-up teleconferences and continuing on-going support with advance copies of articles, cases and analysis.

  1. STRATEGIC REVIEW: WHY THESE CASES ARE BEING WON AND LOST IN MOTION PRACTICE.
  2. SECURITIZATION REVIEW
  3. USE OF FORENSIC REPORTS AND EXPERT DECLARATIONS
  4. RAISING QUESTIONS OF FACT IN CREDIBLE MANNER
  5. SETTING UP AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING
  6. FOLLOW THE MONEY
  7. OBLIGATION, NOTE, BOND, MORTGAGE, DEED OF TRUST ANALYSIS
  8. TILA, RESPA, QWR, DVL AND RESCISSION — WHY JUDGES DON’T LIKE TILA RESCISSION AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEIR RESISTANCE.
  9. NOTICE OF DEFAULT, TRUSTEE, STANDING, REAL PARTY IN INTEREST EXAMINED AND REVIEWED
  10. INVESTORS, REMICS, TRUSTS, TRUSTEES, BORROWERS, CREDITORS, DEBTORS, HOMEOWNERS
  11. FACT EVIDENCE ON MOTIONS
  12. FORENSIC EVIDENCE ON MOTION
  13. EXPERT EVIDENCE ON MOTION
  14. ORAL ARGUMENT
  15. WHAT TO FILE
  16. WHEN TO FILE
  17. EMERGENCY MOTIONS — MOTION TO LIFT STAY, MOTION TO DISMISS, TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS, MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY
  18. DISCOVERY: INTERROGATORIES, WHAT TO ASK FOR, HOW TO ASK FOR IT AND HOW TO ENFORCE IT. REQUESTS TO PRODUCE. REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS. DEPOSITIONS UPON WRITTEN QUESTIONS.
  19. FEDERAL PROCEDURE
  20. STATE PROCEDURE
  21. BANKRUPTCY PROCEDURE
  22. ETHICS, BUSINESS PLANS, AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Taxing Wall Street Down to Size: Litigation Guidelines

The mistake I detect from those who are not faring well in court is the attempt to treat preliminary motions and hearings as opportunities to prove your entire case. Don’t talk about conspiracy and theft, talk about evidence and discovery.

every debtor is entitled to know the identity of the creditor, the full accounting for the entire obligation and all transactions arising from the transaction, and an opportunity to comply with Federal and State law requiring attempts at modification and/or mediation or settlement with the real parties in interest.
The banking system has become an agent of destruction for the gross domestic product and of impoverishment for the middle class. To be sure, it was lured into these unsavory missions by a truly insane monetary policy under which, most recently, the Federal Reserve purchased $1.5 trillion of longer-dated Treasury bonds and housing agency securities in less than a year. It was an unprecedented exercise in market-rigging with printing-press money, and it gave a sharp boost to the price of bonds and other securities held by banks, permitting them to book huge revenues from trading and bookkeeping gains.

Editor’s Note: Stockman notes the myth (lie) that “a prodigious upwelling of profitability will repair bank balance sheets and bury toxic waste from the last bubble’s collapse.” He questions whether the “profitability” will be there. I don’t question it, I know it — both for the reasons he cites and because the reality is that at least certain institution “in the loop” have tons of money and profitability “off-balance sheet” and I might add, off-shore.

According to published reports, Wall Street is “taxed” on this gorging of money at the rate of 1% while some poor bloke earning $80,000 is paying 16% just for social security, directly or indirectly. Fix the budget, cure the deficit? There it is!

The current profits reported, and the bonuses that come along with them, are being attributed widely in the press to the give-away of the federal reserve is letting them borrow at zero rates and then giving them a much higher rate for money held on deposit. While this is true all it really describes is the cover the laundering the plunder of $24 trillion back into the system where it will be moved around again producing more fees, more “profits”, and greater “liquidity” (proprietary currency).

The significance of this cannot be understated for the foreclosure litigator. We have the SEC in a 10 year confidentiality agreement with AIG so that the bailout and payment to counter-parties is being kept secret while the foreclosures proceed on obligations that have been paid in full, sometimes thirty times over. And we have the treasure trove “off-balance sheet” that was created by a secret undisclosed yield spread premium that should have investors, borrowers, and the regulators screaming. This second YSP as described recently in this blog, dwarfs any other fees, profits or other revenue or capital made during the creation stage of the mortgage mess.

The job of the litigator is to pique the interest of the judge enough to allow you to inquire about a FULL ACCOUNTING from the CREDITOR who is positively identified. Don’t ask the Judge to buy into the whole conspiracy theory aspect of the mortgage meltdown. He or she is not there to listen to “fiction.”

Just use your expert to prove there is an absence of facts and numbers such that the full accounting from debtor through creditor is not present and that under the most basic of premises, every debtor is entitled to know the identity of the creditor, the full accounting for the entire obligation and all transactions arising from the transaction, and an opportunity to comply with Federal and State law requiring attempts at modification and/or mediation or settlement with the real parties in interest.

The mistake I detect from those who are not faring well in court is the attempt to treat preliminary motions and hearings as opportunities to prove your entire case. Don’t talk about conspiracy and theft, talk about evidence and discovery.

Don’t ask the Judge to accept the idea that all these big name banks and other entities are thieves or interlopers, ask the Judge to accept the premise that you have alleged that the real creditor is not present, not represented, and that this action is in derogation of that creditor. Talk about your attempts to identify the creditor (investors) and the stonewalling you have received. Talk about your attempts to get a consistent complete accounting for the obligation and your inability to get it.

TALK ABOUT YOUR ATTEMPTS TO FIND AN ACTUAL DECISION MAKER (CREDITOR) WHOM YOU COULD SPEAK WITH AND ATTEMPT RECONCILIATION, MODIFICATION OR SETTLEMENT. 

January 20, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor

Taxing Wall Street Down to Size

By DAVID STOCKMAN

WHILE supply-side catechism insists that lower taxes are a growth tonic, the theory also argues that if you want less of something, tax it more. The economy desperately needs less of our bloated, unproductive and increasingly parasitic banking system. In this respect, the White House appears to have gone over to the supply side with its proposed tax on big banks, as it scores populist points against the banksters, too.

Not surprisingly, the bankers are already whining, even though the tax would amount to a financial pinprick — a levy of only 0.15 percent on the debts (other than deposits) of the big financial conglomerates. Their objections are evidence that the administration is on the right track.

Make no mistake. The banking system has become an agent of destruction for the gross domestic product and of impoverishment for the middle class. To be sure, it was lured into these unsavory missions by a truly insane monetary policy under which, most recently, the Federal Reserve purchased $1.5 trillion of longer-dated Treasury bonds and housing agency securities in less than a year. It was an unprecedented exercise in market-rigging with printing-press money, and it gave a sharp boost to the price of bonds and other securities held by banks, permitting them to book huge revenues from trading and bookkeeping gains.

Meanwhile, by fixing short-term interest rates at near zero, the Fed planted its heavy boot squarely in the face of depositors, as it shrank the banks’ cost of production — their interest expense on depositor funds — to the vanishing point.

The resulting ultrasteep yield curve for banks is heralded, by a certain breed of Wall Street tout, as a financial miracle cure. Soon, it is claimed, a prodigious upwelling of profitability will repair bank balance sheets and bury toxic waste from the last bubble’s collapse. But will it?

In supplying the banks with free deposit money (effectively, zero-interest loans), the savers of America are taking a $250 billion annual haircut in lost interest income. And the banks, after reaping this ill-deserved windfall, are pleased to pronounce themselves solvent, ignoring the bad loans still on their books. This kind of Robin Hood redistribution in reverse is not sustainable. It requires permanently flooding world markets with cheap dollars — a recipe for the next bubble and financial crisis.

Moreover, rescuing the banks yet again, this time with a steeply sloped yield curve (that is, cheap short-term money and more expensive long-term rates), is not even a proper monetary policy action. It is a vast and capricious reallocation of national income, which would be hooted down in the halls of Congress, were it properly brought to a vote.

National economic policy has come to this absurd pass because for decades the Fed has juiced the banking system with excessive reserves. With this monetary fuel, the banks manufactured, aggressively at first and then recklessly, a tide of new loans and deposits. When Wall Street’s “heart attack” struck in September 2008, bank liabilities had reached 100 percent of gross domestic product — double the ratio of a few decades earlier.

This was a measurement of the perilous extent to which bad investments, financed by debt, had come to distort the warp and woof of the economy. Behind the worthless loans stands a vast assemblage of redundant housing units, shopping malls, office buildings, warehouses, tanning salons and fast food restaurants. These superfluous fixed assets had, over the past decade, given rise to a hothouse economy of jobs that have now vanished. Obviously, the legions of brokers, developers, appraisers, contractors, tradesmen and decorators who created the bad investments are long gone. But now the waitresses, yoga instructors, gardeners, repairmen, sales clerks, inventory managers, office workers and lift-truck drivers once thought needed to work at these places are disappearing into the unemployment statistics, as well.

The baleful reality is that the big banks, the freakish offspring of the Fed’s easy money, are dangerous institutions, deeply embedded in a bull market culture of entitlement and greed. This is why the Obama tax is welcome: its underlying policy message is that big banking must get smaller because it does too little that is useful, productive or efficient.

To argue, as some conservatives surely will, that a policy-directed shrinking of big banking is an inappropriate interference in the marketplace is to miss a crucial point: the big Wall Street banks are wards of the state, not private enterprises. During recent quarters, for instance, the preponderant share of Goldman Sachs’ revenues came from trading in bonds, currencies and commodities.

But these profits were not evidence of Mr. Market doing God’s work, greasing the wheels of commerce and trade by facilitating productive financial transactions. In fact, they represented the fruits of hyperactive gambling in the Fed’s monetary casino — a place where the inside players obtain their chips at no cost from the Fed-controlled money markets, and are warned well in advance, by obscure wording changes in the Fed’s policy statements, about any pending shift in the gambling odds.

To be sure, the most direct way to cure the banking system’s ills would be to return to a rational monetary policy based on sensible interest rates, an end to frantic monetization of federal debt and a stable exchange value for the dollar. But Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and his posse are not likely to go there, believing as they do that central banking is about micromanaging aggregate demand — asset bubbles and a flagging dollar be damned. Still, there can be no doubt that taxing big bank liabilities will cause there to be less of them. And that’s a start.

David Stockman, a director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, is working on a book about the financial crisis.

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