The First Step in Foreclosure Defense: Title Issues

The same judges that consistently ignore defenses with respect to the endorsements, assignments, or other issues instantly recognize that where there is an error or break in the chain of title, the “bank” must step back, dismiss the foreclosure and start over again.


Last Thursday night I had North Carolina Attorney James Surane as a guest on my radio show. As I suspected it was technical but VERY interesting. He gave many examples where title issues had either resulted in an outright win or much greater leverage over the party claiming to be authorized to foreclose on property. In his state of North Carolina, the judicial climate is very frosty when it comes to a homeowner challenging foreclosures. But the same judges that consistently ignore defenses with respect to the endorsements, assignments, or other issues instantly recognize that where there is an error or break in the chain of title, the “bank” must step back, dismiss the foreclosure and start over again.

Although most people have stopped ordering title searches and title analysis by a lawyer, they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As I have previously discussed on this blog, the problem with the title reports is not that they are useless, it is that they don’t go back far enough. In the run-up to the mortgage meltdown some closing agents were processing loan closings at the rate of 100 per day. These agents and lawyers were overwhelmed by the volume. They made mistakes.

Here is a summary of what Jim said last Thursday night:


A thorough title search of the property being subject to foreclosure is an absolute necessity. This includes researching back to the plat in the case of a home in a subdivision, and back 30 years in a case in which the property is not in a subdivision. We have won many cases based upon errors in the chain of title. It must be remembered that a large majority of the mortgages that we deal with today were closed between the years of 1992 – 2007. During these years, closing attorneys and lenders were overwhelmed with business, and as a result many errors in preparing documents that compromised the lenders lien rights. In our title search, we are looking for:

  • Plat was recorded prior to conveyance of lot
  • Errors in the legal descriptions
  • The legal description was attached at the time the deed of trust was signed
  • Errors in the timing of the recordation of documents in the chain of title
  • Errors in the spelling of the grantor or grantee names
  • Both Grantors names in the body of the Deed of Trust and not just signed
  • Failure to include all necessary signatures on deeds
  • Recordings in the wrong county
  • The grantor owned the property at the time of the conveyance
  • The date on the note matches the date of the deed of trust
  • The names on the note match the names on the deed of trust
  • The grantors signed the Deed of Trust in the proper place (not under notary)
  • Check the Secretary of State on all corporate grantors
  • The date the substitute trustee was appointed relative to the Notice of Hearing
  • The proper substitute trustee filed the Notice of Hearing

Surane has won at least one case for each and every issue listed above. Some of the issues listed above have resulted in our winning several cases. Clerks and Judges are not reserved about recognizing errors in the chain of title, and will readily dismiss a case if the errors are properly presented to the Court. It is very important to thoroughly examine the chain of title before proceeding to identity errors with the lenders standing and endorsements to the promissory note.  As many people are aware, the standing and endorsement issues often lead to fertile ground for many additional defenses to a foreclosure action.

North Carolina is more or less a non-judicial state. But instead of the “trustee” recording a notice of default and notice of sale, the trustee in North Carolina files a Notice of Hearing. The Clerk actually has some power to either dismiss or require the filer to dismiss if the chain of title is clearly wrong. This makes North Carolina a somewhat safer place for homeowners than other non-judicial states because there is at least some minimum oversight over the process.

Not all errors in title result in an outright win in Court. But they do create a time interval that could be as long as years in which the homeowner can properly address other issues and seek modification.

At livinglies we provide a title report and an analysis, but most people don’t want to pay the extra cost of going back 3-4 owners. And they don’t want to spend time on a lawyer analyzing title issues. It’s boring stuff to most people. Most vendors providing title information CAN produce a report going back 30 years but they don’t because they have not been paid the extra money to do so — often requiring an actual trip to the building where the public records are kept in the county in which the property is located.

Some vendors, like TitleTracs, will point out potential areas of inquiry that assist a lawyer in analyzing title, but most lawyers don’t want to do the work even if they could get paid for it. It is a laborious task but people are missing “low hanging fruit” when they fail to raise a proper challenge to the substitution of trustee and other defenses.

The bad news is that Surane agrees with my current opinion — it is highly unlikely that any judge anywhere will enter an order quieting title where the mortgage or deed of trust is removed as an encumbrance to the property. Unless the mortgage or deed of trust is void, in our opinion it is not proper to bring the quiet title action. BUT, that said, as Surane pointed out on the show, he has made extensive use of declaratory actions that undermine the enforceability of the mortgage or deed of trust and potentially undermine the note as well. The catch is that courts don’t issue advisory opinions so you need a present controversy in order to get the court to rule.

If this article prompts you to order our COMBO Title and Securitization Report and you want the kind of in-depth title report that is described above the cost of the report is $1995.

Get a consult or order services! 202-838-6345 to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.




California Suspends Dealings with Wells Fargo

The real question is when government agencies and regulators PLUS law enforcement get the real message: Wells Fargo’s behavior in the account scandal is the tip of the iceberg and important corroboration of what most of the country has been saying for years — their business model is based upon fraud.

Wells Fargo has devolved into a PR machine designed to raise the price of the stock at the expense of trust, which in the long term will most likely result in most customers abandoning such banks for fear they will be the next target.

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John Chiang, California Treasurer, has stopped doing business with Wells Fargo because of the scheme involving fraud, identity theft and customer gouging for services they never ordered on accounts they never opened. It is once again time for Government to scrutinize the overall business plan and business map of Wells Fargo and indeed all of the top (TBTF) banks.

Wells Fargo is attempting to do crisis management, to wit: making sure that nobody looks at other schemes inside the bank.

It is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that was conceived by Senator Elizabeth Warren who has revealed the latest example of big bank fraud.

The simple fact is that in this case, Wells Fargo management made an absurd demand on their employees. Instead of the national average of 3 accounts per person they instructed managers and employees to produce 8 accounts per customer. Top management of Wells Fargo have been bankers for decades. They knew that most customers would not want, need or accept 5 more accounts. Yet they pressed hard on employees to meet this “goal.” Their objective was to defraud the investing public who held or would buy Wells Fargo stock.

In short, Wells Fargo is now the poster child for an essential defect in business structure of public companies. They conceive their “product” to be their stock. That is how management makes its money and that is how investors holding their stock like it until they realize that the entire platform known as Wells Fargo has devolved into a PR machine designed to raise the price of the stock at the expense of trust, which in the long term will most likely result in most customers abandoning such banks for fear they will be the next target. Such companies are eating their young and producing a bubble in asset values that, like the residential mortgage market, cannot be sustained by fundamental facts — i.e., real earnings on a real trajectory of growth.

So the PR piece about how they didn’t know what was going on is absurd along with their practices. Such policies don’t start with middle management or employees. They come from the top. And the goal was to create the illusion of a rapidly growing bank so that more people would buy their stock at ever increasing prices. That is what happens when you don’t make the individual members of management liable under criminal and civil laws for engaging in such behavior.

There was only one way that the Bank could achieve its goal of 8 accounts per customer — it had to be done without the knowledge or consent of the customers. Now Wells Fargo is trying to throw 5,000 employees under the bus. But this isn’t the first time that Wells Fargo has arrogantly thrown its customers and employees under the bus.

The creation of financial accounts in the name of a person without that person’s knowledge or consent is identity theft, assuming there was a profit motive. The result is that the person is subjected to false claims of high fees, their credit rating has a negative impact, and they are stuck dealing with as bank so large that most customers feel that they don’t have the resources to do anything once the fraud was discovered by the Consumer Financial protection Board (CFPB).

Creating a loan account for a loan that doesn’t exist is the same thing. In most cases the “loan closings” were shams — a show put on so that the customer would sign documents in which the actual party who loaned the money was left out of the documentation.

This was double fraud because the pension funds and other investors who deposited money with Wells Fargo and the other banks did so under the false understanding that their money would be used to buy Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) issued by a trust with assets consisting of a loan pool.

The truth has emerged — there were no loan pols in the trusts. The entire derivative market for residential “loans” is built on a giant lie.  But the consequences are so large that Government is afraid to do anything about it. Wells Fargo took money from pension funds and other “investors,” but did not give the proceeds of sale of the alleged MBS to the proprietary vehicle they created in the form of a trust.

Hence the trust was never funded and never acquired any property or loans. That means the “mortgage backed securities” were not mortgage backed BUT they were “Securities” under the standard definition such that the SEC should take action against the underwriters who disguised themselves as “master Servicers.”

In order to cover their tracks, Wells Fargo carefully coached their employees to take calls and state that there could be no settlement or modification or any loss mitigation unless the “borrower” was at least 90 days behind in their payments. So people stopped paying an entity that had no right to receive payment — with grave consequences.

The 90 day statement was probably legal advice and certainly a lie. There was no 90 day requirement and there was no legal reason for a borrower to go into a position where the pretender lender could declare a default. The banks were steering as many people, like cattle, into defaults because of coercion by the bank who later deny that they had instructed the borrower to stop making payments.

So Wells Fargo and other investment banks were opening depository accounts for institutional customers under false pretenses, while they opened up loan accounts under false pretenses, and then  used the identity of BOTH “investors” and “borrowers” as a vehicle to steal all the money put up for investments and to make money on the illusion of loans between the payee on the note and the homeowner.

In the end the only document that was legal in thee entire chain was a forced sale and/or judgment of foreclosure. When the deed issues in a forced sale, that creates virtually insurmountable presumptions that everything that preceded the sale was valid, thus changing history.

The residential mortgage loan market was considerably more complex than what Wells Fargo did with the opening of the unwanted commercial accounts but the objective was the same — to make money on their stock and siphon off vast sums of money into off-shore accounts. And the methods, when you boil it all down, were the same. And the arrogant violation of law and trust was the same.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predominant Interest Defines “True Lender”

Based on the totality of the circumstances, the Court concludes that CashCall, not Western Sky, was the true lender. CashCall, and not Western Sky, placed its money at risk. It is undisputed that CashCall deposited enough money into a reserve account to fund two days of loans, calculated on the previous month’s daily average and that Western Sky used this money to fund consumer loans. It is also undisputed CashCall purchased all of Western Sky’s loans, and in fact paid Western Sky more for each loan than the amount actually financed by Western Sky. Moreover, CashCall guaranteed Western Sky a minimum payment of $100,000 per month, as well as a $10,000 monthly administrative fee. Although CashCall waited a minimum of three days after the funding of each loan before purchasing it, it is undisputed that CashCall purchased each and every loan before any payments on the loan had been made. CashCall assumed all economic risks and benefits of the loans immediately upon assignment. CashCall bore the risk of default as well as the regulatory risk. Indeed, CashCall agreed to “fully indemnify Western Sky Financial for all costs arising or resulting from any and all civil, criminal or administrative claims or actions, including but not limited to fines, costs, assessments and/or penalties . . . [and] all reasonable attorneys fees and legal costs associated with a defense of such claim or action.”

Accordingly, the Court concludes that the entire monetary burden and risk of the loan program was placed on CashCall, such that CashCall, and not Western Sky, had the predominant economic interest in the loans and was the “true lender” and real party in interest. [E.S.]

See 8-31-2016-cfpb-v-cash-call-us-dist-ct-cal

Federal District Court Judge John Walter appears to be the first Judge in the nation to drill down into the convoluted “rent-a-bank” (his term, not mine) schemes in which the true lender was hidden from borrowers who then executed documents in favor of an entity that was not in the business of lending them money. This decision hits the bulls eye on the importance of identifying the true lender. Instead of blindly applying legal presumptions under the worst conditions of trustworthiness, this Judge looked deeply at the flawed process by which the “real lender” was operating.

A close reading of this case opens the door to virtually everything I have been writing about on this blog for 10 years. The court also rejects the claim that the documents can force the court to accept the law or venue of another jurisdiction. But the main point is that the court rejected the claim that just because the transactions were papered over doesn’t mean that the paper meant anything. Although it deals with PayDay loans the facts and law are virtually identical to the scheme of “securitization fail” (coined by Adam Levitin).

Those of you who remember my writings about the step transaction doctrine and the single transaction doctrine can now see how substance triumphs over form. And the advice from Eric Holder, former Attorney General under Obama, has come back to mind. He said go after the individuals, not just the corporations. In this case, the Court found that the CFPB case had established liability for the individuals who were calling the shots.

SUMMARY of FACTS: CashCall was renting the name of two banks in order to escape appropriate regulation. When those banks came under pressure from the FDIC, CashCall changed the plan. They incorporated Western Sky on the reservation of an an Indian nation and then claimed they were not subject to normal regulation. This was important because they were charging interest rates over 100% on PayDay loans.

That fact re-introduces the reality of most ARM, teaser and reverse amortization loans — the loans were approved with full knowledge that once the loan reset the homeowner would not be able to afford the payments. That was the plan. Hence the length of the loan term was intentionally misstated which increases the API significantly when the fees, costs and charges are amortized over 6 months rather than 30 years.

Here are some of the salient quotes from the Court:

CashCall paid Western Sky the full amount disbursed to the borrower under the loan agreement plus a premium of 5.145% (either of the principal loan amount or the amount disbursed to the borrower). CashCall guaranteed Western Sky a minimum payment of $100,000 per month, as well as a $10,000 monthly administrative fee. Western Sky agreed to sell the loans to CashCall before any payments had been made by the borrowers. Accordingly, borrowers made all of their loan payments to CashCall, and did not make a single payment to Western Sky. Once Western Sky sold a loan to CashCall, all economic risks and benefits of the transaction passed to CashCall.

CashCall agreed to reimburse Western Sky for any repair, maintenance and update costs associated with Western Sky’s server. CashCall also reimbursed Western Sky for all of its marketing expenses and bank fees, and some, but not all, of its office and personnel costs. In addition, CashCall agreed to “fully indemnify Western Sky Financial for all costs arising or resulting from any and all civil, criminal or administrative claims or actions, including but not limited to fines, costs, assessments and/or penalties . . . [and] all reasonable attorneys fees and legal costs associated with a defense of such claim or action.”

Consumers applied for Western Sky loans by telephone or online. When Western Sky commenced operations, all telephone calls from prospective borrowers were routed to CashCall agents in California.

A borrower approved for a Western Sky loan would electronically sign the loan agreement on Western Sky’s website, which was hosted by CashCall’s servers in California. The loan proceeds would be transferred from Western Sky’s account to the borrower’s account. After a minimum of three days had passed, the borrower would receive a notice that the loan had been assigned to WS Funding, and that all payments on the loan should be made to CashCall as servicer. Charged-off loans were transferred to Delbert Services for collection.

“[t]he law of the state chosen by the parties to govern their contractual rights and duties will be applied, . . ., unless either (a) the chosen state has no substantial relationship to the parties or the transaction and there is no other reasonable basis for the parties’ choice, or (b) application of the law of the chosen state would be contrary to a fundamental policy of a state which has a materially greater interest than the chosen state in the determination of the particular issue and which, under the rule of § 188, would be the state of the applicable law in the absence of an effective choice of law by the parties.”
Restatement § 187(2). The Court concludes that the CRST choice-of-law provision fails both of these tests, and that the law of the borrowers’ home states applies to the loan agreements.

after reviewing all of the relevant case law and authorities cited by the parties, the Court agrees with the CFPB and concludes that it should look to the substance, not the form, of the transaction to identify the true lender. See Ubaldi v. SLM Corp., 852 F. Supp. 2d 1190, 1196 (N.D. Cal. 2012) (after conducting an extensive review of the relevant case law, noting that, “where a plaintiff has alleged that a national bank is the lender in name only, courts have generally looked to the real nature of the loan to determine whether a non-bank entity is the de facto lender”); Eastern v. American West Financial, 381 F.3d 948, 957 (9th Cir. 2004) (applying the de facto lender doctrine under Washington state law, recognizing that “Washington courts consistently look to the substance, not the form, of an allegedly usurious action”); CashCall, Inc. v. Morrisey, 2014 WL 2404300, at *14 (W.Va. May 30, 2014) (unpublished) (looking at the substance, not form, of the transaction to determine if the loan was usurious under West Virginia law); People ex rel. Spitzer v. Cty. Bank of Rehoboth Beach, Del., 846 N.Y.S.2d 436, 439 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007) (“It strikes us that we must look to the reality of the arrangement and not the written characterization that the parties seek to give it, much like Frank Lloyd Wright’s aphorism that “form follows function.”).4 “In short, [the Court] must determine whether an animal which looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is in fact a duck.” In re Safeguard Self-Storage Trust, 2 F.3d 967, 970 (9th Cir. 1993). [Editor Note: This is akin to my pronouncement in 2007-2009 that the mortgages and notes were invalid because they might just as well have named Donald Duck as the payee, mortgagee or beneficiary. Naming a fictional character does not make it real.]

In identifying the true or de facto lender, courts generally consider the totality of the circumstances and apply a “predominant economic interest,” which examines which party or entity has the predominant economic interest in the transaction. See CashCall, Inc. v. Morrisey, 2014 WL 2404300, at *14 (W.D. Va. May 30, 2014) (affirming the lower court’s application of the “predominant economic interest” test to determine the true lender, which examines which party has the predominant economic interest in the loans); People ex rel. Spitzer v. Cty. Bank of Rehoboth Beach, Del., 846 N.Y.S.2d 436, 439 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007) (“Thus, an examination of the totality of the circumstances surrounding this type of business association must be used to determine who is the ‘true lender,’ with the key factor being ‘who had the predominant economic interest’ in the transactions.); cf. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-17-2(b)(4) (“A purported agent shall be considered a de facto lender if the entire circumstances of the transaction show that the purported agent holds, acquires, or maintains a predominant economic interest in the revenues generated by the loan.”).

Although a borrower electronically signed the loan agreement on Western Sky’s website, that website was, in fact, hosted by CashCall’s servers in California. While Western Sky performed loan origination functions on the Reservation, the Court finds these contacts are insufficient to establish that the CRST had a substantial relationship to the parties or the transaction, especially given that CashCall funded and purchased all of the loans and was the true lender. Cf. Ubaldi v. SLM Corp., 2013 WL 4015776, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2013) (“If Plaintiffs’ de facto lender allegations are true, then Oklahoma does not have a substantial relationship to Sallie Mae or Plaintiffs or the loans.”).

The Court concludes that the CFPB has established that the Western Sky loans are void or uncollectible under the laws of most of the Subject States.7 See CFPB’s Combined Statement of Facts [Docket No. 190] (“CFPB’s CSF”) at ¶¶ 147 – 235. Indeed, CashCall has admitted that the interest rates that it charged on Western Sky loans exceeded 80%, which substantially exceeds the maximum usury limits in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and North Carolina. (Arkansas’s usury limit is 17%; Colorado’s usury limit is 12%; Minnesota’s usury limit is 8%; New Hampshire’s usury limit is 36%; New York’s usury limit is 16%; and North Carolina’s usury limit is 8%). A violation of these usury laws either renders the loan agreement void or relieves the borrower of the obligation to pay the usurious charges. In addition, all but one of the sixteen Subject States (Arkansas) require consumer lenders to obtain a license before making loans to consumers who reside there. Lending without a license in these states renders the loan contract void and/or relieves the borrower of the obligation to pay certain charges. CashCall admits that, with the exception of New Mexico and Colorado, it did not hold a license to make loans in the Subject States during at least some of the relevant time periods.

Based on the undisputed facts, the Court concludes that CashCall and Delbert Services engaged in a deceptive practice prohibited by the CFPA. By servicing and collecting on Western Sky loans, CashCall and Delbert Services created the “net impression” that the loans were enforceable and that borrowers were obligated to repay the loans in accordance with the terms of their loan agreements. As discussed supra, that impression was patently false — the loan agreements were void and/or the borrowers were not obligated to pay.

The Court concludes that the false impression created by CashCall’s and Delbert Services’ conduct was likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances

The Court concludes that Reddam is individually liable under the CFPA.

“An individual may be liable for corporate violations if (1) he participated directly in the deceptive acts or had the authority to control them and (2) he had knowledge of the misrepresentations, was recklessly indifferent to the truth or falsity of the misrepresentation, or was aware of a high probability of fraud along with an intentional avoidance of the truth.” Consumer Fin. Prot. Bureau v. Gordon, 819 F.3d 1179, 1193 (9th Cir. 2016) (quotations and citations omitted).

The Court concludes that Reddam both participated directly in and had the authority to control CashCall’s and Delbert Services’ deceptive acts. Reddam is the founder, sole owner, and president of CashCall, the president of CashCall’s wholly-owned subsidiary WS Funding, and the founder, owner, and CEO of Delbert Services. He had the complete authority to approve CashCall’s agreement with Western Sky and, in fact, approved CashCall’s purchase of the Western Sky loans. He signed both the Assignment Agreement and the Service Agreement on behalf of WS Funding and CashCall. In addition, as a key member of CashCall’s executive team, he had the authority to decide whether and when to transfer delinquent CashCall loans to Delbert Services.


So all that said, here is what I wrote to someone who was requesting my opinion: Don’t use this unless and until you (a) match up the facts and (b) confer with counsel:

Debtor initially reported that the property was secured because of (a) claims made by certain parties and (b) the lack of evidence to suggest or believe that the property was not secured. Based upon current information and a continuous flow of new information it is apparent that the originator who was named on the note and deed of trust in fact did not loan any money to petitioner. This is also true as to the party who would be advanced as the “table funded” lender. As the debtor understands the applicable law, if the originator did not actually complete the alleged loan contract by actually making a loan of money, the executed note and mortgage should never have been released, much less recorded. A note and mortgage should have been executed in favor of the “true lender” (see attached case) and NOT the originator, who merely served as a conduit or the conduit who provided the money to the closing table.

Based upon current information, debtor’s narrative of the case is as follows:

  1. an investment bank fabricated documents creating the illusion of a proprietary common law entity
  2. the investment bank used the form of a trust to fabricate the illusion of the common law entity
  3. the investment bank named itself as the party in control under the label “Master Servicer”
  4. the investment bank then created the illusion of mortgage backed securities issued by the proprietary entity named in the fabricated documents
  5. the investment bank then sold these securities under various false pretenses. Only one of those false pretenses appears relevant to the matter at hand — that the proceeds of sale of those “securities” would be used to fund the “Trust” who would then acquire existing mortgage loans. In fact, the “Trust” never became active, never had a bank account, and never had any assets, liabilities or business. The duties of the Trustee never arose because there was nothing in the Trust. Without a res, there is no trust nor any duties to enforce against or by the named “Trustee.”
  6. the investment bank then fabricated documents that appeared facially valid leading to the false conclusion that the Trust acquired loans, including the Petitioner’s loan. Without assets, this was impossible. None of the documents provided by these parties show any such purchase and sale transaction nor any circumstances in which money exchanged hands, making the Trust the owner of the loans. Hence the Trust certainly does not own the subject loan and has no right to enforce or service the loan without naming an alternative creditor who does have ownership of the debt (the note and mortgage being void for lack of completion of the loan contract) and who has entered into a servicing agreement apart from the Trust documents, which don’t apply because the Trust entity was ignored by the parties seeking now to use it.
  7. The money from investors was diverted from the Trusts who issued the “mortgage backed securities” to what is known as a “dynamic dark pool.” Such a pool is characterized by the inability to select both depositors and beneficiaries of withdrawal. It is dynamic because at all relevant times, money was being deposited and money was being withdrawn, all at the direction of the investment bank.
  8. What was originally perceived as a loan from the originator was in fact something else, although putting a label to it is difficult because of the complexity and convolutions used by the investment bank and all of its conduits and intermediaries. The dark pool was not an entity in any legals sense, although it was under the control of the investment bank.
  9. Hence the real chain of events for the money trail is that the investment bank diverted funds from its propriety trust and used part of the funds from investors to fund residential mortgage loans. The document trail is very different because the originator and the conduits behind what might be claimed a “table funded loan” were not in privity with either the investors or the investment bank. Hence it is clear that some liability arose in which the Petitioner owed somebody money at the time that the Petitioner received money or the benefits of money paid on behalf of the Petitioner. That liability might be framed in equity or at law. But in all events the mortgage or deed of trust was executed by the Petitioner by way of false representations about the identity of the lender and false representations regarding the compensation received by all parties, named or not,
  10. The current parties seek to enforce the deed of trust on the false premise that they have derived ownership of the debt, loan, note or mortgage (deed of trust). Their chain is wholly dependent upon whether the originator actually completed the loan contract by loaning the money to the Petitioner. That did not happen; thus the various illusions created by endorsements and assignments convey nothign because the note and mortgage (deed of trust) were in fact void. They were void because the debt was never owned by the originator. hence the signing of the note makes it impossible to merge the debt with the note — an essential part of making the note a legally enforceable negotiable instrument. The mortgage securing performance under the note is equally void since it secures performance of a void instrument. Hence the property is unsecured, even if there is a “John Doe” liability for unjust enrichment, if the creditor can be identified.
  11. The entire thrust of the claims of certain self-proclaimed creditors rests upon reliance on legal presumptions attached to facially valid documents. These same entities have been repeatedly sanctioned, fined and ordered to correct their foreclosure procedures which they have failed and refused to do — because the current process is designed to compound the original theft of investors’ money with the current theft of the debt itself and the subsequent theft of the house, free from claims of either the investors or the homeowner. The investment bank and the myriad of entities that are circulated as if they had powers or rights over the loan, is seeking in this case, as in all other cases in which it has been involved, to get a court judgment or any order that says they own the debt and have the right to enforce the evidence of the debt (note and mortgage).
  12. A Judgment or forced sale is the first legal document in their entire chain of fabricated documentation; but the entry of such a document in public records, creates the presumption, perhaps the conclusive presumption that all prior acts were valid. It is the first document that actually has a legal basis for being in existence. This explains the sharp decline in “workouts’ which have dominated the handling of distressed properties for centuries. Workouts don’t solve the problem for those who have been acting illegally. They must pursue a court order or judgment that appears to ratify all prior activities, legal or not.


Expert Declarations, Affidavits and Testimony

The fundamental problem is that while virtually anyone can be accepted as an expert, the weight given to their testimony is zero. The reason is simple. The author most often lacks any traditional credentials other than experience as a “forensic analyst” and their work product sounds pretty good to the homeowner but sounds like advocacy to the court, presented in confused form. Such “experts” should stay away from opinions on ultimate facts or law of the case and stick with the evidence — or absence of evidence — despite all their work in attempting to dig out the truth. Then they would be taken seriously. Until then, most experts will have little or no effect on most of the cases for which they were hired.


I have consistently stated in my expert witness seminars, writings and appearances that forensic analysts must be very careful NOT to call themselves experts in fields for which they lack qualifications and that it is far better to stay away from opinion evidence, which sounds like advocacy and lacks credibility, and stick with the facts that when presented carefully, might indeed hold sway with a court.I would add that for each time a forensic analyst gives testimony, there should also be n accountant who says “Yes, he/she used the correct standards.”
At this point most work done by most forensic analysts is between good and excellent —  but for their presentation — or at least that part that contains advocacy and opinions. Most have zero qualifications to really give opinions except MAYBE on the weight or quality of evidence. Their testimony has been thrown out of court or rejected because of this.

They would do much better by presenting FACTUAL findings as a forensic analyst and then applying instructions from counsel, answering the questions posed to them. Their graphs are meaningless to anyone other than people like me who already know the details. The Judges do not give any weight to such graphs and drawings because it comes off as advocacy instead of an independent expert.

They should state their qualifications which CAN include experience. Then they should state what questions have been posed to them. Then state the simple answer to the question. Then state the factual reason for the answer — something besides “everyone knows” or “it’s on the internet.”

The “expert” witness should state the work performed in coming to THAT SPECIFIC ANSWER. Don’t cross the line regularly into opinion evidence for which the witness has no qualifications to render an opinion — generally the witness is not an expert in banking practices, underwriting practices for loans or issuance of securities, bond trading, title, law, or accounting. If these witnesses would remove opinions their presentation would be much improved.

The way you get around opinions is to ask the right question. Instead of an opinion of who owns what loan, which the “expert” is not qualified to give they can still contribute without doing any different work. The witness  should be asked a question like “can you find any evidence to support the claim of XYZ that they are the owner of this loan?” or “Can you find any evidence that would identify the creditor in this transaction?” Then he/she could answer no, and tell the story about what standards were used, how and why those standards were applied, how he/she was given those standards to use, and how he/she tried to find the evidence but could not locate it and his/her opinion, as a forensic analyst for many years, that he/she has looked in all the places where one would expect to find such evidence. She therefore has concluded that notwithstanding the assertions of the XYZ company, there is no such evidence that would pass muster in the real world — in either a legal or accounting setting.

She could refer to the auditing standards of the FASB as what she used for guidance. Everything must be based upon some accepted standard. There is plenty of material there that says that what the banks are using in court is not acceptable in performing an audit and giving a clear opinion that the financial statements fairly represent the financial condition of the entity or their interest in an entity. Testimony from a CPA who performs audits verifying that the auditing standards she used were correct would go along way to giving the witness credibility.

Call 202-838-6345 for consult to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.



Forbes: Fannie, Freddie Could Need as Much as $126 Billion in Crisis


“[It was] the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament which has caused in the colonies hatred of the English and . . . the Revolutionary War.” – Benjamin Franklin

Fannie and Freddie have reportedly been cash-cows for the federal government who have allegedly held the quasi-governmental guarantors hostage during eight-years of government receivership.   Fannie and Freddie have returned to the Treasury over $60 billion more than they received in the bailout. But the amount they owe to the government remains outstanding.  It is likely that the tax payer is being prepped to dole out another bail-out for the profitable GSE’s that insure trusts that are empty or no longer exist.

Fannie and Freddie are antiquated dinosaurs that contributed to the foreclose melt-down.  As nothing more than guarantors for empty trusts, they routinely attempt to foreclose on homes they don’t own and loans that failed to exist years ago.  The GSE’s business model is to hire servicers to fabricate documents to create the illusion of ownership so they can foreclose.

The true GSE story is yet to be told, but why would two profitable corporations need bailouts?  Where have all the profits from the past seven years gone?  One thing is assured, the federal government couldn’t operate a worm farm even with the best worm cultivators in the world consulting.

By Joe Light

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could need as much as $125.8 billion in bailout money from taxpayers in a severe economic downturn, according to stress test results released Monday by their regulator.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that the government-controlled companies, which back nearly half of new mortgages, would need at least $49.2 billion.

The annual test, required by the Dodd-Frank Act, is likely to be used both by proponents of allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to build capital and by those who think there’s not an urgent need for the government to take that move.

 Under the terms of the companies’ bailout agreements, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must send nearly all of their profits to the U.S. Treasury and wind down their capital buffers until they reach zero dollars in 2018. After that point, any loss at either company would require a draw from taxpayers.

Rescue Funds

 Monday’s stress test results showed that the funds that the U.S. Treasury Department is authorized to use in a bailout are more than enough to cover the billions that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would likely lose in a crisis. The companies would have between $132.2 billion and $208.9 billion in available bailout money from the Treasury after the period of financial duress passed, according to FHFA.

The stress tests assumed an extreme adverse scenario, designed by the Federal Reserve, in which real U.S. gross domestic product dove 6.25 percent by the first quarter of next year, unemployment doubled to 10 percent by the third quarter of 2017 and inflation rose to 1.9 percent.

“A stress test for an entity that is not allowed to retain capital is an exercise in stupidity,” Tim Pagliara, chief executive officer of CapWealth Advisors, said in an e-mail.  “The only way you can fix it is to retain capital.”

Pagliara is also head of Investors Unite, a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder group.

‘Serious Risk’

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders, wrap them into securities and make guarantees to investors in case borrowers default. The companies have been in a conservatorship helmed by the FHFA since 2008 and received $187.5 billion in bailout money from the U.S. Treasury.

Last week, Fannie Mae reported a profit of $2.9 billion for the second quarter, while Freddie Mac reported a profit of $993 million. Freddie Mac has reported a loss in two of the past four quarters.

FHFA Director Melvin Watt in a February speech warned that the companies’ falling capital buffers could one day cause investors to doubt their guarantees of mortgage-backed securities. Such uncertainty would cause mortgage rates to go up.

“The most serious risk and the one that has the most potential for escalating in the future is the enterprises’ lack of capital,” Watt said.

Was There a Loan Contract?

In addition to defrauding the borrower whose signature will be copied and fabricated for dozens of “sales” of loans and securities deriving their value from a nonexistent loan contract, this distorted practice does two things: (a) it cheats investors out of their assumed and expected interest in nonexistent mortgage loan contracts and  (b) it leaves “borrowers” in a parallel universe where they can never know the identity of their actual creditor — a phenomenon created when the proceeds of sales of MBS were never paid into trust for a defined set of investors.  The absence of the defined set of investors is the reason why bank lawyers fight so hard to make such disclosures “irrelevant” in courts of law.

The important fact that is often missed is that the “warehouse” lender was neither a warehouse nor a lender. Like the originator it is a layer of anonymity in the lending process that is used as a conduit for the funding received by the “borrower.”

None of the real parties who funded the transaction had any knowledge about the transaction to which their funds were committed. The nexus between the investors and/or REMIC Trust and the original loan SHOULD have been accomplished by the Trust purchasing the loan — an event that never occurred. And this is why fabricated, forged documents are used in foreclosures — to cover over the fact that there was no purchase and sale of the loan by the Trust and to cover up the fact that investors’ money was used in ways directly contrary to their interests and their agreement with the bogus REMIC Trusts whose bogus securities were purchased by investors.

In the end the investors were left to rely on the unscrupulous investment bank that issued the bogus MBS to somehow create a nexus between the investors and the alleged loans that were funded, if at all, by the direct infusion of investors’ capital and NOT by the REMIC Trust.


also see comments below from Dan Edstrom, senior securitization analyst for LivingLies

David Belanger recently sent out an email explaining in his words the failed securitization process that sent our economy into a toxic spiral that continues, unabated, to weaken our ability to recover from the removal of capital from the most important source of spending and purchasing in our economy. This was an epic redistribution of wealth from the regular guy to a handful of “bankers” who were not really acting as bankers.

His email article is excellent and well worth reading a few times. He nails the use of remote conduits that have nothing to do with any loan transaction, much less a loan contract. The only thing I would add is the legal issue of the relationship between this information and the ability to rescind.

Rescission is available ONLY if there is something to rescind — and that has traditionally been regarded as a loan contract. If there is no loan contract, as Belanger asserts (and I agree) then there is nothing to rescind. But if the “transaction” can be rescinded because it is an implied contract between the source of funds and the alleged borrower, then rescission presumably applies.

Second, there is the question of what constitutes a “warehouse” lender. By definition if there is a warehouse lending contract in which the originator has liabilities or risk exposure to losses on the loans originated, then the transaction would appear to be properly represented by the loan documents executed by the borrower, although the absence of a signature from the originator presents a problem for “consummation” of the loan contract.

But, as suggested by the article if the “warehouse lender” was merely a conduit for funds from an undisclosed third party, then it is merely a sham entity in the chain. And if the originator has no exposure to risk of loss then it merely acted as sham conduit also, or paid originator or broker. This scenario is described in detail in Belanger’s article (see below) and we can see that in practice, securitization was distorted at several points — one of which was the presumption that an unauthroized party (contrary to disclosure and representations during the loan “approval” and loan  “closing”) was inserted as “lender” when it loaned no money. Yet the originator’s name was inserted as payee on the note or mortgagee on the mortgage.

All of this brings us to the question of whether judges are right — that the contract is consummated at the time that the borrower affixes his or her signature. It is my opinion that this view is erroneous and presents moral hazard and roadblock to enforcing the rights of disclosure of the parties, terms and compensation of the people and entities arising out of the “origination” of the loan.

If judges are right, then the borrower can only claim breach of contract for failure to loan money in accordance with the disclosures required by TILA. And the “borrower’s” ability to rescind within 3 days has been virtually eliminated as many of the loans were at least treated as though they had been “sold” to third parties who posed as warehouse lenders who in turn “sold” the loan to even more remote parties, none of which were the purported REMIC Trusts. Those alleged REMIC Trusts were a smokescreen — sham entities that didn’t even serve as conduits — left without any capital, contrary to the terms of the Trust agreement and the representations of the seller of mortgage backed securities by these Trusts who had no business, assets, liabilities, income, expenses or even a bank account.

If judges are right that the contract is consummated even without a loan from from the party identified as “lender” then they are ruling contrary to the  Federal requirements of lending disclosures and in many states in violation of fair lending laws.

There is an outcome of erroneous rulings from the bench in which the basic elements of contract are ignored in order to give banks a favorable result, to wit: the marketplace for business is now functioning under a rule of people instead of the rule of law. It is now an apparently legal business plan where the object is to capture the signature of a consumer and use that signature for profit is dozens of ways contrary to every representation and disclosure made at the time of application and “closing” of the transaction.

As Belanger points out, without consideration it is black letter law backed by centuries of common law that for a contract to be formed and therefore enforceable it must fit the four legs of a stool — offer, acceptance of the terms offered, consideration from the first party to the alleged loan transaction and consideration from the second party. The consideration from the “lender”can ONLY be payment to fund the loan. If the originator does it with their own funds or credit, then they have probably satisfied the requirement of consideration.

But if a third party supplied the consideration for the “loan” AND that third party has no contractual nexus with the “originator” or alleged “warehouse lender”then the requirement of consideration from the “originator” is not and cannot be met. In addition to defrauding the borrower whose signature will be copied and fabricated for dozens of “sales” of loans and securities deriving their value from a nonexistent loan contract, this distorted practice does two things: (a) it cheats investors out of their assumed and expected interest in nonexistent mortgage loan contracts and  (b) it leaves “borrowers” in a parallel universe where they can never know the identity of their actual creditor — a phenomenon created when the proceeds of sales of MBS were never paid into trust for a defined set of investors.

David Belanger’s Email article follows, unabridged:








Tonight we have a rebroadcast of a segment from Episode 15 with a guest who is a recent ex-patriot from 17 years in the mortgage banking industry… Scot started out as a escrow agent doing closings, then advanced to mortgage loan officer, processor, underwriter, branch manager, mortgage broker and loss mitigator for the banks. Interestingly, he says,

“Looking back on my career I don’t believe any mortgage closing that I was involved in was ever consummated.”
Tonight Scot will be covering areas relating to:

1 lack of disclosure and consideration
2 substitution of true mortgage contracting partner
3 unfunded loan agreements
4 non-existent trusts
5 securitization of your note and bifurcation of the security interest and
6 how to identify and prove the non-existence of the so-called trust named in an assignment which may be coming after you to foreclose


so lets look at what happen a the closing of the mortgage CONTRACT SHELL WE.




3/ Offer and acceptance , Consideration,= SO HOMEOWNERS SIGN A MORTGAGE AND NOTE, IN CONSIDERATION of the said lender’s promises to pay the homeowner for said signing of the mortgage and note.







. A finding of misrepresentation allows for a remedy of rescission and sometimes damages depending on the type of misrepresentation.






5300 South 360 West, Suite 250

Salt Lake City, Utah 84123

Telephone (801) 264-1060

February 20, 2009


U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Division of Corporation Finance

100 F Street, N. E., Mail Stop 4561

Washington, D. C. 20549

Attn: Sharon M. Blume

Assistant Chief Accountant

Re: Security National Financial Corporation

Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2007

Form 10-Q for Fiscal Quarter Ended June 30, 2008

File No. 0-9341

Dear Ms. Blume:

Security National Financial Corporation (the “Company”) hereby supplements its responses to its previous response letters dated January 15, 2009, November 6, 2008 and October 9, 2008. These supplemental responses are provided as additional information concerning the Company’s mortgage loan operations and the appropriate accounting that the Company follows in connection with such operations.

The Company operates its mortgage loan operations through its wholly owned subsidiary, Security National Mortgage Company (“SNMC”). SNMC currently has 29 branch offices across

the continental United States and Hawaii. Each office has personnel who are qualified to solicit and underwrite loans that are submitted to SNMC by a network of mortgage brokers. Loan files submitted to SNMC are underwritten pursuant to third-party investor guidelines and are approved to fund after all documentation and other investor-established requirements are determined to meet the criteria for a saleable loans. (e.s.) Loan documents are prepared in the name of SNMC and then sent to the title company handling the loan transactions for signatures from the borrowers. Upon signing the documents, requests are then sent to the warehouse bank involved in the transaction to submit funds to the title company to pay for the settlement. All loans funded by warehouse banks are committed to be purchased (settled) by third-party investors under pre-established loan purchase commitments. The initial recordings of the deeds of trust (the mortgages) are made in the name of SNMC. (e.s.)

Soon after the loan funding, the deeds of trust are assigned, using the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (“MERS”), which is the standard in the industry for recording subsequent transfers in title, and the promissory notes are endorsed in blank to the warehouse bank that funded the loan. The promissory notes and the deeds of trust are then forwarded to the warehouse bank. The warehouse bank funds approximately 96% of the mortgage loans to the title company and the remainder (known in the industry as the “haircut”) is funded by the Company. The Company records a receivable from the third-party investor for the portion of the mortgage loans the Company has funded and for mortgage fee income earned by SNMC. The receivable from the third-party investor is unsecured inasmuch as neither the Company nor its subsidiaries retain any interest in the mortgage loans. (e.s.)

Conditions for Revenue Recognition

Pursuant to paragraph 9 of SFAS 140, a transfer of financial assets (or a portion of a financial asset) in which the transferor surrenders control over those financial assets shall be accounted as a sale to the extent that consideration other than beneficial interests in the transferred assets is received in exchange. The transferor has surrendered control over transferred assets if and only if all of the following conditions are met:


(a) The transferred assets have been isolated from the transferor―placed presumptively beyond the reach of the transferor and its creditors, even in bankruptcy or other receivership.

SNMC endorses the promissory notes in blank, assigns the deeds of trust through MERS and forwards these documents to the warehouse bank that funded the loan. Therefore, the transferred mortgage loans are isolated from the Company. The Company’s management is confident that the transferred mortgage loans are beyond the reach of the Company and its creditors. (e.s.)

(b) Each transferee (or, if the transferee is a qualified SPE, each holder of its beneficial interests) has the right to pledge or exchange the assets (or beneficial interests) it received, and no

condition restricts the transferee (or holder) from taking advantage of its right to pledge or exchange and provides more than a trivial benefit to the transferor.

The Company does not have any interest in the promissory notes or the underlying deeds of trust because of the steps taken in item (a) above. The Master Purchase and Repurchase Agreements (the “Purchase Agreements”) with the warehouse banks allow them to pledge the promissory notes as collateral for borrowings by them and their entities. Under the Purchase Agreements, the warehouse banks have agreed to sell the loans to the third-party investors; however, the warehouse banks hold title to the mortgage notes and can sell, exchange or pledge the mortgage loans as they choose. The Purchase Agreements clearly indicate that the purchaser, the warehouse bank, and seller confirm that the transactions contemplated herein are intended to be sales of the mortgage loans by seller to purchaser rather than borrowings secured by the mortgage loans. In the event that the third-party investors do not purchase or settle the loans from the warehouse banks, the warehouse banks have the right to sell or exchange the mortgage loans to the Company or to any other entity. Accordingly, the Company believes this requirement is met.

(c) The transferor does not maintain effective control over the transferred asset through either an agreement that entitles both entities and obligates the transferor to repurchase or redeem them before their maturity or the ability to unilaterally cause the holder to return the specific assets, other than through a cleanup call.

The Company maintains no control over the mortgage loans sold to the warehouse banks, and, as stated in the Purchase Agreements, the Company is not entitled to repurchase the mortgage loans. In addition, the Company cannot unilaterally cause a warehouse bank to return a specific loan. The warehouse bank can require the Company to repurchase mortgage loans not settled by the third-party investors, but this conditional obligation does not provide effective control over the mortgage loans sold. Should the Company want a warehouse bank to sell a mortgage loan to a different third-party investor, the warehouse bank would impose its own conditions prior to agreeing to the change, including, for instance, that the original intended third-party investor return the promissory note to the warehouse bank. Accordingly, the Company believes that it does not maintain effective control over the transferred mortgage loans and that it meets this transfer of control criteria.

The warehouse bank and not the Company transfers the loan to the third-party investor at the date it is settled. The Company does not have an unconditional obligation to repurchase the loan from the warehouse bank nor does the Company have any rights to purchase the loan. Only in the situation where the third-party investor does not settle and purchase the loan from the warehouse bank does the Company have a conditional obligation to repurchase the loan. Accordingly, the Company believes that it meets the criteria for recognition of mortgage fee income under SFAS 140 when the loan is funded by the warehouse bank and, at that date, the Company records an unsecured receivable from the investor for the portion of the loan funded by the Company, which is typically 4% of the face amount of the loan, together with the broker and origination fee income.


Loans Repurchased from Warehouse Banks

Historically, 99% of all mortgage loans are settled with investors. In the process of settling a loan, the Company may take up to six months to pursue remediation of an unsettled loan. There are situations when the Company determines that it is unable to enforce the settlement of a loan by the third-party investor and that it is in the Company’s best interest to repurchase the loan from the warehouse bank. Any previously recorded mortgage fee income is reversed in the period the loan was repurchased.

When the Company repurchases a loan, it is recorded at the lower of cost or market. Cost is equal to the amount paid to the warehouse bank and the amount originally funded by the Company. Market value is often difficult to determine for this type of loan and is estimated by the Company. The Company never estimates market value to exceed the unpaid principal balance on the loan. The market value is also supported by the initial loan underwriting documentation and collateral. The Company does not hold the loan as available for sale but as held to maturity and carries the loan at amortized cost. Any loan that subsequently becomes delinquent is evaluated by the Company at that time and any allowances for impairment are adjusted accordingly.

This will supplement our earlier responses to clarify that the Company repurchased the $36,291,000 of loans during 2007 and 2008 from the warehouse banks and not from third-party investors. The amounts paid to the warehouse banks and the amounts originally funded by the Company, exclusive of the mortgage fee income that was reversed, were classified as the cost of the investment in the mortgage loans held for investment.

The Company uses two allowance accounts to offset the reversal of mortgage fee income and for the impairment of loans. The allowance for reversal of mortgage fee income is carried on the balance sheet as a liability and the allowance for impairment of loans is carried as a contra account net of our investment in mortgage loans. Management believes the allowance for reversal of mortgage fee income is sufficient to absorb any losses of income from loans that are not settled by third-party investors. The Company is currently accruing 17.5 basis points of the principal amount of mortgage loans sold, which increased by 5.0 basis points during the latter part of 2007 and remained at that level during 2008.

The Company reviewed its estimates of collectability of receivables from broker and origination fee income during the fourth quarter of 2007, in view of the market turmoil discussed in the following paragraph and the fact that several third-party investors were attempting to back out of their commitments to buy (settle) loans, and the Company determined that it could still reasonably estimate the collectability of the mortgage fee income. However, the Company determined that it needed to increase its allowance for reversal of mortgage fee income as stated in the preceding paragraph.

Effect of Market Turmoil on Sales and Settlement of Mortgage Loans

As explained in previous response letters, the Company and the warehouse banks typically settle mortgage loans with third-party investors within 16 days of the closing and funding of the loans. However, beginning in the first quarter of 2007, there was a lot of market turmoil for mortgage backed securities. Initially, the market turmoil was primarily isolated to sub-prime mortgage loan originations. The Company originated less than 0.5% of its mortgage loans using this product during 2006 and the associated market turmoil did not have a material effect on the Company.

As 2007 progressed, however, the market turmoil began to expand into mortgage loans that were classified by the industry as Alt A and Expanded Criteria. The Company’s third-party investors, including Lehman Brothers (Aurora Loan Services) and Bear Stearns (EMC Mortgage Corp.), began to have difficulty marketing Alt A and Expanded Criteria loans to the secondary markets. Without notice, these investors changed their criteria for loan products and refused to settle loans underwritten by the Company that met these investor’s previous specifications. As stipulated in the agreements with the warehouse banks, the Company was conditionally required to repurchase loans from the warehouse banks that were not settled by the third-party investors.


Beginning in early 2007, without prior notice, these investors discontinued purchasing Alt A and Expanded Criteria loans. Over the period from April 2007 through May 2008, the warehouse banks had purchased approximately $36.2 million of loans that had met the investor’s previous criteria but were rejected by the investor in complete disregard of their contractual commitments. Although the Company pursued its rights under the investor contracts, the Company was unsuccessful due to the investors’ financial problems and could not enforce the loan purchase contracts. As a result of its conditional repurchase obligation, the Company repurchased these loans from the warehouse banks and reversed the mortgage fee income associated with the loans on the date of repurchase from the warehouse banks. The loans were classified to the long-term mortgage loan portfolio beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

Relationship with Warehouse Banks

As previously stated, the Company is not unconditionally obligated to repurchase mortgage loans from the warehouse banks. The warehouse banks purchase the loans with the commitment from the third-party investors to settle the loans from the warehouse banks. Accordingly, the Company does not make an entry to reflect the amount paid by the warehouse bank when the mortgage loans are funded. Upon sale of the loans to the warehouse bank, the Company only records the receivables for the brokerage and origination fees and the amount the Company paid at the time of funding.

Interest in Repurchased Loans

Once a mortgage loan is repurchased, it is immediately transferred to mortgage loans held for investment (or should have been) as the Company makes no attempts to sell these loans

to other investors at this time. Any efforts to find a replacement investor are made prior to repurchasing the loan from the warehouse bank. The Company makes no effort to remarket the loan after it is repurchased.


In connection with the Company’s responses to the comments, the Company hereby acknowledges as follows:

· The Company is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the disclosure in the filing;

· The staff comments or changes to disclosure in response to staff comments do not foreclose the Commission from taking any action with respect to the filing; and

· The Company may not assert staff comments as defense in any proceeding initiated by the Commission or any person under the Federal Securities Laws of the United States.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (801) 264-1060 or (801) 287-8171.

Very truly yours,

/s/ Stephen M. Sill

Stephen M. Sill, CPA

Vice President, Treasurer and

Chief Financial Officer

Contract law

Part of the common law series

Contract formation

Offer and acceptance Posting rule Mirror image rule Invitation to treat Firm offer Consideration Implication-in-fact

Defenses against formation

Lack of capacity Duress Undue influence Illusory promise Statute of frauds Non est factum

Contract interpretation

Parol evidence rule Contract of adhesion Integration clause Contra proferentem

Excuses for non-performance

Mistake Misrepresentation Frustration of purpose Impossibility Impracticability Illegality Unclean hands Unconscionability Accord and satisfaction

Rights of third parties

Privity of contract Assignment Delegation Novation Third-party beneficiary

Breach of contract

Anticipatory repudiation Cover Exclusion clause Efficient breach Deviation Fundamental breach


Specific performance Liquidated damages Penal damages Rescission

Quasi-contractual obligations

Promissory estoppel Quantum meruit

Related areas of law

Conflict of laws Commercial law

Other common law areas

Tort law Property law Wills, trusts, and estates Criminal law Evidence

Such defenses operate to determine whether a purported contract is either (1) void or (2) voidable. Void contracts cannot be ratified by either party. Voidable contracts can be ratified.


Main article: Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation means a false statement of fact made by one party to another party and has the effect of inducing that party into the contract. For example, under certain circumstances, false statements or promises made by a seller of goods regarding the quality or nature of the product that the seller has may constitute misrepresentation. A finding of misrepresentation allows for a remedy of rescission and sometimes damages depending on the type of misrepresentation.

There are two types of misrepresentation: fraud in the factum and fraud in inducement. Fraud in the factum focuses on whether the party alleging misrepresentation knew they were creating a contract. If the party did not know that they were entering into a contract, there is no meeting of the minds, and the contract is void. Fraud in inducement focuses on misrepresentation attempting to get the party to enter into the contract. Misrepresentation of a material fact (if the party knew the truth, that party would not have entered into the contract) makes a contract voidable.

According to Gordon v Selico [1986] it is possible to misrepresent either by words or conduct. Generally, statements of opinion or intention are not statements of fact in the context of misrepresentation.[68] If one party claims specialist knowledge on the topic discussed, then it is more likely for the courts to hold a statement of opinion by that party as a statement of fact.[69]

Such defenses operate to determine whether a purported contract is either (1) void or (2) voidable. Void contracts cannot be ratified by either party. Voidable contracts can be ratified.


Main article: Misrepresentation
Misrepresentation means a false statement of fact made by one party to another party and has the effect of inducing that party into the contract. For example, under certain circumstances, false statements or promises made by a seller of goods regarding the quality or nature of the product that the seller has may constitute misrepresentation. A finding of misrepresentation allows for a remedy of rescission and sometimes damages depending on the type of misrepresentation.

There are two types of misrepresentation: fraud in the factum and fraud in inducement. Fraud in the factum focuses on whether the party alleging misrepresentation knew they were creating a contract. If the party did not know that they were entering into a contract, there is no meeting of the minds, and the contract is void. Fraud in inducement focuses on misrepresentation attempting to get the party to enter into the contract. Misrepresentation of a material fact (if the party knew the truth, that party would not have entered into the contract) makes a contract voidable.
According to Gordon v Selico [1986] it is possible to misrepresent either by words or conduct. Generally, statements of opinion or intention are not statements of fact in the context of misrepresentation.[68] If one party claims specialist knowledge on the topic discussed, then it is more likely for the courts to hold a statement of opinion by that party as a statement of fact.[69]


Comments from Dan Edstrom:

My understanding in California (and probably most other states) is the signature(s) were put on the note and security instrument and passed to the (escrow) agent for delivery only upon the performance of the specific instructions included in the closing instructions. The homeowner(s) did not manifest a present intent to transfer the documents or title….   Delivery was not possible until the agent followed instructions 100% (specific performance).  Their appears to be a presumption of delivery that should be rebutted. In California the test for an effective delivery is the writing passed with the deed (but only if delivery is put at issue).
Here is a quote from an appeal in CA:
We first examine the legal effectiveness of the Greggs deed. Legal delivery of a deed revolves around the intent of the grantor. (Osborn v. Osborn (1954) 42 Cal.2d 358, 363-364.) Where the grantor’s only instructions concerning the transaction are in writing, “`the effect of the transaction depends upon the true construction of the writing. It is in other words a pure question of law whether there was an absolute delivery or not.’ [Citation.]” (Id. at p. at p. 364.) As explained by the Supreme Court, “Where a deed is placed in the hands of a third person, as an escrow, with an agreement between the grantor and grantee that it shall not be delivered to the grantee until he has complied with certain conditions, the grantee does not acquire any title to the land, nor is he entitled to a delivery of the deed until he has strictly complied with the conditions. If he does not comply with the conditions when required, or refuses to comply, the escrow-holder cannot make a valid delivery of the deed to him. [Citations.]” (Promis v. Duke (1929) 208 Cal. 420, 425.) Thus, if the escrow holder does deliver the deed before the buyer complies with the seller’s instructions to the escrow, such purported delivery conveys no title to the buyer. (Montgomery v. Bank of America (1948) 85 Cal.App.2d 559, 563; see also Borgonovo v. Henderson (1960) 182 Cal.App.2d 220, 226-228 [purported assignment of note deposited into escrow held invalid, where maker instructed escrow holder to release note only upon deposit of certain sum of money by payee].)
In most cases I have seen the closing instructions state there can be no encumbrances except the new note and security instrument in favor of {the payee of the note}…
Some of the issues with this (encumbrances) would be who provided the actual escrow funding, topre-existing agreements, the step transaction and single transaction doctrines, MERS, payoffs of previous mortgages (to a lender of record), reconveyance (to a lender of record), etc…
Dan Edstrom

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