Big US Banks Make Laughable Excuses for Preserving Failed Universal Bank Model

In today’s lead story at the Financial Times, Big US banks defy calls that they should be broken up, American megabanks make clear that they don’t think much of the financial savvy of investors or the business press. In quarterly earning calls, bank analysts were pressing executives on the news reports that former Goldman exec, now director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn told senators last week told a group of senators that he was in favor of Glass-Steagall break-up-the-banks style legislation.

Our comments:

Wake me up when this gets serious. Cohn made it clear that he supported a breakup bill. While Trump has also said he wanted to revive Glass-Steagall, he didn’t say that very often on the campaign trail and there are many things he did say often and pretty consistently, like questioning why the US is carrying so much of the cost of NATO, he’s either reversed himself or is now backing a weak-tea version that his base regards as a sellout, such as Trump’s promises about NAFTA. Plus any Glass-Steagall type bill gets passed only over rabid anti-regulation House Financial Services committee chairman Jeb Hensarling’s dead body.

Don’t buy Jamie Dimon’s Brooklyn Bridge. Big complicated banks are not good for investors, no matter how much banks put their hands on their hearts and try to convince you otherwise. Here was the argument, per the pink paper:

The biggest banks in America are defying calls to break themselves up, arguing that the benefits of size and diversity were on display during a very mixed set of first-quarter results.

At JPMorgan Chase, finance chief Marianne Lake said on Thursday that the bank’s universal model was a “source of strength” for the broader economy, as she unveiled a 20 per cent drop in quarterly profits from consumer banking.

In the investment-banking part of the business, however, profits were up 64 per cent from a bleak period a year ago, boosted by a surge in bond trading and plenty of sales of debt and equity by big companies.

Anyone with proper finance training can tell you this is nonsense. Investors should be making portfolio diversification choices, not corporate execs asserting “synergy” on their behalf. Investors love earnings streams that are not much or better yet negatively correlated with the stock market; that’s one of the reasons they were willing to pay hedgies their inflated management and carry fees. Hedge funds promised returns that didn’t synch with stock market averages. When that proved to be less and less true and the results weren’t so hot generally, investors started beating a major retreat from the strategy.

If banks have all sorts of interesting return profiles hidden away in their various business lines, it would be much better in terms of the overall returns for investors owning those stocks to break them up.1

However, big complicated banks are good for securities analysts, since the complexity gives them more to do and thus creates the appearance that they are adding value to investors. So don’t expect any critical scrutiny of this bank PR from them.

The idea that bigger banks are better is a flat-out canard that we’ve debunked regularly since the inception of this site. Suffice it to say that every study ever done of US banks shows that they have a slightly negative cost curve once a certain asset size threshold is passed. Translation: bigger banks are actually have higher expenses per dollar of bank assets than smaller banks.

Now you might say, “But what about those bank mergers where they fire lots of people! Doesn’t that prove bank consolidation saves costs?”

No. The cost curve issue means the banks that were combined could have gotten those expenses lowered all on their own, and maybe some more. However, mergers provide an excuse to do what managements normally are too nice or too lazy to do, which is get ruthless about headcount.

Finally, the one real synergy is one that is dangerous to the public: the use of bank deposits to fund derivatives. Yes, Virginia, a whole lot of derivatives are booked in bank depositaries. For instance, to a bit of outcry, in 2011, Bank of America moved derivatives from Merrill Lynch into Bank of America NA. And why was that? The banking subsidiary had a better credit rating, meaning lower costs, because that’s where the deposits sat. As we wrote at the time:

Even though I’ve expressed my doubts as to whether Dodd Frank resolutions will work, dumping derivatives into depositaries pretty much guarantees a Dodd Frank resolution will fail. Remember the effect of the 2005 bankruptcy law revisions: derivatives counterparties are first in line, they get to grab assets first and leave everyone else to scramble for crumbs. So this move amounts to a direct transfer from derivatives counterparties of Merrill to the taxpayer, via the FDIC, which would have to make depositors whole after derivatives counterparties grabbed collateral. It’s well nigh impossible to have an orderly wind down in this scenario. You have a derivatives counterparty land grab and an abrupt insolvency. Lehman failed over a weekend after JP Morgan grabbed collateral.

But it’s even worse than that. During the savings & loan crisis, the FDIC did not have enough in deposit insurance receipts to pay for the Resolution Trust Corporation wind-down vehicle. It had to get more funding from Congress. This move paves the way for another TARP-style shakedown of taxpayers, this time to save depositors. No Congressman would dare vote against that.

And in case you think I’m exaggerating, the FDIC objected to the move, but the Fed took the position that it would “give relief” to the bank holding company. Bank of America took the position it has the authority to make this move, and since JP Morgan then had 99% of the notional value of its $79 trillion of derivatives booked in its depositary, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, there was ample precedent. 2

And as we’ve also written regularly, over the counter derivatives are the biggest source of interconnected among too-big-too-fail banks. So getting derivatives out of depositaries would shrink the derivatives market by making them more costly and reduce systemic risk.

Keep your eye on the ball of the real reason for bankers wanting ginormous banks: executive pay. Bank CEO and C-suite pay is a function of bank size and complexity. Simpler, smaller banks mean much less egregiously paid top brass.

Thus bear in mind the incentives for banks to bulk up: The bank that buys another bank gets to pay everyone at the top more, and the execs of the gobbled-up bank get huge consolation prizes. And all sorts of other people are feeding at the trough too: merger & acquisition professionals, lawyers, accountants, and all sorts of consultants and integration specialists. Our reader Clive will probably tell you the folks that have it the worst who still stay on the payroll are the people in IT.

Fortunately, even without all understanding the sordid details, the great unwashed public understands that overly large banks are hard to unwind and will therefore always be propped up, and separately exercise too much political power. But whether popular support will ever become important to Trump is very much in doubt.

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1 Absent, of course, breakup costs, but don’t expect banks to give you an honest idea about that if the threat starts looking more serious.

2 Yes, most of these are plain vanilla swaps. But still, no subsidy of this sort is warranted. Taxpayers should not be backstopping capital markets activities.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/big-us-banks-make-laughable-excuses-for-preserving-failed-universal-bank-model.html

Bill Black: A Letter to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger about Hiring Proven Whistleblowers

Lambert here: One of those sensible measures that just never seems to happen…

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a summary of a study of “desired director traits.”

A survey of 369 supervisory directors from 12 countries by search and advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates asked which behaviors they thought are most important to creating a board culture that drives effectiveness and company performance.

The Ideal Director’s Traits

The study found that the five most highly valued traits in a director are, in descending order:

  • Courage
  • Willing to constructively challenge management
  • Sound business judgment
  • Asking the right questions
  • Maintaining an independent perspective and avoiding “group think”

The first two traits are essentially the same – courage. Traits three through five are closely related to each other. The fifth has an element of courage as well, the courage to fend off “group think” and the CEO’s views and maintain an “independent perspective.”

Reality: CEOs Want Directors Who are “Sedated Chihuahuas”

I confess that I do not believe the study about the ideal director. More precisely, I do not believe that CEOs think directors with these traits are ideal. Indeed, I think these are precisely the traits that CEOs most fear. Warren Buffett agrees.

The typical corporation has a compensation committee, and believe me, they don’t ask Dobermans to be on it; rather, they want Chihuahuas who’ve been sedated.

It’s an unequal negotiation [between the board and the CEO]. The CEO really cares, but to the board, it’s play money.

How CEOs Can Prove Me (and Warren Buffett) Wrong

I would love to be proven wrong about the traits that CEOs value in directors. There is a simple, direct manner in which they could prove me wrong. The way that CEOs could prove me wrong would greatly improve the integrity and effectiveness of the firms they run, so this is a win-win-win.

Whistleblowers exemplify each of the five most useful traits. Two of my co-founders of Bank Whistleblowers United (BWU), Richard Bowen and Michael Winston should be among the most heavily recruited people in the world to become board members at Fortune 50 firms if the answers that the directors gave in the survey reflect the true views of CEOs.

Richard Bowen was a Citigroup SVP leading a team of hundreds of loan underwriters. His team found that the lenders selling Citigroup roughly $100 billion in mortgages annually were doing so through fraudulent “reps and warranties.” Citigroup then fraudulently resold the same mortgages, making the same type of reps and warranties about the loans that it knew to be false. Bowen warned Citigroup’s senior managers, including Bob Rubin, of this massive fraud and cautioned that it could create massive liability for Citigroup. Instead of acting to stop the massive fraud on which Bowen blew the whistle, Citi’s management attacked Bowen and ended his career at Citigroup. The fraud incidence grew to 80% because top management refused to heed Bowen’s warnings. Of course, their bonuses also grew because they refused to heed Bowen’s warnings.

Michael Winston was a C-suite level officer at Countrywide who blew the whistle on their loan underwriting fraud to the controlling managers, including the CEO. He warned that the practices would cause catastrophic losses. Countrywide’s (and then Bank of America’s) management destroyed his career at Countrywide and Bank of America.

Recall the top five traits of the ideal director.

  • Courage
  • Willing to constructively challenge management
  • Sound business judgment
  • Asking the right questions
  • Maintaining an independent perspective and avoiding “group think”

Bowen and Winston exemplify courage. They persisted in trying to protect their banks even when they knew that it was leading the bank’s managers to destroy their careers. They “challenged management” “constructively” at the highest level. Their business judgments were correct both in terms of the bank’s safety and soundness and integrity. They blew the whistle because they “asked the right questions” – and acted properly on the answers they got. They were overwhelmed by senior managers who embodied a toxic “group think” that led to harmful and dishonest business practices. Even under immense pressure to conform, including the destruction of their careers, they maintained “an independent perspective.” They spoke truth to power.

Bowen and Winston consistently acted in the best interests of the bank even when they knew that the controlling management was harming the bank in order to benefit the top managers. Lots of managers and directors brag about how tough they are. Bowen and Winston went through the crucible and revealed that their spines were forged out of the strongest and most indestructible of metal alloys formed by that crucible. They do not brag. They simply walk the walk.

CEOs are All Talk About Wanting Courageous Directors

In economics, we are taught to focus on “revealed preferences” – what you actually do, not what you say, reveals your true beliefs. Not a single CEO has asked Bowen and Winston to serve as directors. I am, of course, only using Bowen and Winston as examples of the hundreds of whistleblowers who have proven themselves to be off the charts on these five ideal traits. Like Bowen and Winston, the vast majority of senior financial whistleblowers are unemployable in finance precisely because they exemplify the top five traits directors are supposed to possess.

Will Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger Reveal Their True Preferences?

In order to recover from their scandals, Wells Fargo and Moody’s desperately need independent directors and senior managers that exemplify these five ideal traits. In both scandals not a single director or top manager displayed the five ideal traits. Warren Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, effectively controls both of these firms. Buffett and Charlie Munger, his top colleague who shares Buffett’s disdain for directors who are “sedated Chihuahuas,” can signal (1) that they seriously intend to clean up the scandals at both of the leading firms in the field of finance and (2) will no longer tolerate filling the top managerial and board of directors ranks of both firms with sedated Chihuahuas.

Neither Bowen or Winston will act like a “Doberman.” Both gentlemen have a calm, polite style. Neither seeks to intimidate, much less snarl. But they are people of proven integrity, courage, and skill. They were forced out because they were correct in their warnings and were devoted to the best interests of their firms and their customers. They were forced out because they spoke truth to power.

Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger, you have enormous accomplishments. It is time to reveal your true preferences and serve as corporate leaders setting a path that is good for firms and whistleblowers. I would be happy to put you in touch with Mr. Bowen and Mr. Winston. You would not be doing them a favor by hiring them for top positions. They have proved their exceptional worth. They are everything you say you want in a senior manager or director. They are your kind of people, and you will be proud, as I am, if you become their colleagues and friends and you will be delighted by the contributions they make. It is a tragic, insane waste to take the people who have demonstrated the ideal traits of managers and directors – and render them unemployable in such roles.

Levitin and Yves Smith – TRUST=EMPTY PAPER BAG

Living Lies Narrative Corroborated by Increasing Number of Respected Economists

It has taken over 7 years, but finally my description of the securitization process has taken hold. Levitin calls it “securitization fail.” Yves Smith agrees.

Bottom line: there was no securitization, the trusts were merely empty sham nominees for the investment banks and the “assignments,” transfers, and endorsements of the fabricated paper from illegal closings were worthless, fraudulent and caused incomprehensible damage to everyone except the perpetrators of the crime. They call it “infinite rehypothecation” on Wall Street. That makes it seem infinitely complex. Call it what you want, it was civil and perhaps criminal theft. Courts enforcing this fraudulent worthless paper will be left with egg on their faces as the truth unravels now.

There cannot be a valid foreclosure because there is no valid mortgage. I know. This makes no sense when you approach it from a conventional point of view. But if you watch closely you can see that the “loan closing” was a shell game. Money from a non disclosed third party (the investors) was sent through conduits to hide the origination of the funds for the loan. The closing agent used that money not for the originator of the funds (the investors) but for a sham nominee entity with no rights to the loan — all as specified in the assignment and assumption agreement. The note and and mortgage were a sham. And the reason the foreclosing parties do not allege they are holders in due course, is that they must prove purchase and delivery for value, as set forth in the PSA within the 90 day period during which the Trust could operate. None of the loans made it.

But on Main street it was at its root a combination pyramid scheme and PONZI scheme. All branches of government are complicit in continuing the fraud and allowing these merchants of “death” to continue selling what they call bonds deriving their value from homeowner or student loans. Having made a “deal with the devil” both the Bush and Obama administrations conscripted themselves into the servitude of the banks and actively assisted in the coverup. — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

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John Lindeman in Miami asked me years ago when he first starting out in foreclosure defense, how I would describe the REMIC Trust. My reply was “a holographic image of an empty paper bag.” Using that as the basis of his defense of homeowners, he went on to do very well in foreclosure defense. He did well because he kept asking questions in discovery about the actual transactions, he demanded the PSA, he cornered the opposition into admitting that their authority had to come from the PSA when they didn’t want to admit that. They didn’t want to admit it because they knew the Trust had no ownership interest in the loan and would never have it.

While the narrative regarding “securitization fail” (see Adam Levitin) seems esoteric and even pointless from the homeowner’s point of view, I assure you that it is the direct answer to the alleged complaint that the borrower breached a duty to the foreclosing party. That is because the foreclosing party has no interest in the loan and has no legal authority to even represent the owner of the debt.

And THAT is because the owner of the debt is a group of investors and NOT the REMIC Trust that funded the loan. Thus the Trust, unfunded had no resources to buy or fund the origination of loans. So they didn’t buy it and it wasn’t delivered. Hence they can’t claim Holder in Due Course status because “purchase for value” is one of the elements of the prima facie case for a Holder in Due Course. There was no purchase and there was no transaction. Hence the suing parties could not possibly be authorized to represent the owner of the debt unless they got it from the investors who do own it, not from the Trust that doesn’t own it.

This of course raises many questions about the sudden arrival of “assignments” when the wave of foreclosures began. If you asked for the assignment on any loan that was NOT in foreclosure you couldn’t get it because their fabrication system was not geared to produce it. Why would anyone assign a valuable loan with security to a trust or anyone else without getting paid for it? Only one answer is possible — the party making the assignment was acting out a part and made money in fees pretending to convey an interest the assignor did not have. And so it goes all the way down the chain. The emptiness of the REMIC Trust is merely a mirror reflection of the empty closing with homeowners. The investors and the homeowners were screwed the same way.

BOTTOM LINE: The investors are stuck with ownership of a debt or claim against the borrowers for what was loaned to the borrower (which is only a fraction of the money given to the broker for lending to homeowners). They also have claims against the brokers who took their money and instead of delivering the proceeds of the sale of bonds to the Trust, they used it for their own benefit. Those claims are unsecured and virtually undocumented (except for wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions). The closing agent was probably duped the same way as the borrower at the loan closing which was the same as the way the investors were duped in settlement of the IPO of RMBS from the Trust.

In short, neither the note nor the mortgage are valid documents even though they appear facially valid. They are not valid because they are subject to borrower’s defenses. And the main borrower defense is that (a) the originator did not loan them money and (b) all the parties that took payments from the homeowner owe that money back to the homeowner plus interest, attorney fees and perhaps punitive damages. Suing on a fictitious transaction can only be successful if the homeowner defaults (fails to defend) or the suing party is a holder in due course.

Trusts Are Empty Paper Bags — Naked Capitalism

student-loan-debt-home-buying

Just as with homeowner loans, student loans have a series of defenses created by the same chicanery as the false “securitization” of homeowner loans. LivingLies is opening a new division to assist people with student loan problems if they are prepared to fight the enforcement on the merits. Student loan debt, now over $1 Trillion is dragging down housing, and the economy. Call 520-405-1688 and 954-495-9867)

The Banks Are Leveraged: Too Big Not to Fail

When I was working with Brad Keiser (formerly a top executive at Fifth Third Bank), he formulated, based upon my narrative, a way to measure the risk of bank collapse. Using a “leverage” ration he and I were able to accurately define the exact order of the collapse of the investment banks before it happened. In September, 2008 based upon the leverage ratios we published our findings and used them at a seminar in California. The power Point presentation is still available for purchase. (Call 520-405-1688 or 954-495-9867). You can see it yourself. The only thing Brad got wrong was the timing. He said 6 months. It turned out to be 6 weeks.

First on his list was Bear Stearns with leverage at 42:1. With the “shadow banking market” sitting at close to $1 quadrillion (about 17 times the total amount of all money authorized by all governments of the world) it is easy to see how there are 5 major banks that are leveraged in excess of the ratio at Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch et al.

The point of the article that I don’t agree with at all is the presumption that if these banks fail the economy will collapse. There is no reason for it to collapse and the dependence the author cites is an illusion. The fall of these banks will be a psychological shock world wide, and I agree it will obviously happen soon. We have 7,000 community banks and credit unions that use the exact same electronic funds transfer backbone as the major banks. There are multiple regional associations of these institutions who can easily enter into the same agreements with government, giving access at the Fed window and other benefits given to the big 5, and who will purchase the bonds of government to keep federal and state governments running. Credit markets will momentarily freeze but then relax.

Broward County Court Delays Are Actually A PR Program to Assure Investors Buying RMBS

The truth is that the banks don’t want to manage the properties, they don’t need the house and in tens of thousands of cases (probably in the hundreds of thousands since the last report), they simply walk away from the house and let it be foreclosed for non payment of taxes, HOA assessments etc. In some of the largest cities in the nation, tens of thousands of abandoned homes (where the homeowner applied for modification and was denied because the servicer had no intention or authority to give it them) were BULL-DOZED  and the neighborhoods converted into parks.

The banks don’t want the money and they don’t want the house. If you offer them the money they back peddle and use every trick in the book to get to foreclosure. This is clearly not your usual loan situation. Why would anyone not accept payment in full?

What they DO want is a judgment that transfers ownership of the debt from the true owners (the investors) to the banks. This creates the illusion of ratification of prior transactions where the same loan was effectively sold for 100 cents on the dollar not by the investors who made the loan, but by the banks who sold the investors on the illusion that they were buying secured loans, Triple AAA rated, and insured. None of it was true because the intended beneficiary of the paper, the insurance money, the multiple sales, and proceeds of hedge products and guarantees were all pocketed by the banks who had sold worthless bogus mortgage bonds without expending a dime or assuming one cent of risk.

Delaying the prosecution of foreclosures is simply an opportunity to spread out the pain over time and thus keep investors buying these bonds. And they ARE buying the new bonds even though the people they are buying from already defrauded them by NOT delivering the proceeds fro the sale of the bonds to the Trust that issued them.

Why make “bad” loans? Because they make money for the bank especially when they fail

The brokers are back at it, as though they haven’t caused enough damage. The bigger the “risk” on the loan the higher the interest rate to compensate for that risk of loss. The higher interest rates result in less money being loaned out to achieve the dollar return promised to investors who think they are buying RMBS issued by a REMIC Trust. So the investor pays out $100 Million, expects $5 million per year return, and the broker sells them a complex multi-tranche web of worthless paper. In that basket of “loans” (that were never made by the originator) are 10% and higher loans being sold as though they were conventional 5% loans. So the actual loan is $50 Million, with the broker pocketing the difference. It is called a yield spread premium. It is achieved through identity theft of the borrower’s reputation and credit.

Banks don’t want the house or the money. They want the Foreclosure Judgment for “protection”

 

WILLIAMS AND CONNOLLY FILE COMPLAINT AGAINST OCC

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: FINALLY! A law firm in Washington DC has filed a lawsuit against the OCC to reveal the documents, disclosures and findings of the agency relating to the banks, the OCC Foreclosure Review and related matters. These are the kind of actions that should be filed in my opinion against state and Federal agencies that are enabling the securitization myth, foreclosures, defective auction bid, corrupted title and severe economic damages to people who don’t even realize they are victims of a scam and instead feel guilty about not paying their fair share.

The principal is simple: in any case where an agency fails to do its duty, or in case where someone wants to know what the agency is doing the Freedom of Information Act and other laws can be invoked to force the agency to comply with its statutory duty to regulate, commerce, banks, recording or whatever the case might be. Generally it is called an action in mandamus, which an action against an agency to perform its duties as set forth in the enabling statutes.

Note that the law firm filed the complaint in its own name and not the name of any client. The case is pure and simple. OCC is supposed to do its job and we have right to know whether they a re doing it. Having failed to respond, they are sued and the court will make them reveal whatever is in their files, which in this case is likely to be very damaging to both the agency and the banks it allegedly regulates.

See also Yves Smith on this subject generally:

Wells Fargo’s “Reprehensible” Foreclosure Abuses Prove Incompetence and Collusion of OCC
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/04/wells-fargos-reprehensible-foreclosure-abuses-prove-incompetence-and-collusion-of-occ.html

I have been pushing lawyers to bring actions against agencies and even the courts — going to the Supreme Court of each state demanding that they set procedures and standards of proof that a re consistent with existing law and consistently applied in all lower tribunals.

Actions against the FDIC, Federal Reserve that are similar in nature are already in the pipeline. Give your support to these actions any way you can. Follow the cases carefully because it is probably these cases that are going to crack the TBTF myth wide open along with dismantling the theory that loans were securitized when in most cases the loans were not securitized, and the creditor — the real creditor — is left with an unsecured receivable subject to set off for payments made to the agents of the investors (insurance, credit default swaps etc paid to the investment banks and other participants in the fake securitization chain).

COMPLAINT: WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY, LLP v. OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/03/29/complaint-williams-connolly-llp-v-office-of-comptroller-of-currency/

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Forgery! Now You’ve Got Them, Or Do You?

CHECK OUT OUR EXTENDED DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Analysis: First of all hats off to April Charney, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com and Yves Smith for the article on Forgery (see link below) James M. Kelley as a forensic document examiner — outstanding work!

This is one of the places where the rubber meets the road, but before you start celebrating take a deep breath: proof of forgery will NOT necessarily stop delay or alter the foreclosure. That is why I start with questioning the monetary transactions before I introduce the document deficiencies, fabrications and forgeries.

You have to put yourself in the Judge’s seat (or more properly, bench). A simple example will suffice to make my point. Suppose I loaned you $100 and you didn’t pay it back the way we agreed. Later I sue you and produce a promissory note you know you never signed but it looks like your signature, but you’ve admitted you owe the $100 and you admit you defaulted. Under those circumstances your evidence of forgery might be excluded from evidence –— because it is already established you owe the money and defaulted. In fact it should be excluded because it is no longer relevant to the proceedings. The debt is not the not — and vica versa.

The note is only evidence of the debt and taking that out of the equation still leaves the admissions, presumptions and witnesses by which the authenticity of the debt and default have already been taken as agreed and irrefutable. Some people look askance as Judges who apply the rules of evidence and accuse them of stupidity or dishonesty. But the truth is the forged fabricated note is at most corroborative evidence of something that is no longer a material issue of fact in dispute. The Judge has little choice but to rule in favor of the forecloser at that point. Hence, we keep pounding on DENY AND DISCOVER.

If you are filing the lawsuit you should, along with the initial summons and and complaint, file whatever discovery requests you have at the same time which all amount to “who are you, what are you doing here, why are you seeking collection of this debt, and by what authority.

Admitting the debt, note, mortgage etc can be either direct (“I admit that”) or indirect/tacit (“I understand what you are saying Judge but there is ample evidence of skullduggery here”). In most cases, either one is enough, especially with a Judge who is already assuming that the bank wouldn’t be there if there was no debt, note and mortgage and the presence of a default.

The borrower, who knows they did get money on loan, knows they did sign papers and knows they didn’t pay, naturally assumes that it is pointless to deny the basic elements of the foreclosure — the debt between the borrower and the forecloser, the note, which is evidence of the debt, and the mortgage, assignments and other instruments used by the banks to get you pointed in the wrong direction. AND THAT is where the defense goes off the deep end every time there is a “bad” decision.

The Judge is going to be looking for admissions by the borrower (not the forecloser) because of a very natural presumption that at one time was a perfectly reasonable assumption — that the bank would not waste time and money enforcing a debt that didn’t exist and a note that was never valid, nor a mortgage that was never perfected.

And the Judge is going to see any avoidance of enforcement on the basis of paperwork as a tacit admission that the debt is real, the default is real, and the note and mortgage were properly executed under proper circumstances —- because that is what banks do! Maybe it isn’t “fair” but it is perfectly understandable why we encountered a mindset that treated borrowers as lunatics when they first came up with the notion that the paperwork was missing, lost, fabricated, forged, robo-signed etc.

The study by Katherine Ann Porter, the San Francisco study and the studies in Massachusetts and Maryland and Massachusetts all point to a credit bid being submitted at foreclosure auction by a party who wasn’t a creditor at all. The San Francisco study said 65% of the credit bidders were strangers to the transaction and strange is the word to use in court. Did it change anything? No!

So where does that leave you? In order to be able to show the relevance of the forgery or fabrication you must attack the debt itself. Where would I be if I sued you on the $100 loan, produced a fabricated, forged note and you DIDN’T admit the debt or the default. The burden falls back on me to prove I gave you the $100.

What if I didn’t give you the $100 but I know someone else did. That doesn’t give me standing to sue you because I am not injured party. Can any of you state with certainty that the loan money you received came from the originator disclosed on the TILA, settlement and closing documents? Probably not because the ONLY way you would know that is if you had seen the actual wire transfer receipt and the wire transfer instructions.

Thus if you don’t know that to be true — that the originator in your mortgage loan was funded by the originator and was not a table-funded loan (which accounts for about 95%-96% of all loans during the mortgage meltdown), why would you admit it, tacitly, directly or any other way?

As a defense posture the first rule is to deny that which you know is untrue and to deny based upon lack of information or deny based upon facts and theory that are contrary to the assertions of the forecloser. Deny the debt. THAT automatically means the note can’t be evidence of anything real, because the note refers to a loan between the originator and the borrower where the borrower unknowingly received the money from a third or fourth party (table funded loan, branded “predatory” by TILA and reg Z).

Your defense is simply “we don’t know these people and we don’t know the debt they are claiming. We were induced to sign papers that withheld vital information about the party with whom I was doing business and left me with corrupt title. The transaction referred to in the note, mortgage, assignments, allonges etc. was never completed. The fact that we received a loan from someone else does not empower this forecloser to enforce the debt of a third party with whom they have had no contact or privity.”

THEN HAMMER THEM WITH THE FORGERY BUT USE SOMEONE AS GOOD AS KELLEY TO DO IT. WATCH OUT FOR CHARLATANS WHO CAN CONVINCE YOU BUT NOT THE COURT. THUS THE DEFICIENT DOCUMENTS CORROBORATE YOUR MAIN DEFENSE RATHER THAN SERVE AS THE CORE OF IT.

Practice Pointer: At this point either opposing counsel or the Judge will ask some questions like who DID give the loan or what proof do you have. If you are at the stage of a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment, your answer should be, if you set up case correctly and you have outstanding discovery, that those are evidential questions that require production of witnesses, testimony, documents and cross examination. Since the present hearing is not a trial or evidential hearing and was not noticed as such you are unprepared to present the entire case.

The issues on a motion to dismiss are solely that of the pleadings. At a Motion for Summary Judgment, it is the pleadings plus an affidavit. Submit several affidavits and the Judge will have little choice but to deny the forecloser’s motion for summary judgment.

Attack their affidavit as not being on personal knowledge (voir dire) and if you are successful all that is left is YOUR motion for summary judgment and affidavits which leaves the Judge with little choice but to enter Summary Final Judgment in favor of the homeowner as to this forecloser.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/expert-witnesses-starting-to-take-on-forgeries-in-foreclosures.html

Prosecutors Getting Tough? Small Banks ONLY!!

CHECK OUT OUR EXTENDED DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Comment and Analysis: Abacus Bank has only $272 million in deposits. In rank, it is near the very bottom of the ladder. And apparently justifiably, federal prosecutors have seen fit to prosecute the bank for fraud. The quandary here is why the prosecutors are putting their muscle behind just the low-hanging fruit and why they are settling with the mega banks for the same acts — without threat of prosecution. If we could offer $17 trillion in various forms of “relief” for the banks, they certainly could pony up $1 billion and investigate the truth behind the securitization claims. The only conclusion I can reach is that the administration, so far, doesn’t want proof of the truth.

One of the things that Yves gets right here is that when Fannie and Freddie get involved, it isn’t the end of the line and it certainly does not mean that the loan was not “securitized” using the same fake documents at origination and the same fake mortgage bonds, albeit guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie who serve as “Master Trustee” of the investment pools that presumably “bought the loans with actual money. Like their cousins in the non government guaranteed loans, the money largely comes from fat accounts where the investors’ money was commingled beyond recognition and the investment bank who created and sold the bogus mortgage bonds was the “buyer” on paper so that they could bet against the same loans and bonds they were selling to investors.

Yves still refers to the scheme as reckless as though a judgment was made without knowing the consequences of the banks’ actions. Nothing could be further from the truth. This wasn’t reckless.

It was intentional because that was where the big money came from. The scheme was to take as much as possible from money advanced by pension funds and keep it, while giving the illusion of a securitization scheme for funding mortgages and reducing risk.

The mega banks even bet on their success and the investors’ loss, the borrowers’ loss and the loss shouldered by taxpayers, increasing their leverage positions up  to 42 times (Bear Stearns). As we all know, the risk was magnified not reduced and the only experts that really knew were in the departments where collateralized debt obligations were packaged on paper, sold to investors and never transferred to any trust, REMIC of SPV.

With Abacus, the punch line is that their default rate was 1/10th that of the national average indicating that contrary to the practices of the mega banks, some underwriting was involved and some verification and oversight was employed.

What is avoided is that $13 trillion in loans were originated using the false securitization scheme in which the borrower was kept in the dark about who his lender was, and where upon inquiry the borrower was told that the identity of the lender was confidential and private, nearly all of which loans were classic cases of fraud in the execution, fraud in the inducement, breach of contract, slander of title, and recording false documents in the county records. The perpetrators of these schemes are settling for fractions of a penny on the dollar with full agreement that their conduct will not be reviewed.

So here is the question: If Abacus is guilty of fraud and caused minimal damage to the economy or the borrowers, isn’t the bar set higher for the mega banks. Why are they allowed to slip through without getting the same treatment as a bank whose deposits equal less than 1/10 of 1% of the size of the megabanks who caused mayhem here and around the world?

Quelle Surprise! Prosecutors Get Tough on Mortgage Fraud….At an Itty Bitty Bank
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/quelle-surprise-prosecutors-get-tough-on-mortgage-fraud-at-an-itty-bitty-bank.html

Yves Smith Revelas Cover-Up at BofA in Review Process

CHECK OUT OUR EXTENDED DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Note: We are still following a national policy of allowing the mega banks to self-police, regardless of appearances. The intentional effort to suppress findings of harm, and the amount of harm to borrowers was systemic during the review process.

A real review would be team of people who would audit the transactions and assignments from one end to the other. The argument that the borrower might get a windfall if the foreclosures were not seen as inevitable regardless of the fatal defects in origination, assignment and foreclosure would be disregarded for what it is — trash. If we allow BofA to get away with this, then we should let Madoff, Dreier and Stanford out of jail.

It is only the scale of the fraud that separates the fake securitization of loans covering up a PONZI scheme that separates Wall Street titans from people who are languishing in jail. The increase in the number of such fraudulent schemes, mostly PONZI by their very nature, testifies to the effect on our society where bullying your way out of anything goes society becomes the norm.

Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews: How the Cover-Up Happened (Part IV)

As we described in earlier posts in this series (Executive Summary, Part II, Part IIIA and Part IIIB), OCC/Federal Reserve foreclosure reviews meant to provide compensation to abused homeowners were abruptly shut down at the beginning of January as the result of a settlement with ten major servicers. Whistleblowers from the biggest, Bank of America, provide compelling evidence that the bank and its independent consultant, Promontory Financial Group, went to considerable lengths to suppress any findings of borrower harm.

These whistleblowers, who reviewed over 1600 files and tested hundreds more in the attenuated start up period, saw abundant evidence of serious damage to borrowers. Their estimates vary because they performed different tests and thus focused on different records and issues. When asked to estimate the percentage of harm and serious harm they found, the lowest estimate of harm was 30% and the majority estimated harm at or over 90%. Their estimates of serious harm ranged from 10% to 80%.

We found four basic problems:

The reviews showed that Bank of America engaged in certain types of abuses systematically

The review process itself lacked integrity due to Promontory delegating most of its work to Bank of America, and that work in turn depended on records that were often incomplete and unreliable. Chaotic implementation of the project itself only made a bad situation worse

Bank of America strove to suppress and minimize evidence of damage to borrowers

Promontory had multiple conflicts of interest and little to no relevant expertise

We discuss the third major finding below.

Concerted Efforts to Suppress Findings of Harm

Both Bank of America and Promontory suppressed and ignored both broad categories and specific examples of borrower harm. We’ll discuss how this occurred from two vantages. The first was organizational: that the reviews were structured and managed so as to make it hard for particular cases of borrower harm to get through the gauntlet. The second was substantive: that the bank and Promontory excluded some types of harm entirely and insisted other aspects of the review be focused as narrowly as possible, which served to minimize and exclude evidence of borrower abuses.

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/bank-of-america-foreclosure-reviews-part-iv.html#z3SRwfAa7ZkxhDB4.99

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