The Neil Garfield Show: Why the Trusts are Busts

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The settlements with the banks are a scam. Yesterday RBS settled with US authorities for skullduggery in the name of “so-called residential mortgage-backed securities.”  They took in over $30 billion and only have to pay about 20% of the theft ($5.5 billion).  No criminal charges apply.

The importance of this particular report is the way it was written. Attorney Neil Garfield says, “this is the first time I have seen “so-called residential mortgage-backed securities” used in mainstream reporting.” The significance is that the term “so-called” while penned by the author of the article indicates skepticism as to whether the certificates were ever backed by mortgages. And if they were not, then the certificates were in fact securities that could be regulated as securities, free from the 1998 exemption that classified them as private contracts.

Of maximum importance to homeowners and foreclosure defense lawyers is that they make the obvious connection, to wit: if the securities were not mortgage-backed, there is only one logical conclusion— the trust never owned the mortgages that were described generically in the prospectus. If the trust had owned mortgage loans, then the securities would have been mortgage backed, in which case there would have no charges against RBS much less a settlement.

THAT means that the Trusts could never be named as Plaintiff in judicial states or beneficiary in non-judicial states without misrepresenting the nature of the so-called trust that existed only on paper and frequently incomplete paper that did not include signatures or exhibits. The mortgage loan schedule was never attached in any trust. The MLS attached to the PSA was specifically disclaimed in the prospectus as being there by way of example only and that none of the “loans” described in the MLS actually existed, but would be replaced by real loans.

This leads in turn to a single logical conclusion. Assuming the Trust existed on paper that was properly completed, the Trust either (a) never received, directly or indirectly, the original loan documents or (b) the trust did receive the loan paperwork but has received no authority to do anything with it. The Trust is therefore not a creditor, not a lender, not a servicer and not an agent for a creditor from whom the trust could have received authority to enforce. The trust, therefore, becomes a sham conduit used solely for the purpose of foreclosures and otherwise was completely ignored.

In terms of litigation, if you would like to discuss how to address this in discovery, please contact Neil Garfield for a consultation.  He can explain the relevance of the existence of the trust, real world transactions and how attorneys and homeowners can leverage these findings.

Attorney Charles Marshall can be reached at:

cmarshall@marshallestatelaw.com

619-807-2628

 

Neil F. Garfield can be contacted at info@lendinglies.com

MAIN NUMBER: 202-838-NEIL (6345).

Get a Consult!

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule, leave message or make payments.

 

Banks Still Out Cheating Their Customers and Everyone Else

It is easy to think of the mortgage meltdown as a period of time in which the banks went wild. Unfortunately that period of time never ended. They are still doing it. The level of sophistication it takes to do the kinds of things that banks have been doing for the last 20 years is probably beyond the knowledge and experience of any of the regulators. In addition, it is beyond the knowledge and experience of most consumers, lawyers and judges; in fact as to non-regulators, bank behavior makes no sense. After having seen the results of what are euphemistically called subprime mortgages, Wells Fargo is plunging back in and obviously expecting to make a profit. Apparently the quasi governmental entities that issue guarantees on certain mortgages will allow these subprime mortgages. Wells Fargo says it now understands the parameters under which the guarantors (Fannie and Freddie) will approve those mortgages without a risk that Wells Fargo will be required to buy them back.

That is kind of a mouthful. We have thousands of transactions that are being conducted that directly affect the ownership and balance of various types of loans including mortgage loans. The picture presented in court is that the ownership and status of each loan is stable enough for representations to be made. But the truth is that the professional witnesses hired by the bank’s foreclosure actions only present a slice of the life of a loan. They neither know nor do they inquire about the rest of the information. For example, they come to court with a a report showing the borrower’s record of payments to the servicer but they do not show servicer’s record of payments to the creditor. By definition they are saying that they only know part of the financial record and that consists of a made for trial report on the borrower’s activities. It does not show what happened to the payments made by the borrower and does not show payments made by others —  like loss sharing with the FDIC, servicer advances, insurance, and other actual payments that were made.

These payments are not allocated to any specific loan account because that would reduce the amount claimed as due from the borrower to the creditor — as it should. And the intermediaries and conduits who are making claims against the borrower have no intention of paying the actual creditors (the investors) any more than they absolutely have to. So you have these intermediaries claiming to be real parties in interest or claiming to represent the real parties in interest when in fact they are representing themselves.

They cheat the investor by not disclosing payments received from insurance and FDIC loss sharing. They cheat the borrower by not disclosing those payments that reduce the count receivable and therefore the account payable. They cheat the borrower again when they fail to show “servicer advances” which are payments received by the alleged trust beneficiaries regardless of whether or not the borrower submits monthly payments.  (That is, there can’t be a default in payments to the “trust” because the pass through beneficiaries are getting paid. Thus if there is any liability of the borrower it would be to intermediaries who made those servicer payments by way of a new liability created with each such payment and which is NOT secured by any mortgage because the borrower never entered into any deal with the servicer or investment bank — the real source of servicer advances).

Then they cheat the investor again by forcing a case into a foreclosure sale when the borrower was perfectly prepared, willing and able to enter into a settlement agreement that would have paid the rest are far more than the proceeds of a foreclosure sale and final liquidation. Their object is to maximize the loss of the investor and maximize the loss of the borrower to the detriment of both and solely for the benefit of the intermediary or conduit that is pulling the strings and handling the money.  And they are still doing it.

The banks have become so brazen that they are manipulating currency markets in addition to the debt markets. While we haven’t seen any reports about activities in the equity markets, there is no reason to doubt that their illegal activities are not present in equity transactions. For the judicial system to assume that the Banks are telling the truth or presenting an accurate picture of the  transaction activity relating to a particular loan is just plain absurd now. The presumption in court should be what it used to be, at a minimum. Before the era of securitization, most judges scrutinized the documentation to make sure that everything was in order. Today most judges will say that everything is in order because they are pieces of paper in front of them, regardless of whether any of those pieces of paper represents an accurate rendition of the facts related to the loan in dispute. Most judges in most cases are rubber-stamping judgments for intermediaries and thus are vehicles for the intermediaries and conduits to continue cheating and stealing from investors and borrowers.

The latest example is the control exercised by the large banks over currency trading. Regulators are clueless.  The banks are no longer even concerned with the appearance of propriety. They are cheating the system, the society, the government and of course the people with impunity. They are continuing to pay or promote their stocks as healthy investment opportunities. Perhaps they are right. If they continue to be impervious to prosecution for violating every written and unwritten rule and law then their stock is bound to rise both in price and in price-to-earnings ratio. They now have enough money which they have diverted out of the economy of this country and other countries that they can create fictitious transactions showing proprietary trading profits for the next 20 years.

This is exactly what I predicted six years ago. They are feeding the money back into the system and laundering it through the appearance of proprietary trading. It is an old trick. But they have enough money now to make their earnings go up every year indefinitely. On the other hand, if the regulators and investigators actually study the activities of the banks and start to bring enforcement actions and prosecutions, maybe some of that money that was taken from our economy can be recovered, and the financial statements of those banks will be revealed and smoke and mirrors. Then maybe their stock won’t look so good. Right now everyone is betting that they will get away with it.

New forex lawsuit parses data to make case

Yesterday, 03:13 PM ET · JPM

  • There have been a number of suits against the global banks over claims of forex manipulation, but this latest by the City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement is the first to include research highlighting unusual movements in major currencies.
  • Using data compiled by Fideres, the plaintiffs analyzed daily trading right around the 4 PM fix of currency prices … curiously, anomalous price movements became rarer and less pronounced after the initial reports of rigging surfaced last summer.
  • Morgan Stanley has spent some time looking at euro/dollar spikes at 4 PM and also concluded they were unrelated to economic events. Instead of collusion though, Morgan pins the blame on computerized trading programs.
  • The seven banks sued by Philadelphia which is seeking damages as high as $10B: Barclays (BCS), Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), HSBC, JPMorgan (JPM), RBS, and UBS.

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1565171?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

Another Pennies on the Dollar Settlement

Editor’s Note: like the post before this one, it is astonishing how these settlements fall so far short of the actual damage that was created by the banks by their intentional illicit and criminal behavior.

This one “relates to conduct at Greenwich Capital, the R.B.S. unit that bundled mortgages into securities and sold them to investors. Nevada found that R.B.S. worked closely with Countrywide Financial and Option One, two of the most aggressive lenders during the boom.” They were categorized as sub-prime even if the borrower was not sub-prime. That way they loaned less of the investor money at a higher nominal rate, charged the borrower for additional underwriting risk when there was no underwriting at all, and kept the excess interest, the excess funding that should  have gone into standard loans properly underwritten according to industry standards.

The trap was teaser rates that borrowers could never decipher: “From 2004 through 2006, R.B.S. packaged $90 billion of these loans, many originated by Countrywide. The mortgages typically began with an artificially low interest rate that rose significantly after a year or two. Under the terms of these loans, borrowers could choose to pay only a fraction of what they owed monthly, resulting in a rising principle balance.”

And the media is all about how the housing problem is ending. That is nonsense. It is coming to a head, but the peak won’t be until perhaps 2014.

Bank Settles Over Loans in Nevada

By

The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay $42.5 million late Tuesday in a settlement with the Nevada attorney general that ends an 18-month investigation into the deep ties between the bank and two mortgage lenders during the housing boom.

Most of the money paid by R.B.S. — $36 million — will be used to help distressed borrowers throughout Nevada. In addition, R.B.S. agreed to finance or purchase subprime loans in the future only if they comply with state laws and are not deceptive.

The settlement between the bank and Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada’s attorney general, relates to conduct at Greenwich Capital, the R.B.S. unit that bundled mortgages into securities and sold them to investors. Nevada found that R.B.S. worked closely with Countrywide Financial and Option One, two of the most aggressive lenders during the boom.

Officials working with Ms. Masto say that they examined R.B.S.’s activities from 2004 to 2007. During those years, the bank provided funding for more than $100 billion of risky loans, many made by Countrywide and Option One. In 2005 and 2006, R.B.S. was the third-largest securitizer of subprime mortgages and adjustable-rate loans.

“I remain committed to enforcing Nevada’s laws against the players — including those on Wall Street — that contributed to and profited from reckless and deceptive mortgage lending in Nevada,” Ms. Masto said in a statement. “The payment from R.B.S. will alleviate some of the injury to the Silver State and its residents. The changes to its securitization process should help make sure that we do not go down this road again.”

In agreeing to the settlement, R.B.S. neither admitted nor denied the acusations.

During the investigation, Nevada officials examined more than one million pages of documents and interviewed former R.B.S. employees and borrowers. Ms. Masto’s office concluded that the bank had essentially created joint ventures with Countrywide and Option One and that its financing enabled those lenders to make reckless loans that were unlikely to be repaid.

The attorney general also examined whether R.B.S. reviewed the mortgages bought from Countrywide and concluded that the bank bundled and sold loans even after identifying them as problematic. Moreover, at Countrywide’s request, the bank limited the number of loans it reviewed, the attorney general’s office said.

Nevada has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Some 60 percent of borrowers in the state have mortgages of greater value than the properties underlying them, according to Core Logic, a real estate data company.

Ms. Masto’s case comes after several others brought recently by state regulators against firms involved in mortgage securities. Earlier this month, the New York attorney general sued Bear Stearns over its conduct during the boom, and last week, the Massachusetts securities regulator sued Putnam Advisory, a unit of Putnam Investments, for misleading investors who bought a collateralized debt obligation it was managing. Officials at both firms rejected the allegations and said they would vigorously defend themselves in court.

Some securities lawyers say that it is easier for state officials to bring successful actions against banks for questionable activities than it is for federal investigators. That is mostly because of stringent requirements under federal securities laws.

“This strategy sidesteps the need to prove intent to defraud and to detail fraud allegations as is required for similar actions under the federal securities laws,” said Lewis D. Lowenfels, an authority in securities law in New York. According to the Nevada attorney general’s office, R.B.S. was among the larger bundlers of a risky type of loan known as a pay-option adjustable-rate mortgage. From 2004 through 2006, R.B.S. packaged $90 billion of these loans, many originated by Countrywide. The mortgages typically began with an artificially low interest rate that rose significantly after a year or two. Under the terms of these loans, borrowers could choose to pay only a fraction of what they owed monthly, resulting in a rising principle balance.

R.B.S. also worked hard to keep Countrywide generating loans for the bank’s securities, investigators said.

Ms. Masto’s office said that R.B.S.’s mortgage funding operation was widespread across Nevada, which is why most of the settlement will go to borrowers who have suffered harm.

Subprimes Not Dead for Deutsch, American General New offerings Planned

Editor’s Notes: They are STILL doing it. This report clearly shows that the main players are still packaging sub-prime loans (which most people would define as loans likely to fail). The reason is money. The higher the spread the higher the yield spread premium. These YSP’s are still not reported to borrowers. They are hidden from both investors and borrowers. My opinion is that there is no statute of limitations on a cause of action you don’t know exists — especially if the intent and conduct of the defrauding parties was a pattern to withhold information.

What is interesting is to see how they are addressing investor concerns about toxic assets and what they disclose now versus what they disclosed when the real mess was created. What is scary is that without regulation, the game continues. This is like a sports event where the referees have left the field.

“the underlying borrowers have full documentation, were fully examined by the company and most have made 50 payments or more – factors that have often been missing from poorly performing loan pools.

“Subprime mortgages were once the lifeblood of the securitization business, accounting for more than $1 trillion of deals in the decade leading up to the 2007 credit-market crash

Subprimes Not Dead for American General
Asset Backed Alert, Harrison Scott Publications Inc. (March 26, 2010)

American General is about to start shopping the second in what could be a series of securitizations this year, this time in the form of a deal backed by subprime mortgages. The offering, totaling $800 million, is set to hit the market within the next two weeks via lead underwriter Deutsche Bank. It would be backed by 30-year fixed-rate loans that were mostly written 3-7 years ago through American General’s own branches, with no credits newer than 18 months old.

The transaction is separate from a securitization the Evansville, Ind., unit of AIG is poised to price in the coming days. RBS is leading that $1 billion issue, backed by alternative-A credits written through brokers. The alt-A deal was seen as a rarity when it hit the market just over a month ago, as it was among just a few private-label mortgage securitizations to go into development since the global credit crisis intensified in late 2008. Even then, however, subprime-loan issues were presumed extinct.

Indeed, investors have been treating subprime-mortgage securitizations as toxic for nearly three years. But American General is touting some characteristics that might ease buyers’ concerns. For instance, the underlying borrowers have full documentation, were fully examined by the company and most have made 50 payments or more – factors that have often been missing from poorly performing loan pools.

There will also be substantial credit enhancement for the deal’s triple-A-rated senior class, in the form of three or four subordinate pieces equal to about half the top-rated tranche. Deutsche plans to pitch the top class to large “real-money” investors like insurers or pension plans, while shopping the junior notes more quietly among hedge funds.

After that, American General could try to complete six or seven more deals over the course of the year. Most if not all would be backed by subprime loans, mainly from a $10 billion mortgage portfolio the company holds in what it calls its centralized retail pool. It could also draw on a smaller book of brokered loans.

Deutsche would likely run the books on deals involving the retail portfolio with RBS as a co-lead, as is the case with the upcoming subprime-mortgage issue. The arrangement reverses for brokered-loan deals, with RBS in front and Deutsche as a co-lead. American General is also in talks with whole-loan buyers.

Like other mortgage-bond issues that have gone into development in recent months, American General’s securitizations are being talked about as indicators of how the new-deal market will unfold in the months ahead. Other issuers might see successful offerings as justification to pitch bonds of their own, including Wall Street dealers and hedge funds that bought loans on the cheap.

American General has never been a frequent issuer of mortgage-backed bonds, but sees now as an opportune time to use its loan-origination business to carve out a presence in the market. Subprime mortgages were once the lifeblood of the securitization business, accounting for more than $1 trillion of deals in the decade leading up to the 2007 credit-market crash. Amid rampant defaults, the flow of those deals slowed late that year and then shut off entirely in 2008.

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