SEC “Cease & Desist” Reveals Deception – Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB as Trustee / “Transfer Agent” Was Acting On Behalf Of Unknown Investors

SEC “Cease & Desist” Reveals Deception – Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB as Trustee / “Transfer Agent” Was Acting On Behalf Of Unknown Investors

On September 22, 2016, the SEC issued the following “Cease & Desist” order against “Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB” who was the successor to “Christiana Bank & Trust Company.” (See: Wilmington Savings Fund Society – SEC Cease and Desist 2016 ). The following excerpts spell out quite clearly that this entity has been operating as a Trustee / “Transfer Agent” on behalf of unverifiable investors. WSFS’ failure to maintain “books and records,” as well as its filing of records that were “inaccurate and/or incomplete,” means it is very likely that this Trustee represented no one.

 

I.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) deems it appropriate that cease-and-desist proceedings be, and hereby are, instituted pursuant to Section 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), against Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB (“WSFS” or “Respondent”).

 

Summary

1. These proceedings arise from WSFS’ fundamental failure to comply with the rules and regulations that govern the conduct of transfer agents. Transfer agents are gatekeepers who provide critical services to issuers and their shareholders, including maintaining accurate shareholder records, timely processing of transfers, and responding to shareholder inquiries. To that end, issuers of securities, including corporations with securities registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act, engage transfer agents to perform various recordkeeping functions.
2. Pursuant to Section 17A of the Exchange Act, the Commission promulgated rules governing services provided by registered transfer agents (the “Transfer Agent Rules”). As a registered transfer agent, WSFS was required to, among other things: (1) keep its registration current and accurate and to file annual reports regarding its transfer agent services; (2) make and maintain certain books and records for each issuer to which it provided transfer agent services; and (3) have written policies and procedures with respect to certain of its transfer agent services.
3. WSFS commenced acting as a transfer agent in 2010. From that time through 2013, however, WSFS failed to keep its registration current and accurate and failed to file an accurate annual report of its services. In addition, although WSFS maintained some records for issuers to which it provided transfer agent services, it did not maintain all of the records or create all of the reports required by the Transfer Agent Rules. Further, those records WSFS did maintain were inaccurate and/or incomplete. Finally, during this period, WSFS did not have any written policies or procedures to ensure compliance with the Transfer Agent Rules and WSFS employees were unaware of the Rules and received no training regarding the Transfer Agent Rules until 2013.

 

Background

7. On December 3, 2010, WSFS acquired Christiana Bank & Trust Company (“CB&T”). CB&T ceased to exist and WSFS began performing the services formerly performed by CB&T, including transfer agent services, under the name Christiana Trust. WSFS provided transfer agent services, as defined by Section (3)(a)(25) of the Exchange Act, to a number of clients, including to at least one issuer with a security that was registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act.
8. The transfer agent services undertaken by WSFS included maintaining master securityholder files (i.e., official lists of individual securityholder accounts), registering ownership and the transfer of ownership of securities, monitoring the issuance of securities, and handling, processing and storing paper securities certificates. WSFS Filed Inaccurate Transfer Agent Registration and Annual Reporting Forms in Violation of Sections 17A(c)(1) and 17A(d)(1) and Rules 17Ac2-1 and 17Ac2-2 Thereunder
9. Section 17A(c) of the Exchange Act requires transfer agents to register with the Commission or, if the transfer agent is a bank, with a bank regulatory agency, before providing transfer agent services. Pursuant to Section 17A(c)(2), to register, a bank transfer agent files a registration form (Form TA-1), which provides basic information about the transfer agent’s business and activities. The Form TA-1 must be kept current and updated on an as-needed basis. If any of the information on the Form TA-1 becomes inaccurate, misleading or incomplete, Rule 17Ac2-1(c) requires the transfer agent to file an amendment to the form within 60 days of the occurrence. Rule 17Ac2-2(a) requires each registered transfer agent to also file an annual report with the Commission on Form TA-2, describing its transfer agent activities. These forms provide important information about the organization and activities of registered transfer agents, which allows the Commission to more effectively and efficiently monitor the activities of registered transfer agents and to evaluate compliance with the Transfer Agent Rules.
10. On December 3, 2010, WSFS acquired CB&T and immediately began performing the transfer agent services that had previously been performed by CB&T. However, although it was required to amend its Form TA-1 within 60 days of any change that would render the form “inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete,” WSFS did not file a Form TA-1 until June 22, 2011, six months later. Moreover, when WSFS filed its untimely Form TA-1, it inaccurately listed the name of the entity performing transfer agent services as “Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB,” rather than “Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB D/B/A Christiana Trust.” This is inaccurate because WSFS markets its transfer agent services under the name Christiana Trust.
11. In addition, WSFS did not file an annual Form TA-2 for the year ending December 31, 2010, even though it had operated as a transfer agent since acquiring CB&T earlier that month.
12. Further, when WSFS finally filed its first annual Form TA-2 on April 16, 2012, for the year ending December 31, 2011, WSFS failed to identify the correct number of individual securityholder accounts for which it maintained master securityholder files. WSFS was unable to provide the correct number on its Form TA-2 because it could not identify all of the issuers to which it provided transfer agent services. WSFS Failed to Maintain Accurate Books and Records in Violation of Sections 17(a) and 17A(d)(1) and Rules 17Ad-10 and 17Ad-11.
13. Pursuant to Rule 17Ad-10(e), a recordkeeping transfer agent must keep an accurate control book, which is a record or other document that shows the total number of shares (in the case of equity securities) or the principal dollar amount (in the case of debt securities) authorized and issued by the issuer.

 

14. In addition, Rule 17Ad-10(a) requires a recordkeeping transfer agent to accurately post transactions to the master securityholder file with details, such as the certificate number, number of shares or principal dollar amount, the securityholder’s registration, the address of the registered securityholder, and the issue and cancellation dates for the security (“Certificate Detail”), about the securities issued, purchased, transferred or redeemed. When there is a discrepancy between the Certificate Detail for a security transferred or redeemed and the Certificate Detail posted to the master securityholder file, Rule 17Ad-10(a)(1) requires that the details of that discrepancy must be maintained in a subsidiary file. The transfer agent must diligently and continuously seek to resolve those differences and then promptly update the master securityholder file.
15. A transfer agent’s failure to perform its duties promptly, accurately, and safely can compromise the accuracy of an issuer’s securityholder records, disrupt the channels of communication between issuers and securityholders, disenfranchise investors, and expose investors, securities intermediaries, and the securities markets as a whole to significant financial loss.
16. WSFS maintained master securityholder files for several issuers to which it provided transfer agent services; however, those files contained multiple inaccuracies. For example, for certain issues, WSFS failed to maintain accurate records of the outstanding balances and registered incorrect securityholder names in the master securityholder files.

 

17. Further, WSFS did not maintain subsidiary files or a control book for any issuers to which it provided transfer agent services and, therefore, WSFS could not determine whether, for any issuers, there were differences between the total number of shares or total principal dollar amount of securities in the master securityholder file for a particular issue and the number of shares or principal dollar amount in the control book for that issue (one type of a “Record Difference”). WSFS was required to report Record Differences that existed for more than 30 days (“Aged Record Differences”) and exceeded certain aggregate dollar thresholds that are established by Rule 17Ad-11 of the Transfer Agent Rules. WSFS was unable to determine whether Aged Record Differences existed and, therefore, was unable to determine whether it was required to report any Aged Record Differences. Indeed, WSFS’ account administrators did not even know that WSFS was required to maintain subsidiary files or a control book.

 

This comes as no surprise to those of us who have been fighting these “straw-man Trustees.” I believe, based on further “Transfer Agent – TA-2″ filings I have reviewed, that this is common amongst all trustees. For example, take a look at this “TA-2″ filing for Transfer Agent – U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. from back in 2008 which reported over 8,000 “Lost Securityholder Accounts.”

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1145893/000114589309000002/xslFTAX01/primary_doc.xml

If the Trustees / Transfer Agents have no verifiable records of who owns the underlying certificates, it becomes crystal clear that the servicers and trustees represent no one.

 

Bill Paatalo
Oregon Private Investigator – PSID#49411

BP Investigative Agency, LLC
P.O. Box 838
Absarokee, MT 59001
Office: (406) 328-4075

Lawsuit Seeking Disgorgement Might Not Be Barred by Statute of limitations

What is apparent here is that the Courts are coming to terms with the possibility that those relying upon a statute of limitation as a defense to various claims might NOT be protected by an otherwise applicable statute of limitations.

The premise enunciated in a decision that seeks affirmation from the U.S. Supreme Court, is that disgorgement is not monetary damages or a penalty. It is an equitable finding that a party has been unjustly enriched and therefore has no present right to hold onto ill-gotten gains. The decision could result in elimination of the statute of limitations as a defense for the banks.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-
This is a potential thrust to the heart of the bank strategy to create a vacuum, fill it with illusory claims on behalf of complete strangers to the transactions, and walk away with a free house after submitting an utterly fraudulent “credit bid.”.
The SEC is asking the Supreme Court to affirm the Tenth Circuit’s decision in SEC v. Kokesh, which held that “disgorgement is not a penalty under [28 U.S.C.] § 2462 because it is remedial” and, therefore, is not subject to the five-year federal statute of limitations in § 2462. see https://www.findknowdo.com/news/01/04/2017/sec-urges-supreme-court-affirm-disgorgement-not-subject-statute-limitations?utm_source=Mondaq&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=View-Original
A favorable SCOTUS decision would have the effect of recasting the suits for damages as instead suits for disgorgement because neither the servicers nor anyone they represent had any right to collect or enforce the putative loan by an undisclosed and probably unknown creditor. This would have the same ultimate effect as TILA rescission which the courts have steadfastly resisted despite the clear language of 15 USC §1635 and SCOTUS in Jesinoski v Countrywide.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Accused of Control Fraud through Stumpf and Other Corporate Insiders

see also

Republished by permission. Dan Edstrom is the senior forensic analyst of Livinglies.
By Daniel Edstrom
DTC Systems, Inc.

October 19, 2016

The purpose of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation is to put in place financial controls in order to not only reduce fraud, but to identify risks so that the controls can be expanded or new controls put in place. Large companies such as Wells Fargo Bank have compliance departments and ethics lines where questionable conduct (unlawful or not) can be reported “safely” in order for the company to take action to stop and/or remediate the questionable conduct. This is done so that a business operates safely and soundly, and is the perfect source for implementing new controls, enhancing existing controls, testing the effectiveness of the controls, or at least disclosing material deficiencies that can be identified and corrected at a later date.

Risk Management would entail identifying the risk, and then prioritizing, such that the highest priority risks can be mitigated first.  Assuming that early on this conduct was identified, the risk could have been low, leaving it to be addressed at a future date. Its fair to say now that it appears this conduct was effectively suppressed from any risk management.

Based on current reporting, it would appear that the compliance and ethics lines were used against those who reported questionable conduct. This is the exact opposite of the purpose for which Sarbanes-Oxley legislation was imposed, and if true, represents the creation of non-reported internal controls that do the exact opposite of what the legislation imposes. The exact opposite because the controls are put in place to reduce fraud, and require that senior officers such as the CEO and CFO, provide an oath that they have established appropriate internal controls, and then certify that they “have evaluated the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls”. Presumably they would need to disclose information related to material deficiencies.

It is fairly obvious (now) that they had no controls to inhibit, detect or report these issues even though they presumably had actual knowledge of the conduct (or reports of the actual knowledge, which if investigated appropriately would have led to actual knowledge of the conduct).  This, if true, would seemingly mean that when these officers gave their oath, they were knowingly concealing material information that should have been disclosed (no internal controls to detect this activity, fraud, false accounting, and no controls put in place to make sure if this conduct was reported, that it would be appropriately investigated, etc.). They seemingly also knew that their controls were defective, insufficient, and that there were material exceptions that they were knowingly withholding from disclosure. And even worse, it appears they may have implemented “secret” controls, policies and procedures to specifically target and retaliate against those who actually did make an effort to report this “questionable” conduct (i.e. opening accounts for their customers without the customers request in order to receive bonuses, and then, presumably, closing these accounts). But these “secret” controls were not disclosed at all, nor mentioned as a material exception.

But who was the target of the fraud? The customer? No, although they were a victim. This was all targeted at the stockholders in order to falsely inflate their stock value through false and fabricated financial transactions that simulated the “flow” of money in order to give the appearance that money was moving and that fees were being generated.

According to Wikipedia from this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering

According to the United States Treasury Department:

Money laundering is the process of making illegally-gained proceeds (i.e. “dirty money”) appear legal (i.e. “clean”). Typically, it involves three steps: placement, layering and integration. First, the illegitimate funds are furtively introduced into the legitimate financial system. Then, the money is moved around to create confusion, sometimes by wiring or transferring through numerous accounts. Finally, it is integrated into the financial system through additional transactions until the “dirty money” appears “clean.”[10]

This could have started out as bad acts by one or more employees opening these accounts to get paid extra money. Or it could have started out designed from the top as a complete scheme and artifice to defraud. But either way is now irrelevant. Once it was happening and once known at the highest levels, it became a standard and practice. If it wasn’t a control fraud early on, it became one when ethics and compliance officers, managers or employees failed to act (or worse, retaliated or allowed others to retaliate). The final nail in the coffin came when senior officers decided retaliation was appropriate instead of enhancing their internal controls, disclosure controls and reporting. Once they knew or should have known of the conduct, it became their business processes, whether they controlled it directly or not. Closing your eyes so as not to learn the truth is an affirmative act.

How does Sarbanes-Oxley work?  Here is a small sampling on Section 302: Disclosure Controls from Wikipedia, available at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes%E2%80%93Oxley_Act

Sarbanes–Oxley Section 302: Disclosure controls[edit]

Under Sarbanes–Oxley, two separate sections came into effect—one civil and the other criminal. 15 U.S.C. § 7241 (Section 302) (civil provision); 18 U.S.C. § 1350 (Section 906) (criminal provision).

Section 302 of the Act mandates a set of internal procedures designed to ensure accurate financial disclosure. The signing officers must certify that they are “responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls” and “have designed such internal controls to ensure that material information relating to the companyand its consolidated subsidiaries is made known to such officers by others within those entities, particularly during the period in which the periodic reports are being prepared.” 15 U.S.C. § 7241(a)(4). The officers must “have evaluated the effectiveness of the company‘s internal controls as of a date within 90 days prior to the report” and “have presented in the report their conclusions about the effectiveness of their internal controls based on their evaluation as of that date.” Id..

The SEC interpreted the intention of Sec. 302 in Final Rule 33–8124. In it, the SEC defines the new term “disclosure controls and procedures,” which are distinct from “internal controls overfinancial reporting.”[30] Under both Section 302 and Section 404, Congress directed the SEC to promulgate regulations enforcing these provisions.[31]

External auditors are required to issue an opinion on whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects by management. This is in addition to the financial statement opinion regarding the accuracy of the financial statements. The requirement to issue a third opinion regarding management’s assessment was removed in 2007.

A Lord & Benoit Report: Bridging the Sarbanes-Oxley Disclosure Control Gap was filed with the SEC Subcommittee n internal controls which reported that those companies with ineffective internal controls, the expected rate of full and accurate disclosure under Section 302 will range between 8 and 15 percent. A full 9 out of every 10 companies with ineffective Section 404 controls self reported effective 302 controls in the same period end that an adverse Section 404 was reported, 90% in accurate without a Section 404 audit.http://www.section404.org/UserFiles/File/Lord_Benoit_Report_1_Bridging_the_Disclosure_Control_Gap.pdf

New York Times: Prosecution of Financial Crisis Fraud Ends With a Whimper

Photo

In 2011, Robert Khuzami of the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against top executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Credit Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

One source of great frustration from the financial crisis has been the dearth of cases against individuals over subprime lending practices and the related securitization of bad loans that caused so much financial havoc. To heighten the frustration, I offer Aug. 22, 2016, as the day on which efforts to pursue cases related to subprime mortgages were put to rest with no individuals — save perhaps the unfortunate former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre — held accountable.

On that date, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled its last remaining case against a former Fannie Mae chief executive for securities fraud related to the disclosure of the company’s subprime mortgage exposure. The agency accepted a mere token payment that will not even come out of the individual’s own pocket.

On the same day, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider its May ruling that Bank of America’s Countrywide mortgage unit and one of its former executives did not commit fraud by failing to disclose to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that the subprime loans it was selling to them did not come close to the contractual requirements for such transactions.

In December 2011, the S.E.C. publicized its civil securities fraud charges against top executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for understating their exposure to subprime mortgages, which resulted in the government taking them over. Robert Khuzami, then the head of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, said that “all individuals, regardless of their rank or position, will be held accountable for perpetuating half-truths or misrepresentations about matters materially important to the interest of our country’s investors.”

That is not how it turned out, however. Five of the executives settled in 2015 by arranging for modest payments to be made on their behalf by the companies and their insurers, amounts that were never even described as penalties in the settlements.

Each also agreed not to hold a position in a public company that would require signing a filing on its behalf for up to two years. That is far short of the director and officer bar the S.E.C. usually seeks in such cases, but at least it had the sound of something punitive regardless of whether there was any real impact.

The settlement with the sixth defendant, Daniel H. Mudd, the former chief executive of Fannie Mae, disclosed in a judicial filing on Aug. 22, did not even reach that modest level of accountability. Fannie will make a $100,000 donation on his behalf to the Treasury Department — which is like shifting money from one pocket to another because the government already controls the company. Nor is there any ban on Mr. Mudd holding an executive position at another public company, something that at least resulted from the cases against the other executives.

What the S.E.C. accomplished in settling the cases against Mr. Mudd and the other executives hardly sends a message to other executives to be careful about how they act in the future. No money came out of the pockets of any of the defendants, and the prohibitions on future activity were token requirements. It was, after all, unlikely that any of the defendants would have been put in a leadership position at a public company within the applicable time. It is difficult not to come away with the impression that the settlements were little more than a slap on the wrist, and perhaps less than that for Mr. Mudd.

The case involving Countrywide may be more disheartening because it calls into question the scope of a federal statute from the savings and loan crisis, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, or Firrea, that the Justice Department used to extract large settlements from banks. That law authorizes the Justice Department to seek civil penalties for conduct that violates the mail and wire fraud statutes if it affects a bank.

The government won the jury trial in 2013. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said that “in a rush to feed at the trough of easy mortgage money on the eve of the financial crisis, Bank of America purchased Countrywide, thinking it had gobbled up a cash cow. That profit, however, was built on fraud.” The trial court hit Bank of America with a $1.267 billion penalty and ordered a former Countrywide executive, the only individual named as a defendant in the case, to pay a separate $1 million fine.

But the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan overturned the verdict last year by ruling that the government had not shown fraud because there was no false statement made when Countrywide sold loans that did not meet certain contractual obligations it had with Fannie and Freddie. The opinion found that “willful but silent noncompliance” with a contract was not fraudulent without some later misstatement.

The government’s aggressive approach to the case may explain why the Justice Department asked the full appeals court to review the decision even though such a request is rarely granted.

The appeals court judges issued a terse order on Aug. 22 denying the government’s request without further comment, which means the only option for challenging the ruling will be to try to take the case to the Supreme Court. The last time the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review a case from Mr. Bharara’s office was in United States v. Newman, an insider trading decision. The justices rejected that request before granting review in a similar case from California.

The likelihood that the Supreme Court will take up the appeals court’s decision appears to be low. The issue about what constitutes fraud in a contractual relationship is narrow, raising arcane questions about how a court should construe an agreement between sophisticated parties and when full disclosure is required. This is the type of claim that is usually pursued in a private lawsuit rather than through a federal enforcement action, so the justices may not want to be dragged into a dispute that will have little precedential impact on the application of federal law.

The lack of cases identifying individuals for any misconduct related to the financial crisis has become an all-too common complaint. What will be additionally disheartening to many is that even those few cases that were brought have now ended up largely as defeats for the government.

ALERT: COMMUNITY BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS AT GRAVE RISK HOLDING $1.5 TRILLION IN MBS

I’ve talked about this before. It is why we offer a Risk Analysis Report to Community Banks and Credit Unions. The report analyzes the potential risk of holding MBS instruments in lieu of Treasury Bonds. And it provides guidance to the bank on making new loans on property where there is a history of assignments, transfers and other indicia of claims of securitization.

The risks include but are not limited to

  1. MBS Instrument issued by New York common law trust that was never funded, and has no assets or expectation of same.
  2. MBS Instrument was issued by NY common law trust on a tranche that appeared safe but was tied by CDS to the most toxic tranche.
  3. Insurance paid to investment bank instead of investors
  4. Credit default swap proceeds paid to investment banks instead of investors
  5. Guarantees paid to investment banks after they have drained all value through excessive fees charged against the investor and the borrowers on loans.
  6. Tier 2 Yield Spread Premiums of as much as 50% of the investment amount.
  7. Intentional low underwriting standards to produce high nominal interest to justify the Tier 2 yield spread premium.
  8. Funding direct from investor funds while creating notes and mortgages that named other parties than the investors or the “trust.”
  9. Forcing foreclosure as the only option on people who could pay far more than the proceeds of foreclosure.
  10. Turning down modifications or settlements on the basis that the investor rejected it when in fact the investor knew nothing about it. This could result in actions against an investor that is charged with violations of federal law.
  11. Making loans on property with a history of “securitization” and realizing later that the intended mortgage lien was junior to other off record transactions in which previous satisfactions of mortgage or even foreclosure sales could be invalidated.

The problem, as these small financial institutions are just beginning to realize, is that the MBS instruments that were supposedly so safe, are not safe and may not be worth anything at all — especially if the trust that issued them was never funded by the investment bank who did the underwriting and sales of the MBS to relatively unsophisticated community banks and credit unions. In a word, these small institutions were sitting ducks and probably, knowing Wall Street the way I do, were lured into the most toxic of the “bonds.”

Unless these small banks get ahead of the curve they face intervention by the FDIC or other regulatory agencies because some part of their assets and required reserves might vanish. These small institutions, unlike the big ones that caused the problem, don’t have agreements with the Federal government to prop them up regardless of whether the bonds were real or worthless.

Most of the small banks and credit unions are carrying these assets at cost, which is to say 100 cents on the dollar when in fact it is doubtful they are worth even half that amount. The question is whether the bank or credit union is at risk and what they can do about it. There are several claims mechanisms that can employed for the bank that finds itself facing a write-off of catastrophic or damaging proportions.

The plain fact is that nearly everyone in government and law enforcement considers what happens to small banks to be “collateral damage,” unworthy of any effort to assist these institutions even though the government was complicit in the fraud that has resulted in jury verdicts, settlements, fines and sanctions totaling into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

This is a ticking time bomb for many institutions that put their money into higher yielding MBS instruments believing they were about as safe as US Treasury bonds. They were wrong but not because of any fault of anyone at the bank. They were lied to by experts who covered their lies with false promises of ratings, insurance, hedges and guarantees.

Those small institutions who have opted to take the bank public, may face even worse problems with the SEC and shareholders if they don’t report properly on the balance sheet as it is effected by the downgrade of MBS securities. The problem is that most auditing firms are not familiar with the actual facts behind these securities and are likely a this point to disclaim any responsibility for the accounting that produces the financial statements of the bank.

I have seen this play out before. The big investment banks are going to throw the small institutions under the bus and call it unavoidable damage that isn’t their problem. despite the hard-headed insistence on autonomy and devotion to customer service at each bank, considerable thought should be given to banding together into associations that are not controlled by regional banks are are part of the problem and will most likely block any solution. Traditional community bank associations and traditional credit unions might not be the best place to go if you are looking to a real solution.

Community Banks and Credit Unions MUST protect themselves and make claims as fast as possible to stay ahead of the curve. They must be proactive in getting a credible report that will stand up in court, if necessary, and make claims for the balance. Current suits by investors are producing large returns for the lawyers and poor returns to the investors. Our entire team stands ready to assist small institutions achieve parity and restitution.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SCHEDULE CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN NEIL GARFIELD AND THE BANK OFFICERS (WITH THE BANK’S LAWYER) ON THE LINE, EXECUTIVES FOR SMALL COMMUNITY BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS SHOULD CALL OUR TALLAHASSEE NUMBER 850-765-1236 or OUR WEST COAST NUMBER AT 520-405-1688.

BLK | Thu, Nov 14

BlackRock with ETF push to smaller banks • The roughly 7K regional and community banks in the U.S. have securities portfolios totaling $1.5T, the majority of which is in MBS, putting them at a particularly high interest rate risk, and on the screens of regulators who would like to see banks diversify their holdings. • “This is going to be a multiple-year trend and dialogue,” says BlackRock’s (BLK) Jared Murphy who is overseeing the iSharesBonds ETFs campaign. • The funds come with an expense ratio of 0.1% and the holdings are designed to limit interest rate risk. BlackRock scored its first big sale in Q3 when a west coast regional invested $100M in one of the funds. • At issue are years of bank habits – when they want to reduce mortgage exposure, they typically turn to Treasurys. For more credit exposure, they habitually turn to municipal bonds. “Community bankers feel like they’re going to be the last in the food chain to know if there are any problems with a corporate issuer,” says a community bank consultant.

Full Story: http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1412712?source=ipadportfolioapp

Monday Livinglies Magazine: Crime and Punishment

Steal this Massachusetts Town’s Toughest New Foreclosure Prevention Ideas
http://www.keystonepolitics.com/2013/06/steal-this-massachusetts-towns-toughest-new-foreclosure-prevention-ideas/

Florida leads nation in vacated foreclosures — and it’s not even close http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=33330748

Editor’s Note:  it is only common sense. There are several things that are known with complete certainty in connection with the mortgage mess.

  • We know that the banks found it necessary to forge, fabricate and alter legal documents illegally in order to create the illusion that foreclosure was proper.
  • We know that the banks manipulated the published rates on which adjustable mortgages changed their payments.
  • We know that the banks typically abandon any property that the bank has deemed to be undesirable (then why did they foreclose, when they had a perfectly good homeowner who was willing to pay something including the maintenance and insurance of the house?).
  • And we can conclude that it is far more important to the banks that they be able to foreclose and have the deed issued then to actually take possession of the property for sale or rental.
  • And so we know that the mortgage and foreclosure markets have been turned on their heads. Lynn, Massachusetts has adopted a series of regulations which appeared to be constitutional and which make it very difficult for the banks to turn neighborhoods that were thriving into blight.  The actions of this city and others who are taking similar actions will continue to reveal the true nature of the mortgage encumbrances (the lanes were never perfected because the loan was never made by the party that is claiming to be secured) and the true nature of foreclosures (the cover-up to a Ponzi scheme and an illegal securities scam that does not and never did fall within the exemptions of the 1998 law claimed by the banks).

The Bank Of International Settlements Warns The Monetary Kool-Aid Party Is Over
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-23/bank-international-settlements-warns-monetary-kool-aid-party-over

Wells Fargo Sells Woman’s House In Foreclosure After She Reinstates Loan for $141,441.81
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/06/20/wells-fargo-sells-womans-house-in-foreclosure-after-she-reinstates-loan-for-141441-81/

Editor’s Note: In all of these cases you need to start with the premise that the bank has a gargantuan liability in the event that it took insurance, credit default swap proceeds, federal bailouts, or the proceeds of sales of mortgage bonds to the Federal Reserve. Most experts in finance and economics agree that if the Federal Reserve stops making payments on the “purchase” of mortgage bonds the entire housing market will collapse. I don’t agree.

It is the banks that will collapse in the housing market will finally recover bringing the economy back up with it. The problem for the Federal Reserve and the economy is that most likely they are buying worthless paper issued by a trust that was never funded and that therefore could never have purchased any loan. Thus the income and the collateral of the mortgage bond is nonexistent.

Many people in the financial world completely understand this and are terrified at the prospect of the largest banks being required to mark down their reserve capital;  if this happens, and it should, these banks will lack the capital to continue functioning as a mega-bank.

So why would a bank foreclose on house on which there was no mortgage and/or no default? The answer lies in the fact that they have accepted money from third parties on the premise that they lost money on these mortgages. If that turns out not to be true (which it isn’t) then they most probably owe a lot of money back to those third parties.

My estimate is that in the average case they owe anywhere from 7 to 40 times the amount of the mortgage loan.  It is simply cheaper to settle with the aggrieved homeowner even if they pay damages for emotional distress (which is permitted in California and perhaps some other states); it is even cheaper and far more effective for the bank to give the house back without any encumbrance to the homeowner. Without the foreclosure becoming final or worse yet, as the recent revelations from Bank of America clearly show, if the loan is modified and becomes a performing loan all of that money is due back to all of those third parties.

“Deed-In-Lieu” of Foreclosure and Other Things
http://www.fxstreet.com/education/related-markets/lessons-from-the-pros-real-estate/2013/06/20/

Editor’s Note: This has come up many times in  questions and discussions regarding dealing with the Wall Street banks. It seems that the banks have borrowers thinking that in order to file a deed in lieu of foreclosure they need the permission of the bank. I know of no such provision in the law of any state preventing the owner of the property from deeding the property to anyone.  Several lawyers are seeing an opportunity, to wit: once the homeowner deeds the properties to the party pretending to foreclose on the property, the foreclosure action against the homeowner must be dismissed. That leaves the question of a deficiency judgment.

The advantages to the homeowner appears to be that any lawsuit seeking to recover a deficiency judgment would be strictly about money and would require the allegation of a monetary loss and proof of the monetary loss which would enable the homeowner, for the first time, to pursue discovery on the money trail because there is no other issue in dispute.

In the course of that litigation the discovery may reveal the fact that the party who filed the foreclosure and misrepresented their right to the collateral would be subject to various causes of action for damages as a counterclaim; but the counterclaim would not be filed until after discovery revealed the problem for the “lender.” Therefore several lawyers are advising their clients to simply file the deed in favor of the party seeking foreclosure based upon the representation that they are in fact the right party to obtain a sale of the property.

The lawyers who are using this tactic obviously caution their clients against using it unless they are already out of the house or are planning to move. Homeowners who are looking to employ this tactic should check with a licensed attorney in the jurisdiction in which their property is located.

Must See Video: Arizona Homeowners Losing their Homes to Foreclosure Through Forged Documents
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/06/21/must-see-video-arizona-homeowners-losing-their-homes-to-foreclosure-through-forged-documents/

Monitor Finds Mortgage Lenders Still Falling Short of Settlement’s Terms

By SHAILA DEWAN

The biggest mortgage lenders in the United States have not met all of the terms of the $25 billion settlement over abuses, an independent monitor found.

British Commission Calls for New Laws to Prosecute Bankers for Fraud

By MARK SCOTT

As part of a 600-page report, the British parliamentary commission on banking standards is urging new laws that would make it a criminal offense to recklessly mismanage local financial institutions.

A Fit of Pique on Wall Street

By PETER EAVIS

Perhaps more than at any time since the financial crisis, Wall Street knows it must prepare for a world without the Federal Reserve’s largess.

S.E.C. Has a Message for Firms Not Used to Admitting Guilt

By JAMES B. STEWART

By requiring an admission of guilt in some cases, the S.E.C.’s new chairwoman is pressing for more accountability at financial firms.

Bank of America’s Foreclosure Frenzy
http://ml-implode.com/staticnews/2013-06-24_BankofAmericasForeclosureFrenzy.html

OCC Says Bank Losses Mounting on Defective Foreclosures and Loans

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Editor’s Comment:  

This has been my point, although the article below only covers a small part of the losses that will eventually befall the banks and servicers. The banks are carrying assets on their balance sheet that do not exist — especially, as this article points, out home equity lines of credit that are second in priority to the first mortgage. We already know that those home equity loans are worthless. But even the first mortgages are claimed as assets despite the fact that the bank didn’t put up one dime to fund the mortgage or purchase it. How the big accounting firms are permitting this, why the SEC is not objecting to it, is amystery only if you believe in the tooth fairy. They are missing it because they have been told not to bring down the banks — at least not yet. Eventually though, the true figures will emerge and the so-called large or mega banks will be shown for what they are — the same sham that was created in the origination of the loans.

Regulator Warns of Mortgage Losses for U.S. Banks

by Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON–U.S. banks may be hit with a new round of mortgage losses over the next five years as borrowers who took out home-equity loans a decade earlier face increased monthly payments, a regulator warned Thursday.The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency warned that more than half the amount borrowed on equity lines at national banks, or $221 billion out of $380 billion, will face higher payments from 2014 to 2017, exposing banks to the possibility of losses if some equity-line borrowers default.

Home-equity lines extended during the mid-2000s housing-market-boom years typically had a 10-year period in which the borrower made only interest payments. When that period ends, borrowers must start to pay back the principal balance as well, increasing monthly payments for some homeowners who have seen their incomes and property values decline.

Darrin Benhart, deputy comptroller for credit and market risk at the OCC, said “banks are going to have to be thinking about ways that they’re going to address” the problem, including debt restructuring. Analysts have been voicing similar concerns. In a May report, Deutsche Bank identified First Horizon National Corp. (FHN), PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC), TCF Financial Corp. (TCB) and Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN) as institutions that are most exposed to losses from home-equity lines.

The OCC report, the first in a series of semi-annual reports on financial risks in the banking system, also said banks have shifted to higher-risk investments to boost interest-rate returns, a development that could create future losses for banks.

The OCC separately is studying which banks could be hit the hardest if interest rates rise. For larger banks the regulator said it will focus on problems with mortgage servicing as well as underwriting standards for business loans and exposure to European institutions. The agency also will scrutinize smaller banks to look at loss exposure from commercial real-estate loans and new types of auto and other lending products

The report said banks still face a huge overhang of delinquent and foreclosed properties stemming from the nationwide housing bust. And the nation’s largest banks “continue to face profitability challenges” from deficiencies in their foreclosure-processing operations, which bank regulators are forcing the nation’s largest mortgage servicers to overhaul.

The report, however, said that banks are in a far stronger financial position than before the recession of 2007-2009, with higher levels of capital around the industry, particularly at the largest banks.


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