The banks were not taking risks. They were making risks and profiting from them. Or another way of looking at it is that with their superior knowledge they were neither taking nor making risks; instead they were creating the illusion of risk when the outcome was virtually certain.
Securitization as practiced by Wall Street and residential “mortgage” loans is not just a void assignment. It is a void loan and an enterprise based completely on steering all “loans” into failure and foreclosure.
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Perhaps this summary might help some people understand why bad loans were the object of lending instead of good loans. The end result in the process was always to steer everyone into foreclosure.
Don’t use logic and don’t trust anything the banks put on paper. Start with a blank slate — it’s the only way to even start understanding what is happening and what is continuing to happen. The following is what you must keep in mind and returning to for -rereading as you plow through the bank representations. I use names for example only — it’s all the same, with some variations, throughout the 13 banks that were at the center of all this.
- The strategic object of the bank plan was to make everyone remote from liability while at the same time being part of multiple transactions — some real and some fictitious. Remote from liability means that the entity won’t be held accountable for its own actions or the actions of other entities that were all part of the scheme.
- The goal was simple: take other people’s money and re-characterize it as the banks’ money.
- Merrill Lynch approaches institutional investors like pension funds, which are called “stable managed funds.” They have special requirements to undertake the lowest possible risk in every investment. Getting such institutional investors to buy is a signal to the rest of the market that the securities purchased by the stable managed funds must be safe or they wouldn’t have done it.
- Merrill Lynch creates a proprietary entity that is neither a subsidiary nor an affiliate because it doesn’t really exist. It is called a REMIC Trust and is portrayed in the prospectus as though it was an independent entity that is under management by a reputable bank acting as Trustee. In order to give the appearance of independence Merrill Lynch hires US Bank to act as Trustee. The Trust is not registered anywhere because it is a common law trust which is only recognized by the laws of the State of New York. US Bank receives a monthly fee for NOT saying that it has no trust duties, and allowing the use of its name in foreclosures.
- Merrill Lynch issues a prospectus from the so-called REMIC entity offering the sale of “certificates” to investors who will receive a hybrid “security” that is partly a bond in which interest is due from the Trust to the investor and partly equity (like common stock) in which the owners of the certificates are said to have undivided interests in the assets of the Trust, of which there are none.
- The prospectus is a summary of how the securitization will work but it is not subject to SEC regulations because in 1998 an amendment to the securities laws exempted “pass-through” entities from securities regulations is they were backed by mortgage bonds.
- Attached to the prospectus is a mortgage loan schedule (MLS). But the body of the prospectus (which few people read) discloses that the MLS is not real and is offered by way of example.
- Attached for due diligence review is a copy of the Trust instrument that created the REMIC Trust. It is also called a Pooling and Servicing Agreement to give the illusion that a pool of loans is owned by the Trust and administered by the Trustee, the Master Servicer and other entities who are described as performing different roles.
- The PSA does not grant or describe any duties, responsibilities to be performed by US Bank as trustee. Actual control over the Trust assets, if they ever existed, is exercised by the Master Servicer, Merrill Lynch acting through subservicers like Ocwen.
- Merrill Lynch procures a triple AAA rating from Moody’s Rating Service, as quasi public entity that grades various securities according to risk assessment. This provides “assurance” to investors that the the REMIC Trust underwritten by Merrill Lynch and sold by a Merrill Lynch affiliate must be safe because Moody’s has always been a reliable rating agency and it is controlled by Federal regulation.
- Those institutional investors who actually performed due diligence did not buy the securities.
- Most institutional investors were like cattle simply going along with the crowd. And they advanced money for the purported “purchase” of the certificates “issued” by the “REMIC Trust.”
- Part of the ratings and part of the investment decision was based upon the fact that the REMIC Trusts would be purchasing loans that had already been seasoned and established as high grade. This was a lie.
- For all practical purposes, no REMIC Trust ever bought any loan; and even where the appearance of a purchase was fabricated through documents reflecting a transaction that never occurred, the “purchased” loans were the result of “loan closings” which only happened days before or were fulfilling Agreements in which all such loans were pre-sold — i.e., as early as before even an application for loan had been submitted.
- The normal practice required under the securities regulation is that when a company or entity offers securities for sale, the net proceeds of sale go to the issuing entity. This is thought to be axiomatically true on Wall Street. No entity would offer securities that made the entity indebted or owned by others unless they were getting the proceeds of sale of the “securities.”
- Merrill Lynch gets the money, sometimes through conduits, that represent proceeds of the sale of the REMIC Trust certificates.
- Merrill Lynch does not turn over the proceeds of sale to US Bank as trustee for the Trust. Vague language contained in the PSA reveals that there was an intention to divert or convert the money received from investors to a “dark pool” controlled by Merrill Lynch and not controlled by US Bank or anyone else on behalf of the REMIC Trust.
- Merrill Lynch embarks on a nationwide and even world wide sales push to sell complex loan products to homeowners seeking financing. Most of the sales, nearly all, were directed at the loans most likely to fail. This was because Merrill Lynch could create the appearance of compliance with the prospectus and the PSA with respect to the quality of the loan.
- More importantly by providing investors with 5% return on their money, Merrill Lynch could lend out 50% of the invested money at 10% and still give the investors the 5% they were expecting (unless the loan did NOT go to foreclosure, in which case the entire balance would be due). The balance due, if any, was taken from the dark pool controlled by Merrill Lynch and consisting entirely of money invested by the institutional investors.
- Hence the banks were not taking risks. They were making risks and profiting from them. Or another way of looking at it is that with their superior knowledge they were neither taking nor making risks; instead they were creating the illusion of risk when the outcome was virtually certain.
- The use of the name “US Bank, as Trustee” keeps does NOT directly subject US Bank to any liability, knowledge, intention, or anything else, as it was and remains a passive rent-a-name operation in which no loans are ever administered in trust because none were purchased by the Trust, which never got the proceeds of sale of securities and was therefore devoid of any assets or business activity at any time.
- The only way for the banks to put a seal of legitimacy on what they were doing — stealing money — was by getting official documents from the court systems approving a foreclosure. Hence every effort was made to push all loans to foreclosure under cover of an illusory modification program in which they occasionally granted real modifications that would qualify as a “workout,” which before the false claims fo securitization of loans, was the industry standard norm.
- Thus the foreclosure became extraordinarily important to complete the bank plan. By getting a real facially valid court order or forced sale of the property, the loan could be “legitimately” written off as a failed loan.
- The Judgment or Order signed by the Judge and the Clerk deed upon sale at foreclosure auction became a document that (1) was presumptively valid and (b) therefore ratified all the preceding illegal acts.
- Thus the worse the loan, the less Merrill Lynch had to lend. The difference between the investment and the amount loaned was sometimes as much as three times the principal due in high risk loans that were covered up and mixed in with what appeared to be conforming loans.
- Then Merrill Lynch entered into “private agreements” for sale of the same loans to multiple parties under the guise of a risk management vehicles etc. This accounts for why the notional value of the shadow banking market sky-rocketed to 1 quadrillion dollars when all the fiat money in the world was around $70 trillion — or 7% of the monstrous bubble created in shadow banking. And that is why central banks had no choice but to print money — because all the real money had been siphoned out the economy and into the pockets of the banks and their bankers.
- TARP was passed to cover the banks for their losses due to loan defaults. It quickly became apparent that the banks had no losses from loan defaults because they were never using their own money to originate loans, although they had the ability to make it look like that.
- Then TARP was changed to cover the banks for their losses in mortgage bonds and the derivative markets. It quickly became apparent that the banks were not buying mortgage bonds, they were selling them, so they had no such losses there either.
- Then TARP was changed again to cover losses from toxic investment vehicles, which would be a reference to what I have described above.
- And then to top it off, the Banks convinced our central bankers at the Federal Reserve that they would freeze up credit all over the world unless they received even more money which would allow them to make more loans and ease credit. So the FED purchased mortgage bonds from the non-owning banks to the tune of around $3 Trillion thus far — on top of all the other ill-gotten gains amounting roughly to around 50% of all loans ever originated over the last 20 years.
- The claim of losses by the banks was false in all the forms that was represented. There was no easing of credit. And banks have been allowed to conduct foreclosures on loans that violated nearly all lending standards especially including lying about who the creditor is in order to keep everyone “remote” from liability for selling loan products whose central attribute was failure.
- Since the certificates issued in the name of the so-called REMIC Trusts were not in fact backed by mortgage loans (EVER) the certificates, the issuers, the underwriters, the master servicers, the trustees et al are NOT qualified for exemption under the 1998 law. The SEC is either asleep on this or has been instructed by three successive presidents to leave the banks alone, which accounts for the failure to jail any of the bankers that essentially committed treason by attacking the economic foundation of our society.
Filed under: foreclosure | Tagged: CERTIFICATES, common law trust, foreclosures, Master Servicer, Merril Lynch, Moody's, Mortgage Loan Schedule, Pooling and Servicing Agreement, Prospectus, REMIC, Rent-A-Name, securitization, stable managed fund, trust, Underwriter, US BANK | 91 Comments »