FCIC Calm Before the Storm: Bankers Still Basking in Their Own Glory

Phil Angelides, the former state treasurer of California who is the commission’s chairman, told Mr. Blankfein “it sounds more like you were selling cars with faulty brakes and then buying insurance on the driver.”

Mr. Angelides, who lost the governor’s race in California to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, pointedly compared some Wall Street chief executives to blackjack players who could win huge amounts of cash but not lose anything.

The only thing about the current situation that gives me some comfort is the eerie similarity with similar hearings that took place after the the 1929 crash. Stuffed with arrogance and hubris, these bankers have always regarded themselves as the fourth branch of government. As Rothschild said, if you have the purse strings you have the power (paraphrasing). But every so often the bankers get a spanking and some even go to jail.

It is difficult to understand the magnitude of their destruction even now. We know a lot of people lost money, income, savings, wealth and dignity over the course of this mess. But we still have yet to feel the pain of title defects when the title insurers and lawyers start balking at supposedly clear or marketable title created at the inception and during transfers of interests in these loans. And the full loss in taxes on reported income has not been explored, which might (if governments do anything about it) be a positive offset to some of our problems.

And of course the final recognition that there is no where to hide on principal reduction. The only question, which I asked two years ago before this exploded, is how to share the losses so that nobody gets destroyed. (My solution was “amnesty for everyone”, but nobody paid attention). Right now we have fewer TITANS controlling more wealth and the rest of us sucking wind where there was money. That is our money they are controlling. They didn’t earn it, and they didn’t obtain it through normal commerce. They got it through fraud.

So at some point we are going to be required to accept one of two things: (1) the perpetrators get to keep their bounty or (2) the victims are restored, as much as possible, to the condition they were in before the fraud. If we choose option 1 then we are headed down the same rabbit hole that deceived everyone into thinking everything was all right while the banks siphoned the life out of our economy. If we choose option 2, then we start on the road to recovery, regeneration and rejuvenation of a nation that for the sake of everyone needs to succeed.

January 14, 2010 New York Times

Few Burns for Four Bankers on the Hot Seat

WASHINGTON — The four bankers of the apocalypse strode into the Congressional hearing room and formed a crooked line. They raised their hands haltingly, looking at one another as if to see whether the other guys were going to do it, too. It was one of the more indecisive swearings-in you will ever see on Capitol Hill.

As cameras clacked Wednesday, four of the nation’s highest financial fliers took their places before the 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission charged with determining the causes of the nation’s financial debacle.

The bankers — Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, John J. Mack of Morgan Stanley and Brian T. Moynihan of Bank of America — joined a gallery of titans who have suffered through this ritual: tobacco executives, automakers and baseball’s steroid users, among others. Few Americans remember what they said, but the images endure as cultural mug shots.

Mr. Dimon (the silver-haired one) arrived first Wednesday morning, standing with his arms folded behind his witness chair, smiling for the cameras. He accepted a small packet of peanut butter cookies from a woman in the audience who rushed up to him. He was joined in chit-chat by Mr. Blankfein (the bald one), then Mr. Moynihan (the baby-faced one).

Mr. Mack (the bushy-eyebrowed one) stood apart from the others in the back of the hearing room. “I’m not going up there,” he said to no one in particular, resisting the photographic firing squad until the last possible second.

Then the gang that couldn’t oath straight mumbled its “I do’s.”

For those anticipating a cathartic ceremony of dressing-downs, apologies or verbal brawling, there was little of it during the three-and-a-half-hour hearing. Nor did the circular House hearing room resemble anyone’s idea of a circus tent; it was packed but quiet, scattered with a few innocuous protesters. The 10 commissioners pressed the bankers on executive compensation, on managing risks and on lending practices, keeping up a brisk pace while the witnesses fidgeted like busy people who all had planes or trains to catch.

The initial round of questions and responses provoked disapproval, a few pointed fingers and sporadic shows of humility from the witnesses. “If you do everything right in business, you’re going to make mistakes,” said Mr. Dimon.

Labored metaphors abounded. Phil Angelides, the former state treasurer of California who is the commission’s chairman, told Mr. Blankfein that he sounded like he was selling cars with faulty brakes and then buying insurance on the driver.

Bill Thomas, the panel’s vice chairman and a cantankerous former congressman from California, compared the work of the commission to an iceberg that was only one-eighth visible over the water.

Commissioner Byron S. Georgiou noted that the banks had “eaten their own cooking” (sort of a gastronomic version of the “made their own bed” cliché). Mr. Mack heartily agreed.

“We did eat our own cooking,” he said. “And we choked on it.”

After Mr. Angelides called for a quick break, the chief executives bolted — except for Mr. Mack, who stayed behind at the witness table. “What are people supposed to think when they see these bankers taking big bonuses?” one reporter asked Mr. Mack, who began his answer by noting that he did not get a bonus. Behind him, a woman wearing a Washington Nationals baseball cap was scurrying around, trying to get people to take her homemade fliers denouncing the Bank of America. She wore a “Fire Kenneth Lewis” T-shirt (Mr. Lewis was until recently the bank’s chief executive).

“I’m here because I want to put these guys in jail,” said the woman, Judy Koenick, of Chevy Chase, Md.

No stranger to muscular but diminished adversaries, Mr. Angelides, who lost the governor’s race in California to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, pointedly compared some Wall Street chief executives to blackjack players who could win huge amounts of cash but not lose anything. Mr. Dimon responded, “You can lose your job, and your reputation.”

Finally, before lunchtime, Mr. Angelides dismissed the executives.

A reporter asked Mr. Mack if the experience had been fun. “Well,” he said, making his way to the exit, “it’s just something that we had to do.”

Following a few feet behind, Mr. Dimon made the mistake of stopping to chat with someone and found himself gridlocked in a solo press conference.

Why were the chief executives not more apologetic? a reporter asked.

People “have to be very specific” when asking for apologies, Mr. Dimon cautioned.

He squared his shoulders and headed for the back door, only to meet an insistent question from Jonathan Karl of ABC.

“Mr. Dimon, does Wall Street get it?” Mr. Karl asked the banker, who kept walking and had nothing more to say.

6 Responses

  1. Dear Ms. Brewer,

    My name is Ben Horner, and I am a Constituent Services Representative for Senator DeMint. I wanted to let you know that we received the email that you sent to our office on December 12th, 2009.

    I have reviewed your email, and I believe that your issue would be best addressed by Family Services, an organization with expertise in this area. They have been able to assist many South Carolinians with mortgage issues. The phone number for Family Services is 1-800-232-6489.

    Please let our office know if there is anything we can do for you in the future.

    Thank You,

    Ben Horner

    Office of US Senator Jim DeMint (SC)

    105 North Spring Street, Suite 109

    Greenville, SC 29601

    P: 864-233-4207

    F: 864-271-8901

    Dear Ms. Brewer,

    Your letter to the Attorney General’s Office has been referred to me for response.

    Unfortunately, this matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of this office. The S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs, a separate state agency, assists consumers with inquiries and complaints. This correspondence is being forwarded to their office. Should you need to contact that agency directly, you may do so at the following:

    S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs

    3600 Forest Drive

    Post Office Box 5757

    Columbia, South Carolina 29250-5757

    (803) 734-4200


    Thank you for writing and I hope this information is helpful.


  2. why can’t I get any response I can expose the fraud on the 2003-2 certificate series. I know it don’t make sense that Ihave the original NOTE signed in ink and I’m in foreclosure here is a snip it of the prospectus that says how the loans were to be packaged. If I could post my documents here I would. I sent this info to a senator and attorney general, Can you believe that the senator referred me to FAMILY SERVICES! for securities fraud and the AG referred me to consumer affairs. If this is not proof then tell me what is.
    Now let’a get to the fraud. Mers was named nominee on the mortgage and filed at the Register Of Deeds in Greenville SC, supposedily according to a lost note affidivat the original lender RBMG sold the note and according to MERS servicer ID the loan was transfered off of the MERS system and MIN# deactivated because of a sale to a non-mers member in 2002. NO ASSIGNMENT WAS RECORDED.Now the new owner EMC sold the loan to Bear Stearns which deposited into the Asset Backed Securites which did an assignment/sell to JP MORGAN CHASE as trustee. Now there has been a foreclosure started on the loan in March 2009 by The Bank OF New York Mellon as successor trustee for JP MORGAN CHASE who claims to be the real party in interest and hold the note. By way Of an assignment which was recorded at the ROD after the LIS-PENDENS and after the filing of complaint.Here is more fraud because the assignment was from MERS on behalf of the original lender RBMG which is defunct and has been since 2005 to the THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON. MERS has no authority to do an assignment because the loan was transferred from them in 2002 and Mers was Longer the mortgagee as nominee of record.Now are you with me( no chain of title) the BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON produced in discovery to me an allonge RBMG to EMC along with the lost note affidivat. EMC showed an allonge to JP MORGAN CHASE which skipped BEAR STEARNS. BEAR STEARNS was the depositer into the securities. First let start with the allonges: according to the UCC an allonge is only used when there is NO ROOM ON THE ORIGINAL NOTE FOR ENDORSEMENT and must be firmly attached as to become a part of the note. AN ALLONGE cannot be used to transfer interest and is invalid if there is room on the note for endorsements and is invalid it not attached. A lost note and two allonges that were not signed and not dated and even skipped BEAR STEARNS that desposited it into the securities is the purported chain of title , now let’s look at the prospectus:Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities Inc · 424B5 · Bear Stearns Asset Backed Certificates Series 2003-2 · On 6/30/03
    Document 1 of 1 · 424B5 · Prospectus
    . Assignment of the Mortgage Loans; Repurchase At the time of issuance of the certificates, the depositor will cause the mortgage loans, together with all principal and interest due with respect to such mortgage loans after the cut-off date to be sold to the trust. The mortgage loans in each of the mortgage loan groups will be identified in a schedule appearing as an exhibit to the pooling and servicing agreement with each mortgage loan group separately identified. Such schedule will include information as to the principal balance of each mortgage loan as of the cut-offdate, as well as information including, among other things, the mortgage rate,the borrower’s monthly payment and the maturity date of each mortgage note. In addition, the depositor will deposit with Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, National Association, as custodian and agent for the trustee, the following documents with respect to each mortgage loan: (a) except with respect to a MOM loan, the original mortgage note, endorsed without recourse in the following form: “Pay to the order of JPMorgan Chase Bank, as S-40——————————————————————————–
    trustee for certificateholders of Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2003-2 without recourse,” with all intervening endorsements, to the extent available, showing a complete chain of endorsement from the originator to the seller or, if the original mortgage note is unavailable to the depositor, a photocopy thereof, if available, together with a lost note affidavit; (b) the original recorded mortgage or a photocopy thereof, and if the related mortgage loan is a MOM loan, noting the applicable mortgage identification number for that mortgage loan; (c) except with respect to a mortgage loan that is registered on the MERS(R) System, a duly executed assignment of the mortgage to “JPMorgan Chase Bank, as trustee for certificateholders of Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2003-2, without recourse;” in recordable form, as described in the pooling and servicing agreement; (d) originals or duplicates of all interim recorded assignments of such mortgage, if any and if available to the depositor; (e) the original or duplicate original lender’s title policy or, in the event such original title policy has not been received from the insurer, such original or duplicate original lender’s title policy shall be delivered within one year of the closing date or, in the event such original lender’s title policy is unavailable, a photocopy of such title policy or, in lieu thereof, a current lien search on the related property; and (f) the original or a copy of all available assumption, modification or substitution agreements, if any. In general, assignments of the mortgage loans provided to the custodian on behalf of the trustee will not be recorded in the appropriate public office for real property records, based upon an opinion of counsel to the effect that such recording is not required to protect the trustee’s interests in the mortgage loan against the claim of any subsequent transferee or any successor to or creditor of the depositor or the seller, or as to which the rating agencies advise that the omission to record therein will not affect their ratings of the offered certificates. In connection with the assignment of any mortgage loan that is registered on the MERS(R) System, the depositor will cause the MERS(R) System to indicate that those mortgage loans have been assigned by EMC to the depositor and by the depositor to the trustee by including (or deleting, in the case of repurchased mortgage loans) in the computer files (a) the code in the field which identifies the trustee and (b) the code in the field “Pool Field” which identifies the series of certificates issued. Neither the depositor nor the master servicer will alter these codes (except in the case of a repurchased mortgage loan). A “MOM loan” is any mortgage loan as to which, at origination, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. acts as mortgagee, solely as nominee for the originator of that mortgage loan and its successors and assigns. S-41——————————————————————————–
    The custodian on behalf of the trustee will perform a limited review of the mortgage loan documents on or prior to the closing date or in the case of any document permitted to be delivered after the closing date, promptly after the custodian’s receipt of such documents and will hold such documents in trust for the benefit of the holders of the certificates. In addition, the seller will make representations and warranties in the pooling and servicing agreement as of the cut-off date in respect of the mortgage loans. The depositor will file the pooling and servicing agreement containing such representations and warranties with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a report on Form 8-K following the closing date. After the closing date, if any document is found to be missing or defective in any material respect, or if a representation or warranty with respect to any mortgage loan is breached and such breach materially and adversely affects the interests of the holders of the certificates in such mortgage loan, the custodian, on behalf of the trustee, is required to notify the seller in writing. If the seller cannot or does not cure such omission,defect or breach within 90 days of its receipt of notice from the custodian, theseller is required to repurchase the related mortgage loan from the trust fund at a price equal to 100% of the stated principal balance thereof as of the date of repurchase plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon at the mortgage rate to the first day of the month following the month of repurchase. In addition, if the obligation to repurchase the related mortgage loan results from a breach of the seller’s representations regarding predatory lending, the seller will be obligated to pay any resulting costs and damages incurred by the trust. Rather than repurchase the mortgage loan as provided above, the seller may remove such mortgage loan from the trust fund and substitute in its place another mortgage loan of like characteristics; however, such substitution is only permitted within two years after the closing date. With respect to any repurchase or substitution of a mortgage loan that is not in default or as to which a default is not imminent, the trustee must have received a satisfactory opinion of counsel that such repurchase or substitution will not cause the trust fund to lose the status of its REMIC.
    I’m not a MOM loan the loan transferred off of MERS, Mers no longer tracked the assignments and let’s not forget I HAVE IN MY POSSESSION THE ORIGINAL NOTE STAMPED FULLY PAID AND SATISFIED NEGOTIATED TO ME FROM RBMG. The note is date stamped MARCH 2002 and has been in my possession since 2004 along with a letter from the RBMG stating the loan is fully paid and satisfied address to me which is the declaritory letter. Come on let’s put these people where they belong…. Federal prison.

  3. Neil-

    I , too, had a hopeful moment, that this might be the beginning of some sunlight in the blackness. Then I Googled Angelides.

    The reports all give his background as former CA treasurer and gubernatorial candidate… but much more revealing is that he is also the chairman of the Apollo Alliance!

    We can forget about this being another Pecora commission. Look for crony political grandstanding, and nothing else. As long as the banksters keep the contributions flowing to Obama, their protected status will prevent any serious investigation.

    Once again, your words ring true: the judiciary is our only real hope for exposing these crimes.

  4. $42 mil spent on lobbyists, are you surprised ? It still costs them a lot less than if cram-downs were allowed in Federal court.


  5. Over $42 Million Paid to Lobbyists Working to Defeat “Cramdown” in 1Q 2009


  6. We’re now at the point where states like Calif are probably soon going to legalize Marijuana solely so they can reap the monetary benefits of taxing it. A very sad reflection on our current state of society. What’s next, heroin and meth?


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