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BANKS ATTEMPTING TO RE-WRITE HISTORY

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s your pet peeve? Fannie Mae? Community Reinvestment Act? Too much regulation? Congress forced lenders to make bad loans? The 1944 Housing and Urban Development Memo? The Democratic National Party? The Republican National Party? Barney Frank? Greedy borrowers? Irresponsible homeowners? Whatever it is, if you don’t blame the banks themselves, you’re wrong.

The Banks tinkered with our political infrastructure to create just the right environment to steal trillions from investors all over the world, and steal trillions from taxpayers all over the world, and steal homes and personal property all over the world. None of the so-called “explanations” covers the fact that what happened here, also happened all over the rest of the world. Fannie Mae doesn’t operate in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. And private securitization made up more than half of all loans — not done through Fannie Mae but using Fannie Mae forms to give that impression. And those loans were unregulated and not underwritten according to industry standards. They were written according to Wall Street demands for increased volume.

Read on, for all the other myths that are propagated by those who see the world through blinders that filter out facts.

Barry Ritholtz has taken these “reasons” to task  like a surgeon and removed all elements of credibility from the Spin that the Banks are using to re-write history. He simply takes the facts and applies them to the situation instead of starting with an ideology and ignoring the facts. The Banks did it, pure and simple, and they knew what they were doing. Now they are controlling the narrative creating the BIG LIE, so that the finger pointing is the main thread in “journalism” instead of the facts.

I recommend that you read and ponder the article below and the book and other article whose link appears here. And while you are pondering, think about this: you think you got yourself into this mess or you think someone else has only themselves to blame; see how that thought squares with the facts. As the author says, it’s time for the Big Truth.

SEE HOW THE FACTS OF THE BIG LIE STACK UP

SEE THE BIG LIE GOES VIRAL

SEE THE BOOK: BAILOUT NATION

Examining the big lie: How the facts of the economic crisis stack up

Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post

It’s fair to say that our discussion about the big lie touched a nerve.

The big lie of the financial crisis, of course, is that troubling technique used to try to change the narrative history and shift blame from the bad ideas and terrible policies that created it.

Based on the scores of comments, people are clearly interested in understanding the causes of the economic disaster.

I want to move beyond what I call “the squishy narrative” — an imprecise, sloppy way to think about the world — toward a more rigorous form of analysis. Unlike other disciplines, economics looks at actual consequences in terms of real dollars. So let’s follow the money and see what the data reveal about the causes of the collapse.

Rather than attend a college-level seminar on the complex philosophy of causation, we’ll keep it simple. To assess how blameworthy any factor is regarding the cause of a subsequent event, consider whether that element was 1) proximate 2) statistically valid 3) necessary and sufficient.

Consider the causes cited by those who’ve taken up the big lie. Take for example New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s statement that it was Congress that forced banks to make ill-advised loans to people who could not afford them and defaulted in large numbers. He and others claim that caused the crisis. Others have suggested these were to blame: the home mortgage interest deduction, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, the 1994 Housing and Urban Development memo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and homeownership targets set by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

When an economy booms or busts, money gets misspent, assets rise in prices, fortunes are made. Out of all that comes a set of easy-to-discern facts.

Here are key things we know based on data. Together, they present a series of tough hurdles for the big lie proponents.

•The boom and bust was global. Proponents of the Big Lie ignore the worldwide nature of the housing boom and bust.

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The housing boom and bust was global — Source: McKinsey Quarterly

A McKinsey Global Institute report noted “from 2000 through 2007, a remarkable run-up in global home prices occurred.” It is highly unlikely that a simultaneous boom and bust everywhere else in the world was caused by one set of factors (ultra-low rates, securitized AAA-rated subprime, derivatives) but had a different set of causes in the United States. Indeed, this might be the biggest obstacle to pushing the false narrative. How did U.S. regulations against redlining in inner cities also cause a boom in Spain, Ireland and Australia? How can we explain the boom occurring in countries that do not have a tax deduction for mortgage interest or government-sponsored enterprises? And why, after nearly a century of mortgage interest deduction in the United States, did it suddenly cause a crisis?

These questions show why proximity and statistical validity are so important. Let’s get more specific.The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 is a favorite boogeyman for some, despite the numbers that so easily disprove it as a cause.It is a statistical invalid argument, as the data show.

For example, if the CRA was to blame, the housing boom would have been in CRA regions; it would have made places such as Harlem and South Philly and Compton and inner Washington the primary locales of the run up and collapse. Further, the default rates in these areas should have been worse than other regions.

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CRA were less likely to default than Subprime Mortgages — Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What occurred was the exact opposite: The suburbs boomed and busted and went into foreclosure in much greater numbers than inner cities. The tiny suburbs and exurbs of South Florida and California and Las Vegas and Arizona were the big boomtowns, not the low-income regions. The redlined areas the CRA address missed much of the boom; places that busted had nothing to do with the CRA.

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Suburbs and Exurbs were where the boom & bust occurred — and not the CRA regions — Source: Washington Post

The market share of financial institutions that were subject to the CRA has steadily declined since the legislation was passed in 1977. As noted by Abromowitz & Min, CRA-regulated institutions, primarily banks and thrifts, accounted for only 28 percent of all mortgages originated in 2006.

•Nonbank mortgage underwriting exploded from 2001 to 2007, along with the private label securitization market, which eclipsed Fannie and Freddie during the boom.

Check the mortgage origination data: The vast majority of subprime mortgages — the loans at the heart of the global crisis — were underwritten by unregulated private firms. These were lenders who sold the bulk of their mortgages to Wall Street, not to Fannie or Freddie. Indeed, these firms had no deposits, so they were not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp or the Office of Thrift Supervision. The relative market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped from a high of 57 percent of all new mortgage originations in 2003, down to 37 percent as the bubble was developing in 2005-06.

Nonbank mortgage underwriting exploded from 2001 to 2007, along with the private label securitization market, which eclipsed Fannie and Freddie during the boom – Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

•Private lenders not subject to congressional regulations collapsed lending standards. Taking up that extra share were nonbanks selling mortgages elsewhere, not to the GSEs. Conforming mortgages had rules that were less profitable than the newfangled loans. Private securitizers — competitors of Fannie and Freddie — grew from 10 percent of the market in 2002 to nearly 40 percent in 2006. As a percentage of all mortgage-backed securities, private securitization grew from 23 percent in 2003 to 56 percent in 2006
Subprime Lenders were (Primarily) Private

Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing laws overseen by either Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Community Reinvestment Act — Source: McClatchy

These firms had business models that could be called “Lend-in-order-to-sell-to-Wall-Street-securitizers.” They offered all manner of nontraditional mortgages — the 2/28 adjustable rate mortgages, piggy-back loans, negative amortization loans. These defaulted in huge numbers, far more than the regulated mortgage writers did.

Consider a study by McClatchy: It found that more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending. These private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year. And McClatchy found that out of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006, only one was subject to the usual mortgage laws and regulations.

A 2008 analysis found that the nonbank underwriters made more than 12 million subprime mortgages with a value of nearly $2 trillion. The lenders who made these were exempt from federal regulations.
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Lenders made 12 million subprime mortgages with a value of nearly $2 trillion. Mortgage Companies and Thrifts NOT affiliated with CRA made 75% of Subprime Loans from 2004-07, Source: Orange County Register

A study by the Federal Reserve shows that more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions. The study found that the government-sponsored enterprises were concerned with the loss of market share to these private lenders — Fannie and Freddie were chasing profits, not trying to meet low-income lending goals.

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Fannie and Freddie risky loan purchases was dwarfed by Private Label Securitization Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Beyond the overwhelming data that private lenders made the bulk of the subprime loans to low-income borrowers, we still have the proximate cause issue. If we cannot blame housing policies from the 1930s or mortgage tax deductibility from even before that, then what else can we blame? Mass consumerism? Incessant advertising? The post-World War II suburban automobile culture? MTV’s “Cribs”? Just how attenuated must a factor be before fair-minded people are willing to eliminate it as a prime cause?

I recognize all of the above as merely background noise, the wallpaper of our culture. To blame the housing collapse that began in 2006, a recession dated to December 2007 and a market collapse in 2008-09 on policies of the early 20th century is to blame everything — and nothing.

Ritholtz is chief executive of FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation” and runs a finance blog, the Big Picture.

8 Responses

  1. AFFADAVIT FROM JOHN O’BRIEN, REGISTER OF DEEDS IN MA – RE: STEVE NAGY OF NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE AND HOME123 CORP.

    (NOTE Steve Nagy left those companys in Dec. of 2007–information obtained from discovery in the DE bankruptcy case for New Century)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/74173393/NEW-CENTURY-MORTGAGE-HOME123-CORP-S-STEVE-NAGY-KNOWN-ROBO-SIGNER-OR-SURROGATE-SIGNER-AFFADAVIT-FROM-JOHN-O-BRIEN-OF-MA-REGISTER-OF-DEEDS

  2. @Carie,

    I kinda like the old broad…

  3. Yeah…Barney Franks is retiring…these people always retire when they know the jig is up…

  4. The only way the banks can be wholly responsible for going rogue is because
    of the 1983 law that was expanded in 1993 and the deregulation of banking
    in the 1980s. Without the preemptive actions of the federal government of
    setting this into action the banks wouldn’t have gotten their foot into the
    door of robbing this country. So be sure you remember folks like Barney Franks, and Chris Dodd, both who are living high on the hog with no fear
    of being foreclosed on.

  5. Shelley Erickson,

    More that what you write. GSEs — compliant in false default before subprime refinance. Why??? subprime refinance provided higher interest rates by GSE purchase of subprime (fraudulent) mortgage backed securities.

    Oh – what a mountain to climb.

  6. Oh I blame the banks alright, but know that Freddie and Fannie, discovered the fraud, they have become a part of it to steal the homes for free, from the very victims, victimized by the banksters,and they dont intend to give money back to the investors either. They bought empty void loans. Their mistake! Instead of going after the criminals they throw innocent families into the streets.

    U.S. Foreclosure Fraud in a Nutshell, How Average Joe’s Home Was Stolen
    Politics / US Housing Nov 28, 2011 – 02:11 AM
    By: LewRockwell

    Bill Butler writes: The untold story in the foreclosure crisis unfolding across America is that, following a foreclosure perpetrated by one of the October 2008 Bailout Banks (e.g. Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo) Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac suddenly appear as the record owner of Average Joe’s home. These federal government sponsored entities then go into local housing court and get a court order authorizing them to evict Joe. If Joe resists, these supposedly charitable institutions obtain a writ ordering the local sheriff to forcibly remove Joe from his home.

    Newt Gingrich recently admitted to accepting $1.8 million from Freddie Mac ($25,0000 to $30,000 a month during one span of time) for advising this proto-fascist entity. Gingrich claims that he supports Fannie and Freddie because he believes the federal government “should have programs to help low income people acquire the ability to buy homes.” But Fannie and Freddie don’t do this and never have. When government “helps” someone by subsidizing the purchase of something (through easy credit or lower-than-market rates), it makes that something more expensive. Helping someone buy something that is overpriced because of your help is not help. Fannie/Freddie subsidies not only hurt the low income people they intend to help, they hurt everyone by subsidizing, and therefore distorting, the entire housing market. Fannie/Freddie’s charity has now taken a dark turn. Like their Depression-era New Deal predecessor the Regional Agricultural Credit Corp., Fannie/Freddie are now repossessing homes at an increasing and alarming rate.

    Mr. Gingrich either does not understand economics – government subsidies make things more expensive, not less expensive, and therefore hurt their intended beneficiaries – or he is a vain, selfish, and cynical man with no interest in actually helping his neighbor.

    You decide.

    THE OCTOBER 2008 BAILOUT PAID OFF THE HOLDERS OF MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITES AND DERIVATIVE INSUREDS

    The facts indicate that the Federal Reserve “printed” at least 16 trillion dollars as part of the 2008 bailouts. The bigger questions, however, who got it, why and what did the Fed get in return? The Fed doesn’t just print money. It prints money to buy stuff. Most often this is U.S. Treasuries. That changed in October of 2008. In and after October 2008 the Fed printed new money to buy mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that were defaulting at a rapid rate. Want proof? Here is a link to the Federal Reserve balance sheet which shows that the Fed is holding over a trillion dollars in mortgage backed securities that it began acquiring in 2008.

    Why is the Federal Reserve holding all these MBS? Because when “the market” collapsed in September of 2008, what really collapsed is the Fannie/Freddie/Wall Street mortgage “daisy chain” securitization scheme. As increasing numbers of MBS went into default, the purchasers of derivatives (naked insurance contracts betting on MBS default) began filing claims against the insurance writers (e.g. AIG) demanding payment. This started in February 2007 when HSBC Bank announced billions in MBS losses, gained momentum in June of 2007 when Bear Stearns announced $3.8 billion in MBS exposure in just one Bear Stearns fund, and further momentum with the actual collapse of Bear Stears in July and August of 2007. By September of 2008, the Bear Stearns collapse proved to be the canary in the coal mine as the claims on off-balance sheet derivatives became the cascading cross defaults that Alan Greenspan warned could collapse the entire Western financial system.

    Part of what happened in October 2008 is that the Federal Reserve paid AIG’s and others’ derivative obligations to the insureds (pension funds, hedge funds, major banks, foreign banks) who held the naked insurance contracts guaranteeing Average Joe’s payments. To understand this, imagine that a cataclysmic event occurred in the U.S. that destroyed nearly every car in the U.S. and further that Allstate insured all of these cars. That is what happened to AIG. When the housing market collapsed and borrowers began defaulting on their securitized loans, AIG’s derivative obligations exceeded its ability (or willingness) to pay. So the Fed stepped in as the insurer of last resort and bailed out AIG (and probably others). When an insurer pays on a personal property claim, it has “subrogation” rights. This means when it pays it has the right to demand possession of the personal property it insured or seek recovery from those responsible for the loss. In Allstate’s case this is wrecked cars. In the case of AIG and the Fed, it is MBS. That is what the trillions of MBS on the Fed’s balance sheet represent: wrecked cars that Fannie and Freddie are now liquidating for scrap value.

    Thank you Mr. Gingrich. Great advice.

    BUT FANNIE/FREDDIE WASN’T MY LENDER AND WASN’T MY MORTGAGEE, SO HOW CAN THEY TAKE MY HOUSE?

    To understand how it came to be that the Fed has paid Average Joe’s original actual lender (the MBS purchaser) and now Fannie and Freddie are trying to take Joe’s home, you first have to understand some mortgage law and securitization basics.

    The Difference Between Notes and Mortgages

    When you close on the purchase of your home, you sign two important documents. You sign a promissory note that represents your legal obligation to pay. You sign ONE promissory note. You sign ONE promissory note because it is a negotiable instrument, payable “to the order of” the “lender” identified in the promissory note. If you signed two promissory notes on a $300,000 loan from Countrywide, you could end up paying Countrywide (or one of its successors) $600,000.

    At closing you also sign a Mortgage (or a Deed of Trust in Deed of Trust States). You may sign more than one Mortgage. You may sign more than one Mortgage because it does not represent a legal obligation to pay anything. You could sign 50 Mortgages relating to your $300,000 Countrywide loan and it would not change your obligation. A Mortgage is a security instrument. It is security and security only. Without a promissory note, a mortgage is nothing. Nothing.

    You “give” or “grant” a mortgage to your original lender as security for the promise to pay as represented by the promissory note. In real estate law parlance, you “give/grant” the “mortgage” to the “holder” of your “promissory note.”

    If you question my bona fides in commenting on the important distinction between notes and mortgages, I know what I am talking about. I tried and won perhaps the first securitized mortgage lawsuit ever in the country in First National Bank of Elk River v. Independent Mortgage Services, 1996 WL 229236 (Minn. Ct. App. No. DX-95-1919).

    In FNBER v. IMS a mortgage assignee (IMS) claimed the ownership of two mortgages relating to loans (promissory notes) held by my client, the First National Bank of Elk River (FNBER). After a three-day trial where IMS was capably represented by a former partner of the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, my client prevailed and the Court voided the recorded mortgage assignments to IMS. My client prevailed not because of my great skill but because it had actual, physical custody of the original promissory notes (payable to the order of my client) and had been “servicing” (receiving payments on) the loans for years notwithstanding the recorded assignment of mortgage. The facts at trial showed that IMS rejected the loans because they did not conform to their securitization parameters. In short, IMS, as the “record owner” of the mortgages without any provable connection to the underlying notes, had nothing. FNBER, on the other hand, had promissory notes payable to the order of FNBER but did not have “record title” to the mortgages. FNBER was the winner because its possession of and entitlement to enforce the notes made it the “legal owner” of the mortgages.

    The lesson: if you have record title to a mortgage but cannot show that you have possession of and/or entitlement to enforce the promissory notes that the mortgage secures, you lose.

    This is true for 62 million securitized loans.

    Securitization – The Car That Doesn’t Go In Reverse

    There is nothing per se illegitimate about securitization. The law has for a long time recognized the rights of a noteholder to sell off pro-rata interests in the note. So long as the noteholder remains the noteholder he has the right to exercise rights in a mortgage (take the house) when there is a default on the note. Securitization does not run afoul of traditional real estate and foreclosure law when the mortgage holder can prove his connection to the noteholder.

    But modern securitization doesn’t work this way.

    The “securitization” of a “mortgage loan” today involves multiple parties but the most important parties and documents necessary for evaluating whether a bank has a right to foreclose on a mortgage are:

    (1) the Borrower (Average Joe);

    (2) the Original Lender (Mike’s Baitshop and Mortgages or Bailey Savings & Loan – whoever is across the closing table from Joe);

    (3) the Original Mortgagee (could be Mike’s B&M, but could be anyone, including Fannie’s Creature From the Black Lagoon, the mortgagee “nominee” MERS);

    (4) the “Servicer” of the loan as identified in the PSA (usually a Bank or anyone with “servicer” in its name, the entity to whom Joe makes his payments);

    (5) the mortgage loan “pooling and servicing agreement” (PSA) and the PSA Trust created by the PSA;

    (6) the “PSA Trust” is the “special purpose entity” created by the PSA. The PSA Trust is the heart of the PSA. It holds all securitized notes and mortgages and also sells MBS securities to investors; and

    (7) the “Trustee” of the PSA Trust is the entity responsible for safekeeping of Joe’s promissory note and mortgage and the issuer of MBS.

    The PSA Servicer is essentially the Chief Operating Officer and driver of the PSA. Without the Servicer, the securitization car does not go. The Servicer is the entity to which Joe pays his “mortgage” (really his note, but you get it) every month. When Joe’s loan gets “sold” multiple times, the loan is not actually being sold, the servicing rights are. The Servicer has no right, title or interest in either the promissory note or the mortgage. Any right that the Servicer has to receive money is derived from the PSA. The PSA, not Joe’s Note or Joe’s Mortgage, gives the Servicer the right to take droplets of cash out of Joe’s monthly payments before distributing the remainder to MBS purchasers.

    The PSA Trustee and the sanctity of the PSA Trust are vitally important to the validity of the PSA. The PSA promoters (the usual suspects, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros., Merrill, Deutchebank, Barclays, etc.) persuaded MBS purchasers to part with trillions of dollars based on the idea that they would ensure that Joe’s Note would be properly endorsed by every person or entity that touched it after Joe signed it, that they would place Joe’s Note and Joe’s Mortgage in the vault-like PSA Trust and the note and mortgage would remain in the PSA Trust with a green-eyeshade, PSA Trustee diligently safekeeping them for 30 years. Further, the PSA promoters hired law firms to persuade the MBS purchasers that the PSA Trust, which is more than100 percent funded (that is, oversold) by the MBS purchasers, was the real owner of Joe’s Note and Joe’s Mortgage and that the PSA Trust, using other people’s money, had purchased or soon would purchase thousands of similar notes and mortgages in a “true sale” in accordance with FASB 140.

    The PSA does not distribute pool proceeds that can be tracked pro rata to identifiable loans. In this respect, in the wrong hands (e.g. Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo) PSAs have the potential to operate like a modern “daisy chain” fraud whereby the PSA oversells the loans in the PSA Trust, thus defrauding the MBS investors. The PSA organizers also do not inform Joe at the other end of the chain that they have sold his $300,000 loan for $600,000 and that the payout to the MBS purchasers (and other derivative side-bettors) when Joe defaults is potentially multiples of $300,000.

    The PSA organizers can cover the PSA’s obligations to MBS purchasers through derivatives. Derivatives are like homeowners’ fire insurance that anyone can buy. If everyone in the world can bet that Joe’s home is going to burn down and has no interest in preventing it, odds are that Joe’s home will burn down. This is part of the reason Warren Buffet called derivatives a “financial weapon of mass destruction.” They are an off-balance sheet fiat money multiplier (the Fed stopped reporting the explosive expansion of M3 in 2006 most likely because of derivatives and mortgage loan securitization fraud), and create incentive for fraud. On the other end of the chain, Joe has no idea that the “Lender” across the table from him has no skin in the game and is more than likely receiving a commission for dragging Joe to the table.

    A serious problem with modern securitization is that it destroys “privity.” Privity of contract is the traditional notion that there are two parties to a contract and that only a party to the contract can enforce or renegotiate that contract. Put simply, if A and B have a contract, C cannot enforce B’s rights against A (unless A expressly agrees or C otherwise shows a lawful agency relationship with B). The frustration for Joe is that he cannot find the other party to his transaction. When Joe talks to his “bank” (really his Servicer) and tries to renegotiate his loan, his bank tells him that a mysterious “investor” will not approve. He can’t do this because they don’t exist, have been paid or don’t have the authority to negotiate Joe’s loan.

    Joe’s ultimate “investor” is the Fed, as evidenced by the trillion of MBSs on its balance sheet. Although Fannie/Freddie purportedly now “own” 80 percent of all U.S. “mortgage loans,” Fannie/Freddie are really just the Fed’s repo agents. Joe has no privity relationship with Fannie/Freddie. Fannie, Freddie and the Fed know this. So they are using the Bailout Banks to frontrun the process – the Bailout Bank (who also have no cognizable connection to the note and therefore no privity relationship with Joe) conducts a fraudulent foreclosure by creating a “record title” right to foreclose and, when the fraudulent process is over, hands the bag of stolen loot (Joe’s home) to Fannie and Freddie.

    Record Title and Legal Title

    Virtually all 62 million securitized notes define the “Noteholder” as “anyone who takes this Note by transfer and who is entitled to receive payment under this Note…” Very few of the holders of securitized mortgages can establish that they both hold (have physical possession of) the note AND are entitled to receive payments on the notes. For whatever reason, if a Bailout Bank has possession of an original note, it is usually endorsed payable to the order of some other (often bankrupt) entity.

    If you are a Bailout Bank and you have physical possession of an original securitized note, proving that you are “entitled to receive payment” on the note is nearly impossible. First, you have to explain how you obtained the note when it should be in the hands of a PSA Trustee and it is not endorsed by the PSA Trustee. Second, even if you can show how you obtained the note, explaining why you are entitled to receive payments when you paid nothing for it and when the Fed may have satisfied your original creditors is a very difficult proposition. Third, because a mortgage is security for payments due to the noteholder and only the noteholder, if you cannot establish legal right to receive payments on the note but have a recorded mortgage all you have is “record” title to the mortgage. You have the “power” to foreclose (because courts trust recorded documents) but not necessarily the legal “right” to foreclose. Think FNBER v. IMS.

    The “robosigner” controversy, reported by 60 Minutes months ago, is a symptom of the banks’ problem with “legal title” versus “record title.” The 60 Minutes reports shows that Bailout Banks are hiring 16 year old, independent contractors from Backwater, Georgia to pose as vice presidents and sign mortgage assignments which they “record” with local county recorders. This is effective in establishing the Bailout Banks’ “record title” to the “mortgage.” Unlike real bank vice presidents subject to Sarbanes-Oxley, Backwater 16-year olds have no reason to ask: “Where is the note?”; “Is my bank the noteholder?”; or “Is my Bank entitled to receive payments on the note?”

    The Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision agree with this analysis. In April of 2011 the OCC and OTS reprimanded the Bailout Banks for fraudulently foreclosing on millions of Average Joe’s:

    …without always ensuring that the either the promissory note or the mortgage document were properly endorsed or assigned and, if necessary, in the possession of the appropriate party at the appropriate time…

    The OCC and OTS further found that the Bailout Banks “failed to sufficiently oversee outside counsel and other third-party providers handling foreclosure-related services.”

    Finally, Bailout Banks consented to the OCC and OTS spanking by admitting that they have engaged in “unsafe and unsound banking practices.”

    In these “Order and Consent Decrees,” the OCC and the OTS reprimanded all of the usual suspects: Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, MERSCorp, PNC Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Aurora Bank, Everbank, OneWest Bank, IMB HoldCo LLC, and Sovereign Bank.

    Although the OCC and OTS Orders are essentially wrist slaps for what is a massive fraud, these orders at least expose some truth. In response to the OCC Order, the Fannie/Freddie-created Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), changed its rules (see Rule 8) to demand that foreclosing lawyers identify the “noteowner” prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings.

    NEWT’S FANNIE/FREDDIE ENDGAME: PLANTATION USA

    Those of us fighting the banks began to see a disturbing trend starting about a year ago. Fannie and Freddie began showing up claiming title and seeking to evict homeowners from their homes.

    The process works like this, using Bank of America as an example. Average Joe had a securitized loan with Countrywide. Countrywide, which might as well have been run by the Gambino family with expertise in “daisy chain” fraud, never followed the PSA, did not care for the original notes and almost never deposited the original notes in the PSA Trust. Countrywide goes belly up. Bank of America (BOA) takes over Countrywide in perhaps the worst deal in the history of corporate America, acquiring more liabilities than assets. Bank of America realizes that it has acquired a big bag of dung (no notes = no mortgages = big problem) and so sets up an entity called “BAC Home Loans LLP” whose general partner is another BOA entity.

    The purpose of these BOA entities is to execute the liquidation the Countrywide portfolio as quickly as possible and, at the same time, isolate the liability to two small BOA subsidiaries. BOA uses BAC Home Loans LLP to conduct the foreclosure on Joe’s home. BAC Home Loans LLP feeds local foreclosure lawyers phony, robosigned documents that establish an “of record” transfer of the Countrywide mortgage to BAC Home Loans LLP. BAC Home Loans LLP, “purchases” Joe’s home at a Sheriff’s sale by bidding Joe’s debt owed to Countrywide. BAC Home Loans LLP does not have and cannot prove any connection to Joe’s note so BAC Home Loans LLP quickly deeds Joe’s property to Fannie and Freddie.

    When it is time to kick Joe out of his home, Fannie Mae shows up in the eviction action. When compelled to show its cards, Fannie will claim title to Joe’s house via a “quit claim deed” or an assignment of the Sheriff’s Certificate of sale. Adding insult to injury, while Joe may have spent years trying to get BOA to “modify” his loan, and may have begged BOA for the right to pay BOA $1000 a month if only BOA will stop the foreclosure, Fannie now claims that BOA deeded Joe’s property to Fannie for nothing. That right, nothing. All county recorders require that a real estate purchaser claim how much they paid for the property to determine the tax value. Fannie claims on these recorded documents that it paid nothing for Joe’s home and, further, falsely claims that it is exempt because it is a US government agency. It isn’t. It is a government sponsored entity that is currently in conservatorship and run by the US government.

    Great advice Newt.

    CONCLUSION

    It is apparent that the US government is so broke that it will do anything to pay its bills, including stealing Average Joe’s home.

    That’s change that both Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich can believe in.

    APPENDIX

    More and more courts are agreeing that the banks “inside” the PSA do not have legal standing (they have no skin in the game and so cannot show the necessary “injury in fact”), are not “real parties in interest” (they cannot show that they followed the terms of the PSA or are otherwise “entitled to enforce” the note) and that there are real questions of whether any securitized mortgage can ever be properly perfected.

    The banks’ weakness is exposed most often in bankruptcy courts because it is there that they have to show their cards and explain how they claim a legal right, rather than the “of record” right, to foreclose the mortgage. More and more courts are recognizing that, without proof of ownership of the underlying note, holding a mortgage means nothing.

    The most recent crack in the Banks’s position is evidenced by the federal Eight Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in In Re Banks, No. 11-6025 (8th Cir., Sept. 13, 2011). In Banks, a bank attempted to execute a foreclosure within a bankruptcy case. The bank had a note payable to the order of another entity; that is, the foreclosing bank was “Bank C” but had a note payable to the order of “Bank B” and endorsed in blank by Bank B. The bank, Bank C, alleged that, because the note was endorsed in blank and “without recourse,” that it had the right to foreclose. The Court held that this was insufficient to show a sufficient chain of title to the note, reversed the lower court’s decision and remanded for findings regarding when and how Bank C acquired the note.

    See also, In Re Aagard, No. 810-77338-reg (Bankr. E.D.N.Y., Feb. 10, 2011) (Judge Grossman slams MERS as lacking standing, working as both principal and agent in same transaction, and exposes MERS’ alleged principal US Bank as unable to produce or provide evidence that it is in fact the holder of the note); In Re Vargas, No. 08-17036SB (Bankr. C.D. Cal., Sept. 30, 2008) (Judge Bufford correctly applied rules of evidence and held that MERS could not establish right to possession of the 83-year old Mr. Vargas’ home through the testimony of a low-level employee who had no foundation to testify about the legal title to the original note); In Re Walker, Bankr. E.D. Cal. No. 10-21656-E-11 (May 20, 2010) (holding that neither MERS nor its alleged principal could show that they were “real parties in interest” because neither could provide any evidence of the whereabouts of, much less legal title to, the original note); Landmark v.Kesler, 216 P.2d 158 (Kan. 2009) (in this case the Kansas Supreme Court provides the most cogent state court analysis of the problem created by securitization – the “splitting” of the note and the mortgage and the real party in interest and standing problems that the holder of the mortgage has when it cannot also show that it has clean and clear legal title to the note); U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Ibanez, 941 NE 40 (Mass. 2011), (the Massachusetts Supreme Court denied two banks’ attempts to “quiet title” following foreclosure because the banks’ proffered evidence did not show ownership of the mortgages – or for that matter, the notes – prior to the Sheriff’s sale); and Jackson v. MERS, 770 N.W.2d 489 (Minn. 2009) (this federal-gun-to-the-head – certified question from federal court asking for state court blessing of its already decided ruling – to the Minnesota Supreme Court is most notable for the courageous dissent of NFL Hall of Fame player and only popularly elected Justice Alan Page who opined that MERS should pound sand and obey state recording standards).

    Bill Butler [send him mail] is a Minneapolis attorney and the owner of Butler Liberty Law.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com

  7. Blaming the homeowner who was granted, by a wormy, dollar-addicted lender, a loan he wasn’t able to carry right from the onset is like blaming the patient for the bad outcome of his surgery botched by the cocaine-addicted surgeon.

    Which one is the expert? The borrower or the lender? Which one got the “diploma” and credentials? The surgeon or the patient?

    Enough with this S*#T!!!

  8. Facts don’t lie, or steal. Banksters do both of those, and they hate competition.
    Are we supposed to believe there were millions of ruthless borrowers who falsified their incomes and credit ratings to defraud the banks, the sophisticated minds that came up with derivatives and credit default swaps? Odds are even if a few people did, it was a miniscule number of people compared to the massive numbers of loans originated in fraud in the bigger picture. The banks APPROVED THESE LOANS. They can’t have it both ways. If they failed to do adequate risk assessment or check the applications for truth and accuracy, then THEY ARE AT FAULT FOR A LACK OF UNDERWRITING. If they misled the borrowers, qualified them at a teaser interest rate rather than the fully indexed rate, then THEIR CALCULATIONS ARE AT FAULT. If they padded the appraisals to create equity, whose fault is that? That would be THE BANK’S FAULT. They failed to create valid liens by bifurcating the Title and Deed at closing…again, THEIR FAULT. As it was all tied to Wall Street, engineered so that they could speculate on their fraud in order to capitalize on it, it doesn’t take too much smarts to figure out who stood to benefit from all the fraud…THE BANKS. Zero tax liability for them was built in, so again–THEIR FAULT.
    There isn’t any valid question as to who is really responsible. Finger pointing in any direction other than back at themselves is ridiculous.

    It’s no coincidence that the big theft got underway right after the bankers got Glass-Stegal repealed, and the SEC gutted of people and power. The systematic undermining of regulatory power preceded the big theft. It was skillfully structured to keep any of the players at the top from going to jail, despite the fact that they were fully aware and participating in the fraud, racketeering and forgery. The blame will trickle downward while the key players deny everything and escape prosecution. If bank fraud on this scale had ocurred a few years earlier, the jails would be full of bankers serving 30 year sentences.

    If you still have doubts, just think motive. Would it make any sense for a borrower to jeopardize the roof over his head? Would it be profitable for a borrower to perpetrate this crime? Why have the borrowers kept trying for YEARS to get their loans modified, while the banks try to run off with the houses, now that they have sent all the jobs overseas and stolen all the money?
    The element that gained from this crime IS THE BANKS. Power and control was their motive in a plan to rule the world through capitalism. The facts support the BANKERS as being responsible for the ruin of the world’s economy. They may try, but they can’t twist the facts into lies in the face of such overwhelming evidence of guilt, especially as they are still busily about pushing the buttons to bring down the euro.

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