Lying to God

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Editor’s Comment: 

PICO National Network diverts $34 million in deposits away from pretender lenders. 

 
Whether you are a person of faith or not, we are taught that lying is not a good thing.  Conceding something that isn’t true is the same thing as a lie.  
 
There are two articles below.  In the first article below the author is asking us to accept one concession after another, one lie after another.   He states that the “distressed property seizures were triggered by the 2008 financial crash”.   But this is a lie.  This financial crisis was triggered by those on Wall Street along with their co-conspirators the banks.  They are the ones that distressed the property.  
The author quotes some nameless analysts as his source.  So who are these nameless “analysts” who are continuing to mislead us with lies?   
Then he continues talking about “lender-triggered foreclosures”.  There is no such thing as a lender-triggered foreclosure.   Nearly all foreclosures today are triggered by pretender lenders.
 
While it’s true that the banks need to clean up their balance sheets, the truth of the matter is that the residential loans are never going to have any value anyway on the banks’ balance sheets.  Only on the investors’ balance sheets will they have any value because the investors are the ones that made the loan.  Another lie exposed.
 
It really makes you wonder how Scott Rolfs, the managing director of Religious and Education finance at the investment bank Ziegler could be so out of touch.  Is he an expert, as he sets us up to believe, or not?  If he is, he needs to be held accountable.  If not, then what’s he doing in that position?  He talks about the appraised value of the properties being significantly lower today than when properties were appraised a few years ago and the loans granted.  Why is Rolfs not mentioning the 8,000 appraisers who went to Congress in 2005 to complain about the pressure that the banks, just like his, were giving to the appraisers, to over-inflate prices?  Why is Rolfs ignoring the pastors and congregations who have not defaulted, who can pay the loan and are just asking to refinance the balloon payment?  Whose side is he on anyway?  He says, “… banks have not wanted to look heavy handed with the churches“?  So why have they gone from foreclosing on only a handful of churches in the last decade to a record number of 138 in 2011?  Why is he not telling the truth?  Why is he insisting on lying to homeowners, and the congregations across this country?
 
But listen up Scott Rolfs, and all other self-proclaimed “experts” from banks just like yours.  We The People have more than a message for you.  With every concession, with every lie, with every misleading statement you make in an effort to cloud our vision, we are gaining strength.  And we are taking action.  
Read on to the second article below.  The churches are realizing they have power,  just like homeowners do.   What started as a humble awakening of just two congregations banding together has now grown into a national movement called PICO.  And they are unlocking the Power of the People.  The Churches are transferring their money away from you, big banks who are lying and misleading, who are not helping, who are drunk with power and whose despicable, appalling behavior is summed up by Father Rien as “ruthless”.    Have you got the message yet that, “..you can’t do this to people.”  

Those who engineered this “financial crisis” from Wall Street along with their co-conspirators the banks, have lied to us all, every step of the way, and have destroyed numerous economies and countless lives in the process.  If you are a person of faith, any faith, you may wonder as I do, what their own repercussions might be when they pass from this world to wherever it is you may believe they go.  We’ve heard from some homeowners of faith, that this thought alone is all that keeps them going.  
If you are a person of faith, you already know, it’s just not a good idea to lie to God.

Banks foreclosing on churches in record numbers

By Tim Reid  LOS ANGELES

(Reuters) – Banks are foreclosing on America’s churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data.

The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, analysts say, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance.

Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90 percent of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure, according to the real estate information company CoStar Group.

In 2011, 138 churches were sold by banks, an annual record, with no sign that these religious foreclosures are abating, according to CoStar. That compares to just 24 sales in 2008 and only a handful in the decade before.

The church foreclosures have hit all denominations across America, black and white, but with small to medium size houses of worship the worst. Most of these institutions have ended up being purchased by other churches.

The highest percentage have occurred in some of the states hardest hit by the home foreclosure crisis: California, Georgia, Florida and Michigan.

“Churches are among the final institutions to get foreclosed upon because banks have not wanted to look like they are being heavy handed with the churches,” said Scott Rolfs, managing director of Religious and Education finance at the investment bank Ziegler.

Church defaults differ from residential foreclosures. Most of the loans in question are not 30-year mortgages but rather commercial loans that typically mature after just five years when the full balance becomes due immediately.

Its common practice for banks to refinance such loans when they come due. But banks have become increasingly reluctant to do that because of pressure from regulators to clean up their balance sheets, said Rolfs.

“A lot of these loans were given when the properties were evaluated at a certain level in 2005 or 2006,” Rolfs said. “Banks have had to reappraise the value of these properties, whether it’s a church or a commercial office building. Values have gone down, so the loans cannot continue in the same form.”

The factors leading to the boom in church foreclosures will sound familiar to many private homeowners evicted from their properties in recent years.

During the property boom, many churches took out additional loans to refurbish or enlarge, often with major lenders or with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, which was particularly aggressive in lending to religious institutions.

Then after the financial crash, many churchgoers lost their jobs, donations plunged, and often, so did the value of the church building.

CONGREGATIONS IN TROUBLE

Solid Rock Christian Church near Memphis, Tennessee, took out a $2.9 million loan with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union at the beginning of 2008, to construct a new, 2,000 seat, 34,000 square-foot building to house its growing congregation.

In the middle of construction, the economy crashed. The church raided its savings to finish the project, but ended up defaulting on the loan.

The ECCU foreclosed and put the church up for auction.

“We are still fighting this,” a church spokesman told Reuters. “We have filed for bankruptcy to stop this foreclosure and to restructure our debt.”

At the iconic Charles Street African American Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts, churchgoers and clergy accuse the bank of being unwilling to negotiate.

The church is being threatened with foreclosure and a March 22 auction by its lender OneUnited bank, America’s largest black-owned bank.

The bank says the church, which was founded in 1818 and played a major role in the anti-slavery movement, has defaulted on a $1.1 million balloon loan that came due in December 2011.

A balloon loan is a long-term loan, often a mortgage, that has a large, or balloon, payment due upon maturity. They often have very low interest payments and require little capital outlay during the life of the loan due to the large end payment.

The church is also involved in separate litigation with OneUnited involving a 2006 loan of $3.6 million that financed the refurbishment of two buildings into a community center.

“We want to refinance and we want to pay. It’s doable, we have the means to do it but we can only do it if they actually sit down and talk to us,” said the Rev. Gregory G. Groover Snr, the church’s pastor.

Groover said the church did not default by missing monthly payments, but is in trouble because the loan ballooned.

“We don’t have a million dollars to pay off the loan. I don’t know what church does. The idea of auctioning off a church is senseless,” he said.

In a statement provided to Reuters, OneUntied said it was not its practice to discuss the details of “any discreet customer relationship”.

“It is not the practice of the Bank to exercise collection remedies including foreclosure in the absence of good cause. We trust the community will not rush to judgment without full knowledge of all the facts,” it said.

Axel Adams, an Atlanta, Georgia official with the Rainbow PUSH coalition, the civil rights and economic justice organization led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said he had seen a “tremendous increase” in churches facing foreclosure.

“And some pastors have not notified their congregants,” Adams said. “They are fearful that if they do, they will lose congregants prematurely.”

Flat Rock Church in Lithonia, Georgia, which dates back to 1860, took out an $850,000 balloon loan with Sun Trust Bank in 2005 to fund a new 300-seat church.

In May 2010 the loan became due. The bank foreclosed and the church is due to be auctioned off next month.

“The bank has refused to negotiate and to this day I just don’t know why,” said Binita Miles, the church pastor.

A spokesman for Sun Trust said: “We view foreclosure as an action of last resort. We have been working for several years to address the issue with the client in hopes of avoiding foreclosure.”

There are more than 300,000 churches in the United States.

“The church foreclosure market isn’t anything extraordinary,” said Rolfs. “It’s simply another byproduct of the credit bubble.”

Mortgage Crisis Inspires Churches to Send Lenten Season Message to Banks

By Samuel G Freedman

During the recent weeks of Lent, the Rev. Ryan Bell has led his Southern California congregation into the penitential spirit of the season. He has preached about the prophet Isaiah’s admonition “to loose the bonds of injustice.” He has replaced his church’s ebullient praise songs with somber, reflective music. He has sent his members a list of ordinary comforts to give up until Easter, with suggestions from caffeine to Facebook.

And Mr. Bell has committed his congregation to one other religious obligation. He is withdrawing the church’s money, several hundred thousand dollars, from its account with the Bank of America. By the April weekend when Christians mourn Jesus’ crucifixion and celebrate his resurrection, Mr. Bell said, he will have moved the assets to a local bank as a protest against Bank of America’s role in mass foreclosures and to issue a call for its repentance.

“To right the wrongs of the world is as much a part of the Lenten experience as to repent ourselves,” Mr. Bell, 40, the pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church near Los Angeles said in a phone interview this week. “During this season, when we individually are examining our lives, we think it’s appropriate for the institutions that affect us to examine theirs.”

Across the country, dozens of other clergy members and congregations have taken similar action over the past three years. Beginning with two ministers in a bedroom suburb outside Oakland, the movement has grown to encompass about 25 congregations, according to the PICO National Network, a coalition of congregations involved in social justice that has taken up the campaign. By PICO’s estimate, congregations have withdrawn $16 million, and their individual members and organizational partners an additional $15 million, from banks deeply implicated in the foreclosure crisis — primarily Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

The effort has become so closely conflated with Lent this year that a group of San Francisco clergy members spilled symbolic ashes outside a Wells Fargo A.T.M. in an Ash Wednesday protest. The ministers called for a “foreclosure sabbatical” — invoking the biblical term for the ancient Judaic concept of forgiving debts every seventh year.

The Rev. Richard Smith of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, likened the divestment campaign and public protests to early Christianity’s ritual of “reconciliation of the penitents.” Far from taking place in the private sanctity of the confessional, that rite occurred in public, with the penitent overseen by a priest and required to present himself before a bishop.

“It seemed like a parallel to us,” said Mr. Smith, 62. “Our banks have done a great deal of damage in a very public way. So it seems appropriate as we enter into a season of penitence that we invite those who separated themselves from the community to repent with us. It’s basically Ethics 101.”

Last month, federal and state officials reached a provisional accord with five banks — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial — for a $26 billion settlement that includes reducing mortgage principal for homeowners in danger of default because of the steep decline in property values.

T. J. Crawford, a spokesman for Bank of America, said that even before that accord was reached the bank had modified the mortgage loans of one million customers and had met with PICO and other religion-based groups. “We value all of our relations,” he said, “and would prefer dialogue to divestiture.”

For the clergy members and churches active on the foreclosure issue, however, the animosity began building years ago. The current campaign may have had its genesis on the Sunday in 2008 when a 10-year-old girl named Jeannette walked up to her pastor after church to say goodbye because her family was moving.

As soon as the child spoke to him, the Rev. Mario Howell of Antioch Church Family in the East Bay area of Northern California recently recalled, he realized that Jeanette’s parents had not been at worship that morning. What, he asked her, was going on? The girl explained that her mother and father — a teacher and probation officer, respectively — had lost their home to foreclosure.

Soon enough, Mr. Howell said, he heard similar stories from other members, all of them employed, most of them first-time homeowners who had striven to move out of Oakland. During 2010, the church’s monthly intake from tithes and offerings fell by half to $14,000, far below its own mortgage payment of $23,000. Last March, Mr. Howell had to sell the building to a religious order, the Wesleyans, which is allowing the congregation to remain there. The church recently pulled out $175,000 in savings from the local Bank of America branch.

During the same few years, the Rev. Robert Rien of St. Ignatius of Antioch, a Roman Catholic church across town from Mr. Howell’s, was learning that 24 families from the 1,000 in his congregation were threatened with foreclosure. He accompanied many of them to meetings with their mortgage banks to try to renegotiate terms.

“You would’ve thought the collar would have some influence,” said Father Rien, 65. “It didn’t. These people were engineers, accountants, working in medical offices, in the building trades. No matter how they pleaded with the banks, they didn’t find any understanding. It was ruthless behavior. I had the scales pulled off my eyes.”

Father Rien met Mr. Howell through a local interfaith coalition that is part of the PICO network. He wrote about the banks’ behavior in the church bulletin and preached about it from the pulpit. In late 2009, with the endorsement of the congregation’s trustees and pastoral council, he pulled out $135,000 from Bank of America.

“It’s a grain of sand to Bank of America,” Father Rien said, “but we needed to send a message that you can’t do this to people.”

With coverage in the religion media and organizational contacts through the PICO network, that message spread from the East Bay in late 2008 and early 2009, expanding into the national movement of this Lent.

“I can say that it’s caught on, but not enough,” said Mr. Howell, 61. “There’s still not enough churches that understand the plight of their people — that if one family loses their home, it’s like all of us go down.”

12 Responses

  1. Withholding information from borrowers is yet another form of lying.

  2. […] information company CoStar Group. In 2011, 138 churches … … Go here to read the rest: Lying to God « Livinglies's Weblog ← Real Estate Contract : Top 5 Tips for an Excellent Negotiation The Advantages of […]

  3. YOU WANNA BE REALLY, REALLY FURIOUS? THE DETAILS ON THE BANKS LYING, CHEATING, STEALING IN FORECLOSURE!
    http://mattweidnerlaw.com/blog/2012/03/you-wanna-be-really-really-furious-the-details-on-the-banks-lying-cheating-stealing-in-foreclosure/
    March 14th, 2012 | Author: Matthew D. Weidner, Esq.
    If you think the Attorney General Sellout Terms make you furious, just wait until you read the audit reports from the Office of Inspector General that really get into detail about the complaints….

    All of them are here

    The OIG reports: http://www.hudoig.gov/reports/auditreports.php

  4. I’m with Ian. Enraged, you might want to find a different church imo, for no matter the woe, a church should be also imo what you needed and expected.
    Why don’t all the licorice-christian **&^$!(!s (people) with dough step up and lend a helping hand? That’s the part I can’t reconcile: Christian or otherwise religious when it’s easy and no, I sure as sam hell don’t want to start a religion-debate. There may be some value in church folks experiencing the angst of the general put-upon population, but we need them again imo nonetheless. Why, how would I start my own week if it weren’t by swearing that THIS Friday I am going to make it to confession?!

  5. Japan is actually studying what is currently taking place with banks worldwide. They are putting up graphs and charts. One of them can be seen here. Don’t speak/read Japanese but a picture is worth a thousand words…

    http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2012/03/13/resignation-numbers-of-world-banking-organizations-by-region-chart/

  6. Rumor has it a bank sent out thousands of ‘guaranteed’ 2nd day delivery by the USPS notices. These notices cost the bank $11 each to mail, The rumor is it is an ‘urgent offer’ for the homeowner to refinance with the bank at a lower interest rate – up to a full percentage point lower.
    —————-
    My comment:
    If you refinance you will be giving them a new contract for the home, and a signature to help them do things without full disclosure to clear title between them and you.

    If you currently have a broken title, the home is yours.
    They can’t clear the title without a signature, even if they don’t give full disclosure of how it’s going to be used.

    The settlement is a way to clear title.

    Neil’s article Multi-State Settlement Does NOT Bar Your Individual Claims or Defenses
    http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/multi-state-settlement-does-not-bar-your-individual-claims-or-defenses/

    Think about those words…you can have an individual claim against the bank or an individual defense against them, but if you think about it; you have an enemy and they gave a peace offering of $2000 or a principal reduction and required a signature of agreement. Can you really claim a loss or injury after sitting at the same table with the enemy and agreeing on ‘something’?

    Signing anything with them could help them reestablish the title with a new contract, they can probably get the trustee to convey the Trustee Deed to them without having to substitute the Trustee and without having to create fraudulent documents to get it. They can probably quiet the title among other banks and creditors without informing you of their actions or intentions.

    Then any future litigation, they can go to court with a new note and proof of a security interest in the home.

    Walk away from the offer if you can see this is not the path you want to take. If something is yours, even if you can’t see it, why sign a document with a beast that has shown you it’s work by it’s deeds that will tie you to it, and think that you are somehow special or different from everyone else trampled upon?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/mortgage-settlement-deal-foreclosures_n_1335806.html?ref=business

    Knowing there are 320 resignations worldwide in the past 7 months, I’m ready for some removals of these people from their positions and some restoration of property and not no fiat $2000 in a collapsing currency.

    http://americankabuki.blogspot.com/p/131-resignations-from-world-banks.html

    March is an interesting month.
    The meek shall inherit the earth.

    Trespass Unwanted, corporeal, Creator, Life, a Free and Independent State, Jure Divino, In Jure Proprio

  7. Still growing and growing and growing… Nope! Not just in my head!

    Updated 3/13/12

    Special thanks to Gabriel at http://www.facebook.com/MassResignations for tracking Insurance, Government and Healthcare Resignations. Also special thanks to Sophie who has kept me very busy with some very good URLs.

    320 RESIGNATIONS FROM WORLD BANKS, INVESTMENT HOUSES, MONEY FUNDS I

  8. @Ian,

    I am not advocating the closing of churches. What I am saying is that it is only natural that they too should run into problems we are running into. Remember? We are the churches. We go down, they go down.

    That said, if they start looking at Wall Street for what it is and pulling out their money in order to promote local business and help rebuild our communities, then by all means they should do it. I think it’s very important that they go through what we, individually, go through with the banks to understand how much bad press has been written about us, deadbeats. Only by going through what we go through will they be able to really help us change what is happening. Because we also have to face it: churches are judgmental, they expect us to “take it on the chin”, keep a stiff upper lip and remain stable in the storm.

    When I decided to stop paying my mortgage lender (yes Carie, I know) and I tried to talk to my church about what I as going through, I got no compassion, no understanding, not even the appearance of any interest in what I had discovered. The place where I should have felt the most comfortable and the least threatened discussing it was the place it was the most difficult and unpleasant. I left. Pure and simple.

  9. The Florida Way.

    MERS assigns its interest in mortgage to servicer Wells Fargo 2011 via WF employee claiming to be MERS officer.

    WF files lawsuit to enforce mortgage. Current MERS and Fannie Mae lookup show “Fannie Mae” as “investor”.

  10. Enraged- Churches being foreclosed on is not a good thing. With all the negativity, consumerism, hedonism, and misplaced priorities in the US today, I don’t think it is a bad thing out of 168 hrs in a week to spend one hour of it in church. Just to hear someone, anyone, of any denomination say something uplifting, encouraging, or just plain nice. The churches historically have played a role. If we have no churches, then I feel it is a very sad day for us all.

  11. Why should it be any different for churches than it is for anyone else?
    If anything, churches have the least stable income: it depends on how much others GIVE them.

    They borrowed. The economy tanked. Donations tanked. They can’t make their payments and they end up like us… except that they were non-profit and tax exempt from the get go.

    Where is the problem?

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