Costco Presents Mortgage Lending the Way It Is Supposed to Be

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Editor’s Comment: 

I have said the same thing dozens of times — with 7,000 community banks, savings banks and credit unions, the whole argument about Too Big To Fail falls flat on it’s face. The entire myth about large uncontrollable banks having the only capacity to make or aggregate loans or even grant huge loans to huge corporations and government entities is pure bull-crap.  

Costco has seen the light and Walmart is already fiddling with the concept of being the switchboard for lending institutions to communicate with prospective buyers and with each other. The result is personal service and clearer terms. The road is clear — the smart money is on the Costco and Walmart efforts. They are trusted, they are not trying to bamboozle borrowers and they are policing their lenders.

With the power of Costco and others, the pressure to clear up the colossal corruption of our title system will be impossible to resist. Eventually these giants will come up with the right questions and demand the right answers in or out of court. Unless Costco enters into a collusive arrangement with title companies and the large banks and servicers, their lenders will insist on absolute proof — not verbal assurances — that the title chain is intact. The ultimate result is that the banks, servicers and title companies will be required to retreat from their fraudulent, ruinous game.

The American Homeowners Cooperative and many other organisations will seek alliances with Costco and local lenders to provide the same service. Good going, Costco!

Now on sale at Costco: Mortgages

By Les Christie @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Not only can Costco shoppers find bulk-packs of chicken wings, 24-rolls of toilet paper and large-screen TVs at a discount, they can now land themselves a mortgage.

After a year of testing, Costco (COST, Fortune 500) is rolling out a full-service mortgage lending program on its website in partnership with First Choice Bank, a New Jersey-based community bank, and 10 other lenders. Costco’s partners have issued more than 10,000 mortgages to members under the program. But Lauren Kutschka, Costco’s manager of financial services, expects that number to swell as the warehouse retailer markets the service more aggressively to millions of members in its stores and in its weekly publication Connection.

“I went in to buy some bottled water, big bags of chips, cereal and some Nutri-Grain bars that I eat on my route,” said Ray Sheets, a FedEx (FDX, Fortune 500) courier from Canton, Ga. “I saw a home loan brochure on my way out and picked it up.”

Sheets went onto Costco’s site, put in his information and quickly accessed offers from four lenders. The rates, closing costs and terms were listed up front. And the closing costs — of about $2,500 — were about a third of what he would have had to pay through other lenders, he said.

Within a few weeks, Sheets refinanced his $170,000, 15-year fixed mortgage carrying a 4.25% rate into a 30-year loan with a rate of 4%. The move lowered his monthly payment by nearly $500 to $811 a month.

Mortgages are just one of several financial products available to Costco’s members. The warehouse club also offers health and auto insurance, as well as stock brokerage services, said Kutschka.

Up next: Auto loans and student loans.

“We’ve always known that our members wanted more financial services,” she said. “Right now, we offer recreational vehicle and boat loans and we’re going to add auto loans to that. We’re also looking to offer student loans.”

Costco had started offering mortgages a couple of years ago but the service provider it was using didn’t share enough details about how it was dealing with Costco’s members, said Kutschka. So Costco started over from scratch, partnering with First Choice Bank to build a new mortgage lending portal.

It’s safe to sell your home again

Much like LendingTree, the site gathers quotes from various lenders. However, there is one key difference. Under the Costco program, the borrower’s identity is revealed only after they officially select the lender, said John Alexander, business development director at First Choice.

With many other lead-generation sites, the consumer fills out an application and any lender can make an offer and begin sending marketing communications to the applicant without restrictions.

Costco members will still need to do their homework and compare offers, though, said Keith Gumbinger of mortgage information company HSH.com. Even after a year of testing, Costco’s service is still new.

First Choice said it will police the other lenders to ensure they comply with Costco’s policies, which include giving accurate rates and terms and following up quickly on questions and requests. The technology enables Costco to monitor individual applications and make sure they are handled properly and expeditiously.

Costco takes no profit on the lending itself, but it does get paid to market the service.

Mortgage payments at lowest level in decades

In Sheets’ case, his lender, Bank of the Internet, sent a representative — an attorney — to his home to close on the loan, he said. She answered all his questions and explained all of the legal terms in the contract.

“There were no surprises,” he said.

Gumbinger said the service may prove better for people like Sheets, who are refinancing than those who are purchasing homes.

“The mortgage origination process is still a hands-on, face-to-face process,” he said. “It involves a comfort level and you don’t get that with an online service.”

That may be true in the initial stages of the borrowing process, but once a Costco borrower has chosen a lender the level of service steps up, as Ray Sheets’s lender did for him.

Given the size of Costco’s footprint and its ability to squeeze great deals out of vendors, Costco members should at least “include the site in their search plan,” said Gumbinger.

31 Responses

  1. Sorry I should have reread before I sent. More typos than this but the one that stiood out is new, I meant news reporter.

  2. I was watching the tv and the protestors in Seattle, were being set up. The protestors were very good about making the media know the protestors were their in peace and not violence. A small group of people, ( I trully believe to be from our government) were there in black clothes masked for disquise, whom were being violent and breaking out windows. I was very proud and happy to see the protestors claim this was not the protestors doing this, that the protestors believed it to be the police themselves doing it in disquise to make the protestors look bad and to prove civil unrest and antiarcism. The media was good to make this stance for the protestors, to explain this is not the protestors this is not what they were there fore and they were not part of the violence. The media announced the protestors are here to protest in peace and were not a part of any violent demonstrations. I did see one media person claim the protestors were antiarchist and were being violent. The police did not arrest one of the violent parties, however pushed and shoved a man with a camera over and over and over. I am afraid the government and or the banks are going to take advantiage of the non violent protest to set them up, as falsely being violent by games like this, sending in violent people to discredit the non violent protest , to call Marshal Law on the U.S. Citizens. I am so very glad the one new reporter stated what she did and stood her ground for the non violent protestors.

  3. The banks never intended to do anything but steal the houses and make as much profit as possible. I have know many that had the money to catch up and were refused, like this woman. http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/27/11433080-woman-fighting-foreclosure-arrested-in-appeal-to-wells-fargo-cfo

    One of my spa customers was given a six dollar reduction on her modification loan, she refused it and told the servicer Chase, that she might as well hold out for something better or go to another lender,, however she found they had destroyed her good credit by her applying for the mod. Chase told her she would have to accept this mod and they would only accept the six dollar reduced payment. Then she recieved a letter like I did, like so many of us did, that we were now unapproved . Over the phone they tell you due to the unapproval for no good reason, the mod payments are now considered to be partial payments, therefore we are in foreclosure statis. She and her husband tried to pay up the difference, but were refused. She and her husband have given up finding an attorney they can afford, but have not been able to find, and said they were moving out, Could not take the stress anymore. I have sent them several possibilities including signing up with Neil. I have had no answer since the last time she stopped in here to talk to me.

  4. Boy Neil, take care of yourself. Dont push it! I know easier said than done. But take care of yourself. Your no good to you or anyone if you dont take [good] care of yourself. I know it can not be easy time to take breaks when Americans are being trompeled. I hope Cosctco wakes up to the issues of the mortgage crisis. I really don’t believe they would be involved with the mortgages at all if they knew all the facts. I dont think it is Costco that needs the advertising, I think one it is a way they believe to add income to their business or they would not be doing it, second they are oblivious to all the clouded titles, and second the financial institutes are looking for an avenue to created trust in a good name to bring them business. It was the small mortgage companies, pretender lenders, looking like banks, that did the dirty work for the big banks, then the big banks took over the mortgages when the small pretender lenders failed. I know I have lost my trust in the financial world, especially with the mortgage industry, but this smells of something sinister not a good thing, for the borrower nor Costco. The big banks have lost the trust of most Americans. Probably waiting to gobble up the small banks again. The banks have not stopped their crimes, they have increased their crimes since the settlement, ignoring all and continuing to put fraud affidavits together , stepping up foreclosures, we all know they dont own. They are alike giant gremlins eating up the economy, like a cookie monster, with [no reason] to stop. .

  5. Hi Shelley,
    Actually Neil had congestive heart failure in February. In March they did open-heart surgery to replace a mitral valve in his heart. The recovery is supposed to be 6 months to a year.
    Katherine

  6. welcome back Neil.

  7. Hi Kevin,
    I see Costco’s intervention into the market place as likely to produce corrective action in the creation and underwriting of future mortgage loans. My understanding is that their intent is to use local banks. Community banks for the most part do not sell their loans into the secondary market and they rarely participate in any form of securitization or even collaboration with other banks. I know this because I spent the last 20 years processing transactions for them and I have come to know and understand the thinking of a community banker. But if you are right that Costco is willing to forego it’s number 1 position as America’s favorite company, then it will add to the mess we are in and probably take down Costco like a stone falls to the earth. WalMart is tinkering with the banking idea because they believe a) more people trust them than they trust banks and b) like medications, they can produce a financial product that is far less exotic and far less costly than what Wall Street did on its own. It isn’t hard to find companies in whom the public reposes more confidence than the banks. In a recent study more than one third of the public agreed to bank with McDonalds if they were to offer the services. Look it up. While Wall Street has created mayhem all chaos presents opportunities to those businesses and companies who understand the ebb and flow of consumer confidence. I am not ready to grade the performance of either Costco or WalMart. But I welcome the competition they will bring to the marketplace and the consumer driven power those companies might achieve. By no means is this a solution to past or future fraudulent actions by the major banks. But these actions might provide a convenient backdrop for lawyers to argue how things should have been done. We’ll see.
    Regards,
    Neil

  8. I agree totally! This will be a disaster for Costco and Wallmart to get involved in.

  9. So sorry, my computer has been having issues not picking up the next http. Here is what I meant to send.http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2012/04/30/strategic-defaults-continue-to-rise-in-u-s/

  10. This should concern Costco as well!This is not a good time to be getting your feet wet in this business! http://www.foreclosurehamlet.org/page/iso-signers?commentId=4164911%3AComment%3A132015&xg_source=msg_com_page

  11. The fraud is so deep down the rabbit hole it will take a magician to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Costco getting into this business with billions and triillions of crime being investigated seems pretty risky. Here is an article I believe happenes all the time. The notary is not present to witness it and every notary signature on record with the state that I have been sent does not match. http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2012/04/29/full-deposition-transcript-of-aurora-bank-fsb-asst-vice-president-neva-hall/
    Maria leonor Gerholdt notary signature fraud and secretary of state real signature found in four full pages on Foreclosurehamlet. I cant seem to transfer it.

    http://www.foreclosurehamlet.org/page/iso-signers?commentId=4164911%3AComment%3A132015&xg_source=msg_com_page

    .

    .

  12. An email freind from WA just hired this attorney whom is licensed in FL and WA

    Shelley,

    I will be working with Ha Dao, she will be here in May, she spends most of her time in Florida, but she is licensed in Washington. She is “of counsel” with Scott Stafne law firm in Arlington.

    Have them call and talk to Scott as well. He has another attorney, Andrew who spoke at the workshop last Saturday, young and good. John Flowers is new to the firm, but 71 years old , with real estate, ligitation experience and background. I spoke with him at the workshop as well.

    http://www.stafnelawfirm.com/Washington_Seattle_Stafne_Lawyers.php

    Ha Thu Dao, Esq.
    GRAND CENTRAL LAW, PLLC
    507 22nd Ave North
    Saint Petersburg, FL 33704
    Licensed to practice in FL & WA
    AV rated
    Member of NACA & NACBA
    Grad of the Max Gardner’s Litigation Boot Camp

    (727) 269-9334

  13. Neil had a heart attack he is recovering from

  14. I agree tnharry, it’s appearing to be a website with little of Neil’s hand in the articles published for over a month now.

  15. Only reason is the banks can not be trusted and Costco has the money to put a bank together., and the trust of its members. They are probably going to have a few upset members and investors if the 99% boycott them for the fees they get to send unsuspecting homeowner to purchase clouded title/stolen homes. If Costco leads someone to purchase a house with a clouded title/stolen house. Is a fee upfront to lead someone to the lender legal? Like a mortgage broker given incentive money to bring you to their chambers sort of speaking. I thought Costco could give people will have another option to have checking accounts and savings other than the big banks. I know there are credit unions, however there is a large percentage of people that have not changed to a credit union, and Costcos stock [has] proven they are successful. The convenience of banking at Costco along with shopping there might cause more people to leave the big banks. Wouldnt that be a pitty? I think this move is a disaster for Costco, but they have money and are successful and I dont so whos to say I know what they should do, but I think this is very bad for them. You are right though, they are getting into a business they know very little to nothing about and this could be very bad for them.

  16. @Shelley,

    Why do you want a Costco bank? Costco does retail. Sales toilett paper and tooth paste. How capable is it to handle my money?

    Where the hell are the antitrust laws when you need them???

    Never mind… they got flushed down the drain with Costco toilett paper and our notes. Silly me!

  17. I would like to have seen Costco do banking like checking accounts and savings. But stay out of the mortgage mess. All the clouded titles law suits, and concealment of the banks crimes does not make a good enviornment for Costco to get into mortgages right now. Even if it were limited to only newly built houses that did not have previous titles, the economy is continuing to spiraling down, and more houses including any appraised houses to date will go down in value, or at could still be over valued in appraisals due to the value of homes is not accurate right now. More and more houses could be under water again soon, including the just recently appraised houses. If the market stablized for sure, new houses with clear titles would be the only mortgages to give and not through other financial institutions, but a Costco bank.

  18. Enraged NO! I will have to go back and see if there is a typo or something. I am very worried about Costco getting into the mortgage business. The Vice president of Costco Richard Gallanti is family to me and my cousins and uncles and Richard all have a lot of stock in Costco. I think this could be a big mistake for Costco and all of the stock holders. I believe you misuderstood an answer I gave to someone on this blog, that I meant in Irony, that we or I know howmuch we can trust the banks to tell the Costco stock holders and or investors the truth, but I for one am emailing a bunch of docs to Costco to warn them. Another wards “Don’t Trust the Banks”. Knowing what we all know on this blog. You cant trust the banks to be honest at all. Investors have been taken to the cleaners by them. And there is hardly a title that is not clouded in the market place. I think this could be the ruine of Costco or at least their reputation.

  19. @Shelley,

    I’m confused… Didn’t you, a few days ago, state that you knew people and relatives who were getting their mortgages from Costco and they were happy (or something along those lines)? Wheren’t you advocating Costco to replace the banks?

    Nah… That can’t be, can it? I must be day dreaming…

  20. I agree, this is just a referal, I fear Costco is lending the money to the fraud creditors, possibly due to they are unable to get money from China and the government to fund their crimes. Does not smell good for Costco or Wallmart. If they are funding their crimes they will wind up like the investors that have lost their shirts to the elite. This article states they are policing the loans. Are they brainwashed by the creditors that the mortgages are good mortgages? This is money in the billions and triilions, I hope Costco and Wallmart have not bit off more than they can chew, and I hope the people dont trust this due to being referred to by Costco and Wallmart. I have not heard good things about Wallmart at all. Certainly something Costco and Wallmart should investigate farther. Also anyone trusting this avenue of mortgages.

  21. We need a new kind of lender who has the where with all and or clout to demand and sue for clairity in determining the title first – as in owner and holder of the existing mortgage and in determining the true amount remaining on the existing mortgage. If fraud is found in the the recorded documents falsely claiming ownership of a mortgage asset or a fasle transfer of a mortgage asset never owned and fraud occurs in representation to them about the amount owed and to whom it is owed – perhaps they could make a buck in damages and do justice for homeowners, society and the economy at the same time. Anyone who pays off a loan in a refinance or provides a loan for a purchase should care about who it is they are paying first. Maybe they should put up a bond to protect their customers from liability on debts left unpaid in the transaction to a pretender.

  22. This is the worst post yet. Nothing has changed. They are just reselling services under an ABA to make money. The lenders pay money to have their programs referred to Costco clients. The loans are still going to be sold, they are still based on a faulty appraisal process etc etc etc. Actually feel like this is even worse than the face to face option of a loan officer as the reputation of Costco will be imputed to the computer application they are filling out.

    Neil, why are you allowing posts like this?

  23. Tomorrow is May First. If you plan on participating in NYC, here are a few pointers. Banks have already invested our tax money into buying themselves some heavy-duty security.

    Check the site for more info on what is planned.

    http://occupywallst.org/

    Take the Streets on Tuesday! Click Here for Events in Your City
    Last-Minute May Day Checklist
    Posted 4 hours ago on April 30, 2012, 9:56 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

    This May Day, hundreds of thousands of workers, immigrants, students, retirees, and unemployed people across the U.S. and around world will take to the streets, many for the first time. (If you are in NYC, check here for a schedule for the full day!) For folks new to protest (and of course, everyone else) we’ve thrown together a last-minute May Day Checklist:

    What To Bring
    (1) An affinity group: An affinity group is a group of people you know and trust. Before going to the demo, bring together a group of 2 or more friends and discuss your plans for the day, the tactics you plan on using, how comfortable you are risking arrest, etc. Everyone should have an affinity group, even if its just casual or informal. Once at the march, stick together and try to leave together. If someone has to leave early, make sure they do it safely. Make sure you have each other’s phone numbers. It might be a good idea to pair together more experienced protesters with newers folks. Most importantly, look out for each other.

    (2) Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to run in and won’t give you blisters. If possible, wear water-proof shoes. (There is a chance of showers tomorrow in NYC.) Don’t wear open-toe shoes.

    (3) Band-aids: Your comfortable shoes may not be so comfortable after a day of marching, so bring band-aids in case of blisters.

    (4) Water: Seriously. Lots and lots of water.

    (5) Snacks: Especially nonperishable food like dried fruit, energy bars, nuts, and things that are easy to eat on-the-move.

    (6) Backpack: Carry your stuff in a backpack. It´s easier to carry than a purse, especially if you need to run to catch up with a march. Also, pack light. Don´t bring unnecessary or heavy things, especially if you plan on being out all day.

    (7) Multiple layers of clothes: Anticipate changes in weather. According to Weather Underground, the high in NYC for tomorrow is 72F and the low is 52F with a chance of showers.

    (8) Cell phones and cameras: Cell phones are useful for communicating with others on the ground to get information and stay safe. You can also use video and cameras to document police brutality. You have a legal right to document police behavior and it is usually safe. However, be aware that police (especially the NYPD) have a documented history of targeting grassroots journalists with violence or arrest. If you do try to document police abuse, make sure you write down or photograph the officer’s badge number. Also be aware that there may be disruptions of service in heavily-clogged, high-traffic areas like lower Manhattan. (On #N17, the largest OWS action in NYC to date, many cell phones mysteriously stopped working.) Also, bring extra batteries and memory!

    (9) Maps: Try to be familiar with the area before you go. Bring a map (on your phone or in print) with you and be aware of your surroundings.

    (10) Rain gear: It might be a good idea to bring a poncho. Garbage bags also work. Keep in mind some police may perceive umbrellas as a threat. Bring extras of everything, kept dry in your backpack.

    (11) Your own sign or banner: If you have a catchy slogan, bust out a sharper and some cardboard and tell the world! Write what makes you indignant; or, write something about the world you’d rather live in. Write why you´re on strike, or why you support #OWS, labor, students, immigrants, etc. Here are some common slogans: ¨Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out,¨ ¨We Are The 99%,¨ ¨Occupy Everywhere.¨

    (12) Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day. You can identify them by their orange hats. If you have important information for them (for example, one of your friends just got arrested) let them know. Don´t distract them otherwise. To report arrests on May Day in NYC, call the NLG at 212-679-6018. To help, text OWS-JS to 774-254-4697.

    (13) Know how to Mic Check: One easy way to convey information to large groups of people is by using the People’s Mic. One person (or a few people) first yell ¨Mic Check!¨ Everyone who hears them responds by echoing ¨Mic Check!¨ After that, one person says a few words and pauses to let the crowd repeat those words. If you hear someone mic check, let them know by repeating too; that way, the people around you can also listen. However, if you disagree with what someone is saying, you don’t have to repeat it. This is a useful way to make spontaneous, democratic decisions. However, you should also be aware that false or misleading information can sometimes spread quickly this way, so don’t assume something is true just because it was said over the People’s Mic. (Hint: If you hear people chanting ¨Shame!¨ or ¨The whole world is watching!¨ it often means that police brutality and/or arrests are happening nearby. If you’re trying to avoid arrest, go the other way. Or, if you want to help or document, head over!)

    (14) Smart phones: If you have one, install free aps like Twitter and Livestream so you can keep up on what´s going on elsewhere. There might be something important happening just a block away, but impossible to see. The best way to get up-to-the-minute information is by following Twitter accounts. Here are a few: @OccupyGenStrk | @StrikeEverywher | @OccupyGenStrike | #M1GS | #GeneralStrike | #MayDay | @OWSMayDay. However, as with Mic Checks, be aware that information on Twitter might not be 100% accurate.

    (15) Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here. If you are a transgender or gender non-conforming, check out this helpful document for trans people participating in direct actions. If you are an active duty Service Member, note that your rights are different. (See below for some more helpful information if you are worried about being arrested.)

    (16) Drums, whistles, noisemakers, giant puppets: They’re fun!

    (17) WHAT NOT TO BRING: Illegal drugs, weapons, your address book, anything that could be potentially incriminating (including pictures on your cell phone).

  24. I agree with tn. This will not end well. It’s the same old story of middlemen and pretender lenders.

  25. Enraged, Yes I agree, we dont have much of a choice between Republican party and Democratic party, we can only hope Ron Paul comes in as a third independant party. They pray the voting system is not rigged. And we know that can be and has been.

    Here is a new rule I had not heard of, which certainly applies:

    http://aceds.org/news/td-bank-facing-sanctions-federal-court-charges-spoliation-presenting-false-evidence

  26. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And it probably won’t make one iota of difference.

    http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2012/04/an-important-message-about-2012-for-both-president-obama-mitt-romney/

    An Important Message about 2012 for both President Obama & Mitt Romney
    1

    I realize you’re both very busy and were it not important, I would not presume to take up any of your time, or the time of your advisers, but it has long since become clear that neither of your campaigns understands several of the key dynamics that will have a major impact on which one of you wins in November of 2012.

    The dynamics I’m referring to have to do with the foreclosure crisis, a topic which, for a variety of reasons, some shared and others divergent, neither of you wants to talk much about, but it is the topic that will continue to destabilize either of your chances to win the upcoming election.

    That this is the case, should not be hard to accept… in 2012, the road to the White House runs directly through the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, most notably Ohio and Florida, but also Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina, et al. For the Obama campaign, I would say that this issue alone would normally be enough to cost you the election, but as luck would have it, you’re the frying pan running against the fire.

    In 2008, Barack Obama won the election by roughly eight million votes… and by this coming November, we will have lost roughly that same number of homes to foreclosure. If you assume two voters per household, there are 16 million that don’t want to vote for you, Mr. President, and I don’t care if you want to make that number 10 million instead… my point is the same.

    And I didn’t say that they would not vote for you, the alternative being voting for fire over frying pan, but rest assured, they don’t want to vote for you.

    The point is that the number of Americans seriously harmed by the mishandling of the foreclosure crisis are now more than enough to sway a national election, and everyone knows those numbers are slated to increase by many millions over the next several years.

    These people are not merely upset about losing a home to foreclosure, they are enraged over having been misled, deceived and entirely abandoned, as the Obama administration ultimately stood by and did essentially nothing while their servicer tortured them as they lost their homes to foreclosure.

    And, I can assure you that my description is not hyperbole to those in this unfortunate group. In fact, many would call it understatement.

    It’s interesting to realize that neither of you wants to bring up the situation related to housing and foreclosures in your campaigning. I say that because, although it’s easy to see why the Obama campaign would avoid the topic, but one would think that the Romney campaign would be exploiting such an obvious weakness of the opposition to garner support. And yet, the Romney campaign doesn’t want to talk about housing and foreclosures any more than the Obama campaign does.

    In fact, Mr. Romney, this past year while campaigning in Nevada of all places, quite shockingly, you decided to answer a question about foreclosures by saying that what’s needed is a faster foreclosure process… in Nevada… a faster foreclosure process.

    Basically, after being asked the only question certain to have tens of thousands of Nevada voters paying close attention, your response gave the Obama Administration credit for programs that successfully delayed or prevented some significant number of foreclosures in a state that’s been devastated by foreclosures more so than any other.

    For a moment, all I could think was that you were trying to help Obama win Nevada in 2012, but I’ve since realized that its far more likely that you were caught off guard and didn’t know what else to say at that moment, because since then you’ve adopted the Obama campaign’s approach to the issue: Pretend it doesn’t exist.

    I’m quite sure both of your campaigns have people monitoring the Internet, so you must know how ridiculous the absence of any meaningful discussion on foreclosures appears to millions of voters. Therefore, it must be that you’re both so deathly afraid of the Tea Partiers and Rick Santelli that your campaign managers figure mums the word is your only viable option.

    Well, since I see no other explanation for your mutual silence on the subject, I thought I’d offer both of you some insight and advice about your respective 2012 campaigns. I may not know enough to be President of the United States, but I know the people of the foreclosure crisis as well as anyone could… to use the hip vernacular of a few years back… they’re my peeps.

    First, to President Obama:

    Okay, I understand you’ll probably win staying silent on the issue.

    For one thing, Mitt Romney isn’t likely to mention the subject of foreclosures either, and if he does, it’s fairly likely that he’ll say something stupid, as he did in Nevada.

    Secondly, your campaign strategists probably figure that by next fall, if asked, you’ll be able to tout your administration accomplishments related to housing and foreclosures, which, however inadequate they may be, are still heads and shoulders better than anything the GOP has suggested since 2008. So, as I said, you’ll be running on the premise that people will vote frying pan when the alternative is fire.

    Thirdly, I’m sure your people have realized that a significant number of the independents you’ve lost AND many of the Republicans who are disgusted with the economic situation have moved into the Ron Paul camp, which may very well give the Paul campaign a double digit election outcome, and lock in a loss for Romney in a replay of Clinton-Bush-Perot, 1992. (Clinton-43%, Bush-37.5%, Perot-18.9%.)

    Lastly, it’s no secret that the Republicans in both the House and Senate, since day one of your presidency, have been practicing a bizarre sort of obstructionist politics, voting in unison against anything you’ve proposed, as our nation-on-fire has continued to burn, economically speaking.

    In fact, the only thing you’ve done that Republicans have not opposed was the pumping of untold trillions into TBTF financial institutions. To everything else, they’ve very clearly said “NO,” and bringing up this track record will make it near impossible for anyone concerned about foreclosures to vote for anyone on that side of the aisle.

    It all makes sense, and could be right… but you’ll be biting your nails right into the wee hours of election night, because you’ll remember what happened in the 2010 mid-terms when far too many voting Democrats, furious with you for letting them down, closed the curtains in their voting booths and chose Republican candidates out of spite.

    If you want to ensure your second term, stop listening to Tim Geithner’s Moral Hazard Band, and anyone who’s ever met Larry Summers, and follow your instincts.

    I know you have them because I heard you talking about how you and Michelle only paid off your student loans less than a decade ago. I also heard your speech announcing the settlement between state attorneys general and the five largest mortgage servicers, and you said we need to do more to help Americans losing homes due to no fault of their own… and how we “have each others’ backs” in this country.

    Those were smart things to say, but stopping there won’t carry you to November, you need to seal the deal and start telling the American people the truth… that we need to stop pretending that 20 million Americans all became irresponsible at the same time, buying homes they couldn’t afford, blah, blah, blah.

    Our financial crisis and economic downturn took out all the investment banks on Wall Street, caused over a thousand smaller banks to become insolvent so far, crippled small and large businesses alike leading to unemployment that will take a decade to improve if we’re lucky, and threw the EU into financial chaos that may still bring an end to the union and its currency. That’s the truth, so stop pandering to the Tea Party types, they’re short on facts, long on crazy… and won’t be voting for you in 2012 anyway.

    What the American people want is an economy that doesn’t feel like the United States of Quicksand. Surely by now you’ve started to suspect that you could double down on pumping money into the banks over the next four years and still no recovery would come.

    How many quantitative easings do we need to try before we diversify our approach to include America’s middle class… QE-1 didn’t do it… QE-2 didn’t either… and don’t even get me started on the “operation twist” nonsense, which is Bernanke’s only idea to spark consumption by getting credit flowing to consumers. Should we wait until we’ve tried QE-7… QE-12… QE-18… should we try “twisting” the decade away?

    Surely you can see that the desired results of these programs haven’t occurred yet, and even if you want to think they will someday, isn’t it time to add a few other strategies to the mix? Interest rates are simply not the problem, Mr. President, they’re low and they’ve been low… so what and who cares?

    Remember last June, Mr. President? It was Bernanke’s second post-FOMC press conference. The Fed Chief admitted that he had no idea what was causing the economy’s so-called “soft patch,” he only knew that it would persist. The FOMC statement blamed everything outside the United States… something about Japan along with rising food and oil prices. He was humble, candid, and relieved that QE 1&2 had reduced the threat of deflation for the moment anyway. But as to what wasn’t happening in our economy, he didn’t have a clue.

    And yet, you’re doing nothing but bemoaning the fact that Republicans won’t pass your jobs bill even on a stand-alone basis, and following the Fed Chief’s admitted unknowing lead?

    Our housing market is either double or triple dipping, whichever you’d prefer, but recovering? Not even close. Truth be told, it’s been in the same downward slide for almost six years, with slight interruptions caused by a fleeting combination of hype, tax incentives and the transformation of the FHA into the new sub-prime, which is now reporting defaults approaching 20 percent on loans made SINCE 2009.

    I understand that American consumers are being forced to deleverage, just as the banks will have to do soon. I understand that the credit markets are broken for the foreseeable future and that there’s nothing you can do about that. And I understand that Europe’s economy will ultimately come crashing down into ours, causing all sorts of pain and anguish from coast-to-coast. These things we should hold as being self-evident.

    But, if you allow the housing markets to continue to fall, and foreclosures to continue to rise, you will be setting our country up to be hit hard while it’s too far down, and there will be no recovering from such a blow at such a time. Your legacy will be such that you’ll wish Mitt Romney had won in 2012.

    You’ve got the opening, or will certainly have it very soon… everything is getting worse, and it won’t be long before the Bureau of Economic Analysis will be reluctantly announcing the “R” word once again. At that point you can reinvent yourself… and do it differently this time… the way you wanted to last time.

    Be the man of the people… inspire hope and deliver change. The only real moral hazards you have to worry about are named Geithner and DeMarco.

    Take them out, save the economic day, and go down in history a hero. This time do more than anyone says is needed… remind everyone of their obvious propensity for underdoing everything… and if it’s the Republicans that cause you to fail, then let us see you go down fighting.

    Now, to presumed GOP candidate, Mitt Romney…

    Okay, so I realize that you’re not the right-wing nutcase you pretended to be during the primaries… fair enough. And I also realize that you’ll try to move to the center, without alienating the crazy factor that considers itself the GOP’s base.

    But, if you’re banking, pun intended, on Reagan-esque lofty speeches and loudly criticizing the Obama Administration’s first term over things like spending and health care, your creating a situation in which your shot at winning the election in 2012 will depend purely on the vote-against-Obama-turnout… assuming that no one in Florida or Ohio brings up foreclosures, that is.

    In other words, you could be anyone running… you’re doing essentially nothing to help yourself win. Election night will be something like watching the results of a poll come in where the choices were “Anonymous Republican v. Obama.”

    If you don’t accept that, just consider the two clowns you just beat in the primaries. Santorum, who described condoms as a “grievous moral wrong,” and said that “huge moral failings” were causing our economic problems… and good old Newt Gingrich, who attempted to make a serious case for repealing child labor laws in order to put 9 year olds from poor families to work cleaning schools after school… oh, and who promised a “moon base by 2020.” And those two were the GOP’s saner candidates… the even crazier contenders left the stage earlier.

    Oh yeah… and then there’s Mitt… the former Governor of Massachusetts and a Republican centrist with a JD/MBA from Harvard who was the first in the nation to reform health care into something near-universal in his home state… who turned around Bain & Company as its CEO, who led the committee that made the 2002 Winter Olympics a financial success… and whose father who was CEO of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

    Mr. Romney, you managed to beat out a perennial alter boy obsessed with anything of a sexual nature, and an ex-Speaker of the House who was forced by his own party to resign after countless ethics violations, including misleading the House Ethics Committee and ultimately earning the distinction of being the first Speaker to be disciplined, (the vote was 395 to 28), for an ethics violation including being fined $300,000.

    Okay, so congratulations… I suppose.

    So, your advisors are obviously telling you that slamming Obama is the ticket to the Oval Office, and largely because the president has failed to mitigate the damage being caused by the foreclosure crisis, they could be right… but probably aren’t.

    Exclusively slamming Obama in order to win in 2012 would be a strategy much more likely succeed if, in addition to ignoring foreclosures as an issue, you didn’t also have to run on a GOP-friendly platform that favors cutting such things as food stamps, child tax credits and Social Service Block Grants, while carrying states like Florida and Ohio that continue to be destroyed by the economic collapse and specifically the foreclosure crisis.

    In other words, you’ll be trying to win a national election on a platform that only the one percent… or others in the insensitive class… could love.

    Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds enable States to provide things like daycare for children or adults, protective services for children or adults, special services to persons with disabilities, health-related services, foster care for children, substance abuse, housing, home-delivered meals… you know… luxuries.

    Oh, and what are you worth, by the way… a quarter of a billion and change? And you’re going to cut food stamps? Screw the working poor and long-term unemployed? You’ll redefine “fat cat” and make Herbert Hoover look like FDR in your first 100 days in office if you do what the Republicans expect you to do.

    We’ve got 46.4 million people on food stamps in this country. One in four children are eating based on food stamps right now in any given month. The average monthly benefit comes out to be about $8 per household, per day… roughly $2.67 per day for food assuming a three person household. That’s the program that House Budget Committee Chairman, Republican Paul Ryan wants to cut, calling it a “comfortable hammock” instead of a “safety net.”

    (By the way, Ryan and his Republican cohorts have helped me as a writer by providing me with a much better understanding of when it’s most appropriate to use the word “asshole,” and for that I suppose I should thank them.)

    In Florida alone, there are 3.29 million people on food stamps as of this year, a number that’s doubled since 2008, although the dollar value of the benefits has nearly tripled to $5.15 billion as more families have been forced to seek assistance from the program. Under the Republican budget proposal, estimates show that 234,000 Florida households will lose their food stamps benefit

    So, you’re basically planning on winning Florida by ignoring foreclosures, reducing the availability of food, and saying how bad Obama has been? It’s possible, I guess… but I’d stop way short of considering it a sure thing, that’s for sure.

    I also have to say that running this way is insane, because even if you somehow pulled it off and won, you’d spend the next four years either doing the GOP’s bidding while watching civil unrest be redefined American style, or you’d resist such asinine policies and soon find yourself abandoned by your own party, shunned by Wall Street, branded a liberal… and all but certain to be back home in four years.

    You look pretty darn good for your age now, but under those conditions, you’d start your presidency looking like Michael Douglas and head back home four years later looking like Kirk Douglas.

    Mr. Romney, I don’t believe you’re not a smart guy… you have to be a smart guy. So, can you honestly tell me that tax cuts for business and the recently branded “job creators,” combined with reduced government spending is anything but sheer idiocy during times like these?

    You must know that American companies have oodles of cash and Treasury securities in their coffers, but no one is going to invest and expand when there is no demand for what they’d produce. American consumers both can’t and won’t spend more than they are today… and consumer spending today is anemic compared to what it was in let’s say 2005.

    American consumers have seen their access to credit slashed and their home equity stripped to essentially nothing. And, as if that weren’t enough, inflation and higher oil and food prices are sure to wipe out what little discretionary spending has survived the collapse.

    Our first quarter GDP number should say it all, not only because at 2.2 percent it came in below expectations, but also because had it been calculated using the Consumer Price Index, instead of whatever B.S. number was used, the actual GDP was ZERO. Yes, indeed… now that’s what I call a recovery, right Mitt?

    Here’s the deal… if you want to win the presidential election this fall, you need to stop pretending foreclosures are helping someone, because clearly they are not, and as long as you have nothing to say on the subject, you might as well stop concerning yourself with figuring out how many ways you can call Obama a socialist, because he may be the frying pan, but you’ll be the fire.

    What you really need to do is figure out how to become the transformational leader that leads his party to success, instead of one who allows his party’s offensive ideologies to drag our nation further towards utter ruin.

    President Obama has already taken care of those at the top. If you want to ensure a victory for the Romney campaign this November, you need to start at the bottom.

    That’s all I have to say about that…

    Okay, that’s all I wanted to say. I’m pretty darn sure that you’ll both ignore what I’ve said and proceed with your what-you-ignore-can’t-hurt-you strategy. So, good luck this summer on the campaign trail.

    And, Mr. President… we all know that four years ago you were dealt the lousiest of hands, but once your second term begins… know that it’s all on you, sir.

    Mandelman out.

  27. With a 100 percent of the securities trust and 74% to 85% of the assignments invalid, in reports from King county and Essex county which is pretty much exspected to be the same across the U.S. how can these mortgage loans be legal with all the clouded titles that have to be cleared up? No magic wands, just faud assignments?

  28. Thid article is another party with the know the judges are choosing unconstitutional law, and being partial to the banks. This is not their chose to make. They are to be impartial and go by the rule of law and uphold the U.S. Constitution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOTwg3NdzvM&feature=related

    Per Costco, and Wallmart, if they are unaware of the Clouded titles this could be there demise. I sure hope they are aware of the crime in the banking world, The bankster conceal this crime pretty good.

  29. Are you kidding me?? Wal -Mart/Costco mortgages =Chinese products. Would’nt touch it with a ten foot pole. Be realistic, these guys are in it because they see an opportunity to fleece. I am a skeptic.

  30. Funny,

    I had the same queasy, knee-jerk reaction: do i really want Walmart and Costco handling mortgages? I know very little about Costco (they started on the West Coast, i believe, where i haven’t live for over 20 years…) but what we’ve recently read about Walmart tells me that they won’t be above board, far from it. Walmart is in saving money and squeezing a lot of it out of people and employees alike. It’s about globalization at a scale never seen before in retail and… well… i don’t trust it. I have seen the decimation of entire cities (Springfield, Mass being one of them on the late 80s) shortly after they settled there. First, they ran department stores out of town. Bradleys, Caldor, Sears, Stuarts and many more. Then, they ran mom and pop’s stores out of town. The Maytag guy, the shor repair guy, the local coffee shop. By then, unemployment was through the roof. And when no one had a job left to go shop at Walmart (except for the 1000 or so part-time people employed there, a far cry from the thousands they had thrown out of a job), they simply decided to close shop and move on. If i recall, 60 minutes did quite a piece on it about 15 or 20 years ago and it wasn’t flattering. Springfield never recovered.

    We want re-regulation, not bargain basement mortgages. And don’t we have somewhere some antitrust law that should, in theory, ask people to confine themselves to the business they are in and make sure they do?

    What threw us in the mess we’re in in the first place is that banks started touching things they never should have (securities). There is a world of difference between handling people’s money and carrying underwears, eggs and light bulbs. This is bound to open some serious cans of worms and i sure a hell would want to see the current problem resolved rather than transferred as is to outfits that have no business handling my money.

    The solution is simply to go back to lending and borrowing directly from local banks and credit unions. To add new intermediates with iffy ethics is, in my views, a very dangerous proposition.

  31. is this an ad for Costco in disguise? It’s nothing that new – they’re “borrowing” the concept of LendingTree and farming your information out to many originators to shop for rates. Actually I’m surprised that this is condoned by Neil since it seems part and parcel to be what led us to where we are now.

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