HELOC Securitization Analysis — Why Are There Two “wet ink” Signatures? What Rights Does MERS Possess?

“a transfer of the mortgage without the debt is a nullity, and no interest is acquired by it”

“because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the corrected assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose.”

The writer of this article shall remain anonymous. He sent me the following. I concur with his analysis:

I came across your June 17th post about the mortgage exec that double-pledged some notes.  This is a subject I’ve been looking into for a while, thanks to Nye Lavalle’s writings – damn him for sending me down that rabbit-hole.  You might also look at:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-comptroller-mortgage-lender-charged-bank-fraud-and-wire-fraud and the incitement at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/1017921/download

As I came to realize that this isn’t a one-off scam…  I got to thinking about why do all closings require two wet-ink originals?  Not only for “sum certain” mortgages but for HELOC’s too.  So, I darned my tinfoil hat and let my mind wander into the conspiracy abyss.  I’ve always been uncomfortable with the double-document signing at closings.

As I carefully nit-pick through my own documents, I can’t help noticing that, often is the case that the County recording uses one set of the wet-inks, while the bank uses the other.  Is this just a matter of convenience, whereby the closing title/abstract company sends one set to the county clerk and the other to the lender, for its MERS recording.  Of course, the counties don’t record notes, only mortgages, so that’s a bit of a chink in the armor there.

Then I realized that the Clerk set isn’t indorsed because that process comes later (albeit not much later, actually depending on the county’s back-log it could be sooner than later) – OK, no big deal – BUT WAIT – it’s not like they wait to get the recorded set back and then indorse it – no – they just indorse the other set.  So, the secondary-market set is not the recorded set.  Hmmm, Ok, a bit nefarious, but is it a non-starter for foreclosure –  probably not.

But then I realized that my HELOC had the same slipperiness.  In HELOC foreclosures (at least mine with Citibank), the bank presents the endorsed HELOC (HELOC-CEMA because it’s NY) as its prima facie evidence for standing, swearing that it’s the “indorsed note”; while sometimes also swearing that it’s not securitized it never left the bank’s hands (holding), which in-and-of itself is curious, because if it never transferred, then why is it indorsed?

TIME OUT:  No Neil, I didn’t make a spelling mistake (indorsed vs endorsed), but I am messing with you, because so are the banks.  Of course, you know (but your readers probably don’t, and many judges probably miss the subtlety too).  “Endorse” means accredit by bestowing recognition; whereas “Indorse” means to sign a negotiable instrument for transfer as per the UCC.  Sadly, many dictionaries, especially software and web-based lexicons make these two words synonymous, which they are not.  Some lexicons don’t sanction“indorse” as a correct spelling, which it is, but as a different word, not just an alternate British/American spelling choice.

OK, back to the bank’s slip & slide of portending that they are presenting an indorsed note.  Nope, a revolving line of credit agreement (HELOC or Reverse mortgage) is not a note.  It’s not a “sum certain” so it can’t be a note, because a “note” is a negotiable instrument (as per article 3 — but even article 9 provides the same definition albet enables transfer by assignment because it may not be indorsed, hence non-negotiable).

This lack of “sum certainty” restricting “note” status was adjudicated in NY Appellate 2nd Dept. in 2018 (i.e. it’s not a note)

But it’s rarely cited – probably best, since most lawyers would mess-up the citing and blow it for those of us who know how to use it – i.e. hand judges opportunities to make bad precedential decisions.

An observing-eye reminds us that a note is a one-sided promise, whereas an agreement is a two-sided contract (signed and countersigned – regardless of adhesion); thus, not really assignable, carte blanche, it requires a blessing by both parties but that step never transpires – imagine that…

Anywho: This is just the jumping-off point, the next part is the fun stuff.

So, the bank provides affidavits and exhibitions swearing (a/k/a perjuring) up-and-down that the indorsed note is right there in front of the judge.  Sure, it may look like a HELOC agreement, but the plaintiff’s attorney assures the judge, it’s a note – pointing to the prima facie doc – look right there, there’s the indorsement, so it must be a note – Right?  WRONG!  i.e. your long-standing argument about “presumption”.

Well, first of all, we (you and I) believe that the HELOC was securitized, so they don’t, or shouldn’t really, have a copy of the document anyway.  But we haven’t really dug much deeper, because we believe it’s impossible to get anywhere  with the dastardly banks in discovery.  So, I did some digging…. albeit without the help of formal discovery.

HELOCs (revolving lines of credit) can’t be securitized, because securitizations require fixed assets for valuations, and a revolving line of credit isn’t a fixed asset, it can’t be valued “sum certain” from its “four corners.”  But wait, that’s ridiculous, because we all know that HELOCS, Reverse mortgages, Credit Cards, etc. ARE securitized; perhaps not as RMBSs but rather as ABSs or other permutations.  So, what the hell am I talking about, saying they can’t, it’s impossible, bla bla bla…

You guessed it, there’s a work-around; and it’s documented.  The bank (the originator) transfers the HELOCs to a flimflam trust.  To do this they “endorse” the Agreement in-blank, which looks exactly like an “indorsement-in-blank” but the endorsement is an accreditation, not a negotiation.  Now the trustee (a/k/a “the Issuer”) does his sorting and stacking of the pool and – and this is the magic part – then, he (or she) makes notes against the HELOCs.  Yes, of course, it’s a legal fiction, and they have a name for it,  – “HELOC-backed notes” and it is those notes (the HELOC-backed notes) that are securitized.

The originator (who is often the servicer) retains the HELOC agreement & mortgage (a/k/a “lien”) since it is supposedly the “PETE”, but is it?  Is it really?  Does it matter?  Well, not until the servicer has the enviable task of foreclosure of a HELOC that has been pledged elsewhere, likely to an ABS that’s vaporized into the secondary market either-zone.  Hence, the foreclosing bank has nowhere to send the proceeds from the foreclosure – oh well – that’s a shame.

There’s more, but I sense you’re getting bored.  HELOC-backed notes – interesting.  Think about the Article 9 maxim “the mortgage follows the note;” A maxim laid down over a-hundred years ago by Justice Noah Swayne (Appointed to SCOTUS by Abraham Lincoln – a republican – LOL)

“The note and mortgage are inseparable; the former as essential, the latter as an incident.  An assignment of the note carries the mortgage with it, while an assignment of the latter alone is a nullity.”  Carpenter v. Longan (USA 1872)

Words that still carry-the-day in such recent stare decisis cases as Bank of NY v. Silverberg (NY 2nd Dept. 2011).

Ironically, this HELOC-backed note means that the note follows the mortgage(a/k/a HELOC Agreement, with a mortgage nested inside it).

“The issue presented on this appeal is whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor — in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS) — was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes. We answer this question in the negative.

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 275 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011)”

because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the corrected assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose.

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011)

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 280 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011) (“ “a transfer of the mortgage without the debt is a nullity, and no interest is acquired by it” ( Merritt v Bartholick36 NY 44, 45 [1867]; see Carpenter v Longan83 US 271, 274 [an assignment of the mortgage without the note is a nullity]; US Bank N.A. v Madero80 AD3d 751, 752US Bank, N.A. v Collymore68 AD3d at 754Kluge v Fugazy145 AD2d 537, 538 [plaintiff, the assignee of a mortgage without the underlying note, could not bring a foreclosure action]; Flyer v Sullivan284 App Div 697, 698 [mortgagee’s assignment of the mortgage lien, without assignment of the debt, is a nullity]; Beak v Walts266 App Div 900). A “mortgage is merely security for a debt or other obligation and cannot exist independently of the debt or obligation” ( FGB Realty Advisors v Parisi265 AD2d 297, 298). Consequently, the foreclosure of a mortgage cannot be pursued by one who has no demonstrated right to the debt ( id.; see 1 Bergman on New York Mortgage Foreclosures § 12.05 [1] [a] [1991]).”)

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 281-82 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011) (“as “nominee,” MERS’s authority was limited to only those powers which were specifically conferred to it and authorized by the lender ( see Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004] [defining a nominee as “(a) person designated to act in place of another, (usually) in a very limited way”]). Hence, although the consolidation agreement gave MERS the right to assign the mortgages themselves, it did not specifically give MERS the right to assign the underlying notes, and the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority as nominee or agent of the lendersee Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Weisblum85 AD3d 95, 108 [2d Dept 2011]; HSBC Bank USA v Squitieri29 Misc 3d 1225[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 52000[U]; LNV Corp. v Madison Real Estate, LLC2010 NY Slip Op 33376[U]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props., LLC2010 NY Slip Op 32367[U]; Bank of N.Y. v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 51509[U]; OneWest Bank, F.S.B. v Drayton29 Misc 3d 1021Bank of N.Y. v Alderazi28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [the “party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence”]; HSBC Bank USA, NA. v Yeasmin27 Misc 3d 1227[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 50927[U]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Vasquez24 Misc 3d 1239[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51814[U]; Bank of NY. v Trezza14 Misc 3d 1201[A], 2006 NY Slip Op 52367[U]; LaSalle Bank Nat’l. Assn. v Lamy12 Misc 3d 1191[A], 2006 NY Slip Op 51534[U]; In re Agard, 444 BR 231; but see US Bank N.A. u Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802).”)

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 278 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011) (“”Mortgage lenders and other entities, known as MERS members, subscribe to the MERS system and pay annual fees for the electronic processing and tracking of ownership and transfers of mortgages. Members contractually agree to appoint MERS to act as their common agent on all mortgages they register in the MERS system” ( Matter of MERSCORP, Inc. v Romaine8 NY3d at 96 [footnotes omitted]).”)

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 278-79 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011) (“This leaves borrowers and the local county or municipal recording offices unaware of the identity of the true owner of the note, and extinguishes a source of revenue to the localities. According to MERS, any loan registered in its system is “inoculated against future assignments because MERS remains the mortgagee no matter how many times servicing is traded.” Moreover, MERS does not lend money, does not receive payments on promissory notes, and does not service loans by collecting loan payments.”)

Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 86 A.D.3d 274, 279-80 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011) (“Where, as here, the issue of standing is raised by a defendant, a plaintiff must prove its standing in order to be entitled to relief ( see U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore68 AD3d 752, 753Wells Fargo Bank Minn., N.A. v Mastropaolo42 AD3d at 242). In a mortgage foreclosure action, a plaintiff has standing where it is both the holder or assignee of the subject mortgage and the holder or assignee of the underlying note at the time the action is commenced ( seeU.S. Bank, NA. v Collymore68 AD3d at 753Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v Gress68 AD3d 709, 709Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione69 AD3d 204, 207-208Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v Coakley41 AD3d 674, 674Federal Nat’l. Mtge. Assn. v Youkelsone303 AD2d 546, 546-547First Trust Nat’l. Assn. v Meisels, 234 AD2d 414).”)

2 Responses

  1. Well, I’ve said it from 2012 – and now the truth, which was always in the plain sight, is revealing. But Courts don’t want to see it.

    Mortgage is a CONTRACT* which must be acknowledged by both parties.

    The real Lender never appears or sign anything. Very few mortgages have signatures of the Originator (usually in form of recognizing the entity, but not any signatures)

    MERS who becomes a Mortgagee (without RESPA disclosures or borrowers’ consent) NEVER signed anything, never acknowledged any assumptions of the loan – until “MERS (read: Black Knight) start to forge bogus assignments in never existed Trusts.

    Which makes EVERY mortgage in America void – for many reason. It is not a loan; it is not signed by parties who claim to be “owners” of the debt; the real nature of the transaction was concealed, ect.

    *The mortgage agreement is a contract made between the lending bank, called the mortgagee, and the borrower, called the mortgagor. This agreement states that the borrower receives the funds she needs to purchase the home while the lender receives a lien on the property. It allows the borrower to take physical possession of the house as she pays off the loan. If the mortgagor defaults on the terms of the loan, this agreement gives the mortgagee the right to take the property and sell it to recover their money. By signing this agreement, you agree that your ownership and use of the property are contingent on making your mortgage payments as agreed.

    Components of the Agreement

    Though the exact language of the contract varies by lender, you’ll find a few common sections in most standard mortgage agreements. For one, the mortgage agreement lists basic information that the mortgagor agrees to regarding the loan, including the amount borrowed and any additional costs associated with the loan. It commonly makes reference to other loan documents in the closing paperwork that set forth the exact terms of the loan, including the repayment term, payment amounts, and the interest rate associated with the mortgage.

    Additional Considerations

    Without this agreement, the loan isn’t officially a mortgage loan. It’s just a standard promissory agreement where one party promises to pay the other in regular installments until the obligation gets paid in full.

    Both the bank representative and the principal borrowers must sign the agreement in the presence of a notary public. Also, the lender must file this mortgage agreement with the local county so that the county administrator can update the public records.

  2. Great post. Yet local agency actually said MERS always wins in court to justify ignoring my complaint. A simple check is review the escrow instructions if any wet ink originals or application docs are required to b stamped by the escrow officer. Then there’s the Chase swirl required when Chase puts notes in their vault.

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