OCC Review Getting Few Takers

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Demand an Administrative Hearing

Very few people have asked for a review of their wrongful foreclosures. Maybe it is because we are all war-weary from this constant barrage of illegal activity from the banks. But there are avenues to travel, whether your foreclosure is past, present or even future. While the OCC review process has some restrictions announced, it nonetheless allies to all foreclosures whether they like it or not. They are the regulatory agency for certain types of banks and servicers, just like OTS, and the Federal Reserve. If one of their chartered and regulated members commits an atrocity, the agency is required by law to do something about it.

And one more thing. The OCC should be setting up review panels and administrative hearing processes because you can be sure that homeowners are not going to agree with the “review” that is conducted by the bank that is accused of committing the error, which is what the “review process” is all about. Why not ask a rapist to investigate whether he did it or if she was just asking for it?

This stuff is not just made up out of my head. It comes from the Administrative Procedures Act and its likeness in the federal, state and even local systems where any government agency is involved.

So if you are alleging wrongdoing in ANY foreclosure — past, present or future — you should be making your allegations. What do you allege? That is where the COMBO product linked next to my picture comes in and there are other people who do similar work although it is true that the title companies are trying their best to obscure the searches for title information. Getting a loan specific title analysis and a loan specific securitization analysis should provide you with enough information to allege wrongful foreclosure. Getting a Forensic Analysis and loan level analysis might also be helpful in rounding out the allegations.

Here are just a few items to get you going:

  • The debt wasn’t due
  • The debt wasn’t due to the party who  foreclosed
  • The party who foreclosed misrepresented itself as the owner of the debt
  • The debt was paid in full by insurance, credit default swaps or federal bailouts
  • The monthly payment was paid by the servicer to the creditor (or the party they claim is the creditor) at the same time that the servicer was declaring a default to the borrower. If the creditor was getting paid, where is the default?
  • The credit bid was submitted by a party who was not a creditor and therefore should have paid cash at the auction
  • The auction was conducted by an employee or agent of the party seeking to foreclose
  • Payments were improperly applied or were not applied
  • Charges were illegal and unfair and were the reason for the foreclosure
  • You were tricked into foreclosure by the pretender lender’s agent telling you had to skip payments before you could be considered for modification. (known in the industry as dual tracking)
  • The “lender” failed to comply with Reg Z on rescission
  • The loan violated TILA, RESPA
  • The “lender” failed to comply with RESPA

 

State and Federal Agencies Should Brace for Demands for Administrative Hearings

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Editor’s Comment: We had an interesting exchange in a civil, almost charming meeting with the Arizona Secretary of State last night at Darrell Blomberg’s Tuesday night meeting. He has the  AZ AG coming in a couple of weeks.

One thing that came out is that the oath of the notary is missing in many cases and there were some people who thought this might be the magic bullet that would bring down the entire foreclosure process. I don’t know how this got started but the responses from the Secretary and his manager of business affairs were mostly correct — although they point to serious deficiencies in the system and training of the people.

The oath and the bond are usually on the same page. That it is not recorded anywhere is flimsy at best and even if correct would be a source of annoyance to a judge rather than convincing him that the mortgage origination was defective and the foreclosure wrongful.Proving the notary to have been incorrectly affixed might accomplish a right to have the mortgage or deed of trust removed from the title records — but it does NOT invalidate the document itself. There is no magic bullet.

I again say: there is no magic bullet, and there is no paper defect that will discharge a debt. Debts are discharged by payment or waiver of payment (and waived could be involuntary, like in bankruptcy). By concentrating upon the possibility of a defect in the process of record-keeping on the oath of office of a judge or notary, you are essentially admitting the debt, the default and the right to collect and even foreclose, although your intent is otherwise.

The attestation by the notary has nothing to do with the validity of the contents of the document. It serves only to say that a person appeared before the notary and fulfilled the statutory requirements by identifying themselves. The notary is merely attesting to the fact that this is what happened. Someone appeared, gave a drivers license etc., and signed in front of the notary. That is the fullest extent of the attestation of the notary and the power of the notary.

In Arizona, any attestation by the notary that includes corroboration that the person whose signature is being notarized is in fact that person or has a particular relationship with a particular company is void to the extent that the attestation of the notary includes assurance of the signor’s official position or representative powers.

California has a similar provision but allows notaries — if they actually know — to attest to the official capacity of the signor. But California law has an important caveat. Any attestation as to the powers, rights and obligations of the signor cannot be used and is of no effect if it is being used outside the state. So if you are in Arizona and the notary was in California and included an attestation that the signor was vice president of MERS, the part about the signor being a VP of MERS counts for nothing.

The secretary stepped in immediately when his manager tried to say that any decision by the office of the secretary of state is final and cannot be reviewed. However, as he pointed out, the finding of an administrative agency is presumptively true unless you can prove otherwise. That is why the OCC decrees etc. should be viewed as valuable to homeowners because there have already been admissions and findings that the foreclosures were wrongful, and in some studies (San Francisco). Those findings after investigations are also entitled to a presumption of validity and throws the burden of proof onto the the pretender lender IF you show that the bad practices cited by the agencies show up in your particular case.

It is disturbing that (a) a state official second only to the secretary of state himself actually believed that she had supreme authority that was never subject to review. And (b) although the secretary affirmed his believe that his office was a record keeper and not an enforcement arm of the executive branch, I think that is a contradiction in terms. The purpose of the executive branch of government is to enforce the law. If a filing is required with the Secretary of State providing information about the activities of a limited partnership along with the fees payable to the State of Arizona, it is a mistake, in my opinion, to believe that such an agency lacks the right to prosecute those who fail to register, do business in the state and don’t pay their fees.

After decades of practice in administrative law all over the country, I believe I have discovered a mistaken impression that is often found amongst state departments, both as to their powers and their obligations to enforce those powers. I think a lawsuit in mandamus against the office of Secretary of State requiring them to use the Administrative Procedures Act and participate in hearings conducted by administrative hearings judges who are objective and unbiased, may well be necessary unless the Secretary rethinks his position and does so on his own.

This might be particularly important to the State of Arizona and other states since the REMIC pools appear to be either general or limited partnerships and not Trusts as they are described in the PSA and prospectus. This ought to be at least tested.

But whether the restrictive power of the secretary of state extends only to limited partnerships and not corporations and other business entities ( division that is peculiar at best) the major point is still the same. A foreign entity or person holding money in their hands, solicited applicants for loans and then closed transactions for those loans within the state of Arizona and with respect to an interest or potential interest in real property located strictly within the state of Arizona, violated state law and must suffer the consequences.

If they want to say that these leads to an unfair or inequitable result, they must allege and prove that they will lose money by applying the law and that means proving that they funded the loan, bought it or otherwise advanced real money where money exchanged hands. At this point everyone who knows the logistics here knows that there is not one party, group or person that can prove that case, which is why the rejection of modifications is so ridiculous and born of pure arrogance.

The real lender or creditor is now admitted to be an out of state group or entity of some kind that never registered in the state, never paid the fees, and never gave any required information about the group or entity. Perhaps the Secretary of state should be more intrigued when he realizes that hundreds of thousands of such transactions occurred in the State of Arizona over the last 12 years and they continue to be conducting business activity and legal activity in the state all without the required registration. The exemptions from registration do not apply.

Under normal rules of engagement, the party failing to properly register is subject to fees, fines and penalties for doing business without registration and may neither bring any legal claim or defend against one in the absence of the proper registration. So whether it is the office of the Secretary of State or some other department that somehow does not fall under the authority of the secretary of state (a peculiar circumstance at best) the State is (a) missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from out-of-state carpet baggers and (b) missing its chance to stop the foreclosures and even return the wrongfully foreclosed homes to their rightful owners.

So my question to the Secretary of State is this: As the putative lieutenant governor of the State who might be seeking higher office (the governor’s mansion), which would you rather do — run with the backing of back s  tabbing bankers who have already shown their willingness and desire to lie, forge documents and otherwise cheat the state’s citizens out of the right to possession of their own homes AFTER payment has been received in full — or would you rather ride the crest of anti-bank sentiment that can be found lurking in almost every voter regardless of the status of the ir mortgage or living arrangements? My bet is that the politician who seeks higher office or to maintain incumbency, would best be served by leading a populist revolt against the major out of state banks and a movement toward local in-state banks that had nothing to do with the mortgage mess created by false claims of securitization.

My second piece of advice is that the head of any agency having anything to do with regulation of business entities , banking and lending had best brush off their old copy of the Administrative Procedure Act because in my view there is right to bring a complaint against the agency that cannot be denied. And without having procedures and facilities for administrative hearings, complainants cannot fulfill the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies. That allegation alone in state or federal court could bring a mountain of constitutional issues crashing upon the shoulders of agency heads who thought they were immune from some issues.

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