FREE HOUSE?

Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the bank’s option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States — Douglas Whaley

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-

The article below demonstrates (with edits from me) just how “hairy” these issues get. Things that laymen presume to be axiomatic don’t even exist in the legal world. I just sent my son a mug that says “Don’t confuse your Google search with my medical degree.” The same could be said for law. You might have discovered something that appears right to you but only a lawyer with actual experience can tell you if it will fly — remember that the bumblebee, according to the known laws of aerodynamics — is incapable of flying. Yet it flies seemingly unconcerned about our laws of aerodynamics. Similar to the lack of concern judges have, as if they were bumblebees, for the laws of contract and negotiation of instruments.

“Be careful what you wish for.” We must not give the banks a condition that they can satisfy with a fake. If the statute says that they must come up with the original promissory note, or the encumbrance is automatically lifted by a Clerk’s signature, then that means that (a) the debt still exists (b) the note could still be enforced with a lost note affidavit (which lies about the origination of the “loan” and subsequent nonexistent transactions), and (c) the debt can still be enforced.

A suit on the note or the debt that is successful will yield a Final Judgment, which in turn can be recorded in the county records. A further action for execution against the property owner will cause execution to issue — namely the judgment becomes a judgment lien that can now be foreclosed with no note whatsoever. The elements of a judgment lien foreclosure are basically (I have the Judgment, the statute says I can record it and foreclose on it).

There are homestead exemptions in many states. Whereas Florida provides a total homestead exemption except in bankruptcy court (up to $125,000 value), Georgia provides very little protection to the property owner which means that Georgia property owners are vulnerable to losing their homes if they don’t pay a debt that has been reduced to a Final Judgment and filed as a Judgment lien.

So the upshot is this: if you ask for the original note they might simply change their routines so that they produce the fabricated original earlier rather than later. Proving that it is a fake is not easy to do, but it can be done. The problem is that even if you prove the note is fabricated, the debt still remains. And in the current climate that means that any “credible” entity can step into the void created by the Wall Street banks and claim ownership of the debt for the purpose of the lawsuit.

What you want to do and in my opinion what you must do is focus on the identity of the creditor in addition to the the demand for the “original” note. When you couple that with tender of the amount demanded (under any one of the scenarios we use in our AMGAR programs) on the industry practice of demanding the identity of the creditor before anyone receives payment, then you really have something going.

But the risk element for tender MUST be present or it will likely be brushed aside who sees it as merely a gimmick — using the state law regarding tender as an offensive tool to get rid of the encumbrance and thus prevent foreclosure.

*

So the commitment is to pay off or refinance the alleged debt conforming to the industry standard of giving estoppel information — with the name of the creditor, where the payment should be sent, and the amount demanded by the creditor, and per diem, escrow and other information.

*

The inability and unwillingness of anyone to name a creditor has been credited with eliminating both the foreclosure and the mortgages in several dozen cases.

*

Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the banks option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

Here is the UCC article by Douglas Whaley. [Words in brackets are from the Livinglies editor and not from Mr. Whaley]

the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure: the Uniform Commercial Code forbids foreclosure of the mortgage unless the creditor possesses the properly-negotiated original promissory note. If this can’t be done the foreclosure must
stop.
 *
all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States.1
 *
Why is that? The answer is almost too sad to explain. The problem is that the Uniform Commercial Code is generally unpopular in general, and particularly when it comes to the law of negotiable instruments (checks and promissory notes) contained in Article Three of the Code. Most lawyers were not trained in this law when in law school (The course on the subject, whether called “Commercial Paper” or “Payment Law,” is frequently dubbed a “real snoozer” and skipped in favor or more exotic subjects), and so the only exposure to the topic attorneys have occurs, if at all, in bar prep studies (where coverage is spotty at best). Thus many foreclosures occur without it occurring to anyone that the UCC has any bearing on the issue.
 *
If the defendant’s attorney announces that the Uniform Commercial Code requires the production of the original promissory note, the judge may react by saying something like, “You mean to tell me that some technicality of negotiable instruments law lets someone who’s failed to pay the mortgage get away with it if the promissory note can’t be found, and that I have to slow down my overly crowded docket in the hundreds of foreclosure cases I’ve got pending to hear about this nonsense?” It’s a wonder the judge doesn’t add, “If you say one more word about Article Three of the UCC you’ll be in contempt of court!”
 *
The debt is created by the signing of a promissory note (which is governed by Article Three of the Uniform Commercial Code); the home owner will be the maker/issuer of the promissory note and the lending institution will be payee on the note. There is a common law maxim that “security follows the debt.” This means that it is presumed that whoever is the current holder of the promissory note (the “debt”) is entitled to enforce the mortgage lien (the “security”). The mortgage is reified as a mortgage deed which the lender should file in the local real property records so that the mortgage properly binds the property not only against the mortgagor but also the rest of the world (this process is called “perfection” of the lien).1
 *
{EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically the author is correct when he states that a debt is created by the signing of a promissory note governed by Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code. But it is also true that the note is merely a written instrument that memorializes the “loan contract” and which in and unto itself constitutes evidence of the debt.
 *
This means that some sort of transaction with a monetary value to both sides must have taken place between the two parties on the note — the maker (borrower) and the payee (the lender). If no such transaction has in fact occurred then, ordinarily the note is worthless and unenforceable. But in the event that a third party purchases the note for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrowers defenses, the note essentially and irrevocably becomes the debt and not merely an evidence of the debt. In that case the note is treated as the debt itself for all practical purposes.
 *
Such a purchaser would be entitled to the exalted status of holder in due course. Yet if the borrower raises defenses that equate to an assertion that the note should be treated as void because there was no debt (the maker didn’t sign it or the maker signed it under false pretenses — i.e. fraud in the execution) then in most cases the HDC status won’t prevail over the real facts of the case..The corollary is that if there was no debt there must have been no loan.
 *
This would be fraud in the inducement which moves the case into a gray area where public policy is to protect the innocent third party buyer of the note. All other defenses raised by borrowers are affirmative defenses (violations of lending statutes, for example) raising additional issues that were not presented nor implied in the complaint  enforce the note or the nonjudicial procedure in which the note is being enforced by nonjudicial foreclosure.}
 *
The bankers all knew the importance of the mortgage, and supposedly kept records as to the identity of the entities to whom the mortgage was assigned. But they were damn careless about the promissory notes, some of which were properly transferred whenever the mortgage was, some of which were kept at the originating bank, some of which were deliberately destroyed (a really stupid thing to do), and some of which disappeared into the black hole of the financial collapse, never to be seen again.
 *
Filing fees in real property record offices average $35 every time a new document is filed. The solution was the creation of a straw-man holding company called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems [MERS]. MERS makes no loans, collects no payments, though it does sometimes foreclose on properties (through local counsel). Instead it is simply a record-keeper that allows its name to be used as the assignee of the mortgage deed from the original lender, so that MERS holds the lien interest on the real property. While MERS has legal title to the property [EDITOR’S NOTE: this assertion of title is now back in a grey area as MERS does not fulfill the definition of a beneficiary under a deed of trust nor a mortgagor under a mortgage deed.], it does not pretend to have an equitable interest. At its headquarters in Reston, Va., MERS (where it has only 50 full time employees, but deputizes thousands of temporary local agents whenever needed) supposedly keeps track of who is the true current assignee of the mortgage as the securitization process moves the ownership from one entity to another.3
 *
Meanwhile the homeowner, who has never heard of MERS, is making payment to the [self proclaimed] mortgage servicer (who forwards them to whomever MERS says is the current assignee of the mortgage) [or as is more likely, forwards the proceeds of payments to the underwriter who sold bogus mortgage bonds, on which every few months another bank takes the hit on a multibillion dollar fine]..

Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code could not be clearer when it comes to the issue of mortgage note foreclosure. When someone signs a promissory note as its maker (“issuer”), he/she automatically incurs the obligation in UCC §3-412 that the instrument will be paid to a “person entitled to enforce” the note.5″Person entitled to enforce”—hereinafter abbreviated to “PETE”—is in turn defined in §3-301:

“Person entitled to enforce” an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person

not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 3-309 or 3-418(d) . . . .

[Editors’ note: the caveat here is that while the execution of a note creates a liability, it does not create a liability for a DEBT. The note creates a statutory liability while the debt creates a liability to repay a loan. Until the modern era of fake securitization, the two were the same and under the merger doctrine the liability for the debt was merged into the execution of the note because the note was payable to the party who loaned the money.

And under the merger doctrine, the debt is NOT merged into the note if the parties are different — i.e., ABC makes the loan but DEF gets the paperwork. Now you have two (2) liabilities — one for the debt that arose when the “borrower” received payment or received the benefits of payments made on his/her behalf and one for the note which is payable to an entirely different party. Thus far, the banks have succeeded in making the circular argument that since they are withholding the information, there is not way for the “borrower” to allege the identity of the creditor and thus no way for the “borrower” to claim that there are two liabilities.]

Three primary entities are involved in this definition that have to do with missing promissory notes: (1) a “holder” of the note, (3) a “non-holder in possession who has the rights of a holder, and (3) someone who recreates a lost note under §3-309.6

A. “Holder”

Essentially a “holder” is someone who possesses a negotiable instrument payable to his/her order or properly negotiated to the later taker by a proper chain of indorsements. This result is reached by the definition of “holder” in §1-201(b)(21):

(21) “Holder” means:

(A) the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession . . . .

and by §3-203:

(a) “Negotiation” means a transfer of possession, whether voluntary or involuntary, of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.

(b) Except for negotiation by a remitter, if an instrument is payable to an identified person, negotiation requires transfer of possession of the instrument and its indorsement by the holder. If an instrument is payable to bearer, it may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone.

The rules of negotiation follow next.

B. “Negotiation”

A proper negotiation of the note creates “holder” status in the transferee, and makes the transferee a PETE. The two terms complement each other: a “holder” takes through a valid “negotiation,” and a valid “negotiation” leads to “holder” status. How is this done? There are two ways: ablankindorsement or aspecialindorsement by the original payee of the note.

 *
With a blank indorsement (one that doesn’t name a new payee) the payee simply signs its name on the back of the instrument. If an instrument has been thus indorsed by the payee, anyone (and I mean anyone) acquiring the note thereafter is a PETE, and all the arguments explored below will not carry the day. Once a blank indorsement has been placed on the note by the payee, all later parties in possession of the note qualify as “holders,” and therefore are PETEs.7
 *
Only if there is a valid chain of such indorsements has a negotiation taken place, thus creating “holder” status in the current possessor of the note and making that person a PETE. With the exception mentioned next, the indorsements have to be written on the instrument itself (traditionally on the back).
 *
the allonge must be “affixed to the instrument” per §3-204(a)’s last sentence. It is not enough that there is a separate piece of paper which documents the unless that piece of paper is “affixed” to the note.10What does “affixed” mean? The common law required gluing. Would a paper clip do the trick? A staple?11
 *
a contractual agreement by which the payee on the note transfers an interest in the note, but never signs it, cannot qualify as an allonge (it is not affixed to the note), and no proper negotiation of the note has occurred. If the indorsement by the original mortgagee/payee on the note is not written on the note itself, there must be an allonge or the note has not been properly negotiated, and the current holder of that note is not a PETE (since there is no proper negotiation chain). THE LACK OF SIGNATURE BECOMES A SERIOUS ISSUE IN THE CURRENT ERA BECAUSE OF WHAT HAS BEEN DUBBED “ROBO-SIGNING” THE EXACT DEFINITION OF WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED BUT IT REFERS TO THE STAMPED OR EXECUTED SIGNATURE BY ONE POSSESSES NO KNOWLEDGE OR INTEREST IN THE CONTENTS OF THE INSTRUMENT AND ESPECIALLY WHEN THE PERSON HAS NO EMPLOYMENT OR OTHER LEGALR RELATIONSHIP WITHT EH ENTITY ON WHOSE BEHALF THE INDORSEMENT WAS EXECUTED. As stated in one case the base of robo-signing is that it is a forgery and therefore amounts to no signature at all which means the note has not really be negotiated, all appearances to the contrary. ]
 *
The Code never requires the person making an indorsement to have an ownership interest in the note13 (though of course the payee normally does have such an interest), but simply that he/she is the named payee, and the Code clearly allows for correction of a missing indorsement. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is where the enforcement tot he note and the ability to enforce the mortgage diverge, See Article 9. The possessor of a note that is properly signed by a party to whom the note was payable or indorsed commits no offense by executing an indorsemtn in blank (bearer) or to another named indorse. The author is correct when he states that ownership of the note is not required to enforce the note; but the implication that the right to foreclose a mortgage works the same way is just plain wrong, to wit: foreclosure is ALL about ownership of the mortgage and Article 9 provisions specifically state the ownership means that the purported holder has paid value for it]. 
 *
  1. 13   Thieves can qualify as a “holder” of a negotiable instrument and thereafter validly negotiate same to another; see Official Comment 1 to 3-201, giving an example involving a thief.
  2. 1.  Subsections (a) and (b) are based in part on subsection (1) of the former section 3-202.  A person can become holder of an instrument when the instrument is issued to that person, or the status of holder can arise as the result of an event that occurs after issuance.  “Negotiation” is the term used in article 3 to describe this post-issuance event.  Normally, negotiation occurs as the result of a voluntary transfer of possession of an instrument by a holder to another person who becomes the holder as a result of the transfer. Negotiation always requires a change in possession of the instrument because nobody can be a holder without possessing the instrument, either directly or  through an agent.  But in some cases the transfer of possession is involuntary and in some cases the person transferring possession is not a holder.  In defining “negotiation” former section 3-202(1) used the word “transfer,” an undefined term, and “delivery,” defined in section 1-201(14) to mean voluntary change of possession. Instead, subsections (a) and (b) used the term “transfer of possession” and subsection (a) states that negotiation can occur by an involuntary transfer of possession.  For example, if an instrument is payable to bearer and it is stolen by Thief or is found by Finder, Thief or Finder becomes the holder of the instrument when possession is obtained.  In this case there is an involuntary transfer of possession that results in negotiation to Thief or Finder. 
  3. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The heading for UCC 3-201 indicates it relates to “negotiation” of a note, not necessarily enforcement. The thief might be able to negotiate the note but enforcement can only be by a party with rights to enforce it. While a holder is presumed to have that right, it is a rebuttable presumption. Hence either a borrower or the party from whom the note was stolen can defeat the thief in court. But if the negotiation of the note includes payment of value in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses or complicity in the theft, then the successor to the thief is a holder in due course allowing enforcement against the maker. The borrower or victim of theft is then left with actions at law against the thief.]
 

ARE BONDHOLDERS LOOKING TO FIRE OCWEN?

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

============================

see Fund Manager’s Letter to Bondholders Detailing Sins of Ocwen

Chickens are coming home to roost. Just read the letter. Anyone who is litigating a case where Ocwen is involved in any way in the chain of title or ownership of the loan paperwork should read this in detail. This could be used as support for arguments that the books and records of the servicer or foreclosing party should not be given the luxury of certain legal presumptions. The presumption that there is in fact a servicing de fault called by the bondholders may enough to force the parties actually prove the nonexistent transactions about which their assignments and endorsements are written.

Why? That is the  question everyone should be asking. If Ocwen was not servicing for the benefit of the REMIC Trust (and the bondholders) then who are they really working for? Themselves? Or are they taking instructions from the underwriter who is also the Master Servicer that committed fraud in the first place on the investors and then on the borrowers, hiding behind the mask and layers of “originators,” “aggregators” and other conduits and sham entities? My opinion is that this is all part of the same scheme to distance themselves both from the transaction in which the bondholder gave money to the underwriter in exchange for the mortgage bonds and the “loans” that were funded not by the trust but directly from investor money that should have been given to the trust. And Ocwen’s selfish interest is to make the most out of “servicer advances” which is their cut of the pie — money that was actually advanced from investor money to pay them with their own money.

Here are some excerpts from the fund manager’s letter —

The facts establishing these Events of Default are irrefutable.  For example, Ocwen recently “stipulate[d]” and “agree[d]” in a consent order with the New York Department of Financial Services to violations of law and to engaging in imprudent servicing practices.  In addition, the California Department of Business Oversight has commenced proceedings to suspend Ocwen’s servicer license in California, a significant source of loans in the RMBS trusts that generate the advances that collateralize the payments to Noteholders.  These (and other) agencies’ findings and enforcement actions demonstrate Ocwen’s systemic, long-standing and continuing servicing failures and disregard of applicable and analogous laws.

I. Ocwen’s Violations of Law and Imprudent Servicing Practices

A. New York Investigations

Facts admitted by Ocwen establish multiple breaches of various covenants in the Transaction Documents and Designated Servicing Agreements and multiple defaults or Events of Default under the Indenture.  On December 19, 2014, Ocwen and Ocwen Financial Corporation admitted to facts that give rise to material breaches and defaults of the covenants and agreements in the above-referenced provisions.  Ocwen’s stipulations are memorialized in the Consent Order Pursuant to New York Banking Law § 44 (the “2014 Consent Order”) that Ocwen entered into with the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”).[3]  Specifically, the 2014 Consent Order sets forth numerous facts to which Ocwen has admitted

B. California Investigations

Two different California regulators have found that Ocwen violated California law.  On a webpage answering “frequently asked questions” related to Ocwen’s settlement with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia (discussed below), the California Attorney General states, “[w]e believe that Ocwen violated federal and state laws against unfair and deceptive practices.  Ocwen’s unlawful conduct hurt consumers who have had home loans serviced by Ocwen, Litton, and Homeward.  For example, Ocwen made consumers pay improper fees and charges, caused unreasonable delays and expenses when consumers asked for help to avoid foreclosure, and wrongly refused to give consumers loan modifications that could have helped those consumers stay in their homes.”[6]

C. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and State Attorneys General Investigation

Additionally, in December 2013, the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia filed a Complaint against Ocwen and Ocwen Financial Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.[15]  The CFPB and state attorneys general alleged “violations” of (i) “state law prohibiting unfair and deceptive consumer practices with respect to loan servicing,” (ii) “state law prohibiting unfair and deceptive consumer practices with respect to foreclosure processing,” (iii) the Consumer Protection Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. § 5481 et seq., “with respect to loan servicing,” and (iv) the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. § 5481 et seq., “with respect foreclosure processing.”[16]  Specifically, the CFPB and the attorneys general alleged that Ocwen engaged in the following acts and practices:

D. Federal Monitor Investigation

On December 16, 2014, a monitor appointed in United States, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 12-CV-361 (D.D.C. 2012) (the “Federal Monitor”) issued the “Monitor’s Interim Report Regarding Compliance by Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC as Successor by Assignment from Defendants Residential Capital LLC, GMAC Mortgage LLC, and Ally Financial Inc. for the Measurement Periods Ended March 31, 2014 and June 30, 2014” (the “Monitor Report”).  The Monitor Report addressed, among other things, the “independence, competency and capacity” of Ocwen’s internal quality control review group (“IRG”).  (Monitor Report at 7.)  According to the Federal Monitor, IRG’s processes and procedures “lacked the critical keys to integrity mandated in the Enforcement Terms [as defined in the Monitor Report],” namely “an internal quality control group that is independent from the line of business whose performance is being measured and an internal quality control group with the appropriate authority, privileges and knowledge to effectively implement and conduct the reviews and metric assessments contemplated in the Enforcement Terms.”  (Id. at 13 (quotations omitted).)  The Federal Monitor identified a “dysfunctional and chaotic working environment” during the first half of 2014, noting “serious problems and flaws in the processes and procedures” employed by the IRG.  (Id. at 13.)  Based on these findings, the Federal Monitor notified Ocwen that the IRG had not correctly implemented the Enforcement Terms in a number of “material respects.”  (Id. at 14.)

II. The Market Reaction

The rating agencies have cited the NYSDFS’s investigation of Ocwen as a reason for their downgrading of Ocwen’s servicer rating.  The rating downgrades have increased the risk that Ocwen will be terminated as a servicer and/or subservicer.[21]  For example, in October 2014—months before Ocwen signed the 2014 Consent Order—Standard & Poor’s downgraded Ocwen’s servicer rating to “average” following a letter by the NYSDFS to Ocwen “stating that during its review of Ocwen’s mortgage servicing practices it had uncovered serious issues with Ocwen’s systems and processes, including Ocwen’s backdating of potentially hundreds of thousands of foreclosure-related letters to borrowers.”[22]  Standard & Poor’s concluded that, based on the facts uncovered in the NYSDFS investigation, Ocwen’s “internal practices and policies may not meet industry or regulatory standards.”[23]  On October 22, 2014, Moody’s also downgraded its assessments of Ocwen “as a primary servicer of subprime residential mortgage loans to SQ3 from SQ3+ and as a special servicer of residential mortgage loans to SQ3 from SQ3+.”[24]  According to Moody’s, “[t]he assessment actions follow [the NYSDFS’] allegations,” which “also raise the risk of actions that restrict Ocwen’s activities, the levying of monetary fines against Ocwen, or additional actions that negatively affect Ocwen’s servicing stability.”[25]

Bondholders Clash With Ocwen Over Bad Servicing

For Further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

==========================

see http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/ocwen-and-bondholders-clash-over-mortgage-services/?_r=0

And if you are in the mood to drill into Ocwen’s Business, see http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1513161/000119312513024292/d474092dex991.htm

Every once in a while you get a peek at what is really happening behind the scenes. The view from here is startling sometimes even to me. Here we have theater of the absurd. Ocwen is accusing the bondholders of forcing Ocwen to foreclose rather than modify or settle claims regarding the bogus mortgages and the bondholders are accusing Ocwen of bad servicing practices.

Absurdity #1: Bondholders don’t have any say about when or how the mortgages or notes are enforced and don’t know whether the debts followed the notes or mortgages. So Ocwen’s claim is blatantly false in its attempt to point the finger elsewhere. But this is done with probable tacit agreement of all parties concerned.

Absurdity #2: The bond holders still have not figured out or they are ignoring the fact that the loans never made it into the trusts and thus their position as bondholders has nothing whatever to do with the loans.

Absurdity #3: This may have been leaked intentionally to give support to the illusion that the notes and mortgages were valid, not bogus. It’s the Kansas City shuffle — look right while everything falls left.

Absurdity #4: Ocwen is not the Master Servicer — ever. The Master Servicer is the underwriter or some entity controlled by the underwriter of the mortgage bonds. It is the underwriter/Master Servicer who calls the shots, not Ocwen, and the bondholders know that. So why are they accusing Ocwen of something?

Absurdity #5: Ocwen’s position as servicer is governed by the trust document — pooling and servicing agreement for a trust that never actually purchased or received or accepted delivery of the debt, note or mortgage. Thus Ocwen’s authority is derived from an instrument that has no relevance to the loans. If the loans never made it into the trusts, then the PSA has no bearing on the alleged loans. Hence Ocwen is a volunteer with at best apparent authority but no real authority. This is why you are seeing courts order disgorgement of all money paid by the borrower — i.e., forcing the servicer to pay all money received from borrower back to the borrower.

Absurdity #6: The Emperor (the investors) has no clothes. [see one of earliest pieces 7 years ago). Like the old fable, the investors are sitting out there buck naked.  Their claim is against the underwriter who never funded the trust in the IPO offering of the mortgage bonds. Other than that they have nothing in the way of a claim, much less a secured claim, in the loans made to the borrowers — even though it was their money that funded the origination and/or acquisition of loans. Since the federal and state disclosure laws were violated as a pattern of conduct, the loans were predatory per se (REG Z), even though the investors neither knew about the loans nor consented to them. Their best claim is against the underwriters/master servicers; but they probably have a partial claim against the borrowers for unjust enrichment, but it would not be a secured claim that could be foreclosed.

Like I said, the loans never made into the “pools”

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Editor’s Comment:

When I first suggested that securitization itself was a lie, my comments were greeted with disbelief and derision. No matter. When I see something I call it the way it is. The loans never left the launch pad, much less flew into a waiting pool of investor money. The whole thing was a scam and AG Biden of Đelaware and Schniedermann of New York are on to it.

The tip of the iceberg is that the note was not delivered to the investors. The gravitas of the situation is that the investors were never intended to get the note, the mortgage or any documentation except a check and a distribution report. The game was on.

First they (the investment banks) took money from the investors on the false pretenses that the bonds were real when anyone with 6 months experience on Wall street could tell you this was not a bond for lots of reasons, the most basic of which was that there was no borrower. The prospectus had no loans because there were no loans made yet. The banks certainly wouldn’ t take the risks posed by this toxic heap of loans, so they were waiting for the investors to get conned. Once they had the money then they figured out how to keep as much of it as possible before even looking for residential home borrowers. 

None of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code on REMICS were followed, nor were the requirements of the pooling and servicing agreement. The facts are simple: the document trail as written never followed the actual trail of actual transactions in which money exchanged hands. And this was simply because the loan money came from the investors apart from the document trail. The actual transaction between homeowner borrower and investor lender was UNDOCUMENTED. And the actual trail of documents used in foreclosures all contain declarations of fact concerning transactions that never happened. 

The note is “evidence” of the debt, not the debt itself. If the investor lender loaned money to the homeowner borrower and neither one of them signed a single document acknowledging that transaction, there is still an obligation. The money from the investor lender is still a loan and even without documentation it is a loan that must be repaid. That bit of legal conclusion comes from common law. 

So if the note itself refers to a transaction in which ABC Lending loaned the money to the homeowner borrower it is referring to a transaction that does not now nor did it ever exist. That note is evidence of an obligation that does not exist. That note refers to a transaction that never happened. ABC Lending never loaned the homeowner borrower any money. And the terms of repayment intended by the securitization documents were never revealed to the homeowner buyer. Therefore the note with ABC Lending is evidence of a non-existent transaction that mistates the terms of repayment by leaving out the terms by which the investor lender would be repaid.

Thus the note is evidence of nothing and the mortgage securing the terms of the note is equally invalid. So the investors are suing the banks for leaving the lenders in the position of having an unsecured debt wherein even if they had collateral it would be declining in value like a stone dropping to the earth.

And as for why banks who knew better did it this way — follow the money. First they took an undisclosed yield spread premium out of the investor lender money. They squirreled most of that money through Bermuda which ” asserted” jurisdiction of the transaction for tax purposes and then waived the taxes. Then the bankers created false entities and “pools” that had nothing in them. Then the bankers took what was left of the investor lender money and funded loans upon request without any underwriting.

Then the bankers claimed they were losing money on defaults when the loss was that of the investor lenders. To add insult to injury the bankers had used some of the investor lender money to buy insurance, credit default swaps and create other credit enhancements where they — not the investor lender —- were the beneficiary of a payoff based on the default of mortgages or an “event” in which the nonexistent pool had to be marked down in value. When did that markdown occur? Only when the wholly owned wholly controlled subsidiary of the investment banker said so, speaking as the ” master servicer.”

So the truth is that the insurers and counterparties on CDS paid the bankers instead of the investor lenders. The same thing happened with the taxpayer bailout. The claims of bank losses were fake. Everyone lost money except, of course, the bankers.

So who owns the loan? The investor lenders. Who owns the note? Who cares, it was worth less when they started; but if anyone owns it it is most probably the originating “lender” ABC Lending. Who owns the mortgage? There is no mortgage. The mortgage agreement was written and executed by the borrower securing terms of payment that were neither disclosed nor real.

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

By David McLaughlin

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden are investigating banks for failing to package mortgages into bonds as advertised to investors, three months after a group of lenders struck a nationwide $25 billion settlement over foreclosure practices.

The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages, according to two people with knowledge of the probes. They’re also concerned about improper foreclosures on homeowners as result, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The probes prolong the fallout from the six-year housing bust that’s cost Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other lenders more than $72 billion because of poor underwriting and shoddy foreclosures. It may also give ammunition to bondholders suing banks, said Isaac Gradman, an attorney and managing member of IMG Enterprises LLC, a mortgage-backed securities consulting firm.

“The attorneys general could create a lot of problems for the banks and for the trustees and for bondholders,” Gradman said. “I can’t imagine a better securities law claim than to say that you represented that these were mortgage-backed securities when in fact they were backed by nothing.”

Countrywide Faulted

Schneiderman said Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s Countrywide Financial unit last year made errors in the way it packaged home loans into bonds, while investors have sued trustee banks, saying documentation lapses during mortgage securitizations can impair their ability to recover losses when homeowners default. Schneiderman didn’t sue Bank of America in connection with that criticism.

The Justice Department in January said it formed a group of federal officials and state attorneys general to investigate misconduct in the bundling of mortgage loans into securities. Schneiderman is co-chairman with officials from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The next month, five mortgage servicers — Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) — reached a $25 billion settlement with federal officials and 49 states. The deal pays for mortgage relief for homeowners while settling claims against the servicers over foreclosure abuses. It didn’t resolve all claims, leaving the lenders exposed to further investigations into their mortgage operations by state and federal officials.

Top Issuers

The New York and Delaware probes involve banks that assembled the securities and firms that act as trustees on behalf of investors in the debt, said one of the people and a third person familiar with the matter.

The top issuers of mortgage securities without government backing in 2005 included Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit, GMAC, Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual, according to trade publication Inside MBS & ABS. Total volume for the top 10 issuers was $672 billion. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008.

The sale of mortgages into the trusts that pool loans may be void if banks didn’t follow strict requirements for such transfers, Biden said in a lawsuit filed last year over a national mortgage database used by banks. The requirements for transferring documents were “frequently not complied with” and likely led to the failure to properly transfer loans “on a large scale,” Biden said in the complaint.

“Most of this was done under the cover of darkness and anything that shines a light on these practices is going to be good for investors,” Talcott Franklin, an attorney whose firm represents mortgage-bond investors, said about the state probes.

Critical to Investors

Proper document transfers are critical to investors because if there are defects, the trusts, which act on behalf of investors, can’t foreclose on borrowers when they default, leading to losses, said Beth Kaswan, an attorney whose firm, Scott + Scott LLP, represents pension funds that have sued Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) and US Bancorp as bond trustees. The banks are accused of failing in their job to review loan files for missing and incomplete documents and ensure any problems were corrected, according to court filings.

“You have very significant losses in the trusts and very high delinquencies and foreclosures, and when you attempt to foreclose you can’t collect,” Kaswan said.

Laurence Platt, an attorney at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, disagreed that widespread problems exist with document transfers in securitization transactions that have impaired investors’ interests in mortgages.

“There may be loan-level issues but there aren’t massive pattern and practice problems,” he said. “And even when there are potential loan-level issues, you have to look at state law because not all states require the same documents.”

Fixing Defects

Missing documents don’t have to prevent trusts from foreclosing on homes because the paperwork may not be necessary, according to Platt. Defects in the required documents can be fixed in some circumstances, he said. For example, a missing promissory note, in which a borrower commits to repay a loan, may not derail the process because there are laws governing lost notes that allow a lender to proceed with a foreclosure, he said.

A review by federal bank regulators last year found that mortgage servicers “generally had sufficient documentation” to demonstrate authority to foreclose on homes.

Schneiderman said in court papers last year that Countrywide failed to transfer complete loan documentation to trusts. BNY Mellon, the trustee for bondholders, misled investors to believe Countrywide had delivered complete files, the attorney general said.

Hindered Foreclosures

Errors in the transfer of documents “hampered” the ability of the trusts to foreclose and impaired the value of the securities backed by the loans, Schneiderman said.

“The failure to properly transfer possession of complete mortgage files has hindered numerous foreclosure proceedings and resulted in fraudulent activities,” the attorney general said in court documents.

Bank of America faced similar claims from Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who accused the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender of conducting foreclosures without authority in its role as mortgage servicer due improper document transfers. In an amended complaint last year, Masto said Countrywide failed to deliver original mortgage notes to the trusts or provided notes with defects.

The lawsuit was settled as part of the national foreclosure settlement, Masto spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez said.

Bank of America spokesman Rick Simon declined to comment about the claims made by states and investors. BNY Mellon performed its duties as defined in the agreements governing the securitizations, spokesman Kevin Heine said.

“We believe that claims against the trustee are based on a misunderstanding of the limited role of the trustee in mortgage securitizations,” he said.

Biden, in his complaint over mortgage database MERS, cites a foreclosure by Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) as trustee in which the promissory note wasn’t delivered to the bank as required under an agreement governing the securitization. The office is concerned that such errors led to foreclosures by banks that lacked authority to seize homes, one of the people said.

Renee Calabro, spokeswoman for Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Investors have raised similar claims against banks. The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System last year sued U.S. Bancorp as trustee for mortgage bonds sold by Bear Stearns. The bank “regularly disregarded” its duty as trustee to review loan files to ensure there were no missing or defective documents transferred to the trusts. The bank’s actions caused millions of dollars in losses on securities “that were not, in fact, legally collateralized by mortgage loans,” according to an amended complaint.

“Bondholders could have serious claims on their hands,” said Gradman. “You’re going to suffer a loss as bondholder if you can’t foreclose, if you can’t liquidate that property and recoup.”

Teri Charest, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (USB), said the bank isn’t liable and doesn’t know if any party is at fault in the structuring or administration of the transactions.

“If there was fault, this unhappy investor is seeking recompense from the wrong party,” she said. “We were not the sponsor, underwriter, custodian, servicer or administrator of this transaction.”

Ambac Clients May Receive 25 Cents on Dollar in Cash

Editor’s Note: The significance of this announcement is that the bondholders, who were insured directly by AMBAC (as opposed to the investment bankers who bought “bets” like credit default swaps) are receiving 25 cents on every dollar they funded as creditors for the funding of loan to homeowners (debtors/ borrowers).

This supports and corroborates two basic premises of this blog:

1. That the bondholders (i.e., the creditors in every securitized residential mortgage) have been paid or are covered, at least in part by insurance. Thus the allegation of a defense of payment or partial payment is confirmed. This supports the contention of the borrower that he is entitled to a FULL accounting of ALL monies relating to his obligation before any claim for default can be verified.

2. That the requirement of principal reduction is neither a gift nor any display of inequity. It is clear that principal reduction is as much a simple consequence of arithmetic as it is damages for appraisal fraud.

By Andrew Frye and Jody Shenn

March 25 (Bloomberg) — Ambac Financial Group Inc. clients will probably get about 25 cents on the dollar in cash for claims on about $35 billion of home-loan bonds backed by the insurer, the firm’s regulator said.

“Currently, my expectation is we’d be at approximately 25 cents cash” on the portfolio, with Ambac meeting the rest of its obligation by handing over surplus notes, Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg said today in a telephone interview from New York. The arrangement isn’t final until approved by a court, he said. The notes may be repaid, with regulator permission, if surplus funds remain.

Dilweg is taking over a portion of Ambac’s policies to protect municipal bondholders who count on the company’s guarantees. He halted payments on the $35 billion of mortgage bond policies and other contracts, saving Ambac about $120 million this month. That move will encourage the hedge funds, pension plans and other investors that hold the protection to negotiate with New York-based Ambac, Dilweg said.

“The only way to start negotiating is if regulatory action is taken,” Dilweg said. Investors holding securities backed by Ambac “watched our activities but every month they’ve been getting 100 cents on the dollar, so what incentive is there to come and talk to us?”

The $35 billion of mortgage-bond policies are part of the contracts seized by Dilweg’s office under the plan announced today and are separate from a group of collateralized debt obligations backed by Ambac, he said.

Counterparty Settlement

Ambac’s main unit, domiciled in Wisconsin, has offered to pay $2.6 billion in cash and $2 billion of surplus notes to settle with counterparties including banks on CDOs tied to assets such as subprime loans, the parent company said in a statement today. The notes will collect 5 percent annual interest, also payable with regulatory approval, Ambac said.

The insurer’s existing assets will be used to pay claims, Dilweg’s office said in a court filing yesterday requesting permission to take over the policies. The regulator said clients should continue to pay premiums to maintain coverage.

Ambac “maintains the assets to continue paying claims in full as they arise,” the regulator said in the filing. By offering a mix of cash and notes, the company “will not need to liquidate long-term assets prematurely.”

Ambac, created in 1971 to insure debt sold by states and municipalities, lost its top credit ratings and 99 percent of its stock-market value after expanding from its main business into guaranteeing bonds backed by riskier assets and CDOs. The company guarantees $256 billion of the $1.4 trillion in insured municipal issuance, according to Bloomberg data. The muni market totals $2.8 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

Shares Plunge

The company said that while it doesn’t consider the regulator’s move to constitute a default, it may consider a “prepackaged bankruptcy.”

The company fell 14 cents to 66 cents in New York Stock Exchange composite trading as of 4:15 p.m. The shares are down from as high as $96.10 in May 2007.

Ambac sold the industry’s first insurance policy on municipal debt 39 years ago, for a $650,000 bond of the Greater Juneau Borough Medical Arts Building in Alaska. The business thrived, with a handful of competitors obtaining the top AAA credit rating needed to guarantee debt of state and local governments and their agencies that seldom defaulted.

Ambac’s main unit was stripped of its top ratings in 2008 and has since seen its grade cut 17 levels to Caa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

“At this point, it’s not a question of AAA coverage,” Dilweg told Bloomberg Television today. “It’s a question of coverage.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net; Jody Shenn in New York at jshenn@bloomberg.net;

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