Bubble Delay Strategy: Artificially raise FICO scores

Fair Isaac is involved in a suspicious attempt to artificially boost the pool of eligible, credit-worthy mortgage and auto recipients. The company which is behind the crucial FICO score that determines every consumer’s credit rating, “will stop including in its FICO credit-score calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency. The San Jose, Calif., company also will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that are with a collection agency.” In doing so, the company would “make it easier for tens of millions of Americans to get loans.”

Then, back in March of this year, in the latest push to artificially boost FICO scores, the WSJ reported that “many tax liens and civil judgments soon will be removed from people’s credit reports, the latest in a series of moves to omit negative information from these financial scorecards. The development could help boost credit scores for millions of consumers, but could pose risks for lenders” as FICO scores remain the only widely accepted method of quantifying any individual American’s credit risk, and determine how much consumers can borrow for a new house or car as well as determine their credit-card spending limit

Stated simply, the definition of the all important FICO score, the most important number at the base of every mortgage application, was set for a series of “adjustments” which would push it higher for millions of Americans.

 

The outcome of these changes was clear for the 12 million people impacted: it “will make many people who have these types of credit-report blemishes look more creditworthy.

Now, as the Wall Street Journal points out today, efforts to rig the FICO scoring process seems to be bearing some fruit.  The average credit score nationwide hit 700 in April, according to new data from Fair Isaac Corp., which is the highest since at least 2005.

Meanwhile, the share of consumers deemed to be riskiest, with a score below 600, hit a new low of roughly 40 million, or 20% of U.S. adults who have FICO scores, according to Fair Isaac. That is down from 20.5% in October and a peak of 25.5% in 2010.

FICO

 

Of course, to be fair, we are also reaching that critical 7-year point where the previous wave of mortgage foreclosures start to magically disappear from the FICO scores of millions of Americans.

Mortgage foreclosures stay on credit reports for up to seven years dating back to the missed payment that resulted in the foreclosure. Foreclosure starts, the first stage in the process, peaked in 2009 at 2.1 million, according to Attom Data Solutions. They totaled nearly 1.8 million in 2010 and remained above one million during each of the next two years.

Personal bankruptcies are more complicated and can stay on credit reports for seven to 10 years.

Consumers who filed in 2007 for Chapter 7 protection—the most common type of bankruptcy, in which certain debts are discharged and creditors can get paid back from sales of consumers’ assets—are now starting to see those events fall off their reports. Some 500,000 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases were filed in 2007, a figure that swelled to nearly 1.1 million in 2010, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies, in which consumers enter a payment plan with creditors, usually stay on reports for at least seven years. Those filings reached a recent peak of nearly 435,000 in 2010 and are set to start falling off reports this year.

FICO

 

All of which, as the WSJ points out, will help to “boost originations of large-dollar loans for cars and homes.”  Which is precisely what the average, massively-overlevered American household needs…more debt.

Fresh starts for credit reports are likely to help boost originations of large-dollar loans for cars and homes. Consumers have a greater chance of getting approved for financing if they apply for loans after negative events fall off their reports, in particular from large banks that have stuck to strict underwriting criteria, says Morgan Whitacre, who oversees consumer-loan underwriting at Bank of America Corp.

Credit-card lending, already on the rise, could increase further as a result of fresh starts. Consumers who have one type of bankruptcy filing removed from their credit report experience a roughly $1,500 increase in spending limits and rack up $800 more in credit-card debt within three years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

So maybe that auto lending bubble has a little room left to run afterall…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-29/millions-americans-just-got-artificial-boost-their-credit-score

Allocation of Third Party Payments and Loans to Specific Loan Accounts

TURNING A DEFENSE INTO AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE FOR SET OFF AND A CLAIM OR COUNTERCLAIM FOR DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY FEES

So the question is how would you allocate third party payments and what difference will that make to a Judge hearing the case.

ASSUMPTION: XYZ Investment Banking Holding company has received a total of $50 billion in third party payments from insurance, counterparties, credit enhancements (moving money from one tranche to another within the SPV “Trust”), and federal assistance or bailout. Each one of these is subject to separate analysis, but for simplicity we will treat them all the same.

  • The money received was for “toxic assets” meaning bad mortgages or pools that were written down in value because of the presence of bad loans in the pools. Whether those loans really made it into the pool when the “assignment” was years after the cutoff date in the PSA and was for a non-performing loan which is specifically excluded in the PSA is yet another issue that requires separate analysis.
  • Out of the many SPV entities created and sold to investors, 50 were in the status of default or write-down, triggering the insurance, bailouts etc.
  • Arithmetically, assuming $1 billion goes to each pool under the assumption they were all the same size (not true in reality, so you would be required to make a calculation to arrive at the prorata share of each pool which involve several factors and is subject to a whole separate analysis that will be ignored for purposes of this example).
  • Out of each pool, 50% of the loans were in some stage of negative credit event. Thus we have $1 billion to allocate to 50% of the loans.
  • For purposes of this example, the assumption is that each loan was the same size and that there are 4000 loans each with a nominal principal balance of $350,000 claimed.
  • For purposes of this loan each borrower stopped making payments under identical terms 6 months before the receipt of the third party payments.
  • If we ignore the payments then each loan would be entitled to a credit of $250,000 and the investors in each pool would receive a pro rated share of the $1 billion, which amounts to $250,000 per loan.
  • If we don’t ignore the payments and assume that the payments under the note would have been $2,000 per month principal and interest only, then $12,000 wood first be allocated to the past due payments and the default, in relation to the creditors (investors) would be cured. This would be in accordance with the note provisions that first allocate receipts to the payments due.
  • Then fees and costs would be paid off, which we will assume are $13,000, as per the terms of the note.
  • Thus the $250,000 allocation would be reduced by $25,000 before application to principal. That leaves $225,000 allocated to principal.
  • Reducing the principal by $225,000 leaves a balance due on the obligation of $125,000 ($350,000-$225,000).
  • Reducing the balance for the appraisal fraud at origination: (1) appraisal for this example was $370,000 (2) real fair market value was $250,000 (3) borrower made down payment of $20,000 (4) total damages for appraisal fraud = $120,000.
  • After reduction for appraisal fraud the balance on the obligation in our example here is $5,000.
  • Under TILA the failure to disclose the hidden fees and hidden parties and resulting effect on the APR, would mean that the borrower is entitled to either rescission or return of all payments made including the costs of closing and points on the loan, plus attorney fees and possibly treble damages which would mean that someone owes the borrower money, the obligation has been extinguished, the note is evidence of an obligation that has been paid in full, and the mortgage secured is incident to a note securing a non-existent obligation. Either way, under rescission or allocation, the borrower owes nothing.
  • The net result for the creditor is that they get or should get $250,000 cash plus a claim for damages against numerous parties for ratings fraud, appraisal fraud and securities fraud.
  • The net result for the intermediaries who stole all the money including the third party payments is that they get the shaft including possible criminal liability.

A very similar allocation procedure would be appropriate for the top quality performing loans under the theory of identity theft. Without using these high FICO credit-worthy people’s identity and loan score they would not have had the golden cover to the heap of dog poop stinking underneath.

Citi to Try New Version of Cash for Keys

Editor’s Note: The decision about flight or fight is deeply personal and there is no right answer. The decision you make ought not be criticized by anyone. For those with the fight knocked out of them the prospect of taking on the giant banks in court is both daunting and dispiriting. So if that is where you are, and this Citi program comes your way, it might be acceptable to you. AT THE MOMENT, CITI IS SAYING YOU NEED TO BE 90 DAYS BEHIND IN YOUR PAYMENTS AND NOT HAVE A SECOND MORTGAGE. (A quick call to the holder of a second mortgage or the party claiming to be that holder could result in a double settlement since they are going to get wiped out anyway in a foreclosure. You can offer them pennies on the dollar or simply the chance to avoid litigation.)
Citi, faced with the prospects of increasing legal fees even if they were to “win” the foreclosure battle in court, along with the rising prospects of losing, is piloting a program where they will give you $1,000 and six months in your current residence — and then they take over your house by way of a deed in lieu of foreclosure, which you sign as part of a settlement. Make sure all terms of the settlement are actually in writing and signed by someone who is authorized to sign for Citi.
The deed is simply a grant of your ownership interest to Citi and frankly does little to “cure” the title defect caused by securitization. HOPEFULLY THAT WILL NEVER BE A PROBLEM TO YOU, EVEN THOUGH IT PROBABLY WILL BE CAUSE FOR LITIGATION OR OTHER CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN PARTIES OTHER THAN YOU WHEN ALL OF THIS UNRAVELS.
The possibility remains that you will have deeded your house to Citi when in fact the mortgage loan was owed to another party or group (investors/creditors).
The possibility remains that you could still be pursued for the full amount of the loan by the REAL holder of the loan.
Yet in this topsy turvy world where up is down and left is right, the Citi program might just take you out of the madness and give you the new start. They apparently intend to offer to waive any claim they have for deficiency which in states where deficiency judgments are allowed at least gives you the arguable point that you gave the house to some party with “apparent” authority. And the hit on your FICO score is less than foreclosure or bankruptcy, under the proposed Citi plan.
In the six months, which can probably be extended through negotiation or other legal means, you can accumulate some cash from what otherwise would have been a rental or mortgage payment. Taken as a whole, even though I would say that you are probably dealing with a party who neither owns the loan nor has any REAL authority to offer you this plan, it probably fits the needs of many homeowners who are just one step away from walking away from their home anyway.
As always, at least consult a licensed real estate attorney or an attorney otherwise knowledgeable about securitized loans before you make your final decision or sign any documents. BEWARE OF HUCKSTERS WHO MIGHT SEIZE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AS A MEANS TO GET YOU TO PART WITH YOUR MONEY. THERE IS NO NEED FOR A MIDDLEMAN IN THIS TYPE OF TRANSACTION.
February 24, 2010

Another Foreclosure Alternative

By BOB TEDESCHI

HOMEOWNERS on the verge of foreclosure will often seek a short sale as a graceful exit from an otherwise calamitous financial situation. Their homes are sold for less than the mortgage amount, and the remaining loan balance is usually forgiven by the lender.

But with short sales beyond the reach of some homeowners — they typically won’t qualify if they have a second mortgage on the home — another foreclosure alternative is emerging: “deeds in lieu of foreclosure.”

In this transaction, a homeowner simply relinquishes the property, turning over the deed to the bank, in exchange for the lender’s promise not to foreclose. In a straight foreclosure, a lender takes legal control of the property and evicts the occupants; in deeds-in-lieu transactions, the homeowner is typically allowed to remain in the home for a short period of time after the agreement.

More borrowers will at least have the chance to consider this strategy in the coming months, as CitiMortgage, one of the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders, tests a new program in New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

Citi recently agreed to give qualified borrowers six months in their homes before it takes them over. It will offer these homeowners $1,000 or more in relocation assistance, provided the property is in good condition. Previously, the bank had no formal process for serving borrowers who failed to qualify for Citi’s other foreclosure-avoidance programs like loan modification.

Citi’s new policy is similar to one announced last fall by Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage company. Fannie is allowing homeowners to return the deed to their properties, then rent them back at market rates.

To qualify for the new program, Citi’s borrowers must be at least 90 days late on their mortgages and must not have a second lien on the home.

That policy may be a significant obstacle for borrowers, since many of the people facing foreclosure originally financed their homes with second mortgages — called “piggyback loans” — or borrowed against the homes’ equity after buying them.

Partly for that reason, Elizabeth Fogarty, a spokeswoman for Citi, said that the bank had only modest expectations for the test. Roughly 20,000 Citi mortgage customers in the pilot states will be eligible for a deed-in-lieu agreement, she said, and of those, about 1,000 will most likely complete the process.

As is often the case with deed-in-lieu settlements, Citi will release the borrower from all legal obligations to repay the loan.

In some states, like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, banks can legally retain the right to pursue borrowers for the balance of the loan after a foreclosure, a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. That is one reason why housing advocates say borrowers should carefully weigh these transactions with the help of a lawyer or nonprofit housing counselor before proceeding.

Ms. Fogarty said Citi had no specific timetable for rolling out the program nationally.

Among the other major lenders, there is no formalized program for deeds-in-lieu. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, for instance, generally require borrowers to try a short sale before considering a deed-in-lieu transaction.

A deed-in-lieu is better for banks than a foreclosure because it reduces the company’s legal costs, and it is better for the homeowners because it is less damaging to their credit score.

Banks may also end up with homes in better condition.

J. K. Huey, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo, says her bank usually offers relocation assistance — often $1,000 to $2,500 — as long as the borrower leaves the property in move-in condition after a deed-in-lieu transaction.

“The idea is to help them transition in a way where they can keep their family intact while looking for another place to live,” Ms. Huey said. “This way, they only have to move once, as opposed to getting evicted.”

Home Sales Stall: Millions of Homes in Real Inventory

Editor’s Comment: Any lawyer who does not think that issues relating to foreclosure will not dominate his or her practice of law is in a state of denial and delusion. The 16% drop in new home-sale contracts (see article below) means a similar or worse drop in sales over the next 30-60 days.

As we have said repeatedly along with the major newspapers, there is no relief in sight without principal reduction on mortgages. It’s not a matter of ideology or even law. It is a matter of pure practicality. The choice is between a total loss and a partial loss.

More and more articles and reports are emerging that clearly show that millions of homes are going to be abandoned and suddenly added to the foreclosure lists simply because the owners choose to take the FICO credit score hit and rent a comparable house for a fraction of the payments demanded under their crazy inflated mortgages.  Really, why continue to pay on a $500,000 note for a property that is worth $300,000? Why? hope you will break even in 5-10 years? Just not a good business decision.

In the anti-deficiency states like Arizona the “lenders” (who incidentally don’t qualify as creditors) can only take the house. In the states that permit pursuit of the deficiency judgment, it is a waste of time and money because nearly everyone is basically cleaned out — no cash, no savings and no available credit. So there is no point in continuing this farce any further. The homes are not worth what is owed and never will be worth that amount even after the market “recovers”.

Now add to the equation that the parties being ordered into mediation, modification or attempting short sales or settlements are mismatched: one of these things is not like the other. On the one side you have people who really own a home and on the other you have people who don’t even know who the creditor is much less possess the authority to approve a short sale or settlement or issue a satisfaction of mortgage.

There is no way out except through principal reduction or letting the entire housing market collapse into chaos. The real crisis is coming over the next few months. The “Great Recession” was just the appetizer and although there is time to avoid the full impact of what was done on Wall Street, it seems unlikely that anyone in office is willing to “call it” like the doctor announcing the time of death.
January 6, 2010

Slowing Pace of Home Sales Raises Fears of New Retreat

The number of houses placed under contract fell sharply in November in the first drop in nearly a year, figures released Tuesday show. It was the clearest sign yet that predictions of another downturn in real estate may become a reality.

The National Association of Realtors said that its index of pending home sales plunged to 96 from a revised level of 114.3 in October. Analysts had predicted a drop, but nothing like that.

“We thought it would drop 2 percent,” said Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital Markets. “When you see 16 percent, the first thing you say is, what the heck happened here?”

Since the majority of pending sales become final in six weeks to two months, the index is considered a reliable indicator of where the market is headed. The index is calculated by comparing the number of pending sales with the level of 2001, when the index was formulated.

The data indicates that the weakest parts of the country are the Northeast and Midwest, both of which fell 26 percent in November from the previous month after adjusting for seasonal variations. The South dropped 15 percent, while the West was off 3 percent.

Ms. Lee called the drop from October to November “unnerving” but said that the index remained well above the level of a year ago. In November 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and buying a home required a faith in the future that many did not feel, the index was 83.1.

As the overall economy improves and the employment situation grows a little less dire, the question becomes whether real estate can muddle through — or if it will need a new round of government support to ward off another damaging downturn.

There are plenty of reasons for worry. The Obama administration’s effort to compel lenders and servicers to modify loans has not been a success. Many of these owners will eventually lose their homes to foreclosure.

Meanwhile, a quarter of homeowners with mortgages owe more than their houses are worth. If prices start dropping again, some will be induced to walk away, further undermining the market.

“I wouldn’t rule out more stimulus, especially in an election year,” said Ivy Zelman, an analyst.

Last year’s stimulus efforts, however expensive and divisive, calmed a market where prices had plummeted by a third. Even now, the government’s efforts to push down interest rates and entice buyers with a tax credit appear to be having an effect, keeping a weak market from getting weaker.

Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz, artists in Dingmans Ferry, Pa., are a stimulus success story. They are paying $360,000 for a new home 10 miles away without even having an offer for their current home.

“The new home has enough space for us both to have studios,” Ms. Munoz said. “The price is amazing, we are getting a mortgage at a 5.125 rate, and we qualify for a $6,500 credit.”

It is a leap of faith, she acknowledged, but an eminently sensible one. “When houses were expensive, everyone wanted to buy, and now that they’re cheap everyone is scared,” she said.

Buyers like Ms. Munoz and Mr. Martin are outnumbered, however, by people who think the market still has room to fall. While some of these may indeed be scared, others simply see a virtue in patience.

“With two growing boys, we are busting out of our small house,” said Stephen Sencer, deputy general counsel at Emory University in Atlanta. “But I’m still waiting for sellers to capitulate.” His agent is telling Mr. Sencer that may happen in the spring.

Starting from a low of 80.4 last January, pending sales rose for nine consecutive months in 2009. The index proved a harbinger of both completed sales, which began climbing in April, and prices, which started rising over the summer.

As the Nov. 30 expiration of the tax credit drew near, would-be buyers hastened to secure deals. Sales in November roared at a 6.54 million annual pace, the highest since February 2007.

At the last minute, Congress extended and broadened the credit. The urgency immediately dissipated. “We were really, really pushing hard, and I think everyone just wore out,” said Steve Havig, president of Lakes Area Realty of Minneapolis.

Buyers now have until April 30 to qualify for the credit. Many analysts say the effect this time around will be mild.

“It could turn out the second credit has such a small impact it doesn’t show up in the data,” said Patrick Newport of IHS Global Insight.

Nevertheless, he predicts the downturn this time will be gentler. “The economy is improving, and that is what the market needs to get back on a sustainable path,” Mr. Newport said.

Long before the tax credit ends, another stimulus effort is due to disappear. The Federal Reserve has bought more than a trillion dollars of mortgage-backed securities in a successful effort to push down mortgage rates. The Fed is scheduled to wind down the program by March 31.

Rates are already moving higher, exceeding 5 percent in some lender surveys. Perhaps as a result, mortgage applications to buy homes in late December were a third lower than during the corresponding period in 2008, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The Fed’s Open Market Committee left itself leeway in its December meeting to start buying again, saying it “will continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities.”

Rising rates could hamper Mr. Martin and Ms. Munoz’s search for a buyer for their old house.

“It’s been on the market for almost three months,” she said. “We have had very few viewings.”

Mortgage Meltdown: People First, It’s Not the Numbers


A Few Tears and the Polls Were All Wrong

Maybe she was being tactical and maybe it was real. Maybe it was both. It doesn’t really matter. The results in New Hampshire underscore a serious flaw in the delivery of information to the American public and an even more serious flaw in the way we make decisions. Clinton’s narrow win over Obama proved one thing beyond all doubt: that people matter more than pundits. And the clear error of all the polls proves another thing without any doubt: that pollsters are measuring the wrong things. And the news organizations that spent so much airtime and print space reporting the polls proved one more thing: that they are giving out information which is false and misleading. 

Tactics and strategy are not nearly as important as character and judgment. Electability is not nearly so much a question of polls and analysis as it is the belief in the character and judgment of a candidate. Experience matters when people get information on that experience, not when buzz words are passed from pundit to pundit. What did the candidate do and how well did he or she do when they did it? 

This is completely congruent with the postings here on the mortgage meltdown and credit crisis. The asset bubble has burst (again), the losses are mounting, the sea of money has swamped our society and our economy creating vast changes in the demographics and standard of living for ordinary Americans. 

We are now left with our largest financial institutions on the ropes and the smallest ones — Community Banks and Credit Unions looking pretty good. The small financial institutions got locked out of the great credit scam, and thus lost nothing to stupid loans, sales of CDOs, and liability for potentially criminal behavior — all that was saved for the big institutions that grabbed market share with smoke and mirrors. 

Your deposits are probably safer in the small institution than they are in the large ones which will probably collapse.  In other countries where similar things have happened ALL the banks failed. Here because of the death grip that big business has on government and the “free” marketplace, they kept the goodies for themselves, and now face responsibility for the worst financial disaster in American History. Fortunately, they left out most of the small players. But the decline in asset values, devaluation of currency and hyperinflation building to a crescendo will have its effect on all financial institutions and all Americans.

How is a political contest related to the mortgage meltdown? For one thing, it would be nice if someone started introducing proposals that would help the people who are already getting the second or third reset on their mortgage payments, where their payments have skyrocketed from $1500 to $4,000 per month. More importantly, as we look beyond the “correction” (read that “crash”) of 2008, it should remind us that if we use data we should do so skeptically and cynically and as a second tier of making decisions. The first tier should be the character of the people we are dealing with. 

We measure FICO scores that reward people for going into debt and punish them for savings, we use the SAT and ACT that predict nothing of a student’s future performance, polls for figuring out who to follow in the political races, and government statistics which first report politically expedient data, second change the components in order to come out with the politically expedient result and third are adjusted later (after the desired effect has been obtained) to make our investment decisions. Do you see something wrong here?

Let’s rerun this using a different approach. Numbered or indexed scores are used so extensively now that both authority and accountability are removed from a person’s life who is a “decision-maker.” Let’s put authority and accountability back into the equation.

When we pick a depository institution to hold our money, do we interview them to find out where they loan money and to whom? Do we decide on whether that fits with our world view? When they make loans, is the loan officer prohibited from making a loan to someone of great character who has a wonderful history of payments — because of a low FICO score (let’s say caused by the fact that he paid off all his debts, cancelled his credit cards, and had several hits by companies looking for his credit score)? Is the loan officer coerced into making a loan to someone with a high FICO score because they have just the right history and numbers that move the score up, but just the wrong circumstances and character to pay off THIS loan?

Do you really want your life and the society we live in to be governed by indexes, data and numbers that are fixed to mislead us into making decisions that are catastrophic for us but great for the people in suits who look you square in the eye and tell you how great this deal is? If so, welcome to the biggest Ponzi scheme in history — the great Mortgage Meltdown. 

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