H.R. 1694 Passes: Fannie and Freddie Open Records Act of 2017

Homeowners start preparing your Fannie and Freddie FOIA requests.  A brief window to submit your request may occur prior to the GSEs being privatized again.

Last week H.R. 1694  passed in the House of Representatives.

This bill will make Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, which would make their records available to the public on request.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) are government-sponsored enterprises (private corporations with federal charters that confer special privileges) that buy mortgages from lenders and either hold those mortgages in their portfolios or package the loans into mortgage-backed securities that may be sold.

To stabilize the housing market in the aftershock of the financial crisis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) used its authority in 2008 to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into its conservatorship. In conservatorship, the government takes control of a failing financial institution with the goal of returning it to financial health and stockholder control. Well into their eighth year in conservatorship, they have operated under government control for longer than initially expected.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; 5 U.S.C. §552) allows any person—individual or corporate, citizen or not—to request and obtain existing, identifiable, and unpublished agency records on any topic. Pursuant to FOIA, the public has presumptive access to agency records unless the material falls within any of FOIA’s nine categories of exception. Disputes over the release of records requested pursuant to FOIA can be appealed administratively, resolved through mediation, or heard in court.

Source: Republican Policy Committee

GSE Bill would allow Homeowners to submit FOIAs to Fannie and Freddie while under Federal Conservatorship

By K.K. MacKinstry/LendingLies

Anyone who is trying to find out information about the trust ownership of their loan, knows that if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are involved- your research hits a stone wall.  Homeowners who have a mortgage not secured by the GSEs are better able to determine what trust their loan was allegedly assigned to.  The GSEs who operate as quasi-governmental agencies are still private companies but have been able to evade public disclosures by claiming to not be federal entities.

Under current law, the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because, while they are under federal conservatorship, they are not federal agencies.

The days of the GSEs hiding behind an ambiguous status may come to an end.   H.R. 1694 was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz R-UT last week.     Under the proposed  bill, the GSEs would be required to accept and process FOIA requests from the public and release information to satisfy those request for as long as they remain under federal conservatorship.  This would allow homeowners in litigation and foreclosure to have access to trust information and other loan information.  You can be assured that the GSEs and private investors will fight all attempts to bring transparency to these opaque entities.

On March 28, 2017, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO estimated the bill would increase spending for Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Finance Agency by $10 million over the 2018 to 2027 period. Revenues, however, would not be affected.

All the net costs would be covered by Fannie and Freddie because FHFA would assess the fees on the two entities to cover its costs.  Both Fannie and Freddie are profitable operations and the government has fought to relinquish federal conservatorship.  However, it can be predicted that Fannie and Freddie will attempt to revert back to publicly held companies rather than hide the fact that a majority of the loans it guarantees were never properly delivered to the trusts.

The increase in administrative costs wasn’t the only increase the Congressional Budget Office discovered. The office estimates that administrative costs would increase by $40 million in 2018 in order to research and administer FOIA requests.

This bill would only apply to the GSEs while they are under federal conservatorship, and the administration could have solidified plans for GSE reform. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently released its GSE reform suggestions that analyze suggestions for the best option for reform.  Therefore, if this legislation is passed we highly suggest that readers immediately send FOIA requests immediately by certified mail to obtain the name of the trust that allegedly holds your mortgage.

Steve Mnuchin, has already stated that GSE reform is a priority of this administration.  The MBA’s “Task Force for a Future Secondary Mortgage Market,” was created by big lenders and insurers in the industry, to offer a specific vision of the end-state of the GSEs, as well as transition steps to a post-GSE system.  Predictably,  the White Paper benefits the banks at the expense of the homeowner.

The paper breaks down specific areas for reform. It includes:

  • Maintain the liquidity and stability of the primary and secondary mortgage markets through the establishment of a resilient and robust housing finance system, throughout the transition process to the end state.
  • Replace the implied government guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with an explicit guarantee at the mortgage-backed security (MBS) level only, supported by a federal insurance fund with “appropriately” priced premiums (whatever that means).
  • “Protect” taxpayers by putting more private capital at risk through expanded front- and back-end “credit enhancements” (requiring that the government and tax payer pay for the guarantee).

The chart below is a snapshot from the white paper and gives a quick view of keys factors in the MBA’s GSE reform plans, comparing how the GSEs operated before and after conservatorship.

The paper emphasizes the need for affordable-housing as a political requirement for bipartisan GSE reform.  But in reality, the paper emphasizes the ability of the big lenders to step in for the GSEs and monopolize the profits, while having the federal government act as a guarantor only.

History demonstrates that big banks don’t do anything altruistic for homeowners and the plan would require a mandatory housing fee charged against the guarantors.  Therefore, the banks would receive all of the financial benefits while saddling the government and homeowner with the risk and expense.  It sounds like the type of plan the big banks would attempt to push on to an unsuspecting public.

It is likely that e-lending and e-documents would become the new standard so that the big banks can attempt to electronically manipulate a decade of defective loan documents through this system.  This is disguised under the “preserve infrastructure” clause.  The government and big banks have proven they are unable to administer responsible housing policies without resorting to fraud or protecting homeowners.

Homeowners and borrowers should vehemently oppose using big lenders that securitize loans or use e-signature loan products that can easily be manipulated and fabricated.  Do yourself a favor and bypass the big banks.  Credit unions, local banks and lenders that offer portfolio loans are an excellent alternative to having your loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

 

 

Livinglies Recalibrates Forensic and Litigation Support Services

Responding to specific requests from lawyers and homeowners, the livinglies store has changed its offering. Www.livingliesstore.com

You can still get the old Combo of just a title and securitization report, but we have added some levels and services to meet the demand for our services. Of course pricing has been adjusted to reflect the increased workload. Actual litigation support is provided throughout the country to any attorney by Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White (GGKW) with offices now in Broward County and Leon County. We will soon have offices in the Florida Panhandle and Dade County. I’ll be posting separately on each office and the attorneys we have selected to litigate in accordance with our requirements.

GGKW represents homeowners throughout the state of Florida. Do not ask us to provide the full range of litigation support if you are a pro se litigant, even if your case is in Florida. You would be asking us to provide services that might be the unauthorized or unethical practice of law in states where we are not licensed. It would also be a bad idea because you cannot expect an attorney from another state to know the laws of your state, how they are applied in your courts, and the differences between individual judges. Sometimes local rules are dispositive of cases. Florida homeowners can get some additional assistance from GGKW or the livinglies store, but there is no good substitute for an attorney who knows and can argue rules of procedure and laws of evidence as they relate to your case.

The first additional the Combo offering is the Qualified Written Request and Debt Validation Letters. These are rising in importance and an increasing number of lawyers are asking us to prepare these. We can’t send them out but we can prepare them for the signature of the homeowner. We ask more pointed questions about whether the originator actually loaned money to the homeowner — that is, whether there was any transaction between the homeowner and the party stated on the note and mortgage (or deed of trust). This has grown in importance because of the absence of a fundamental allegation by the pretender lenders — that someone in their chain of paper actually entered into an actual transaction (offer, acceptance, consideration and execution) with the alleged borrower. It appears in many cases that the actual funding of the loan was a stranger to the paperwork and that the parties on the paperwork are strangers to the actual transaction.

We also are offering affidavits and declarations from the auditors or experts, including myself, together with a consultation to answer questions on the methods used and the conclusions to be drawn. Where an attorney for the homeowner is available during the consult, the homeowner will hear suggestions on specific strategies and tactics for the battle in court.

We are also just now adding to the package, Freedom of Information requests to the FDIC, OTS, OCC and the Federal Reserve, where applicable. In all likelihood the request you make about the results of their investigations against the banks that led to the Consent Orders and any filings after those orders were entered will be met with some sort of stonewalling. After all, the investigator grilled by Senator Warren admitted to finding thousands of wrongful Foreclosures but refused to tell her or anyone else in Congress which mortgages were effected or the names of homeowners who were illegally thrown out of their homes. It is important to note that these investigations, like the San Francisco study, found serious defects in which the foreclosure should never have happened.

The the response to FOIA requests will undoubtedly require you to push the agency in court to make the disclosures. And interrogatories directed at compliance with the Consent Orders may reveal the actual findings and the names of homeowners who are living outside the homes they still should ow and possess.

We recommend that the other companies providing these services follow our lead. We believe it will lead to better results and a more comprehensible presentation in Court.

Of course I need to remind you that nothing in this article nor the services and products on the store are a substitute for a licensed attorney. You should take no action at all without consulting with a licensed attorney, hopefully one that is familiar with the issues of securitized loans. Most of these cases are being resolved on the basis of the the rules of civil procedure and the laws of evidence. This is above the head of most pro se litigants. Failure to at least consult with an attorney licensed interest state in which your property is located could well result in losing a case you could have otherwise won.

Freedom of Information Act Requests Show OneWest Bank Misrepresentation

Submitted by BMcDonald

Most of us are trying to get the info from the banks, which they will not do unless forced. Well, now many of us can walk right in through the back door. FOIA requests! I fought for 7 months to get the bank to cough up the info and it only took 6 days by going through the FDIC. So now I’m in the drivers seat. This damned bank has been lying from day one claiming they are the sole beneficiary of my loan. Now they have committed the fraud and done the crime by illegally selling my home. They are now in deep, deep, trouble.

I’ve been fighting OneWest Bank since August of last year here in Colorado. In Colorado they have nonjudicial foreclosures and the laws as so totally banker-biased it’s insane. All the bank has to do is go to the public trustee with a note from an attorney who “certifies” that the bank is the owner of the loan. What they don’t tell you is the bank has to go before a judge and get an order for sale in a 120 hearing. Most only find out about it at the last minute and don’t even show up because the only issue discussed is whether a default has occurred or not.

I discovered however that if you raise the question of whether the foreclosing party is a true party in interest or not, the court has to hear that as well. I raised that issue and demanded the bank produce the original documents and endorsements or assignements. The judge only ordered them to produce originals, which they did.

Long story short, I managed to hold them off for seven months after hiring an attorney. I found a bankruptcy case from CA in 2008 in which IndyMac produced original documents and ended up having to admit they didn’t own them. I had a letter from OneWest that only stated they purchased servicing rights. I had admissions from the bank’s attorney that there were no endorsements. And at the last minute I discovered the FDIC issued a press release in response to a YouTube video that went viral over the sweetheart deal OneWest did with the FDIC. The FDIC stated in their press release that OneWest only owned 7% of the loans they service. I presented all this to the judge but he ended up ignoring it all and gave OneWest an order to sell my home, which they did on the 4th.

About a week before the sale I went directly to the FDIC and filed a FOIA request for any and all records indicating ownership rights and servicing rights related to my loans and gave them my loan numbers. I managed to get the info in about 6 days. I got PROOF from the FDIC that OneWest did not own my loan. Fredie Mac did. And the info came directly from OneWest systems. And just last Friday I got a letter from IndyMac Mortgage services, obviously in compliance with the FOIA request that Freddie Mac owned the loan. So I now have a confession from OneWest themselves that they have been lying all along! I have a motion in to have the sale set aside and once that’s done I’m going to sue the hell out of them and their attorneys in Federal court.

So I found a wonderful little back door to the proof most of us need. If the FDIC is involved, you can do a FOIA request for the info. I don’t know if it applies to all banks since they are all involved in the FDIC. You all should try it to see.

Most of us are trying to get the info from the banks, which they will not do unless forced. Well, now many of us can walk right in through the back door. FOIA requests! I fought for 7 months to get the bank to cough up the info and it only took 6 days by going through the FDIC. So now I’m in the drivers seat. This damned bank has been lying from day one claiming they are the sole beneficiary of my loan. Now they have committed the fraud and done the crime by illegally selling my home. They are now in deep, deep, trouble.

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