U.S. Sues UBS for Fraudulent Sales of RMBS But Still Manages to Get It Wrong

The bottom line is that the loans themselves were fatally defective in terms of the loan documents. The money was delivered but not by the named “lender” nor anyone in privity with the named lender. At all times nearly all of the loans were in actuality involuntary direct loans from investors who had no knowledge their money was being used to originate loans without any semblance of due diligence.

All the other parties were conduits and brokers for conduits. None of them were brokers for a plan of investment to which investors agreed. and all of them were based upon fraudulent inflated appraisals.

In equity, as I have repeatedly said, the debt, regardless of to whom it is owed, should be reduced by the excess appraisal amount, a fact that ought to be presumed when anyone attempts to bring an action in collection or foreclosure.

This is because the source of the loan, regardless of who it might be in actuality, assumed the risk of loss associated with affordability and most importantly the risk from a false inflated appraisal. Licensed appraisers warned congress as early as 2005 when 8,000 of them petitioned Congress to do something about them being forced to either bring in false appraisals or not get any work at all.

Contrary to popular myth there is no such responsibility for borrowers to figure out if they really can afford the loan or if the appraisal is accurate. That is the state of the law under the Truth in Lending Act. The “conventional wisdom” that home buyers and borrowers don’t need a lawyer or a financial adviser on the largest investment of their lives leaves a vacuum where consumers are entirely at the mercy of predatory and fraudulent operators like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, Chase, US Bank, Deutsch, and others.

“Don’t bother getting a lawyer. Save your money. They can’t change anything anyway.” That is the catch phrase used to make certain that the fraud being perpetrated on consumers will not be revealed until it is too late and the courts presume that the fraud never occurred (or that if it did occur, it’s somehow too late to complain about it).

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

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

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

Hat tip to Dan Edstrom

see United States vs UBS

see https://dtc-systems.com/us-sues-ubs-to-recover-penalties-for-fraud-in-the-sale-of-rmbs-securities/

So once again the Federal government sues a major bank for fraud and corruption causing “catastrophic” damages to investors and fails to mention any losses to homeowners. Piling the entire loss on the backs of homeowners is the third rail. Nobody touches that because of the erroneous perception that the rule of law is contrary to public policy. That may come as something as surprise to those of you who thought we were a nation of laws and not public policy decided behind closed doors.
*
The successful myth perpetrated by the banks is that since borrowers stopped paying the wrong people on their loan, that they should nevertheless  be held liable and lose their home to the wrong people because otherwise (a) borrowers would get a free house and (b) applying the rule of law would undermine the financial system. Both the premise and result are contrary to good sense and our existing laws. The courts generally twist themselves into pretzels to avoid the law and arrive at the public policy result rather than the legal one.
*
Everyone is willing to accept that the entire securitization process was a gigantic process to perpetrate fraud and, as some lawyers who resigned rather than draft securitization documents, part of a “criminal enterprise.” But somehow the victims are only investors who are still called “beneficiaries” even though it is well established that the trusts named in foreclosure lawsuits never participated in a single business transaction and were neither organized nor existing under the law of any jurisdiction, much less the owner of loans..
*
Once again the suit fails to state that the loans were at best problematic in the sense that transactions utilizing undisclosed third party money compromised the efficacy of the loan closing documents.
*

And once again it doesn’t say that the securitization plan itself was fraudulent in that the entities represented as owning the loans did not exist and/or did not own the loans. It also doesn’t say that the use of fraudulent inflated appraisals (a) hurt homeowner and and that therefore (b) UBS lured investors into an investment plan fraught with liabilities.

Nor does the new lawsuit say that investors were promised that their interests would be remote enough to avoid liability for lending violations and bankruptcies of the originators but in fact the money from investors was directly used in the loans and did not go through the alleged “Trusts” that were supposedly purchasing loan portfolios from aggregators who in fact had no interest in the loans and were merely conduits for a paper chain bearing no relationship to the money trail.
*
But it does hint at what the banks were doing. The review of the loans by UBS was simply a sampling and that sampling, was in fact a method of picking low hanging fruit to serve as benchmarks. From that false process of sampling, UBS hoped to avoid liability for mischaracterizing the real defects in the securitization process. In other words they were using their cherry-picked samples to describe the entire “loan portfolio” which in fact was neither owned nor conveyed to the special purpose vehicle (REMIC Trust) that was created (on paper only).
*
You may remember that in my seminar in Malibu in 2008, I described this process as covering a pile of dogshit with gold plating. In the end it is still almost entirely dogshit.
*
Thus we have revealed the unwillingness of Federal law enforcement to get to the real issue, which would in fact protect both investors and homeowners — the fraudulent nature of the loans themselves, the fraudulent nature of the so-called loan portfolios, and the fraudulent enforcement of documents that fraudulently named the wrong party as the lender and are fraudulently brought to courts on a mass basis for fraudulent enforcement that keeps adding to the pain  and anger of Americans who continue to suffer from the discard of the rule of law in favor of “public policy.”

Sheila Bair Had a Plan to Make Banks Pay for Dishonest Dealing Causing the 2008 Crash

Sheila Bair (ex FDIC Chairwoman) has always understood. She was fired for understanding. It’s hard to understand that the TBTF banks were NOT speculating and never lost any money. Harder still to understand how they stole trillions of dollars from the US economy. And finally harder still to understand how “lenders” could cause a crash.

It’s really quite simple. Usually prices and values are within the same range. Fair market value has always been closely related to the ability of people to pay for housing — i.e., household income. Prices rise when demand becomes high OR, and this is the big one, when the big banks flood the market with money.

Like the 2008 crisis if you look at the Case Schiller Index, you will see that prices went through the roof by unprecedented increases while fair market value was flatlined. The crash was thoroughly predictable and was predicted on these pages and by many other economists and financial analysts.

For more than two decades, maybe three, the housing market has been floating on a sea of unsustainable debt because the investment banks became the “source” of funds in a marketplace where their principal objective was movement of money instead of management of risk. That is because investment banks do that while commercial banks and other lenders don’t — unless they are paid to act as though they are the lender in a transaction where they have no risk. Then they will advertise to people with low FICO scores and anyone else whose loan is likely to fail. They bet on the failure of the loan and the collapse of certificates issued as derivatives.

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consent to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key elements of a scam. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

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

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

Hat tip Greg da Goose

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-does-wells-fargo-still-exist_us_5b80148ee4b0729515126185

From Huffington Post:

“Wells Fargo may not even be the worst big bank out there. Citigroup, another merger monstrosity, is so poorly pieced together that today, Wall Street investors don’t even believe the bank is worth its liquidation price. JPMorgan Chase has notched 52 fines and settlements since the crash. Goldman Sachs has 16, three of them this year.

In a revealing interview with New York Magazine earlier this month, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair said she wished regulators had broken up a bank after the crisis, probably Citigroup. [Editor’s note: Obama initially gave that order but Tim Geithner refused]. Forcing at least one institution to pay the ultimate corporate price would have put pressure on other major firms to clean up their acts.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations rejected Bair’s plan. And so today, the American banking system ― rescued by taxpayers a decade ago to protect the economy ― has transformed into a very large, very profitable criminal syndicate.”

So I ask the question again: “Why are foreclosure defense lawyers not more aggressive about challenging legal presumptions upon which the banks and judges rely?”
Legal presumptions are ONLY supposed to be used in cases where (1) the source of the document or testimony is credible and has no interest in the outcome of the litigation and (2) it serves “judicial economy.”
The banks have been publicly humiliated for acting like thieves, liars, fabricators, and the source of sophisticated mechanical forgeries. Neither they nor their puppet “servicers” are entitled to a presumption of anything. If they want to proffer a fact, make them prove it. These people are so not credible that we regularly talk about robosigners, robowitnesses and other people who are hired to say or write something about which they have no knowledge or understanding. Where is the credibility in that?
And equally where is the judicial economy? In all cases where the presumptions are used and the homeowner contests the foreclosure it would take FAR LESS time for the so-called lender to prove its case with actual facts (not presumed facts) than to spend years changing servicers, changing recorded documents, changing Power of Attorney, etc.
Where is the prejudice?  If the Defense raises issues as to the standing and facts alleged in the complaint or initiation of foreclosure proceedings, then the obvious answer is to have the “lender” prove their case with real facts in the real world that do not rely upon jsut testimony from robowitnesses or documents that have been robosigned.

Why Zombie Houses? Local government budget deficits

The appearance of zombie homes and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of them thus destroying entire neighborhoods and subdivisions illustrates a fundamental truth about the foreclosure tidal wave that hit in 2007-2008: the banks didn’t care about the property, they just wanted the record to reflect a foreclosure sale. This alone represents probative evidence that the banks, pretending to act as intermediaries, were actually players in an illegal scheme wherein they were working against both investors and borrowers.

Local governments have been missing the mark in nearly every case. Instead of challenging the lenders as having committed multiple violations of state, county and municipal law including initiating false foreclosures forcing the burden of loss onto the restricted budget of local governments, they are following in the footsteps of pretender lenders and foreclosing on their tax liens, from which they gain nothing in most cases. Were they confront the banks with reality, their budget problems could be cured.

 

Zombie homes occur when “banks” foreclose and then walk away from the property as unsalable or too expense to maintain and insure. The entry of a Foreclosure Judgment or a certificate of sale is actually the first “legal” document in a long chain of nonexistent events. The foreclosure raises the presumption that all that previously transpired was real even when the courts and the borrowers and their attorneys were presuming facts that were simply untrue. In cases where securitization claimed it is fair to say that none of them were real and the foreclosure was initiated based upon fraudulent representations.

For a true lender or creditor the worst possible thing for them is to end up with nothing. That is exactly what happens in the current marketplace. Investors are left in a position of having an empty unenforceable promise to pay from the nonexistent trust that would be empty even if it did exist. Investors think their investment is secured but it isn’t. They have received a promise to pay from the nonexistent trust that is secured by nothing.

And the ability of the trust to pay them never existed because none of the money went through the trust. The entire plan of giving the investors a secured investment was a ruse. And that is why I have said that investors would do far better firing and terminating all relationships and illusions and forming their own servicing entities who would act in the best interests of the investors with respect to the “underlying loans” that the intermediary banks are claiming as their own.

Since the trusts were never used it is fair to say that the trust instruments are irrelevant and that volunteer payments by third parties were neither from a servicer nor were they advances. Without foreclosures the execution of workout agreements would preserve home ownership preserve neighborhoods, maintain the tax base, and most importantly preserve the value of the loan as an asset.

Before the late 1990’s the custom and practice of the industry was to do a workout, if at all possible rather than foreclose. This was true in commercial and residential lending. In commercial loans the business borrower could force the workout in Chapter 11 but homeowners rarely can get any traction in bankruptcy court.

Now, even faced with a cash payoff conditioned on revealing the creditor(s) the servicers relentlessly pursue foreclosure because that is what they are instructed to do by the TBTF banks. No servicer would “lose” the paperwork on a modification 10 times if they were really interested in working things out. Many attorneys representing the servicer and the alleged trust have actually argued that they have no obligation to take the money and that they would rather have the foreclosure.

The fundamental issue is that having committed dozens of illegal acts with respect to each alleged loan neither the servicer nor the broker dealers have the slightest interest in preserving the property or the loan. To the contrary, it is only when the house is foreclosed that the Master Servicer gets to “recover” something called “servicer advances” that neither come from the servicer nor are they an advance since they are paid from the investor’s capital.

The bigger issue is that a foreclosure sale frequently closes the door on attacks from the dozens of traders , investors, hedge funds and insurance companies who remain ambivalent about coming out and saying point blank that they were defrauded, and that there was no underlying loan for the loan documents that were executed.

The actual debt was left hanging without the knowledge of investors or borrowers. The banks created that situation and then grabbed the debts as if they were owned by the banks who held RMBS in street name as nominee for the investors. To all the world it looked like the banks owned the first layer of derivatives, whose value was intended to be derived from “underlying loans.” In truth, the debt relationship arose between the borrower and the capital sunk into a slush fund of investor capital. The source of funds were the investors. The note could only have been legally executed in favor of the investors or an authorized existing entity. That entity could have been the named trust, but it wasn’t.

Look for any indication of any kind that any transaction was ever completed using the name of the trust as a principal. You won’t find it. So in addition to Zombie houses, we have zombie investors, and zombie borrowers.

Homeowners Sue SPS in Class Action Over Failure to Mitigate

Thousands of cases like this one have pointed out that SPS and other servicers like Ocwen do not consult with any investor, do not evaluate the case for settlement, modification or mitigation. The answer to questions arising from the unwillingness of those companies to comply with law stems from the fact that the  vast majority of their income comes from undisclosed third parties (the TBTF Banks).

TBTF Banks (BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, etc.) do not want settlements or modifications or anything that will make the loan start performing. Subservicers like SPS and Ocwen are used as conduits to other conduits that provides window dressing for claims of compliance or efforts to comply.

Contrary to common sense nobody wants a settlement or modification. The players would rather have the value of the alleged loan reduced to zero or less in the case of foreclosures requiring the bank to maintain the property without any hope of selling it. Common sense says that faced with a value of ZERO versus a value of $200,000, for example, any normal business would select the obvious —- $200,000.

The most extreme cases are where the modification is deemed approved and a new servicer comes in to dishonor it and forecloses, even though the homeowner made the trial payments. Yet Petitions to Enforce the modification agreement are rare; but when they are filed they are usually successful. And in many of those cases the modification is modified for a greater principal reduction than was originally offered.

GET A CONSULT

FREE RESEARCH: Go to our home page and enter subject in search bar.

GO TO LENDINGLIES to order forms and services. Our forensic report is called “TERA“— “Title and Encumbrance Report and Analysis.” I personally review each of them for edits and comments before they are released.

Let us help you plan and draft your answers, affirmative defenses, discovery requests and defense narrative:

954-451-1230 or 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

REGISTRATION FORM: You will make things a lot easier on us and yourself if you fill out the registration form. It’s free without any obligation. No advertisements, no restrictions. The consult is important to determine how we may be of assistance in the drafting and filing of documents in court or complaints directed to law enforcement.

Purchase audio seminar now — Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense including 3.5 hours of lecture, questions and answers, plus course materials that include PowerPoint Presentations.

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

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

Whether or not the class gets certified or settled the suit brings up certain salient points which again give rise to the most common question of all, to wit: “Why is that?”

The answer is hiding in plain sight: None of these parties represent a creditor or owner of the debt . All of them represent undisclosed third parties who are making money hand over fist in the shadow banking market. A completed foreclosure represents the first and only valid legal document in their long train of lies promulgated by piles of fabricated, forged, robo-signed paper. The justice system isn’t always right but it is always final. That is the game the banks are playing.

If SPS or Ocwen actually was set up to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and preserve the value of the loan receivable they would lose virtually all their business. A performing loan would change the makeup of the pools that the players claim to have created. All the re-sales of the same loan would be based upon a loan, even if it existed at one time, that doesn’t exist presently.

So the players NEED that foreclosure not for investors or a trust that doesn’t exist, but for themselves because most of the proceeds of the re-sales of the same loan went the TBTF Banks. They want to preserve their ill-gotten gains rather than do anything that could possibly benefit investors. And the best way they can do that is with an Order or Judgment signed by a duly authorized judge in a court of competent jurisdiction — not with a modification.

Practice Hint: If you see a case that has been ongoing for 8-10 years that is a strong indicator that the investors have received a settlement and no loner have any claim for payment and/or that the “Master Servicer” is continuing to allow payments to investors out of a pool of investor money — i.e., a Ponzi scheme. Those continuing payments have been inappropriately named “servicer advances.” They are not “advances” because it is merely return of investor capital. And since the payments come from an investor pool of cash the payments are not from the servicer since the money came from the same or other investors.

They are called servicer advances because using that name fictitiously allows the “Master Servicer’ (actually the underwriter of the certificates) to claim a “recovery” of “servicer advances.” The recovery is ONLY allowed after sale of the property after a foreclosure where the buyer is a BFP.

So for example if payments to investors attributed to the subject loan are $2,000 per month, 10 years worth of “servicer advances” results in a “recovery claim” of $240,000. Generally that is enough to wipe out any equity. The investors get nothing. The foreclosure was actually for the sole interest and benefit of the banks, not the investors. And the homeowner again finds himself used as a pawn for others to make money over the rotting carcass of what was once his home.

Hence the trial strategy suggested would be drilling down on whether the trust is receiving payment from a “third party,” whether that party has rights of subrogation or is satisfied by some other fee or revenue. If you get anywhere near this issue the bank will fold up like a used tent. They will pay for confidentiality.

39 Million Americans can’t afford their Housing

Nearly 39 million households can’t afford their housing, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing Report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Experts generally advise budgeting about 30% of monthly income for rent or mortgage costs.

But millions of Americans are far exceeding that guideline.

One-third of households in 2015 were “cost burdened,” meaning they spend 30% or more of their incomes to cover housing costs. Of that group, nearly 19 million are paying more than 50% of their income to cover their housing needs.

When so much of your paycheck is going toward keeping a roof over your head, it forces sacrifices in other budget areas, including food, health care and transportation.

“It depends on household type: Families with kids … they cut back pretty severely on food,” said Jennifer Molinsky, a senior research associate at the center. “Older adults cut back a lot on health care.”

In 2015, there were almost 25 million children living in cost-burdened households.

Low-income families with children that are paying more than half their incomes to cover housing cut back the most on food, according to the report. They spend less than $300 a month, compared to households with no cost burdens, which spend about $500.

“To make ends meet, these families often do not buy enough food for their households or they substitute cheaper but less nutritious foods, either of which can jeopardize their children’s health and development,” the report stated.

Low-income households are also more likely to compromise on the quality of housing, including living in places with structural issues.

Low housing inventory levels have helped push up home prices as many markets struggle with a supply and demand imbalance. Bidding wars are common in some places.

Home prices fell off a cliff after the 2007 housing crash, but they have been rising and last year surpassed their pre-recession peak.

That price appreciation has scared away many wanna-be buyers, who have been forced to rent. Demand for rental units has increased and pushed up prices.

As a result, the report found, more than 11 million renter households pay more than half their income on housing — a 3.7 million increase from 2001.

Miami has the highest percentage of cost-burdened renters, at nearly 62%, followed by Los Angeles and Deltona-Daytona Beach, Florida at 57%.

 http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/16/real_estate/rising-home-costs-affordability-harvard/index.html

The Housing Recovery Illusion

What Housing Recovery? Real Home Prices Still 16% Below 2007 Peak

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/what-housing-recovery-real-home-prices-still-16-below-2007-peak

Since the financial crisis, home equity has gone from being America’s biggest driver of (illusory) wealth to one of the biggest sources of economic inequality.

And while the post-crisis recovery has returned the national home price index to its highs from early 2007, most of this rise was generated by a handful of urban markets like New York City and San Francisco, leaving most Americans behind.

To wit: home prices in the 10 most expensive metro areas have risen 63% since 2000, while home prices in the 10 cheapest areas have gained just 3.6%, according to Harvard’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report. And while nominal prices may have returned to their pre-recession levels, when you adjust for inflation, real prices are as much as 16 percent below past peaks.

Despite seven years of rock-bottom interest rates, valuations in 3 out of 5 metropolitan areas remain below their pre-recession peak. Outside, of a few rich coastal cities, the only advantage that this “housing recovery” has brought is that some homes remain affordable for some Americans. However, thanks to the disproportionate rise in home valuations in certain densely populated areas, the number of Americans paying more than 50% of their income in rent is near a record high.

US house prices rose 5.6 percent in 2016, finally surpassing the high reached nearly a decade earlier. Achieving this milestone reduced the number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages to 3.2 million by year’s end, a remarkable drop from the 12.1 million peak in 2011.But as Bloomberg reports, nationally, just 1 in 3 homes has recovered peak value. Meanwhile, in the country’s most densely-populated markets, housing supplies are incredibly tight following nearly a decade of historically low construction.

The lack of inventory for sale is evident in both the new and existing segments of the market. In 2016, the typical new home for sale was on the market for 3.3 months, well below the 5.1 months averaged since record keeping began in 1988. Meanwhile, only 1.65 million existing homes were for sale in 2016, the lowest count in 16 years. And with sales volumes picking up, the inventory represented just 3.6 months of supply, an 11-year low.

Conditions are particularly tight at the lower end of the market, likely reflecting both the slower price recovery in this segment and the fact that fewer entry-level homes are being built. Between 2004 and 2015, completions of smaller single-family homes (under 1,800 square feet) fell from nearly 500,000 units to only 136,000. Similarly, the number of townhouses started in 2016 (98,000) was less than half the number started in 2005.

Renters, it seems, are bearing the brunt of the US housing stock crunch. Despite a relatively strong pickup in multi-family housing, rental markets are tighter than they’ve been in more than 30 years, though there has been some softening on the high end.

According to the Housing Vacancy Survey, the rental vacancy rate fell for the seventh straight year in 2016, dipping to 6.9 percent—its lowest level in more than three decades. MPF Research reports that the vacancy rate for professionally managed apartments was also just 4.4 percent. While some rental markets showed signs of softening in early 2017—most notably in San Francisco and New York—there is generally little indication that increases in supply are outstripping demand.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans exceeding the 30%-of-income “affordability threshold” has declined for five straight years, but while homeowners have enjoyed greater financial freedom, rates for renters have barely budged.

Indeed, 11.1 million renter households were severely cost burdened in 2015, a 3.7 million increase from 2001. By comparison, 7.6 million owners were severely burdened in 2015, up 1.1 million from 2001. The share of renters with severe burdens varies widely across the nation’s 100 largest metros, ranging from a high of 35.4 percent in Miami to a low of 18.4 percent in El Paso. While most common in high-cost markets, renter cost burdens are also widespread in areas with moderate rents but relatively low incomes. Augusta is a case in point, where the severely cost-burdened share of renters was at 30.3 percent in 2015.

In summary, the US housing market’s gains since the crisis have disproportionately benefited certain cities, which creates two problems:

Renters in markets that have seen the strongest comebacks are being squeezed as wages fail to keep up with runaway rents; and,

Cities in the south and midwest, typically post-industrial towns, are filled with homeowners who might still be struggling with an underwater mortgage, and with only tepid gains in housing prices, many are trapped in their homes.

Millennials Want to Buy Homes but Aren’t Saving for Down Payments

https://www.wsj.com/articles/millennials-want-to-buy-homes-but-arent-saving-for-down-payments-1495731583?mod=e2fb

One of the frequent reasons cited for the failure of the US housing sector to rebound to its pre-recession levels, is the lack of household formation among young American adults and specifically the unwillingness, or inability, of Millennials, which last year overtook Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation…

… to move out of their parents’ basement, or stop renting, and purchase their own home. Now, a new study from Apartment List confirms the underlying problem: nearly 70% of young American adults, those aged 18 to 34 years old, said they have saved less than $1,000 for a down payment. This is similar to what a recent GoBanking Survey found last year, according to which 72% of “young millennials”- those between 18 and 24 years old – had $1,000 in their savings accounts and 31% have $0; a sliver (8%) have over $10,000 saved. Of the “older millennials”, those between 25 and 34, 67% had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, 33% have nothing at all, and 15% have over $10,000.

As the WSJ frames it, with most millennials having saved virtually nothing for a down payment on a home “many will face steep obstacles to homeownership in the years ahead.” It also means that the US housing market, traditionally the bedrock of middle-class American wealth, may never recover to levels seen during the prior economic cycle which incidentally peaked as the housing bubble burst, scarring an entire generation with the vivid memories of what happens when millions of Americans rush to overpay for homes.

Which is not to say that US housing is languishing, on the contrary. As we showed earlier this week, in the first quarter of 2017, the number of California homes that sold for $1 million or more totaled 10,562 up 11.7% year over year and the highest on record for a first quarter.

However, while the 1% (or even 10%) of America’s wealthiest buy and sell trophy real estate among each other (or to Chinese oligarchs) with impunity, creating another bubble in luxury real estate, for the vast majority of America, it’s “middle class”, homeownership is becoming an increasingly elusive dream, forcing many to contend with renting indefinitely.

And, going back to the original study, the culprit appears to be the inability, or unwillingness, or America’s youth to save because according to Apartment List, even senior members of the age group are falling short. Nearly 40% of older millennials, those age 25 to 34, who by historical measures should already own or be a few years away from homeownership, said they are saving nothing for a down payment each month.

Here is the punchline: the vast majority—some 80%—of millennials said they eventually plan to buy a home. But 72% said the primary obstacle is that they can’t afford it.

That’s a pretty big obstacle as the study’s creator admitted. “It’s encouraging that millennials do want to buy homes. It suggests that they are delaying forming households but they’re not giving it up,” said Andrew Woo, director of data science and growth at Apartment List. “The biggest reason [they aren’t buying] is because of affordability.”

This is how America’s most troubled generation sees the problem in their own words: Catie Peterson, a 22-year-old graphic designer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said she doesn’t expect to start saving for a down payment for another five years or so. “I barely have enough savings to cover my car if it were to break down,” she said. Peterson said she pays $975 a month in rent for a small one-bedroom apartment, which is about one third of her paycheck, leaving little room to save.

“Once I get settled in my career and settled in my family, I think buying a house would be reasonable.” It would, but good luck finding something that is affordable enough for the bank to give you a mortgage.

As for the main reasons cited by Millennials why they are unable to save any money, these should be familiar to regular readers: they include student loan debt, rising rents and the slow starts many got to their careers during the recession. Furthermore, with many living in vibrant urban centers with ready access to restaurants, bars and entertainment might, saving seems less urgent. Furthermore, many are children of the affluent baby boomer generation and some expect their parents to give them a boost when the time comes, i.e., they expect to inherit their parents wealth. In total, some 25% of millennials ages 25 to 34 expect to receive help from friends or family, according to the survey. Still, three-quarters said they expect to receive less than $10,000, which might not be enough to close the gap.

* * *

It was not all bad news: the study found that some young people, if not nearly enough, may be saving more. On average, millennials who make more money save a smaller share of their incomes. Those making less than $24,000 save about 10% of their incomes, for example, while those making more than $72,000 save just 3.5%, according to the survey. Also, more millennials are finding a way to buy homes than a few years ago. First-time buyers have accounted for 42% of buyers this year, up from 38% in 2015 and 31% at the lowest point during the recent housing cycle in 2011, according to Fannie Mae (still, a first-time buyer is anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years, a group that could include older people as well.)

Unfortunately for the generation that represents America’s future, the bad news dominates, and as the WSJ concludes many millennials face daunting odds: “less than 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds can save enough for a 10% down payment in the next three years, while just 15% could save that much within a year, according to the Apartment List survey.”

Of course, there is a loophole. As we reported last week, programs are being rolled out to allow first-time buyers to purchase homes with even smaller down payments.  In fact, none other than the bank which had to be bailed out less than a decade ago, Bank of America, recently announced intentions to slash down payments to help Millennials. Speaking to CNBC, BofA CEO Brian Moynihan, the proud owner of Countrywide Financial, said that his mission is to reduce mortgage down payment requirements to 10% for traditional loans.  Per CNBC:

“But, you know, I think at the end of the day is people forget that, at different points in your life and different points on what you’re doing in life requires you to think about housing differently as a place for you and your friends, as a place for you and maybe your significant other, and then ultimately, a place for family. That drives change. And so yes, it’s taken more time. And we talked a lot about this, you know, four or five years ago, that if you require a 20% down payment, it takes just a little more time to accumulate 20% than it would 3% or none, which is what the rules were for a short period of time.”

“So our goal, going back to regulatory reform, is should you move the down payment requirement from 20% to 10%? Wouldn’t introduce that much risk.”

Of course, as we pointed out last week, we are certain that Moynihan’s sole purpose for wanting to
lower down payments is to help those poor millennials living in mom’s basement, and has nothing to do with the fact that’s Bank of America (and Wells Fargo) has lost a ton of fee revenue to government-backed loans that only require a 3% down
payment.

FHA

Why not?  Gradually destroying lending standards worked out really well last time around.

But we digress, so here is 33-year-old data analyst Gina Fontana who explained her problem so simply, even a Fed president could get it: she said she has saved a bit for a down payment but doubts she will use it anytime soon because home prices are so far out of reach. She added that she had saved enough for a 10% down payment on a $200,000 house when she was living in Philadelphia, but couldn’t buy anything in the neighborhoods she liked.

Now she has moved to Berkeley, Calif., and said the area’s home prices—where starter homes can go for close to $1 million—make the odds of buying a home essentially zero. “I don’t see that ever happening,” she said. “I just prefer to travel.”

Which is why it is only a matter of time before everyone throws in the towel on the housing recovery, and Goldman launches its first millennial travel-collaterialized securitization product (and its synthetic derivative

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-26/70-millennials-have-less-1000-saved-buying-house

The Housing Moment Investors Dread Is Here

By Danielle DiMartino Booth

Amid the carnage in the auto sector, economists have sought solace in the comforts of home, sweet home. A recent Census release suggests that Millennials, long sidelined, have finally started to tiptoe into the home-buying market. The reception to the data was so effusive that other reports, suggesting housing has reached a much different sort of turning point, were lost in the fray.

The good news is that the trend is unequivocal, based purely on supply and demand. The bad news is in the actual message. The May University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey showed a six-year low among those who think it’s a good time to buy a house and a 12-year high among those who say it’s a good time to sell. Disparities of this breadth tend to coincide with break points and that’s just where we’ve landed in the cycle.

The beginning of May officially marked the advent of a buyers’ market, defined simply as sellers outnumbering buyers by a wide enough margin to trigger falling prices. Yes, it’s the moment buyers have been waiting for. It is also the moment private equity investors, those who’ve crowded out natural buyers, have been dreading.

Three factors determine home sales: interest rates, unemployment and prices.

The recent decline in interest rates has provided some semblance of relief; purchase applications have bounced off April’s levels, when they were down four percent over last year. April and May are obviously critical to the spring sales season.

The low unemployment rate would seem to be a huge plus if it wasn’t for the stress building around thousands of layoff announcements across the retail and auto sectors that won’t find their way into this most lagging of economic indicators for months. That is not to say those getting pink slips don’t know their fate, which should influence home sales going forward.

Price is the one bright spot, with one glaring caveat: Falling home prices tend to be associated with a negative macroeconomic backdrop, which does not bode well for any buyer of, well, anything. Dig into the Federal Reserve’s recently released first quarter Senior Loan Officer Survey and you will see nothing of note on the residential mortgage side — banks reported that both loan demand and lending standards remained unchanged in the first three months of the year.

But that is the here and now. Demand and supply in the auto sector, where pricing has been under pressure for some time, looked quite similar to that for houses several months back.

According to the Fed survey, at minus 13.3 percent, demand for auto loans flat-lined in deeply negative territory, as was the case in last year’s fourth quarter, the worst levels of the current expansion. This data point corroborated the Michigan survey, which showed that those who said it was a good time to buy a car fell to the lowest level since August 2014. Meanwhile, demand for credit card loans slid to minus 10.2 percent from minus 8.3 percent in the last three months of last year. In the event you’re detecting a trend, households are sending out distress signals that have just begun to be picked up in housing, even as household debt levels recapture their pre-crisis highs.

The silver lining in the dynamic that’s just beginning to play out is what pricing pressures on the home front imply for the future of household finances — that is after the recession comes and goes. The cost to rent and buy has never been as high as it is today for the average working young American. The preponderance of apartments constructed in the current cycle has been luxury units. At the same time, private equity investors with deep pockets swooped in and bid up the price of rental homes, leaving many would-be first-time homebuyers and renters alike with no choice but to remain at home with their parents after graduating from college.

A quick glance at the average household budget shows that sky-high housing costs bite more than any other line item. Housing devours a third of average household spending, while auto payments command half that amount. More than any other considerations, these costs matter — where to sleep at night and the means by which to get to and from work.

Hence the good long-term news building in the coming decline in housing costs as record supplies of apartments coming online collide with falling home prices and private equity investors growing increasingly uncomfortable with their huge inventories of overpriced homes. As for cars, a new report from J.D. Power showed continued deterioration in the auto sector, driven by falling used car prices, sliding car sales and a further rise in incentive spending.

There is budgetary relief building in the pipeline for Millennials. It just might not be in the form they’d prefer to see, nor will it arrive in time to offset the broader macroeconomic damage inflicted by two key areas of support for the U.S. economy.

Perhaps most regrettable is that policy makers inside the Federal Reserve were aware of the pitfalls of being complicit in hampering the clearing of the housing market and providing incentives for subprime car lending. The sad truth is the optics of stifling clearing and encouraging borrowing among those who could ill afford payments was better than the alternative. Again.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-20/housing-moment-investors-dread-here

Fake Agreements Between Sham Conduits Try to Preempt Courts from Ruling on Evidence

the parties are creating the illusion that they are essentially entering into an agreement to purchase paper from the seller where there is no original paperwork and no indication that the purchase ever actually took place.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-

Bill Paatalo, a private investigator who has concentrated his efforts on the fraud committed by banks for the past 15 years, has alerted me to a factor that ties in closely with my article yesterday on evidence. He gives a link for an example of an agreement that is designed to pull the wool over the eyes of judges, lawyers and their clients.

Note that the agreement says it is a “Correspondent” Purchase and Sale Agreement. No such thing exists. Either the Seller is a Correspondent in which case the loan “Closing” they originated was for the benefit of the superior bank or the originator was the source of funds, in which case the paperwork is at a minimum defective because it names the wrong party as lender. He writes:

Along these lines, you might find this interesting. I found the following SEC filing by WaMu, FA and one of its correspondent lenders. I can only guess there are hundreds more of these types of agreements.

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/883476/000119312503037807/dex105.htm

CORRESPONDENT PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

This is a Correspondent Purchase and Sale Agreement (“Agreement”), dated as of March 5, 2003 by, and between WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, FA (“Purchaser”), and Crescent Mortgage Services, Inc., a Georgia Corporation (“Seller”).

Section 8.11 Reproduction of Documents. This Agreement and all documents relating thereto, including, without limitation, (a) consents, waivers and modifications which may hereafter be executed, (b) documents received by any party at the closing, and (c) financial statements, certificates and other information previously or hereafter furnished, may be reproduced by any photographic, photostatic, microfilm, micro-card, miniature photographic or other similar process. The parties agree that any such reproduction shall be admissible in evidence as the original itself in any judicial or administrative proceeding, whether or not the original is in existence and whether or not such reproduction was made by a party in the regular course of business, and that any enlargement, facsimile or further reproduction of such reproduction shall likewise be admissible in evidence.

Apparently these parties don’t feel that a judge decides what is admissible evidence, they themselves do.

Bill Paatalo

This is indeed interesting. It is easy to over look as boilerplate language that nobody reads.

Might be good to discuss on the radio show. Like the Purchase and Assumption Agreement (see below) between the “originator” and the sham conduit for the Underwriter of bogus mortgage bonds, this is an agreement that anticipates violation of law. It might conceivably be binding on the parties to the agreement, but it essentially preempts the court from ruling on the admissibility of evidence.

The other interesting aspect is that it anticipates that the original will not be found anywhere. This also is like the P&A. Thus the parties are creating the illusion that they are essentially entering into an agreement to purchase paper from the seller where there is no original paperwork and no indication that the purchase ever actually took place.

In all probability the “seller” never had ownership of the DEBT. It only had “ownership” of the paper. The fact that the paperwork was at best worthless and most probably is some evidence of fraud or fraudulent intent, does not diminish the “ownership” interest claimed by the “purchaser.”

They skirt the law by saying that the paper is being sold even though the debt is obviously not being sold because the seller doesn’t own it. But ti creates the illusion and for many judges the presumption that this is facially valid paper even though it violates the best evidence rule. The entire document is thus designed to skirt the best evidence rule and substitute copies of documents that can be changed at any time, since they are copies. As copies, it would be impossible to tell from the face of the “document” how many times the parties or terms had been changed.

This is the sleight of hand pattern that runs through all the “loans” that are subject to false claims of securitization. The illegal and wrongful acts, starting with the “origination” and moving forward through void transfers, assignments and endorsements are buried under what appears to be valid documentation. But like every lawyer knows — if you want copies to be treated as originals, they must all be the same and executed at least by initials and distributed to all parties to the alleged agreement.


The Purchase and Assumption Agreement was first noticed back in 2006. It was the document that gave me the first notion of how the mortgage loan documents were not merely defective, but rather nonexistent in relation to the actual debt. This is an agreement dated before the first loan is originated by the “originator.” It spells out how the consumer should not and will not know the identity of their lender in direct contravention of the entire intent and provisions of the Federal Truth in lending Act. As outlined above, this too is an agreement between two sham conduits. It’s facially validity and the laziness of lawyers and judges who don’t read it leads to the false conclusion that the banks and servicers have dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. In truth it is just part of the mountain of false paperwork and false claims presented to courts, lawyers and their clients.

Political Lesson: Run Against the Banks

Don’t wait until we find out what Trump really means to do as President. We should make up his mind and express outrage to him and all sitting Senators, Congressman, Governors, State legislators, law enforcement, County and City Government and even the Courts. This election is not over, unless we let it be over and accept more of the same.
Ever since I took my first peek at what was going on in the marketplace for residential mortgage loans, I have been saying that if politicians want to win and be loved, they should run against the banks. The election last night was determined by hatred and disgust. The pundits tells us it was because of bigotry. But if you take the long view you can easily see how most of the population of the U.S., and indeed around the world, has been subjected to the overall view that they don’t matter. If the election of Obama told us anything it was that as a whole we are NOT a bigoted country. We are an indifferent country, if you measure that by who leads us. The arrogance with which average working people have been treated has been virtually unprecedented. The voters were not indifferent last night. Any politician who continues to be aloof and arrogant about the little guy who doesn’t matter should be challenged at the polls in the next election cycle.
 *
While the politicians refused to see it, comfortable in their world view and talking points, the anger of working class Americans has grown rather than diminished by the recognition that the banks and other big businesses pulled the rug out from under us by patently illegal acts — and price gouging — especially in drugs and medical services. The anger consumers felt when the financial system was portrayed as collapsing in 2008-2009 grew, rather than diminished in time.
*
Consumer/voter rage is directly related to the fact that government did nothing about it except to allow working families to bear the entire brunt of a loss created by the banks. People lost their homes, their jobs, their lifestyle while government touted all the progress we were making. That progress never reached tens of millions of Americans. Meanwhile the banks received trillions upon trillions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury, the Federal reserve, and the theft of investor money capped by the bonus of getting ownership of homes that should never have been subjected to foreclosure proceedings.
 *
If this election is being called an upset, ask Bernie Sanders whose meteoric rise in the polls was only tempered by the view that he couldn’t win. He couldn’t win because the democratic party apparatus had already set up a rigged system that made it impossible for Hillary Clinton to lose. Between the 400 “super delegates” already pledged before the primaries began, and tipping the procedures and scales by the DNC in so many ways, no candidate stood a chance of becoming the nominee against Hillary Clinton.
 *
Up until now politicians have been largely successful at misdirection: instead of accepting blame for failure to do their job in office, they have succeeded in getting us to blame each other. Between the Trump and Sanders supporters we actually have a vast majority of Americans who are now insisting that the system change for the benefit of all its citizens. The consistent surveys of people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction clearly point to the fact that their lives are not getting better, their hope is diminished and their world view arises from despair over their economic position in the world.
 *
Trump was right: this was an election of the people versus a corrupt, aloof and arrogant establishment. Despite the obvious advantages of allowing a fair fight in which Sanders could have won the Democratic nomination and possibly the general election, the Democrats chose a candidate who was deeply flawed and deeply indebted to Wall Street. The Democrats may well have selected the only candidate who would lose against Trump. Such is the “wisdom” at the top.
 *
While Trump was also literally indebted to Wall Street through his loans, he never lost track of the fact that people were mad as hell. The party apparatus of both major political parties ignored that, which made the angry voters even angrier. A review of the numbers shows that in virtually every county and precinct the strength of that hatred resulted in lop-sided support for Trump as high as 80% or more.
 *
We have all heard the scream. Now it is time to inform those who are still in Washington DC know that the rigged system has expired. It is the follow through by voters that will determine how the country goes- writing to Congressman and Senators, law enforcement and even the courts, will seal the deal. Let them know that you were voting for real change where the average American citizen is priority #1. There is nothing like an active, informed citizenry to make changes that throw out old self-serving ideas and the politicians who espouse them.
 *
Don’t wait until we find out what Trump really means to do as President. We should make up his mind and express outrage to him and all sitting Senators, Congressman, Governors, State legislators, law enforcement, County and City Government and even the Courts. This election is not over, unless we let it be over and accept more of the same.

Housing Will Make or Break US Economy

Az becomes the second state in recent years to adopt gold and silver coin as legal tender. Utah was first. And over the years several successful experiments have occurred wherein a city or county issued its own currency. This should come as no surprise to sophisticated investors. while there is considerable historical support for leaning on gold and other precious metals to protect one’s wealth and liquidity, we should always be cognizant of the fact that precious metals are only precious if they perceived that way.
The U.S. dollar has been propped up using artificial means employed by the Federal Reserve and market makers. There is little doubt that the dollar has been under intense pressure arising out of decades of foolhardy economic policies.
By substituting debt for wages, the appearance of a healthy economy has been maintained. But a quick look at the underlying fundamentals by anyone capable of arithmetic reveals an economy in trouble and a society in turmoil.
This is the result of two factors: (1) we lost our manufacturing base to third world countries and (2) we are in a state of self delusion. We fail to account for many economic events and transactions when we compute our Gross Domestic Product. And the latest trend is to replace real economic activity with trading activity from the financial services industry.
The trigger for what is now seen as the coming devaluation of the dollar has been the essential housing component. The administration and congress, and now state legislatures are setting the stage for a crash that does not have any bottom. In 1983 the financial services industry contributed about 16% of U.S. GDP. This was a fair representation of actual productivity in the country arising out of tangible goods and services created by banks and insurance companies. Now the figure is around 48% of GDP.
The tell-tale sign is that financial service “revenues” and “profits are going up while median come and household wealth has been declining. The extra 32% of GDP does not come from traditional bank intermediation as a payment service, with hedging and other tools to mimicked risk on the purchase of goods and services. It isn’t fees that have increased the apparent increase of the illusion of economic activity from Wall Street and insurance companies. It is proprietary trading profits claimed by the banks and insurance premiums that are artificially inflated by insertion of both banks and insurance companies into economic activity (such as medical care) into commerce that is essentially utility in nature.
The proprietary profits claimed by the banks were predicted here in 2007-2008 and resulted in a projection of a stock market crash and a prediction of the freezing of the credit markets around the world. It was clear then just as it is clear now that Money was being synthesized by the private sector which only means that banks and insurance companies were in essence printing their own money. The dangers of this predicament were apparent and written about by economists whose credentials far exceed my own.
In plain English the banks were stealing money from the marketplace in off balance sheet transactions. And both the banks and insurance companies have been feeding at the public trough for decades. Thus the sole purpose for the existence of investment banks was turned on its head. They were supposed to create active markets in which liquidity (access to capital) was enhanced; instead they surreptitiously siphoned out the liquidity to off-shore accounts and let the markets collapse when investors stopped buying bogus mortgage bonds issued by non-existent trusts. Like any PONZI scheme the entire marketplace collapsed when investor stopped buying the mortgage backed bonds. The correlation is unmistakable and irrefutable.
The insurance companies have been inserting themselves into markets whey contribute no value like medical services and pharmaceutical products.
The end result is that one-third of our entire economy has been eliminated. Taking into account certain productive activities that are not counted (but should be) the real GDP of the U.S. is around $9 trillion but reported at $14 trillion. Using the same logic I pinpointed in 2007, the DOW is actually worth around 8,000, which is where it will go regardless of any remedial policies put in place.
Throughout the world, which is now heavily if not exclusively monetized, obvious steps are being taken to get out of the dollar and into other currencies or assets. The hyper inflation everyone was worried about a few years back was only delayed. And the economic argument of using the dollar as the world’s reserve currency has not been weaker in recent memory.
Accumulation of gold and fixed assets has been responsible in part for propping up our currency. But for our military strength there would be no basis to refer to the U.S. as a world leader. The remedy is obvious — use the reversal of the PONZI scheme to finance new business, expansion of existing business and job training. If that was adopted as policy we would not face an immediate hit to our GDP, equity indexes, and pentup consumer demand together with actual capacity to consume goods and services without plunging into debt would enable us to create fundamental economic activity that would be the envy of the world.
The banking oligarchy currently running our country has a goal that is the anti thesis of the role of government. The oligarchy has profit and wealth accumulation as its goal. The government is required to assure that the referees stay on the playing field and nobody gets an unfair advantage. Just as separation of church and state protects citizens basic rights under natural, constitutional and statutory law, so too should the separation of the banking industry from the government should be well-guarded, lest the power sought by leaders of church, banking and even military and medical services result in the relinquishment of both our freedoms and our prospects.

Arizona Set To Use Gold & Silver As Currency
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-22/arizona-set-use-gold-silver-currency

Student Loans, Housing and Poverty in the U.S.

“Bottom Line: Foreclosures need to stop, student loans need to be modified and return to pre-2005 rules for dischargeability, wages need to rise and the number of people earning wages needs to rise. If you don’t have those ingredients, the economic “recovery” will forever be fragile and will forever be in danger of a much deeper collapse than we saw in 2008 because underlying conditions are worse. That’s why American companies are holding trillions in cash and assets overseas. They don’t trust us anymore.” — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure and student loans, please call 954-495-9867 (East Coast) 520-405-1688 (West Coast), customer service, who will guide you to our information resources and upon request put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Analysis: According to the official figures there are around 50 million people living below the poverty line. Surveys show that the number of people who can’t buy essentials for their family actually total close to 150 million people, which is half the country. The unemployment rate, if one were to add the number of people who are underemployed or who have given up looking for work, is probably over 20% — 60 million people!

The chasm referred to as income and wealth inequality is growing daily. $1 trillion in debt burdens students who could be far more productive. Until 2005, this debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy. But the banks managed to get changes made in the bankruptcy code equating student debt with alimony and child support and further requiring means testing in chapter 7 thus inhibiting the discharge of debts on credit cards charging 20% or more per year in interest and medical costs, which if you read Brill’s article in Time Magazine last week, are marked up 3000%.

Some $13 trillion in mortgage loans were faked and the banks continue to lie to the President, the Congress, the state legislatures, governors and Attorneys general.

If you add it all up, it isn’t hard to see why economists refer to the “recovery” as fragile. If you ask me it is unjust, wrong and impractical to continue on the same path we are on in the hopes that down the road somehow we will grow out of the problem we have — an economy that benefits a few people while the number of people falling behind, with lower and lower wages and decreased accessibility to credit increasing every month. Billions are added each month in student loan debt which is fast becoming a cancer on our society simply because of the new bankruptcy provisions.

The 7 year experiment in making student loans non-dischargeable is a miserable failure. It is a major contributor to the impending decline in the credit rating of the what was once the strongest nation on earth in every way. Because we allowed the banks to get the TARP funds and all the other forms of bank bailouts, and because we ignored the real victims — the investors and the homeowners who were tricked into deals that could not possibly work, the foundation of the country has been so undermined that we now rank #10 behind France and Spain in upward economic mobility. That means that the chances are better in those countries to climb the ladder of success than they are here.

This is not a piece suggesting we convert to socialism as our economic path. It is rather a call-out to our government that it cannot continue to bow to the will of the banks and expect the country to hold together. With half the country gasping for air, we must jettison our ideology and go for the practical solutions — most of which already exist or existed until a short while ago.

The problem is not that capitalism isn’t working. The problem is that capitalism is being used as a cover for the creation of illusions of prosperity and the reality of a near fascist state. That is what happens when someone corners the market on oranges and that is what happens when the someone is allowed to corner the market on money. And THAT is why we need government regulators and legislators who are NOT permitted to go through the revolving door from government to business and back again. If you take the referees off the field, don’t be surprised with what happens next.

For better or worse our economy is still 70% dependent upon consumer spending. Yet we pursue policies that diminish the ability of consumers to spend and diminish the number of consumers. The fact that there is still some muscle in the our system is testament to our inner strengths and prospects if we make the necessary changes to our democratic institutions and reign in those who are admittedly too large to govern or regulate.

Despite the obvious fundamental defects in the loan originations and transfers of loans that were the products of imagination and illusion, we treat them as real and even sacred. The playing field has been tilted so that all the benefits roll into one corner while the rest of us scramble to  make ends meet. The risk factors in any loan or program have been pushed entirely over into the public sector when the government should be able to stop the foreclosures, cure the student defaults and renew the progress of wage growth.

The keys to end this nightmare here and abroad is housing, student loans and employment. Students who have unpayable student loans are refused employment because many employers do credit checks. The same holds true for the millions of Americans who have been victims of fake foreclosures by strangers who never put up a dime to fund or purchase the loan and then submitted a credit bid at the “auction.” The private student loans arose because somebody thought it was a good idea to raise the cost of student loans by inserting profit seeking banks as intermediaries. Now that is corrected as to future loans, but it does nothing to correct the problems of past mistakes by government.

This isn’t just theory. Trillions of dollars are being held off shore by companies who legitimately are not convinced that the U.S. will actually pull out of this spiral anytime soon. So they are investing in capital and labor elsewhere. No effort has been made to claw back the trillions of dollars that disappeared in the maelstrom of the mortgage meltdown. Those funds are hidden off shore too.

And even more importantly, no company wants to invest in a marketplace where the laws are not enforced with consistency. If you speak with many CEO’s in private they will tell you that jail time for bankers would be a stimulus to confidence in the U.S. marketplace. What we have is a marketplace without boundaries as to the the fraud and other criminal behavior that was never before tolerated in our system.

Large and medium sized organizations holding trillions of dollars in liquid assets and other investments overseas see this very clearly. They have no more reason to commit to the U.S. economy than they do to any other banana  republic.

Why Student Debt Will Make U.S. Insolvent
http://www.business2community.com/finance/why-student-debt-will-make-u-s-insolvent-0430373

Wall Street turns profit in student loan debt
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/11/loan-m11.html

Student Debt Crushes Borrowers And Threatens The U.S. Economy
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/03/09/student-debt-crushes-borrowers-and-threatens-the-u-s-economy/

http://blog.credit.com/2013/03/do-we-need-to-change-bankruptcy-rules-for-student-loans/

Don’t Panic: Wall Street Is Going Crazy For Student Loans — But It’s Not a Bubble http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/dont-panic-wall-street-is-going-crazy-for-student-loans-but-its-not-a-bubble/273682/

You Know What Sucks? Your Student Debt. You Know What’s Great? The Solution.
http://beingliberal.upworthy.com/you-know-what-sucks-your-student-debt-you-know-whats-great-the-solution-2

Look Who Got thrown Under the Bus for Criminal Prosecution on Banking Crisis

“Furthermore, evidence of the DocX forgery and fabrication process could be used to reach even higher. Who directly solicited the company for fake documents? The foreclosure mill law firms, which then knowingly submitted them into courts. Who directed the foreclosure mills to do that? The mortgage servicers, which are typically units of the biggest banks. Furthermore, there’s no reason to ever request the “entire collateral file” unless you have no other way to generate evidence to prove underlying ownership of the loan. This speaks to a faulty mortgage transfer process, improper securitizations, and generally fraudulent practices at the heart of Wall Street.”

CHECK OUT OUR EXTENDED DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Comment: In a very good piece written by David Dayen for Salon.com (see link below), he takes the government and the bankers to task for masquerading under the “rule of law” while actually undermining it — something that consumers and homeowners have instinctively known for decades.

The general consensus of those in government and on the bench is that they are so deathly afraid of giving a free house to a homeowner that they are willing to overlook criminal and civil misbehavior — leading to granting a free pass to those pretending to be lenders to get the free house.

Worse than that, we have established a climate that allows for the possibility of taking a crime to some indescribable level where it becomes somehow necessary to allow the crime to stand because of the “risk” posed to the rest of society. That Too Big To Fail thing came directly out of the proposition that if the big banks were allowed or forced to fold,  the credit markets would freeze up. So our government gave them even more money than the ill-gotten and well secreted money they made during the mortgage boom, under the supposition that those banks would start lending.

The reverse happened. People received notices in the mail informing them of decreases in their credit limit on credit cards, HELOCs, and cancellation of loan commitments on small businesses and real estate purchases. The outcome predicted by those on Wall Street as well as Hank Paulson, then Treasury Secretary to President Bush, was a massive recession with millions of jobs lost and a huge demographic of people who are working at jobs for less money requiring less of their their talents. Armageddon arrived and we managed to steer our way of of the roughest waters for the time being, but we also proved that the Too Big To Fail hypothesis was dead wrong.

So they have a scapegoat that they are going to send to prison without involving any of her superiors, affiliates or the actual conspirators who created LPS and DOCX. The case proves, however, that people CAN go to jail for these crimes and that the line we were fed about it not being illegal was incorrect or an outright lie. The truth, as we now know it, is that the actions of the banks were a total fraud and that many entities and companies and institutions aided and abetted the the most massive fraud in human history.

Thus the issue is no longer whether there is a case that can be made, proven and thus sending people to jail and ordering restitution to all the injured stakeholders. Instead the issue of who will get thrown under the bus so that nobody really “important” gets the adjoining prison cells.

The recession was her fault. Meet Wall Street’s scapegoat, the one person to get jail time for the most massive mortgage fraud in history. By David Dayen

“This scheme was part of the giant bundle of illegal conduct known as foreclosure fraud. According to statements of fact from the Justice Department, from 2003 to 2009 DocX recorded over one million fake documents. That’s probably a low number. DocX wasn’t just forging signatures, they were fabricating entire loan files. During the bubble years, they created a now-infamous mortgage fabrication price sheet, where mortgage servicers, who had trouble proving in court that they owned the homes they wanted to put into foreclosure, could purchase, at low prices, whatever documents they needed. To “Recreate Entire Collateral File,” basically the whole set of documents including the promissory note? That would set a servicer back $95.00.”

Shiller: Is Housing Recovery Real?

World renowned economist Robert Shiller, in a candid interview with Drew Sandholm of CNBC, gives a realistic perspective on the housing market. Calling the housing bubble a “once in a lifetime thing,” Shiller says that the outlook is uncertain. The “recovery” even if housing increases by 3% per annum, would in reality be flat, especially after the superstorm that hit the Northeast.

The chilling comment from the economist who showed us graphically how the housing bubble of the mortgage meltdown was so out of whack with history, is that the true recovery could take as long as 50 years. This unthinkable consequence is not so far off if you look at the factors that led up to the bubble and the enormous surge in home prices while “value” of housing was flat or even decreasing. The surge during a 4-5 year period blasted through any charts on the subject, most notably the Case-Shiller Index which removes inflation from the computation.

The long and short of it is that we have years, perhaps decades to recover from the shock the economy received from the Wall Street players who flooded the housing market with money causing a blow out in prices as underwriting standards were completely ignored in favor of “getting the deal done.”

We are left with treating each tragic case of foreclosure on a case by case basis which most of the people cannot afford to do. Having drained their savings and retirement in the hopes of keeping their homes they are without funds to challenge the banks who have all the money the investors gave them and now have all the money from proceeds of sales of foreclosure homes.

At some point someone with authority must demand from the banks an accounting for what happened. How is it possible for the banks to collect federal bailouts, insurance and proceeds from credit default swaps when they were using investor money?

If the loss falls to the investor because of foreclosure and market conditions, why didn’t they get the money from bailouts, insurance and CDS? And why  should we not treat the money the banks got as money received by agents of the investors reducing the obligation of homeowners?

Why are we quibbling about “principal reduction” when the principal has already been reduced by payment? Why did the banks divert the paperwork away from the investors and put “nominees” or strawmen on the notes, mortgages and deeds of trust?

The ugly truth is that Wall Street was playing with deposits from investors and calling it proprietary trades. Heads we win, tails you lose. If we allow that we have condoned theft.

And THAT is why I think the banks can be beaten in court. If you trace the money first and demand to see the money trail from beginning to end from the Master Servicer, Trustee and foreclosing agent the true nature of these transactions will emerge. And when all is said and one, if we don’t challenge this despicable scheme, the banks, having cornered the market on “money” (with over 10 times the amount of government authorized money) they now are seeking to corner the real estate market and become the world’s largest landowner.

Banks are allowed to exist to facilitate commerce, not capture it. They should be regulated like utilities so that when they go off the reservation with obtuse machinations of financial products, they are quickly reined in. That regulation can only come from winning in court since the regulatory agencies, while recognizing the problem are too timid to seek the appropriate relief.

shiller-housing-recovery-could-50-125741773.html

Advice to Politicans: Run Against the Banks, not Foreclosures

GOOD CAMPAIGN SLOGANS:

“I will fight to bring the mega-banks under control”
” I will fight for reporting requirements that reveal insolvent banks before they threaten our financial system again.”
” I will fight for audits of reporting to identify exotic financial instruments that are cover-ups for PONZI schemes”

” I will fight to recover the losses that threaten the solvency of our retirement funds.”

I am Neil F Garfield, Esq., author and editor of Livinglies.wordpress.com, now approaching 8 million visits. In South Florida I was a Democratic political strategist and was invited to run for Congress, which I declined. I  would like to brin attention an issue that will help in the polls and the election: housing — without talking about housing. Talking about the banks.

Like most candidates, Candidates staying away from the issue of housing and the relationship of the housing crisis to the economy of the State of Arizona and the nation. The problem is that attacking foreclosure sounds to some voters that you are looking to give a free ride to people who don’t deserve it. It is easier and more effective to attack the banks generally and not the specific subject of foreclosures.

Candidates who have listened to my advice have followed this guidance: run against the banks, not foreclosure. Too many politicians are getting money from the banking lobby and making Wall Street off limits. People are still seething from the bailouts and tricks of “securitization” (which never actually happened) of defective, botched, mortgage closings. I am prepared to bring together hundreds of people in a free seminar at which Carmona is featured as the man who who understands the problem and the man who will fight to correct it. I have a big following.

The facts are that the defaults resulting in actual losses are still less than $2 trillion, but bailouts and purchases are now near $20 trillion (50% more than the principal of ALL mortgages); yet the federal government has failed to act on that because of the fear that if the shadow banking system collapses, it will bring the legitimate banking system with it.

This is not true. There are more than 7,000 community banks and credit unions who can easily pick up the functions of the mega banks thanks to the backbone of electronic funds transfer. All of these institutions are small enough to regulate using existing resources. Leaving insolvent mega-banks alone means that we either increase the regulatory budget geometrically or wait for the next, bigger collapse. 40% of the wealth of  America’s hardworking citizens and retirees was lost, but the question that is not being asked is where did it go?

The shadow system dwarfs the actual monetary system. The shadow system consisting of derivative contracts and insurance amounts to over $800 trillion in private contracts that are treated as cash equivalent. The actual amount of actual, real money issued by fiat by all countries across the globe is less than $80 trillion. Do the Math. But most of the $800 trillion is pure fiction that will not take one penny out of the economy of any nation, state or city, because they are offset by bets in the other direction. Yet the bets are counted cumulatively with the intention of holding a hammer over the heads of government agencies and officials — so their threat appears (shadow) than it really is.

Permitting the shadow banking to stay on the books without adequate reporting and transparency is an invitation to disaster. It is a disaster waiting to happen whenever it suits the banks to go after bailouts again. This is what is allowing the currently insolvent mega banks to show fictitious assets of their balance sheet and leave off $ trillions in liabilities resulting from their diversion of money from innocent investor-lenders and diversion of paperwork from those investors and the borrowers.

Next year, because of the reporting requirements currently allowed, pension benefits are going to get slashed against existing retirees. The “underfunded” status of these retirement funds has already been sent up as trial balloon. The follow up is “no money, no benefits” (or a reduction in benefits). Nobody wants to talk about that until the election is over. Jack Kennedy won the 19060 election because of a perceived missile gap. This is real. There is a gap between the money that should be in the economy and the investors who bought bogus mortgage bonds from REMICS trusts that never had the money or the loans. This gap will result in the inability of these funds to continue payments at current levels or require another federal bailout. Do your fact checking on underfunded retirement funds.

These insolvent banks are going to collapse — a prediction we have made through simple arithmetic, just as I did in 2007 when I predicted the banks that would fail, and the order in which they would fail.  People know it already and will not be surprised by a politician bringing up the fact that our economy is improving despite the downward pressure of sham transactions, sham assets and the non-disclosure of liabilities. A politician who brings the fight to Flake and other Republicans who have voted solidly with the banks, will strike a cord in even the most right wing “Conservative” republican.

Should you wish to receive any further assistance on the economy, housing or Wall Street, I am available by email and my cell phone 954-494-6000. Do a few focus groups, as I have. Include people from all parts of the political spectrum and you will find that one are of universal agreements is that the banks are to blame for our crisis. And government has not failed to properly regulate, they have failed to collect taxes and fees that would go a long way to balancing local, state and federal budgets.

When the American electorate is awake, they are pretty smart. They are awake now and most of them are waiting to hear from someone who wants to deal with the improper reporting from the mega banks who are insolvent but pretending to contribute to the nations GDP and employment. Just try it out — stop people on the street at random. Politicians are missing a golden opportunity to trounce their opponents. The issue is hidden only because everyone is afraid of it and it appears too complex to explain. It can be boiled down to a few simple phrases:

“I will fight to bring the mega-banks under control”
” I will fight for reporting requirements that reveal insolvent banks before they threaten our financial system again.”
” I will fight for audits of reporting to identify exotic financial instruments that are cover-ups for PONZI schemes”

” I will fight to recover the losses that threaten the solvency of our retirement funds.”

CFPB Safe Harbor Rule Would Allow Homeowners to Fight Bad Mortgages

Editor’s Comment: The practice of disregarding normal loan underwriting standards creates a claim that homeowners were tricked into loans that they could never repay. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, built by Elizabeth Warren under Obama’s direction is about to pass a rule that addresses that very issue. The new Rule would allow homeowners contesting foreclosure to introduce evidence challenging whether the “lender” correctly determined a borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

The details of the test for the “safe harbor” provision that is being contested are not yet known. The objective is to separate those who are using general knowledge of bad practices in the industry from those who were actually hurt by those practices. It would provide the presiding judge with a simple, clear test to determine whether the evidence submitted (not merely allegations — so the burden is still on the homeowner) are sufficient to determine that the “lender” wrote a loan that it knew or should have known could not be repaid.

The game being indirectly addressed here is that the participants in the fake securitization scheme intentionally wrote bad loans and then were successful at entering into contracts that paid insurance, credit default swap and federal bailout proceeds to the participants in the scheme even though they neither made the loan nor did the forecloser actually buy the loan (no money exchanged hands).

Those who do not meet the test would have “frivolous” claims dismissed summarily by the Judge. But they would have other grounds to sue the “lender” or the party making false claims of default and foreclosure. Those who do meet the test, would defeat the foreclosure leaving the loan in a state of limbo.

The net legal effect of the rule could be that the mortgage is void and the note is no longer considered evidence of the entire transaction — because the risk of loss on the homeowner shifts to the lender, at least in part. This would clear the path for principal reduction and new loans that would correct the corruption of title in the county title records.

The rule is coming at the behest of the Federal Reserve, which has is own problems on how to account for the trillions they have advanced for “bad” mortgages or worthless bogus mortgage bonds.

The question remains whether the purchase of these bonds conveys some right of action to collect money that the investors advanced, and who would receive that money. It also leaves open the question of whether a mortgage bond purportedly owned by the Federal reserve or even sold by the the Federal Reserve changes the players with standing to bring lawsuits or other foreclosure proceedings.

This rule, when it is finally written and passed, won’t solve all the problems but it could have a cascading effect of restoring at least some homeowners to at least a better financial condition than the one in which they find themselves.

The issue that would be interesting to see litigated is whether the homeowners who meet the test now have a claim to recover part or all of the money they paid on the mortgage thus far or if they are given an additional credit for the overage they paid — another way of reducing principal.

The bottom line is that there is recognition at all levels of government agencies —Federal and State — that there are problems with the origination of the loans and not just with the robo-signed assignments, allonges endorsements and fake powers of attorney. This recognition is going to be felt throughout the regulatory and judicial system and will redirect the attention of Judges to the reality that Wall Street banks wanted bad loans so they could make millions on each bad loan through multiple sales of the same loans using insurance, credit default swaps, TARP and other schemes to cover it all up.

www.housingwire.com by John Prior

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray told a House committee Thursday that mortgage lenders would still not be safe if the bureau elects to grant a safe harbor provision to the upcoming Qualified Mortgage rule.

“The safe harbor versus rebuttable presumption is a mirage,” Cordray said. “Even safe harbor isn’t safe. You can always be sued for whether you meet the criteria or not to get into the safe harbor. It’s a bit of a marketing concept there. The more important point is are we drawing bright lines? If someone were to say to me safe harbor or anything else, I would go with a safe harbor. But I don’t think safe harbor is truly safe. And I think it oversimplifies the issue.”

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. then right away pressed Cordray on which he would choose: a safe harbor or rebuttable presumption. The director was forced to remind him the rule was still under development and would be finalized in January.

“I have not taken a position. I have discussed the issue,” Cordray said.

Mortgage industry lobbyists have been pressing the bureau since it overtook QM rulemaking responsibility from the Federal Reserve last year to install “clear, bright lines” and a legal safe harbor that protects lenders from future homeowner suits during foreclosure.

A rebuttable presumption provision allows homeowners to introduce evidence in court challenging whether the lender correctly determined a borrower’s ability to repay the loan before it was written. But a safe harbor allows a simple test for a judge to find if the mortgage met the QM rule, and frivolous suits could be dismissed early.

The Mortgage Bankers Association even showed the CFPB that attorney fees go up to an average $84,000 for a summary judgment from $26,000 if it’s dismissed. The risk of this increased cost would be passed on to borrowers, they claim.

Some consumer advocacy groups previously said such suits are rare, and a safe harbor could clear lenders from risks down the road rule makers cannot anticipate now.

Cordray repeatedly said in the hearing Thursday that his goal on QM and upcoming rules for the mortgage market is to protect consumers but not cut off access to credit. Forcing courts to define areas left gray by regulators is not something he would permit.

“As a former attorney general in Ohio, gray areas of the law are not appreciated,” Cordray said. “They’re difficult for people trying to comply. If we write rules that are murky, they’ll end up getting resolved in courts and it will take years and be very expensive. We are making real efforts to draw very bright lines.”

jprior@housingwire.com

Barofsky: We Are Headed for a Cliff Because of Housing

Editor’s Note: Hera research conducted an interview with Neil Barofsky that I think should be  read in its entirety but here the the parts that I thought were important. The After Words are from Hera.

After Words

According to Neil Barofsky, another financial crisis is all but inevitable and the cost will be even higher than the 2008 financial crisis. Based on the way that the TARP and HAMP programs were implemented, and on the watering down of the Dodd-Frank bill, it appears that big banks are calling the shots in Washington D.C. The Dodd-Frank bill left risk concentrated in a few large institutions while doing nothing to remove perverse incentives that encourage risk taking while shielding bank executives from accountability. Neither of the two main U.S. political parties or presidential candidates are willing to break up “too big to fail” banks, despite the gravity of the problem. The assumption that another financial crisis can be prevented when the causes of the 2008 crisis remain in place, or have become worse, is unrealistic. In the mean time, what Mr. Barofsky describes as a “parade of scandals” involving highly unethical and likely criminal behavior is set to continue unabated. Although the timing and specific areas of risk are not yet known, there is no doubt that U.S. taxpayers will be stuck with another multi-trillion dollar bill when the next crisis hits.

*Post courtesy of Hera Research. Hera Research focuses on value investing in natural resources based on original geopolitical, macroeconomic and financial market analysis related to global supply and demand and competition for natural resources

Excerpts from Interview:

HR: Did the TARP help to restore confidence in U.S. institutions and financial markets?

Neil Barofsky: Yes, but it was intended and required by Congress to do much more than that and Treasury said that it was going to deploy the money into banks to increase lending, which it never did.

HR: Were the initial goals of the TARP realistic?

Neil Barofsky: First, if the goals were unachievable, Treasury officials should never have promised to undertake them as part of the bargain. Second, even if the goals were not entirely achievable, it would have been worth trying. Treasury officials didn’t even try to meet the goals.

HR: Can you give a specific example?

Neil Barofsky: The justification for putting money into banks was that it was going to increase lending. Having used that justification, there was an obligation, in my view, to take policy steps to achieve that goal, but Treasury officials didn’t even try to do it. The way it was implemented, there were no conditions or incentives to increase lending.

HR: What policy steps could the U.S. Department of the Treasury have taken to help the economy?

Neil Barofsky: There are all sorts of things that Treasury could have done. For example, they could have reduced the dividend rate—the amount of money that the banks had to pay in exchange for being bailed out—for lending over a baseline, which would have decreased the bank’s obligations. Or, they could have insisted on greater transparency so that banks had to disclose what they were doing with the funds. Treasury chose not to do any of these things.

HR: Weren’t there other housing programs like the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)?

Neil Barofsky: Yes, but there were choices made to help the balance sheets of struggling banks rather than homeowners. The HAMP program was a massive failure but it wasn’t preordained. It was the result of choices made by Treasury officials.

HR: What could have been done differently in the HAMP?

Neil Barofsky: HAMP was deeply flawed with conflicts of interest baked into the program. The management of the program was outsourced to the mortgage servicers, which were thoroughly unprepared and ill equipped. The program encouraged servicers to extend out trial modifications. It was supposed to be a three month period but it often turned into more than a year. The servicers, because they could accumulate late fees for each month during the trial period, were incentivized to string the trial periods out then pull the rug out from under the homeowner, putting them into foreclosure, without granting a permanent mortgage modification. The servicers could make more money doing that then by doing mortgage modifications. If they had done permanent mortgage modifications, the banks couldn’t have kept the late fees.

HR: Are you saying that the program encouraged banks to extract as much cash as possible from homeowners before foreclosing on them anyway?

Neil Barofsky: Yes. The mortgage servicers exploited the conflicts of interest that were in the program, and blatantly broke the rules, and Treasury did nothing.

HR: When you were serving as Inspector General for TARP, you issued a report indicating that government commitments totaled $23.7 trillion. What was that about?

Neil Barofsky: $23.7 trillion was simply the sum of the maximum commitments for all the financial programs related to the financial crisis. The number was misconstrued as a liability but the government never stood to lose that much. For example, the government guarantee of money market funds was a multi-trillion dollar commitment. Of course, not all of that money could have been lost because it would have required every fund to go to zero. The government guaranteed commercial paper but, again, for that commitment to have been wiped out, every company would have had to have defaulted. But the numbers were very important in terms of transparency. All of the data were provided by the agencies responsible for the various programs, so the $23.7 trillion number was simple arithmetic. It was important to understand the scope of the extraordinary actions that were being taken.

HR: What are the potential future losses that the U.S. government—that taxpayers—might have to absorb?

Neil Barofsky: The real issue is the potential for another financial crisis because we haven’t fixed the core problems of our financial system. We still have banks that are “too big to fail.” Standard & Poor’s estimated last year that the up-front cost of another crisis, including bailing out the biggest banks yet again, would be roughly 1/3 of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) or about $5 trillion. The resulting problems will be even bigger.

HR: What were the problems resulting from the 2008 financial crisis?

Neil Barofsky: When you look at the fiscal impact of the 2008 crisis, you have to look at it not only in terms of lost tax revenues and increased government debt, but also in terms of the loss of household wealth. People who became unemployed suffered tremendous losses and the government’s social benefit costs expanded accordingly. One of the reasons we had the debt ceiling debate last year, when the U.S. credit rating was downgraded, and why we are facing a fiscal cliff ahead is the legacy of the 2008 crisis.

We have a lot less dry powder to deal with a new crisis and we almost certainly will have one.

HR: Why do you expect another financial crisis?

Neil Barofsky: It just comes down to incentives. A normally functioning free market disciplines businesses. The presumption of bailout for “too big to fail” institutions changes the incentives of a normally functioning free market. In a free market, if an institution loads up on risky assets with too little capital standing behind them, it will be punished by the market. Institutions will refuse to lend them money without extracting a significant penalty. Counterparties will be wary of doing business with companies that have too much risk and too little capital. Allowing “too big to fail” institutions to exist removes that discipline. The presumption is that the government will stand in and make the obligations whole even if the bank blows up. That basic perversion of the free market incentivizes additional risk.

HR: Are “too big to fail” banks taking more risks today than they did before?

Neil Barofsky: Bailouts give bank executives an incentive to max out short term profits and get huge bonuses, because if the bank blows up, taxpayers will pick up the tab. The presumption of bailout increases systemic risk by taking away the incentives of creditors and counterparties to do their jobs by imposing market discipline and by incentivizing banks to act in ways that make a bailout more likely to occur.

HR: Is it just a matter of the size of banking institutions?

Neil Barofsky: The big banks are 20-25% bigger now than they were before the crisis. The “too big to fail” banks are also too big to manage effectively. They’ve become Frankenstein monsters. Even the most gifted executives can’t manage all of the risks, which increases the likelihood of a future bailout.

HR: Since bank executives are accountable to their shareholders, won’t they regulate themselves?

Neil Barofsky: The big banks are not just “too big to fail,” they’re ‘too big to jail.’ We’ve seen zero criminal cases arising out of the financial crisis. The reality is that these large institutions can’t be threatened with indictment because if they were taken down by criminal charges, they would bring the entire financial system down with them. There is a similar danger with respect to their top executives, so they won’t be indited in a federal criminal case almost no matter what they do. The presumption of bailout thus removes for the executives the disincentive in pushing the ethical envelope. If people know they won’t be held accountable, that too will encourage more risk taking in the drive towards profits.

HR: So, it’s just a matter of time before there’s another crisis?

Neil Barofsky: Yes. The same incentives that led to the 2008 crisis are still in place today and in many ways the situation is worse. We have a financial system that concentrates risk in just a handful of large institutions, incentivizes them to take risks, guarantees that they will never be allowed to fail and ensures that the executives will never be held accountable for their actions. We shouldn’t be surprised when there’s another massive financial crisis and another massive bailout. It would be naïve to expect a different result.

HR: Didn’t the Dodd-Frank bill fix the financial system?

Neil Barofsky: Nothing has been done to remove the presumption of bailout, which is as damaging as the actual bailout. Perception becomes reality. It’s perception that ensures that counterparties and creditors will not perform proper due diligence and it’s perception that encourages them to continue doing business with firms that have too much risk and inadequate capital. It’s perception of bailout that drives executives to take more and more risk. Nothing has been done to address this. The initial policy response by Treasury Secretaries Paulson and Geithner, and by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, was to consolidate the industry further, which has only made the problems worse.

HR: The Dodd-Frank bill contains 2,300 pages of new regulations. Isn’t that enough?

Neil Barofsky: There are tools within Dodd-Frank that could help regulators, but we need to go beyond it. The parade of recent scandals and the fact that big banks are pushing the ethical and judicial envelopes further than ever before makes it clear that Dodd-Frank has done nothing, from a regulatory standpoint, to prevent highly unethical and likely criminal behavior.

HR: Is the Dodd-Frank bill a failure?

Neil Barofsky: The whole point of Dodd-Frank was to end the era of “too big to fail” banks. It’s fairly obvious that it hasn’t done that. In that sense, it has been a failure. Dodd-Frank probably has been helpful in the short term because it increased capital ratios, although not nearly enough. If we ever get over the counter (OTC) derivatives under control, that would be a good thing and Dodd-Frank takes some initial steps in that direction. I think that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a good thing.

Nonetheless, the financial system is largely in the hands of the same executives, who have become more powerful, while the banks themselves are bigger and more dangerous to the economy than before.

HR: How are OTC derivatives related to the risk of a new financial crisis?

Neil Barofsky: Credit default swaps (CDS) were specifically what brought down AIG, and synthetic CDOs, which are entirely dependent on derivatives contracts, contributed significantly to the financial crisis. When you look at the mind numbing notional values of OTC derivatives, which are in the hundreds of trillions, the taxpayer is basically standing behind the institutions participating in these very opaque and, potentially, very dangerous markets. OTC derivatives could be where the risks come from in the next financial crisis.

HR: Can anything be done to prevent another financial crisis?

Neil Barofsky: We have to get beyond having institutions, any one of which can bring down the financial system. For example, Wells Fargo alone does 1/3rd of all mortgage originations. Nothing can ever happen to Wells Fargo because it could bring down the entire economy. We need to break up the “too big to fail” banks. We have to make them small enough to fail so that the free market can take over again.

HR: Does the political will exist to break up the largest banks?

Neil Barofsky: The center of neither party is committed to breaking up “too big to fail” banks. Of course, pretending that Dodd-Frank solved all our problems, as some Democrats do, or simply saying that big banks won’t be bailed out again, as some Republicans have suggested, is unrealistic. Congress needs to proactively break up the “too big to fail” banks through legislation. Whether that’s through a modified form of Glass-Steagall, size or liability caps, leverage caps or remarkably higher capital ratios, all of which are good ideas, we need to take on the largest banks.

HR: Do you think the U.S. presidential election will change anything?

Neil Barofsky: No. There’s very little daylight between Romney and Obama on the crucial issue of “too big to fail” banks. Romney recently said, basically, that he thinks big banks are great and the Obama Administration fought against efforts to break up “too big to fail” banks in the Dodd-Frank bill. Geithner, serving the Obama White House, lobbied against the Brown-Kaufman Act, which would have broken up the “too big to fail” banks.

HR: What will it take for U.S. lawmakers to finally take on the largest banks?

Neil Barofsky: Some candidates have made reforms like reinstating Glass-Steagall part of their campaigns but the size and power of the largest banks in terms of lobbying campaign contributions is incredible. It may well take another financial crisis before we deal with this.

HR: Thank you for your time today.

Neil Barofsky: It was my pleasure.

Shadow Inventory: 1 in 5 homes are underwater and current on payments

HOME PRICES SET TO DROP AGAIN!

Editor’s Comment: You can spin this anyway you want, but the facts speak for themselves. People are worn out living under mountains of debt, some need to move for job purposes, and some need to reduce their payments because they are running out of resources to pay a mortgage balance that is based upon a valuation that was never valid in the first place.

With no proper redress of grievances from government despite thousands of cases showing that the banks were engaged in the largest economic crime in human history, these people will be forced to make the decision of strategic default — albeit on loans that are probably invalid starting at origination for reasons expressed in most of recent articles.

As pensions get slashed, household income continues to drop, wages are cut and expenses rise, it is fantasy to think or believe that most of these people won’t eventually walk from their homes, grieving over their loss of lifestyle and loss of social networks built up over years or even decades where homeowners were scammed into refinancing their homes based upon fraudulent appraisals.

The goal of the banks in pushing foreclosures is obvious. They are not stupid. The lower they can get housing prices, the less it will cost to buy them and the more profit they will get when they sell or rent them. Where they are mistaken is that they seem to believe that the bottom is near, and that their profits from these foreclosures will materialize anytime soon. True, since they were neither the lender who funded the loan nor were they the purchaser who bought the obligation, note and mortgage, whatever they get is profit — the ultimate “free house.”

When you combine the huge numbers of homes where the homeowners are declared delinquent or in default and combine those with the even larger number of homes where the owners simply cannot stay, there is nothing other than an over-abundance of supply and an underwhelming number of people who are willing or able to buy.

lps-underwater-borrowers-face-challenges-if-prices-drop-again

Everyone Else Knows: Why Do We Continue To Ignore It?

Featured Products and Services by The Garfield Firm

——–>SEE TABLE OF CONTENTS: WHOSE LIEN IS IT ANYWAY TOC

LivingLies Membership – If you are not already a member, this is the time to do it, when things are changing.

For Customer Service call 1-520-405-1688

Editor’s Comment:

In a short article by Patrick Jenkins in the Financial Times (Doubts Over Lending Push), it seems that everyone in Europe understands the problem well, and that the the consequences are dire but are unsure about what to do about it. Here in the United States housing is the elephant in the living room that nobody really wants to talk about. European leaders don’t like talking about it either but they are doing it anyway. Maybe they actually care what happens next unlike American politicians who seem to enjoy creating catastrophes, then handing power over to the other party and blaming them for the results.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are battling it out over economic policies and whether lower taxes and fiscal stimulus will benefit the economy. Mitt wants to cut what is left of federal and state spending thus deepening the depression or recession or whatever it is. Barack wants to stimulate economic growth with more money. How about this: they are both wrong. And the Europeans, for all their chaotic political intrigues, are zooming in on the cure a lot faster than we are because we won’t even talk about it.

Both candidates seem to think that cheaper money and more of it delivered to the banks and large corporations will stimulate borrowing and commerce. But Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors boiled it down to one simple sentence: “Companies alarmed by the euro crisis will not be eager to borrow, regardless of the cost.” It is obviously obvious to anyone with a brain that companies are not going to borrow unless they think they need the money.

And they are not going to think they need the money unless demand is going up. With unemployment topping out near Great Depression levels, why would anyone think that commerce can be revived? Add in the fact that real wages have declined over the last 30 years and you can easily see why companies won’t borrow unless they think they can make money increasing their debt burden. Who does the buying — fairies? It’s consumers, stupid, and they are broke, tapped out on credit, and have very little confidence in their prospects.

The Europeans actually understand that there is a difference between the real economy and the one reported in the newspapers. The real one is where a strong middle class has savings and resources and they buy things. The one in the newspapers is all about paper and trades with companies buying and selling each other and “bets” being made on who is right about bonds, stocks and other crazy financial “innovations.”

Virtually half of the GDP published by Washington is made up of paper trades where the typical citizen is left out of the equation altogether. So here is a repeat of my prediction regarding the stock market: either it will “crash” in a correction that is congruent with actual commerce levels or the financial institutions and rating agencies will continue to rate and recommend securities of companies whose substance is gone —- called zombies in the FI article.

BOA is one such Zombie institution. It’s broke. Everyone knows it’s broke and yet they persist on pretending that it is just fine. Then they want consumers to express confidence in the economy or government. Why should they?

Everyone understands that the problem is housing and the fraudulent printing of “money” by private banks dwarfing any real money supply that is supplied by world governments. $700 TRILLION is traded as cash equivalents while world governments, even with quantitative easing have issued less than $70 TRILLION in real currency. Why would anyone think that taxes or stimulus or quantitative easing (printing money) could even nick the side of this barn. We are being forced to sustain a false tree of money on which thousands of branches are hanging onto a trunk that is not there and never was. Fear is now the dominant word that describes the behavior of world leaders and the leaders of central banks.

Here is the solution and it is the application of justice at the same time: since the mortgage papers contained lies and did not disclose the identity of the lender nor the actual terms of repayment, there is no law in existence that would allow such a transaction to become  an encumbrance on the land.

Add to that the fact that the transaction recited never took place because the borrower was actually doing business with a stranger where money DID exchange hands but was never documented, and you have the answer: the mortgages are invalid, the notes are invalid and the the banks having been already paid several times over for a loss they never incurred but instead foisted upon pension funds and sovereign wealth funds from other nations, let’s call it a day.

I don’t care if people get an unfair advantage or perk for being a victim in this scheme. I don’t care if this interferes with the ideology of personal responsibility (which is being ignorantly applied to this situation). I care about the country, our society and what will happen if our economy can’t come up off the ground. I care that too many people are underemployed or unemployed. I care that average savings are zero and that most Americans have suffered a grievous loss of wealth.

I care that there are not enough people to buy things because they don’t have any money. Rescind the so-called mortgage transactions, let the branches of derivatives and credit default swaps and other bets and enhancements fall to the ground. It’s not as bad as you think. Most of the bets settle out to zero exchanges because with certain exceptions the bets are balanced.

The world will not end if we give homeowners their homes free and clear of any encumbrance. The governments could even prosper if they took an interest in those mortgages they already purchased (or think they purchased) and imposed a fair mortgage with fair terms based upon realistic current market conditions in housing and finance. Then people would be returned to their former status in far less time, the rate of commerce would improve, the real economy would recover and the fake economy and the people who go with it can take a hike or go to jail, if we dare to put them there.

BUY THE BOOK! CLICK HERE!

BUY WORKSHOP COMPANION WORKBOOK AND 2D EDITION PRACTICE MANUAL

GET TWO HOURS OF CONSULTATION WITH NEIL DIRECTLY, USE AS NEEDED

COME TO THE 1/2 DAY PHOENIX WORKSHOP: CLICK HERE FOR PRE-REGISTRATION DISCOUNTS

YAHOO STUDY: VOTERS WANT ACTION ON HOMEOWNER CRISIS

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary CLICK HERE TO GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT

EDITOR’S COMMENT: It is clear that once again the politicians are leading from behind, which is to say they are not leading, they are reacting. Well they should react to this: voters perceive the problem with the economy as related to housing. Economists agree. Voters also agree that the efforts to maintain the status quo for the mega Banks are wrong. Conclusion: Any politician who does not run against the Banks and who avoids the necessary solutions based upon truth and reality in the housing market, is committing political suicide. Voters are not buying what politicians are selling.

This applies to both Major political parties. One party, the Republicans actively supports the Banking lobby. The other party, the Democratic Party does so passively. We wind up with platitudes and action so tepid that it doesn’t make a difference. People want to see tangible improvement with realistic hope. And they know what is real because they are wide awake now and they don’t like what they see.

SEE YAHOO STUDY

On the brink of a Presidential Election year, a majority of American adults believe that the federal government should do more to assist homeowners, many of whom have troubled mortgages or are teetering on foreclosure or bankruptcy.

That’s a key finding of a Yahoo! Real Estate survey of 1,500 current and aspiring homeowners, fielded in October. The study, known as Home Horizons 2012, was mapped to the U.S. adult population of homeowners and renters.

Altogether, 51% of American adults agree that the government should do more to rescue homeowners at risk of losing their mortgage, while 27% disagree and 22% don’t have an opinion. Among those with opinions on the matter, about two-thirds believe the government should offer additional assistance such as low-cost loans.

The study also finds that four out of five adults believe that the 2012 Presidential Election will have either a small or large influence on the housing market. Altogether, 43% of respondents believe that the national election will have a large influence on the housing market.

Neither major political party fares especially well in the study with regard to perceptions of the impact that either may make on the troubled housing market. One third of respondents said neither party would make either a positive or negative impact on the housing market.

However, more adult respondents stated that Republicans’ impact on the housing market would be negative, at 39%, edging the Democrats’ negative numbers at 32%. Accordingly, Democrats’ also scored higher positive numbers, 35% to the Republicans’ 27%.

With 11 months left until national elections, the troubled housing market is not front-and-center either in Republican debates or in Obama administration talking points. Congress, obsessed with budget deficits, appears to be experiencing bailout fatigue.

Seeking Help

Meanwhile, the housing crisis is still grim in some areas, particularly where high unemployment is the status quo. Although housing prices have stabilized in many parts of the country, it’s also true that home prices are still sinking in many cities such as Las Vegas, Nev., putting significant pressure on homeowners with negative equity.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), a powerful industry trade group, favors government intervention. “Helping even more families stay current on their mortgage and remain in their homes will continue to reduce the negative impact of foreclosures on families and communities and aid in the recovery,” a spokeswoman told Yahoo! Real Estate.

According to Stan Humphries, Chief Economist at Zillow, “28.6% of single-family homes with mortgages are in a negative equity position. That’s about 15 or 16 million,” mortgages that may need assistance. But, he adds, “There’s no silver bullet to knock out negative equity.”

Humphries favors “options that keep the current owner in the house.” To that end, he contends that private investors have options that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might not be able to implement such as principle write-downs, renegotiating the terms of a mortgage to a lower rate, or in some cases renting out a house to current owner directly.”

What’s in Place

To date, the federal government has enacted two key laws to help homeowners with troubled mortgages refinance to more manageable payments:

    • The Home Affordable Foreclosure Avoidance Program (HAFA) is designed to help streamline the short-sale process; and


  • The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) helps underwater homeowners avoid foreclosure by refinancing their mortgage to make it more affordable. But, the recently revised HARP 2 is only available for refinances of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held loans, according to NAR.

Is the program working effectively? Since 2008 there have been 4.02 million foreclosure sales, according to LPS Applied Analytics, but another eight million home mortgages are at risk according to a recent Bank of America report.

Still, through the third quarter of this year, the Federal Finance Housing Agency reports that it has “completed nearly 2 million foreclosure prevention actions,” of which “nearly 1.7 million … have allowed borrowers to retain homeownership, with more than one million being permanent loan modifications.”

But not everyone is happy about it. “The situation would be much worse if none of those programs or efforts had been tried,” contends Bruce Hahn, president of the Grassroots Alliance, an advocacy group in Arlington, Va. “But we still have an extremely serious problem. We need something more dramatic – a game changer.”

No Bottom Yet

Housing could take on a larger role in the 2012 national political debate if potential voters such as Bonnie, a renter in Kansas City, Mo., who is not in the market to buy a home, makes her voice heard. “I think homeowners should have a chance to keep their home, like lower payments etc.,” she says. “No one should be homeless or have to live in their cars. After all, we’re supposed to be a rich country. We send money to other countries and that’s okay, but I believe charity begins at home.”

Despite the passions of the electorate, there is no consensus political solution to the mortgage crisis. “A large-scale government policy that’s going to fix all of this – no one has seen such a thing,” says Zillow’s Humphries. “Stabilization in home prices and then a slow upward movement in prices to work down negative equity – that’s a multiyear affair.”

And homeowner bailouts may not appeal to the mortgage industry. “You’ve had many programs put in place to curb foreclosures and they really haven’t worked,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, appearing as a guest on a Bloomberg program earlier this month. “You have a serious problem in the housing market that just needs to be worked out over time.”

Meyer sees no housing recovery on the horizon: “It will be hard for prices not to fall further – I would say another 5% decline from here on a national basis.” Paradoxically, if Meyer’s pessimistic forecast comes true, many more homeowners will demand mortgage relief programs from the federal government in 2012.

Though a thriving housing market recovery would appear to serve everyone’s interests, there are competing views about how to reverse the fortunes of this vital industry. Political solutions may be hard to come by, especially in an election year in which the presidency and possession of both houses of Congress are at stake.

 

%d bloggers like this: