BOA DEATH WATCH: Ironic Twist for Zombie Banks

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CITI and BOA Headed for Extinction

Editor’s Notes and Analysis:  

The bottom line here is that I have yet another prediction and I am just as certain of this as the ones Brad Keiser and I issued in September, 2008. Actually it is the same prediction all over again and for pretty much the same reason. I am not just boasting when I say that every single prediction, description and process I have been writing about has turned out to be dead on right despite the jeers it received when published. I actually have some people running through the books and the more than 3,000 Blog Articles to list those predictions, give you the cite, and describe the outcome.

In, 2007 when the DOW was around 14,000 I predicted that it would crash with a low in the 5,000 range, a rebound and then equilibrium in the 7,000 range. If you don’t want to wait for our article on our predictions and their accuracy, go look it up for yourself right here on this blog. And the reason was that the banks were playing a trick on the market and our society. They were merely the conduit for a financial transaction between investor lenders and the homeowner borrowers. They had forced appraisals into uncharted territory that we won’t see again for at least 30-40 years.

The trick was that they created a paperwork trail that they controlled absolutely, and financial trail of self-dealing that remains hidden to this day. Those deals are now dead branches hanging off of a dead tree. By originating the loans with “bankruptcy remote” vehicles the banks made it appear as though the transaction was set in stone (or rather on paper) and the appearance of the documents was like any other real estate transaction — so even seasoned professionals (at first) didn’t have a clue what was going on).

The paperwork was all about a story of a financial transaction that never happened. With very few exceptions none of the terms, conditions and recitals in the promissory note, mortgage (Deed of Trust), Settlement statement (HUD-1), Good Faith Estimate (GFE) or other disclosures  had any basis in fact. There was no financial transaction between the named parties. Consumers take out loans all the time with the assumption that the originator of the loan is the creditor in the transaction and that they are getting money or value from that originator.

Consumers also assume that the terms of repayment offered to the lender were the same as the terms offered to the borrower. And therefore the consumers assume that if the “Loan” is secured on personal property or real property, that the collector calling them  has every right to demand payment and enforce the repossession of the personal property or the foreclosure of the real property. But this wasn’t the case.

The investor lenders took it as an article of faith that banks with reputations dating back into the 1800’s wold want to keep that reputation intact. In fact the quasi public rating agencies made the same assumption. And everyone assumed that NOBODY would want to make a loan that was required to fail in order for the banks to make the ungodly amounts of money they made.

As we predicted over the last 3 years, the ratings of the big banks that led the way down the securitization rabbit hole, are headed toward junk status. As one article in the New York Times puts it, think about what would happen to your life if your credit rating went from 850 to 600 or lower. The debts of the major banks have now been reduced to near junk status and they are still headed down.

The reason these rating agencies have struck down the ratings is that they too were tricked at the front end when they gave investment grade ratings for pension funds to invest — without such ratings, the pension funds, City operating funds, sovereign wealth funds, were not allowed to make the purchase. So the game was on at the beginning to buy their way into the agencies with fishing trips and other inducements and threats, to get the rating necessary in order to receive money from public and private pension funds and trusts.

Now those rating companies have done what they should have done at the beginning. If they had done the due diligence, the entire scheme would have failed on the front end, and if the appraisers were more strictly regulated under threat of huge penalties and liabilities, the transactions would have failed on the back end.

As stated on these pages for months, these big banks are neither big nor banks. They claimed ownership of loans for the sole purpose of trading an ever widening tree of what were once legitimate hedge products wherein an investor protects themselves as to risk of loss by paying a premium that will reduce the return they’re getting but virtually eliminates the possibility of risk.

With loans, it was a simple proposition. Armed with a Triple A rating from the ratings companies, investment bankers sold loans, bundles and bonds forward when there was nothing to sell. Armed with fraudulent appraisals, documents, and disclosures, originators would offer fictitious loan products that bore no relationship to the loans offered to the lenders.

Now the rating companies have examined the books, records and process of these loans and arrived at the same conclusion we reached in 2008. None of these loans were owned by the banks, none of the obligation was subject to any documentation in favor of the actual lenders, and the “assets” on the books are pure fairy tails because they never owned the loans or the bonds. And because of a rule that allows banks to report markdowns for assets held in the United Stated states, but allows them to ignore the write-downs for “foreign” investments, they are able to lie about the assets nd ignore the incredibly huge liabilities facing these banks.

BOA is  dead man walking masquerading as what was once a bank. It cannot recover. Neither can Citi, and there is a big question mark over JP Morgan Chase. Two Banks are about to fall like the twin towers — BOA and Citi. Besides a total loss for the shareholders and most of the creditors, it will release millions of homes from the threat of foreclosure and allow for recovery of millions of homes that were illegally foreclosed. The rating agencies have realized that the foreclosures were merely a device to mask the loss and throw it onto investor lenders. But the rating agencies understand fully now that the pension fund would be violating law and contract by taking loans already declared in default. So for the lawyers out there — there was an offer, no acceptance (nor any possibility of acceptance), and no consideration for the transaction the banks want to use to pitch the loss onto the investor.

That loss cannot be thrown onto the investors because the deal the investors bought was not executed. They didn’t get a good loan within 90 days. Now when a Judge enters a foreclosure order or judgment, the Judge doesn’t realize that he has opened a can of worms. because the main interest (the loss of real creditors) was just litigated without notice or the ability to appear. And the implication of each such order and judgment is that the loan actually made it into a pool, when there were no pools, there are no pools, and the money the dealers took from the government (a) should have been paid to the investors (b) should have been paid only to the extent of their loss — not a multiple payment when the loan or “pool” failed and (c) and those payments (over leveraged in every case) exceeded the amount of the loan to the borrower or the obligation to the investor.

By entering that order, the Judge is saying to investors that THEY are deadbeats unworthy of due process. By entering that order, the Judge has ruled that contrary to the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement, prospectus and the Internal revenue Code, he is making a factual and permanent finding that the investor must NOW accept and did accept a defaulted loan that would have been rated below junk.

There is an old expression that applies here. “You can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other.” You can’t screw the homeowner borrowers also without screwing the investors — pension funds etc.. The rating agencies have come to what is a startling conclusion for them — the assets are not real and the liabilities are grossly understated. The rating for these “banks” is about to be cut to junk status or below. Citi and BOA are headed for extinction sometime in the next 6 months (last time we said 6 months it was 6 weeks, when we predicted the fall of the banks, and the order in which they would fall).

So that is the prediction — no matter who is elected to the White House or Congress or legislatures or state law enforcement the banks and the regulators stepped on a rake in 1998 and it is now coming up to bash their head into tiny pieces that more than 7,000 performing and conforming banks are ready and willing to clean up. BOA and Citi are done.

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Another Ruse: Realtors Gleeful over Equator Short Sale Platform

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Editor’s Comment:

Banks have adopted a technology platform to process short sale applications. It is called Equator, presumably to imply that it equates one thing with another, and produces a result that either gives a pass or fail to the application. In theory it is a good thing for those people who want to save their homes, save their credit (up to a point) and move on. In practice it essentially licenses the real estate broker to take control over the negotiations and police the transactions so that the new “network” rules are not violated. This reminds me of VISA and MasterCard who control the payment processing business with the illusion of being a quasi governmental agency. Nothing could be further from the truth, but bankers react to net work threats as though the IRS was after them.

Equator is meant as another layer of illusion to the title problem that realtors and title companies are trying to cover up. The short sale is getting be the most popular form of real estate sale because it is a form of principal reduction where there is some face-saving by the banks and the borrowers. The problem is that while short sales are a legitimate form of workout,  they leave the elephant in the living room undisturbed — short sales approved by banks and servicers who have neither the authority nor the interest in the loan to even be involved except as an agent of Equator but NOT as an agent of the lenders,  if they even exist anymore.

So using the shortsale they get the signature of the borrower as seller which gives them a layer of protection if they are the bank or servicer approving the short-sale. But it fails to cure the title defect, especially in millions of transactions in which Nominees (like MERS and dummy originators) are in the chain of title. 

The true owner of the obligation is a group of investor lenders who appear to have only one thing in common— they all gave money to an investment bank or an affiliate of an investment bank, where it was divided up and put into various accounts, some of which were used to fund mortgages and others were used to pay fees and profits to the investment bank on the closing of the “deal” with the investor lenders. As far as the county recorder is concerned, those deposits and splits are nonexistent. 

The investor lenders were then told that their money was pooled in a “Trust” when no such entity ever existed or was registered to do business and no attempt was made to fund the trust. An unfunded trust is not a trust. This, the investor lenders were told was a REMIC entity.  While a REMIC could have been established it never happened  in the the real world because the only communications between participants in the securitization chain consisted of a spreadsheet describing “closed loans.” Such communications did not include transfer, assignment or even transmittal or delivery of the closing papers with the borrower. Thus as far as the county recorder’s office is concerned, they still knew nothing. Now in the shortsales, they want a stranger the transaction to take the money and run — with no requirement that they establish themselves as creditors and no credible documentation that they are the owner of the loan.

This is another end run around the requirements of basic law in property transactions. They are doing it because our government officials are letting them do it, thus implicitly ratifying the right to foreclose and submit a credit bid without any requirement of proof or even offer of proof.

It gets worse. So we have BOA agreeing to accept dollars in satisfaction of a loan that they have no record of owning. The shortsale seller might still be liable to someone if the banks and servicers continue to have their way with creating false chains of ownership. But the real tragedy is that the shortsale seller is probably getting the shaft on a false premise — I.e, that the mortgage or deed of trust had any validity to begin with. 

The shortsale Buyer is most probably buying a lawsuit along with the house. At some point, the huge gaps in the chain of title are going to cause lawyers in increasing numbers to object to title and demand that it be fixed or that the client be adequately covered by insurance arising from securitizatioin claims. Thus when the shortsale Buyer becomes a seller, that is when the problems will first start to surface.

Realtors understand this analysis whereas buyers from Canada and other places do not understand it. But realtors see shortsales as the salvation to their diminished incomes. Thus most realtors are incentivized to misrepresent the risk factors and the title issues in favor of controlling the buyer and the seller into accepting pre-established criteria published by the members of Equator. It is securitization all over again, it is MERS all over again, it is a further corruption of our title system and it is avoiding the main issue — making the victims of this fraud whole even if it takes every penny the banks have. Realtors who ignore this can expect that they and their insurance carriers will be part of the gang of targeted deep pockets when lawyers smell the blood on the floor and go after the perpetrators.

Latest Changes to The Bank of America Short Sale Process

by Melissa Zavala

When processing short sales, it’s important to know about how each of the lending institutions handles loss mitigation and paperwork processing. If you have done a few short sales in Equator with different lenders, you may see what while your same Equator account is used for all your short sales at all the lending institutions, each of the servicers uses the platforms in a different manner.

Using the Equator system

When processing short sales, it’s important to know about how each of the lending institutions handles loss mitigation and paperwork processing. Many folks already know that Equator is the online platform used by 5 major lenders (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Nationstar, GMAC, and Service One). If you have done a few short sales in Equator with different lenders, you may see what while your same Equator account is used for all your short sales at all the lending institutions, each of the servicers uses the platforms in a different manner.

And, my hat goes off to Bank of America for really raising the bar when it comes to short sale processing online. And, believe me, after processing short sales with Bank of America in 2007, this change is much appreciated.

New Bank of America Short Sale Process

Effective April 13, 2012, Bank of America made a few major changes that may make our short sale processing times more efficient.  The goal of these changes is to make short sale processing through Equator (the Internet-based platform) at Bank of America so efficient that short sale approval can be received in less than one month.

First off, Bank of America now requires their new third party authorization for all short sales being processed through the Equator system. Additionally, the folks at Bank of America will be working to improve task flow for short sales in Equator by making some minor changes to the process.

According to the Bank of America website,

Now you are required to upload five documents (which you can obtain at www.bankofamerica.com/realestateagent) for short sales initiated with an offer:

  • Purchase Contract including Buyer’s Acknowledgment and Disclosure
  • HUD-1
  • IRS Form 4506-T
  • Bank of America Short Sale Addendum
  • Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form

And, now, you will have only 5 days to submit a backup offer if your buyer has flown the coop.

The last change is a curious one, especially for short sale listing agents, since it often takes awhile to find a new buyer after you learn that the current buyer has changed his or her mind.

Short sale listings agents should be familiar with these changes in order to assure that they are providing their client with the most efficient short sale experience possible.


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