What is the difference between the note and the debt? What difference does it make?

NOTE: This case reads like  law review article. It is well worth reading and studying, piece by piece. Judge Marx has taken a lot of time to research, analyze the documents, and write a very clear opinion on the truth about the documents that were used in this case, and by extension the documents that are used in most foreclosure cases.

Simple answer: if you had a debt to pay would you pay it to the owner of the debt or someone else who says that you should pay them instead? It’s obvious.

Second question: if the owner of the debt is really different than the party claiming to collect it, why hasn’t the owner shown up? This answer is not so obvious nor is it simple. The short version is that the owners of the risk of loss have contracted away their right to collect on the debt, note or mortgage.

Third question: why are the technical requirements of an indorsement, allonge etc so important? This is also simple: it is the only way to provide assurance that the holder of the note is the owner of the note. This is important if the note is going to be treated as evidence of ownership of the debt.

NY Slip Opinion: Judge Paul I Marx carefully analyzed the facts and the law and found that there was a failure to firmly affix the alleged allonge which means that the note possessor must prove, rather than presume, that the possessor is a holder with rights to enforce. U.S. Bank, N.A. as Trustee v Cannella April 15, 2019.

Now the lawyers who claim U.S. Bank, N.A. is their client must prove something that doesn’t exist in the real world. This a problem because U.S. Bank won’t and can’t cooperate and the investment bank won’t and can’t allow their name to be used in foreclosures.

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Words actually matter — in the world of of American Justice, under law, without words, nothing matters.
So it is especially important to presume nothing and actually read words without making any assumptions. Much of what we see in the language of what is presented as a conveyance is essentially the same as a quitclaim deed in which there is no warranty of title and which simply grants any interest that the grantor MIGHT have. It is this type of wording that the banks use to weaponize the justice system against homeowners.
There is no warranty of title and there is no specific grant of ownership in an assignment of mortgage that merely says the assignor/grantor conveys “all beneficial interest under a certain mortgage.” Banks want courts to assume that means the note and the debt as well. But that specific wording is double-speak.
It says it is granting rights to the mortgage; but the rest of wording  is making reference only to what is stated in the mortgage, which is not the note, the debt or any other rights. So in effect it is saying it is granting title to the mortgage and then saying the same thing again, without adding anything. That is the essence of double speak.
In the Cannela Case Judge Marx saw the attempt to mislead the court and dealt with it:

The language in RPAPL § 258, which this Court emphasized—”together with the bond or obligation described in said mortgage“—stands in sharp contrast to the language used here in the Assignment—”all beneficial interest under a certain Mortgage”. If such language is mere surplusage, as Plaintiff seems to believe, the drafters of RPAPL § 258 would not have included it in a statutory form promulgated for general use as best practice.

So here is the real problem. The whole discussion in Canella is about the note, the indorsement and the allonge. But notice the language in the opinion — “The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt “…. So the Judge let it slip (pardon the pun) that when he refers to the note he means the debt.


The courts are using “the debt” and “the note” as being interchangeable words meaning the same thing. I would admit that before the era of false claims of securitization I used the words, debt, note and mortgage interchangeably because while there were technical  difference in the legal meaning of those terms, they all DID mean the same thing to me and everyone else.
While a note SHOULD be evidence of the debt and the possession of a note SHOULD be evidence of being a legal note holder and that SHOULD mean that the note holder probably has rights to enforce, and therefore that note “holder” should be the the owner of a debt claiming foreclosure rights under a duly assigned mortgage for which value was paid, none of that is true if the debt actually moved in one or more different directions — different that is from the paper trail fabricated by remote parties with no interest in the loan other than to collect their fees.
The precise issue is raised because the courts have almost uniformly assumed that the burden shifts to the homeowner to show that the debt moved differently than the paper. This case shows that might not be true. But it will be true if not properly presented and argued. In effect what we are dealing with here is that there is a presumption to use the presumption.
If Person A buys the debt (for real) for value (money) he is the owner of the debt. But that is only true if he bought it from Person B who also paid value for the debt (funded the origination or acquisition of the loan). If not, the debt obviously could not possibly have moved from B to A.
It is not legally possible to move the debt without payment of value. It IS possible to appoint agents to enforce it. But for those agents seeking to enforce it the debtor has a right to know why he should pay a stranger without proof that his debt is being collected for his creditor.
The precise issue identified by the investment banks back in 1983 (when securitization started) is that even debts are made up of component parts. The investment banks saw they could enter into “private contracts” in which the risk of loss and other bets could be made totalling far more than the loan itself. This converted the profit potential on loans from being a few points to several thousand percent of each loan.
The banks knew that only people with a strong background in accounting and investment banking would realize that the investment bank was a creditor for 30 days or less and that after that it was at most a servicer who was collecting “fees’ in addition to “trading profits” at the expense of everyone involved.
And by creating contracts in which the investors disclaimed any direct right, title or interest in the collection of the loan, even though the investor assumed the entire risk of loss, the investment banks could claim and did claim that they had not sold off the debt. Any accountant will tell you that selling the entire risk of loss means that you sold off the entire debt.
* Thus monthly payments, prepayments and foreclosure proceeds are absorbed by the investment bank and its affiliates under various guises but it never goes to reduce a debt owned by the people who have paid value for the debt. In this case, and all similar cases, U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee (or any trustee) never received nor expected to receive any money from monthly payments, prepayments or foreclosure proceeds; but that didn’t stop the investment banks from naming the claimant as U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee.
**So then the note might be sold but the alleged transfer of a mortgage is a nullity because there was no actual transfer of the debt. Transfer of the debt ONLY occurs where value is paid. Transfer of notes occurs regardless of whether value was paid.
US laws in all 50 states all require that the enforcer of a mortgage be the same party who owns the debt or an agent who is actually authorized  by the owner of the debt to conduct the foreclosure. For that to be properly alleged and proven the identity of the owner of the debt must be disclosed.
That duty to disclose might need to be enforced in discovery, a QWR, a DVL or a subpoena for deposition, but in all events if the borrower asks there is no legal choice for not answering, notwithstanding arguments that the information is private or proprietary.
The only way that does not happen is if the borrower does not enforce the duty to disclose the principal. If the borrower does enforce but the court declines that is fertile grounds for appeal, as this case shows. Standing was denied to U.S. Bank, as Trustee, because it failed to prove it was the holder of the note prior to initiating foreclosure.
It failed because the fabricated allonge was not shown to be have been firmly attached so as to become part of the note itself.
Thus the facts behind the negotiation of the note came into doubt and the presumptions sought by attorneys for the named claimant were thrown out. Now they must prove through evidence of transactions in the real world that the debt moved, instead of presuming the movement from the movement of the note.
But if B then executes an indorsement to Person C you have a problem. Person A owns the debt but Person C owns the note. Both are true statements. Unless the indorsement occurred at the instruction of Person B, it creates an entirely new and separate liability under the UCC, since the note no longer serves as title to the debt but rather serves as presumptive liability of a maker under the UCC with its own set of rules.
And notwithstanding the terms of the mortgage to the contrary, the mortgage no longer secures the note, which is no longer evidence of the debt; hence the mortgage can only be enforced by the person who owns the debt, if at all. The note which can only be enforced pursuant to rules governing the enforcement of negotiable instruments, if that applies, is no longer secured by the mortgage because the law requires the mortgage to secure a debt and not just a promissory note. See UCC Article 9-203.
This is what the doctrine of merger is intended to avoid — double liability. But merger does not happen when the debt owner and the Payee are different parties and neither one is the acknowledged agent of a common principal.
Now if Person B never owned the debt to begin with but was still the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage you have yet another problem. The note and debt were split at closing. In law cases this is referred to as splitting the note and mortgage which is presumed not to occur unless there is a showing of intent to do so. In this case there was intent to do so. The source of lending did not get a note and mortgage and the broker did get a note and mortgage.
Normally that would be fine if there was an agency contract between the originator and the investment bank who funded the loan. But the investment bank doesn’t want to admit such agency as it would be liable for lending and disclosure violations at closing, and for servicing violations after closing.
***So when the paperwork is created that creates the illusion of transfer of the mortgage without any real transaction between the remote parties because it is the investment bank who is all times holding all the cards. No real transactions can occur without the investment bank. The mortgage and the note being transferred creates two separate legal events or consequences.
Transfer of the note even without the debt creates a potential asset to the transferee whether they paid for it or not. If they paid for it they might even be a holder in due course with more rights than the actual owner of the debt. See UCC Article 3, holder in due course.
Transfer of the note without the debt (i.e. transfer without payment of value) would simply transfer rights under the UCC and that would be independent of the debt and therefore the mortgage which, under existing law, can only be enforced by the owner of the debt notwithstanding language in the mortgage that refers to the note. The assignment of mortgage was not enough.
Some quotables from the Slip Opinion:

A plaintiff in an action to foreclose a mortgage “[g]enerally establishes its prima facie case through the production of the mortgage, the unpaid note, and evidence of default”. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n v Sabloff, 153 AD3d 879, 880 [2nd Dept 2017] (citing Plaza Equities, LLC v Lamberti, 118 AD3d 688, 689see Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Brewton, 142 AD3d 683, 684). However, where a defendant has affirmatively pleaded standing in the Answer,[6] the plaintiff must prove standing in order to prevail. Bank of New York Mellon v Gordon, 2019 NY Slip Op. 02306, 2019 WL 1372075, at *3 [2nd Dept March 27, 2019] (citing HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, 130 AD3d 983, 983-984HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Calderon, 115 AD3d 708, 709Bank of NY v Silverberg, 86 AD3d 274, 279).

A plaintiff establishes its standing in a mortgage foreclosure action by showing that it was the holder of the underlying note at the time the action was commenced. Sabloff, supra at 880 (citing Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Taylor, 25 NY3d 355, 361U.S. Bank N.A. v Handler, 140 AD3d 948, 949). Where a plaintiff is not the original lender, it must show that the obligation was transferred to it either by a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note. Id. Because the mortgage automatically passes with the debt as an inseparable incident, a plaintiff must generally prove its standing to foreclose on the mortgage through either of these means, rather than by assignment of the mortgage. Id. (citing U.S. Bank, N.A. v Zwisler, 147 AD3d 804, 805U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754).

Turning to the substantive issue involving UCC § 3-202(2), Defendant contends that the provision requires that an allonge must be “permanently” affixed to the underlying note for the note to be negotiated by delivery. UCC § 3-202(1) states, in pertinent part, that if, as is the case here, “the instrument is payable to order it is negotiated by delivery with any necessary indorsement”. UCC § 3-202(1) (emphasis added). The pertinent language of UCC § 3-202(2) provides that when an indorsement is written on a separate piece of paper from a note, the paper must be “so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” UCC § 3-202(2) (emphasis added); Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v Kelly, 166 AD3d 843 [2nd Dept 2018]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, supra at 985see also One Westbank FSB v Rodriguez, 161 AD3d 715, 716 [1st Dept 2018]; Slutsky v Blooming Grove Inn, 147 AD2d 208, 212 [2nd Dept 1989] (“The note secured by the mortgage is a negotiable instrument (see, UCC 3-104) which requires indorsement on the instrument itself `or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof’ (UCC 3-202[2]) in order to effectuate a valid `assignment’ of the entire instrument (cf., UCC 3-202 [3], [4])”).

[Editor’s note: if it were any other way the free spinning allonge would become a tradable commodity in its own right. ]

The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt was simultaneously being assigned to Plaintiff.


TPS — Third Party Strangers in Mortgage Cases

I’m sharing the wording I use in my TERA and Case Analysis reports now. I think the benefit of this wording is that it fills in the blank on who is the real creditor (owner of the debt). Hopefully it answers the following informal question lurking in the context of mortgage litigation: “If the parties claiming enforcement rights are not the owners or representatives of the owners then who is?”

Those who have that question in mind are asking the wrong party when they pose it to the homeowner as if the homeowner had an obligation to present a credible narrative of what actually happened to their loan. And the strategy of the foreclosure mills is to keep the questions directed at homeowners instead of themselves so that their prima facie case is presumed and never proven.

Just to be clear — and to avoid confusion sewn by foreclosure mill lawyers — the owner of the debt would have the following characteristics:

  • Paid value for the debt

  • Expecting payment arising from the debt itself (i.e., in accounting terms the subject debt is carried as an asset that falls under the category of a receivable, in this case a loan receivable.

  • Unencumbered authority to transact any business affecting the subject debt .

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Here is the current wording I use in my analysis and reports:

Standards and customary practices in commercial banking, lending, investment banking and auditing require, at a minimum, a reference to the date and parties to a transaction so that the data can be confirmed. This is also required in courts of law under the category of “foundation.” No such references are made in the entire paper chain relied upon by the current claimant. The wording of each document appears to side-step the issue of an actual financial transaction and skips to memorializing the proffered transaction. 

Our conclusion is that the payee on the note is almost certainly part of a failed securitization scheme. It follows then that the alleged loan transaction is a table-funded loan, and described as both against public policy and predatory under REG Z of the Federal Truth in Lending Act. We consider it certain that all actual funds came from a third party stranger (TPS) in a transaction predating the loan itself and/or predating the erroneously implied purchase of the loan or both. Hence in this case the TPS is the party who paid value for the debt and is therefore the owner of the debt. 

Standards and customary practices in commercial banking, lending, investment banking and auditing require, at a minimum, a reference to the TPS and any successors to TPS with sufficient descriptive certainty to confirm the authority of those persons or entities claiming ownership, rights to enforce, or rights to service the subject loan on behalf of the TPS or its successors, if any.

In the absence of any reference or proof of payment, payment is not presumed under generally accepted accounting principles as published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The failure to reference actual monetary payment causes a rebuttable presumption in auditing that there is an absence of an actual monetary payment and therefore that the documents memorializing a transaction are fabricated, entitled to no legal presumption of authenticity or validity.

An alternative explanation is that the documents were not fabricated but prepared in anticipation of an actual transaction that failed to occur. Either way the conclusion is the same, i.e., that the documents refer to a nonexistent transaction and should be discarded.

The normal and reasonable presumption is that the “predecessor” would only have transferred a valuable ownership interest in the subject debt upon payment of money or the equivalent; the lack of payment creates a presumption that there was nothing upon which a claim for payment could be made. Therefore the transfer of a promissory note as “title” to the debt from a party who had no right, title or interest in the debt conveys nothing, and a transfer of a mortgage or beneficial interest in a deed of trust would also convey nothing.

Presumptions are intended ONLY as a convenience — not to alter a result. If they would alter the result then they should be discarded. If there are two different results — one based upon legal presumptions and the other based on facts both the auditor and the court should discard the presumptions and go with the facts. 

The only thing I would add is that the title confusion and the convoluted schematics of failed securitization are not the result or fault of any action undertaken by homeowners —- ever. The burden of proving a prima facie case is and always has been on the party making the claim or initiating action for relief through foreclosure of a security interest. In our system of justice that is black letter bedrock of all legal matters in dispute.

Such a party has not proven a prima facie case if the entire body of evidence is based upon various presumptions — unless the homeowner fails to object. The objection does not change the homeowner’s burden of proof; it changes the would-be forecloser’s burden of proof. Upon timely and reasonable objection the presumptions falls away and the foreclosure mill must actually prove the facts they previously sought to be presumed. Theoretically there is no prejudice to the foreclosure mill; but we all know that most foreclosures would fail if actual proof was required.

As for the cataclysmic end of the financial system feared by judges, lawyers and regulators, blind justice requires that the chips fall where the evidence points. Anything less allows the system to punish homeowners for the errors and misdeeds of the banks.

Banks Fighting Subpoenas From FHFA Over Access to Loan Files

Whilst researching something else I ran across the following article first published in 2010. Upon reading it, it bears repeating.

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In a nutshell this is it. The Banks are fighting the subpoenas because if there is actually an audit of the “content” of the pools, they are screwed across the board.

My analysis of dozens of pools has led me to several counter-intuitive but unavoidable factual conclusions. I am certain the following is correct as to all residential securitized loans with very few (2-4%) exceptions:

  1. Most of the pools no longer exist.
  2. The MBS sold to investors and insured by AIG and the purchase and sale of credit default swaps were all premised on a general description of the content of the pool rather than a detailed description with the individual loans attached on a list.
  3. Each Prospectus if it carried any spreadsheet listing loans, contained a caveat that the attached list was by example only and not the real loans.
  4. Each distribution report contained a caveat that the parties who created it and the parties who delivered it did not guarantee either authenticity or reliability of the report. They even had specific admonitions regarding the content of the distribution report.
  5. NO LOAN ACTUALLY MADE IT INTO ANY POOL. The evidence is clear: nothing was done to assign, indorse or deliver the note to the investors directly or indirectly until a case went into litigation AND a hearing was scheduled. By that time the cutoff date had been breached and the loan was non-performing by their own allegation and therefore was not acceptable into the pool.
  6. AT ALL TIMES LEGAL TITLE TO THE PROPERTY WAS MAINTAINED BY THE HOMEOWNER EVEN AFTER FORECLOSURE AND SALE. The actual creditor who submitted a credit bid was not the creditor. The sale is either void or voidable.
  7. AT ALL TIMES LEGAL TITLE TO THE LOAN WAS MAINTAINED BY THE ORIGINATING “LENDER”. Since there was no assignment, indorsement or delivery that could be recognized at law or in fact, the originating lender still owns the loan legally BUT….
  8. AT ALL TIMES THE OBLIGATION WAS BOTH CREATED AND EXTINGUISHED AT, OR CONTEMPORANEOUSLY WITH THE CLOSING OF THE LOAN. Since the originating lender was in fact not the source of funds, and did not book the transaction as a loan on their balance sheet (in most cases), the naming of the originating lender as the Lender and payee on the note, both created a LEGAL obligation from the borrower to the Lender and at the same time, the LEGAL obligation was extinguished because the LEGAL Lender of record was paid in full plus exorbitant fees for pretending to be an actual lender.
  9. Since the Legal obligation was both created and extinguished contemporaneously with each other, any remaining obligation to any OTHER party became unsecured since the security instrument (mortgage or deed of trust) refers only to the promissory note executed by the borrower.
  10. At the time of closing, the investor-lenders were the real parties in interest as lenders, but they were not disclosed nor were the fees of the various intermediaries who brought the investor-lender money and the borrower’s loan together.
  12. Nearly ALL investor-lenders have been paid sums of money to satisfy the promise to pay contained in the bond. These payments always exceeded the borrowers payments and in many cases paid the obligation in full WITHOUT SUBROGATION.
  13. NO LOAN IS IN ACTUAL DEFAULT OR DELINQUENCY. Since payments must first be applied to outstanding payments due, payments received by investor-lenders or their agents from third party sources are allocable to each individual loan and therefore cure the alleged default. A Borrower’s Non-payment is not a default since no payment is due.
  14. ALL NOTICES OF DEFAULT ARE DEFECTIVE: The amount stated, the creditor, and other material misstatements invalidate the effectiveness of such a notice.
  15. NO CREDIT BID AT AUCTION WAS MADE BY A CREDITOR. Hence the sale is void or voidable.
  18. ANY BALANCE DUE FROM THE BORROWER IS SUBJECT TO AN EQUITABLE CLAIM FOR A LIEN TO REFLECT THE INTENTION OF THE INVESTOR-LENDER AND THE INTENTION OF THE BORROWER.  Both the investor-lender and the borrower intended to complete a loan transaction wherein the home was used to collateralize the amount due. The legal satisfaction of the originating lender is not a deduction from the equitable satisfaction of the investor-lender. THUS THE PARTIES SEEKING TO FORECLOSE ARE SUBJECT TO THE LEGAL DEFENSE OF PAYMENT AT CLOSING BUT THE INVESTOR-LENDERS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THAT DEFENSE.
  19. The investor-lenders ALSO have a claim for damages against the investment banks and the string of intermediaries that caused loans to be originated that did not meet the description contained in the prospectus.
  20. Any claim by investor-lenders may be subject to legal and equitable defenses, offsets and counterclaims from the borrower.
  21. The current modification context in which the securitization intermediaries are involved in settlement of outstanding mortgages is allowing those intermediaries to make even more money at the expense of the investor-lenders.
  22. The failure of courts to recognize that they must apply the rule of law results not only in the foreclosure of the property, but the foreclosure of the borrower’s ability to negotiate a settlement with an undisclosed equitable creditor, or with the legal owner of the loan in the property records.

Loan File Issue Brought to Forefront By FHFA Subpoena
Posted on July 14, 2010 by Foreclosureblues
Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Editor’s Note….Even  U.S. Government Agencies have difficulty getting
discovery, lol…This is another excellent post from attorney Isaac
Gradman, who has the blog here…http://subprimeshakeout.blogspot.com.
He has a real perspective on the legal aspect of the big picture, and
is willing to post publicly about it.  Although one may wonder how
these matters may effect them individually, my point is that every day
that goes by is another day working in favor of those who stick it out
and fight for what is right.

Loan File Issue Brought to Forefront By FHFA Subpoena

The battle being waged by bondholders over access to the loan files
underlying their investments was brought into the national spotlight
earlier this week, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the
regulator in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued
64 subpoenas seeking documents related to the mortgage-backed
securities (MBS) in which Freddie and Fannie had invested.
has been in charge of overseeing Freddie and Fannie since they were
placed into conservatorship in 2008.

Freddie and Fannie are two of the largest investors in privately
issued bonds–those secured by subprime and Alt-A loans that were often
originated by the mortgage arms of Wall St. firms and then packaged
and sold by those same firms to investors–and held nearly $255 billion
of these securities as of the end of May. The FHFA said Monday that it
is seeking to determine whether issuers of these so-called “private
label” MBS misled Freddie and Fannie into making the investments,
which have performed abysmally so far, and are expected to result in
another $46 billion in unrealized losses to the Government Sponsored
Entities (GSE).

Though the FHFA has not disclosed the targets of its subpoenas, the
top issuers of private label MBS include familiar names such as
Countrywide and Merrill Lynch (now part of BofA), Bear Stearns and
Washington Mutual (now part of JP Morgan Chase), Deutsche Bank and
Morgan Stanley. David Reilly of the Wall Street Journal has written an
article urging banks to come forward and disclose whether they have
received subpoenas from the FHFA, but I’m not holding my breath.

The FHFA issued a press release on Monday regarding the subpoenas
(available here). The statement I found most interesting in the
release discusses that, before and after conservatorship, the GSEs had
been attempting to acquire loan files to assess their rights and
determine whether there were misrepresentations and/or breaches of
representations and warranties by the issuers of the private label
MBS, but that, “difficulty in obtaining the loan documents has
presented a challenge to the [GSEs’] efforts. FHFA has therefore
issued these subpoenas for various loan files and transaction
documents pertaining to loans securing the [private label MBS] to
trustees and servicers controlling or holding that documentation.”

The FHFA’s Acting Director, Edward DeMarco, is then quoted as saying
““FHFA is taking this action consistent with our responsibilities as
Conservator of each Enterprise. By obtaining these documents we can
assess whether contractual violations or other breaches have taken
place leading to losses for the Enterprises and thus taxpayers. If so,
we will then make decisions regarding appropriate actions.” Sounds
like these subpoenas are just the precursor to additional legal

The fact that servicers and trustees have been stonewalling even these

powerful agencies on loan files should come as no surprise based on

the legal battles private investors have had to wage thus far to force

banks to produce these documents. And yet, I’m still amazed by the

bald intransigence displayed by these financial institutions. After

all, they generally have clear contractual obligations requiring them

to give investors access to the files (which describe the very assets

backing the securities), not to mention the implicit discovery rights

these private institutions would have should the dispute wind up in

court, as it has in MBIA v. Countrywide and scores of other investor


At this point, it should be clear to everyone–servicers and investors
alike–that the loan files will have to be produced eventually, so the
only purpose I can fathom for the banks’ obduracy is delay. The loan
files should, as I’ve said in the past, reveal the depths of mortgage
originator depravity, demonstrating convincingly that the loans never
should have been issued in the first place. This, in turn, will force
banks to immediately reserve for potential losses associated with
buying back these defective mortgages. Perhaps banks are hoping that
they can ward off this inevitability long enough to spread their
losses out over several years, thereby weathering the storm caused (in
part) by their irresponsible lending practices. But certainly the
FHFA’s announcement will make that more difficult, as the FHFA’s
inherent authority to subpoena these documents (stemming from the
Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008) should compel disclosure
without the need for litigation, and potentially provide sufficient
evidence of repurchase obligations to compel the banks to reserve
right away. For more on this issue, see the fascinating recent guest
post by Manal Mehta on The Subprime Shakeout regarding the SEC’s
investigation into banks’ processes for allocating loss reserves.

Meanwhile, the investor lawsuits continue to rain down on banks, with
suits by the Charles Schwab Corp. against Merrill Lynch and UBS, by
the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund against Countrywide, and by
Cambridge Place Investment Management against Goldman Sachs, Citigroup
and dozens of other banks and brokerages being announced this week. If
the congealing investor syndicate was looking for political cover
before staging a full frontal attack on banks, this should provide
ample protection. Much more to follow on these and other developments
in the coming days…
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Posted by Isaac Gradman at 3:46 PM

New Mexico Supreme Court: No Standing for Deutsch

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Hat tip to Ken McLeod
So we are coming full circle where the assertions I advanced starting in 2007 are finally being accepted by the Courts. This is happening because the Courts are, at a minimum, highly suspicious of whether a real creditor exists and whether the banks are still involved in an illegal scheme in which they literally had to lie, cheat and steal to make their scheme work while at the same time making it look like “this is a standard foreclosure” which is the refrain used by bank lawyers in millions of cases.
The trial court, as usual, found that Deutsch had standing — even if they didn’t own the debt and even though it was apparent there a snowstorm of paper to cover up the fact that nobody involved in that foreclosure, except the homeowners, had any interest in the property, the debt, the note or the mortgage.
The appellate court disagreed with the trial court and the Supreme court of New Mexico affirmed the appellate court with an opinion.
The lawyers for Deutsch Bank, who probably knew nothing about the lawsuit, performed all sorts of gymnastics to “prove” they owned the loan. But what it really comes down to is that they were relying on legal presumptions as a substitute for proof. The attitude of the trial Judge was reflective of the pandemic of judicial tolerance for fraud. The plain fact is that if Deutsch actually owned the debt they would have said so. If Deutsch actually had paid for the debt, the loan, the loan documents they would have said so, asserting they are a holder in due course who had purchased for value in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.
The UCC in virtually all states accepts the proposition that the maker of a note, even if it was procured by fraud, bears the risk of loss on the note and on the mortgage if they were actually purchased for value, in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. Why wouldn’t Deutsch have alleged that if they really owned the loan? The answer is obvious. The Trust is a sham with no business activity. The Trustee is window dressing who has no duties and whose Trust department has nothing to do with an empty trust.
Since the sale of MBS to investors was NOT followed by payment to the Trustee on behalf of the Trust, there is nothing for the Trustee to administer and no duties to perform except receiving their monthly fee for keeping their mouth shut.
This case is a good example of the double-speak offered by parties who wish to initiate foreclosure. The tide is turning. If the mistakes of the past are continued, we are opening the door to a new industry — trolling for debt, creating false assignments and enforcing the debts as though the assignment was real. I can even see how parties might simply troll mailboxes and give a new address and name for the payment of even a household bill. Some evidence of this new industry has already started in California and other states.
It is not the fault of borrowers that there is no creditor to be found, resulting from the infinite intermingling of investor funds such that it is impossible to identify a creditor or even a group of creditors in some dynamic slush fund in which money is coming in every minute and money is going out every minute. Thousands of investors in thousands of alleged Trusts have lost any nexus between their money and any loans that were allegedly made.


What to Do When the “Original” Note is Proferred

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There are two issues when the other side presents original documents. First is that they say these are originals and they do not accompany it with an affidavit from someone with actual personal knowledge of the transactions or the high bar for business records exceptions to hearsay. My experience is that 50-50, the documents are original or fabricated by use of Photoshop and a laser printer or dot matrix printer. So what you need to do is to go down to the clerk’s office and see what they filed. It would not be unusual for them to file a copy saying it was the original. Second, on that same point, the original can be examined. When the signatures are heavy there should be indentations on the back. Also a notary stamp tends to bleed through the paper to the back.

The second major point is the issue of holder v owner. The owner of the debt is entitled to the ultimate relief, not the note-holder unless the other side fails to object. So along with the proffering of the “originals” they must tell the story, using competent foundation testimony, how they came into possession of the note. In discovery this is done by asking to see proof of payment and proof of loss. Which is to say that you want to see the canceled check or wire transfer receipt that paid for the “transaction” in which the possessor of the note became a holder under UCC and is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they are the owner. If there is no transaction for value, then the note was not negotiated under the terms of the UCC.

Since they possess the note there is a hairline allowance that they may sue for the collection on a note in which they have no financial sake but there is no ability to win if the borrower denies they received the money or that the possessor of the note obtained the note for purposes of litigation and is not the creditor — i.e., the party who could properly submit a credit bid at auction by a creditor as defined by Florida statutes, nor are they able to execute a satisfaction of mortgage because even upon the receipt of the money they have no loss, and under the terms of the note itself the overpayment is due back to the borrower.

And just as importantly, they cannot modify the mortgage so any submission to them for modification is futile without them showing proof of payment, proof of loss and/or authority to speak for and represent the interests of an identified creditor.

An identified creditor is not merely a name but is a report of the name of the owner of the debt, the contact person and their contact information. Then you can contact the owner and ask for the balance and how it was computed. So the failure to identify the actual owner is interference with the borrower’s right to seek HAMP or HARP modifications — potentially a cause of action for intentional interference in the contractual relations of another (asserting that the note and mortgage incorporated existing law) or violation of statutory duties since the Dodd-Frank act includes all participants in the securitization scheme as servicers.

The key is the money trail because that is the actual transaction where money exchanged hands and it must be shown that the money trail leads from A to B to C etc. The documents would then be examined to see if they are in fact relating to the transaction or a particular leg of the chain.

If the documents don’t conform to the actual monetary transaction, then the documents are refuted as evidence of the debt or any right to enforce the debt. What we know is that in nearly all cases the documents at origination do NOT reflect the actual monetary transaction which means they (a) do not show the actual owner of the debt but rather a straw-man nominee for an undisclosed lender contrary to several provisions of the Truth in Lending Act. The same holds true for the false securitization” chain in which documents are fabricated to refer to transactions that never occurred — where there was a transfer of the debt on paper that was worthless because no transaction took place.

One last thing on this is the issue of blank endorsements. There is widespread confusion between the requirements of the UCC and the requirements of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. It is absolutely true that a blank endorsement on a negotiable instrument is valid and that the holder possesses all rights of a holder including the presumption (rebuttable) of ownership.

But hundreds of Judges have erred in stopping their inquiry there. Because the UCC says that the agreement of the parties is paramount to any provision of the act. So if the PSA says the endorsement and assignment must be in a particular form (recordable) made out to the trust and that no blank endorsements will be accepted, then the indorsement is an offer which cannot be accepted by the asset pool or the trustee for the asset pool because it would violate an express prohibition in the PSA.

And that leads to the last point which is that a document calling itself an assignment is not irrefutable evidence of an actual transfer of the loan. If the assignee does not agree to take it, then the transaction is void.  None of the assignments I have seen have any joinder and acceptance by the trustee or anyone on behalf of the pool because nobody on the trustee level is willing to risk jail, even though Eric Holder now says he won’t prosecute those crimes. If you take the deposition of the trustee and ask for information concerning the trust account, they will get all squirrelly because there is no trust account on which the trustee is a signatory.

If you ask them whether they accepted the assignment of a defaulted loan and if so, what was the basis for them doing so they will get even more nervous. And if you ask them specifically if they accepted the assignment which you attach to the interrogatory or which you show them at deposition, they will have to say that they did not execute any document accepting that assignment, and then they will be required to agree, when you point out the PSA provisions that no such assignment or endorsement would be valid.


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Excerpt from 2nd Edition Attorney Workbook, Treatise and Practice Manual

AND Subject Matters to be Covered in July Workshop

ALLONGE: An allonge is variously defined by different courts and sources. But the one thing they all have in common is that it is a very specific type of writing whose validity is presumed to be invalid unless accompanied by proof that the allonge was executed by the Payor (not the Payee) at the time of or shortly after the execution of a negotiable instrument or a promissory note that is not a negotiable instrument. People add all sorts of writing to notes but the additions are often notes by the payee that are not binding on the Payor because that is not what the Payor signed. In the context of securitization, it is always something that a third party has done after the note was signed, sometimes years after the note was signed.

A Common Definition is “An allonge is generally an attachment to a legal document that can be used to insert language or signatures when the original document does not have sufficient space for the inserted material. It may be, for example, a piece of paper attached to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which endorsements can be written because there isn’t enough room on the instrument itself. The allonge must be firmly attached so as to become a part of the instrument.”

So the first thing to remember is that an allonge is not an assignment nor is it an indorsement (UCC spelling) or endorsement (common spelling). This distinction was relatively unimportant until claims of “securitization” were made asserting that loans were being transferred by way of an allonge. By definition that is impossible. An allonge is neither an amendment, nor an assignment nor an endorsement of a loan, note, mortgage or obligation. Lawyers who miss this point are conceding something that is basic to contract law, the UCC and property law in each state.

It is important to recognize the elements of an allonge:

  1. By definition it is on a separate piece of paper containing TERMS that could not fit on the instrument itself. Since the documents are prepared in advance of the “closing” with the borrower, I can conceive of no circumstances where the note or other instrument would be attached to an allonge when there was plenty of time to reprint the note with all the terms and conditions. The burden would then shift to the pretender lender to establish why it was necessary to put these “terms” on a separate piece of paper.
  2. The separate piece of paper must be affixed to the note in such a manner as to demonstrate that the allonge was always there and formed the basis of the agreement between all signatories intended to be bound by the instrument (note). The burden is on the pretender lender to prove that the allonge was always present — a burden that is particularly difficult without the signature or initials of the party sought to be bound by the “terms” expressed in the allonge.
  3. The attached paper must contain terms, conditions or provisions that are relevant to the duties and obligations of the parties to the original instrument — in this case the original instrument is a promissory note. The burden of proof in such cases might include foundation testimony from a live witness who can testify that the signor on the note knew the allonge existed and agreed to the terms.
  4. ERROR: An allonge is not just any piece of paper attached to the original instrument. If it is being offered as an allonge but it is actually meant to be used as an assignment or indorsement, then additional questions of fact arise, including but not limited to consideration. In the opinion of this writer, the reason transfers are often “documented” with instruments called an “allonge” is that by its appearance it gives the impression that (1) it was there since inception of the instrument and (2) that the borrower agreed to it. An additional reason is that the issue consideration for the transfer is avoided completely if the “allonge” is accepted as a document of transfer.
  5. As a practice pointer, if the document contains terms and conditions of the loan or repayment, then it is being offered as an allonge. But it is not a valid allonge unless the signor of the original instrument (the note) agreed to the contents expressed on the allonge, since the proponent of this evidence wishes the court to consider the allonge part of the note itself.
  6. If the instrument contains language of transfer then it is not an allonge in that it fails to meet the elements required for proffering evidence of the instrument as an allonge.

ASSIGNMENT: All contracts require an offer, acceptance and consideration to be enforced. An assignment is a contract. In the context of mortgage loans and litigation, an assignment is a document that recites the terms of a transaction in which the loan, note, obligation, mortgage or deed of trust is transferred and accepted by the assignee in exchange for consideration. Within the context of loans that are subject to securitization claims or claims of assignment the documents proffered by the pretender lender are missing two out of three components: consideration and acceptance. The assignment in this context is an offer that cannot and in fact must not be accepted without violating the authority of the manager or “trustee” of the SPV (REMIC) pool.

Like all contracts it must be supported by consideration. An assignment without consideration is probably void, almost certainly voidable and at the very least requires the proponent of this instrument as evidence to be admitted into the record to meet the burden of proof as to foundation.

The typical assignment offered in foreclosure litigation states that “for value received” the assignor, being the owner of the note described, hereby assigns, transfers and conveys all right, title and interest to the assignee. The problem is obvious — there was no value received if the loan was not funded by the assignee or was being purchased by the assignee at the time of the alleged transfer. A demand for records of the assignor and assignee would show how the parties actually treated the transaction from an accounting point of view.

In the same way as we look at the bookkeeping records of the “payee” on the original note to determine if the payee was in fact the “lender” as declared in the note and mortgage, we look to the books and records of the assignor and assignee to determine the treatment of the transaction on their own books and records.

The highest probability is that there will be no entry on either the balance sheet categories or the income statement categories because the parties were already paid a fee at the inception of the “loan” which was not disclosed to the borrower in violation of TILA. At most there might be the recording of an additional fee for “processing” the “assignment”. At no time will the assignor nor the assignee show the transaction as a loan receivable, the absence of which is powerful evidence that the assignor did not own the loan and therefore conveyed nothing, and that the assignee paid nothing in the assignment “transaction” because there was no transaction.

Any accountant (CPA) should be able to render a report on this limited aspect. Such an accountant could recite the same statements contained herein as the reason why you are in need of the discovery and what it will show. Such a statement should not say that the evidence will prove anything, but rather than this information will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence as to whether the party whose records are being produced was acting in the capacity of servicer, nominee, lender, real party in interest, assignee or assignor.

The foundation for the assignment instrument must be by way of testimony (I doubt that “business records” could suffice) explaining the transaction and validating the assignment and the facts showing consideration, offer and acceptance. Acceptance is difficult in the context of securitization because the assignment is usually prepared (a) long after the close out date in the pooling and servicing agreement and (b) after the assignor or its agents have declared the loan to be in default. Both points violate virtually all pooling and servicing agreements that require performing loans to be pooled, ownership of the loan to be established by the assignor, the assignment executed in recordable form and many PSA’s require actual recording — a point missed by most analysts.

If we assume for the moment that the origination of the loan met the requirements for perfecting a mortgage lien on the subject property, the party managing the “pool” (REMIC, Trust etc.) would be committing an ultra vires act on its face if they accepted the loan, debt, obligation, note, mortgage or deed of trust into the pool years after the cut-off date and after the loan was declared in default. Acceptance of the assignment is a key component here that is missed by most judges and lawyers. The assumption is that if the assignment was offered, why wouldn’t the loan be accepted. And the answer is that by accepting the loan the manager would be committing the pool to an immediate loss of principal and income or even the opportunity for income.

Thus we are left with a Hobson’s choice: either the origination documents were void or the assignments of the origination documents were void. If the origination documents were void for lack of consideration and false declarations of facts, there could not be any conditions under which the elements of a perfected mortgage lien would be present. If the origination was valid, but the assignments were void, then the record owner of the loan is party who is admitted to have been paid in full, thus releasing the property from the encumbrance of the mortgage lien. Note that releasing the original lien neither releases any obligation to whoever paid it off nor does it bar a judgment lien against the homeowner — but that must be foreclosed by judicial means (non-judicial process does not apply to judgment liens under any state law I have reviewed).

INDORSEMENTS OR ENDORSEMENTS: The spelling varies depending upon the source. The common law spelling and the one often used in the UCC begins with the letter “I”. They both mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

An indorsement transfers rights represented by the instruments to another individual other than the payee or holder. Indorsements can be open, qualified, conditional, bearer, with recourse, without recourse, requiring a subsequent indorsement, as a bailment (collection), or transferring all right title and interest. The types of indorsements vary as much as human imagination which is why an indorsement, alone, it frequently insufficient to establish the rights of the parties without another evidence, such as a contract of assignment.

The typical definition starts with an overall concept: “An indorsement on a negotiable instrument, such as a check or a promissory note, has the effect of transferring all the rights represented by the instrument to another individual. The ordinary manner in which an individual endorses a check is by placing his or her signature on the back of it, but it is valid even if the signature is placed somewhere else, such as on a separate paper, known as an allonge, which provides a space for a signature.” Another definition often appearing in cases and treatises is “ the act of the owner or payee signing his/her name to the back of a check, bill of exchange, or other negotiable instrument so as to make it payable to another or cashable by any person. An endorsement may be made after a specific direction (“pay to Dolly Madison” or “for deposit only”), called a qualified endorsement, or with no qualifying language, thereby making it payable to the holder, called a blank endorsement. There are also other forms of endorsement which may give credit or restrict the use of the check.”

Entire books have been written about indorsements and they have not exhausted all the possible interpretations of the act or the words used to describe the writing dubbed an “indorsement” or the words contained within the words described as an indorsement. As a result, courts are justifiably reluctant to accept an indorsed instrument on its face with parole evidence — unless the other party makes the mistake of failing to object to the foundation, and in the case of the mortgage meltdown practices of fabrication, forgery and fraud, by failing to deny the indorsement was ever made except for the purposes of litigation and has no relation to any legitimate business transaction.

Once the indorsement is put in issue as a material fact that is disputed, then the discovery must proceed to determine when the indorsement was created, where it was done, the parties involved in its creation and the parties involved in the execution of the indorsement, as well as the circumstantial evidence causing the indorsement to be made. A blank indorsement is no substitute for an assignment nor is it evidence that any transaction took place win which consideration (money) exchanged hands. Further blank indorsements might be yet another violation of the PSA, in which the indorsement must be with recourse and be unqualified naming the assignee.

A “trustee” of an alleged SPV (REMIC) who accepts such a document would no doubt be acting ultra vires (acting outside of the authority vested in the person purported to have acted) and it is doubtful that any evidence exists where the trustee was informed that the proposed indorsement or assignment involved a loan and a pool which was five years past the cutoff, already declared in default and which failed to meet the formal terms of assignment set forth in the PSA. A deposition upon written questions or oral deposition might clear the matter up by directing the right questions to the right person designated to be the person who represents the entity that claims to manage the SPV (REMIC) pool. In order to accomplish that, prior questions must be asked and answered as to the identity of such individuals and entities “with sufficient specificity such that they can be identified in subsequent demands for discovery or the issuance of a subpoena.”

Throughout this process, the defender in foreclosure must be ever vigilant in maintaining control of the narrative lest the other side wrest control and redirect the Judge to the allegation (without any evidence in the record) that the debt exists (or worse, has been admitted), the default occurred (or worse, has been admitted) and that the pretender is the lender (or worse, has been admitted as such).





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Editor’s Comment:

As I have reported on past occasions I have sources from the securities and more specifically the securitization industry that provide comments and information on the promise that I will keep their identities anonymous. This one in particular caught my attention. The source is from a Southeastern state who packaged and sold pools of loans of all types and qualities.

I believe regardless of whether the note and mortgage / deed of trust was assigned or not, it can be demonstrated they did not move as a unit, unless the price paid was the payoff value of the loan and/or value of property. [Editor’s Note: The importance of this fellow’s statement cannot be overstated. And his method for determining the true nature of an assignment, allonge or indorsement transaction is extremely helpful. While there are contrary arguments to his contention, they are a stretch to accept]

A different price (which I have hitting on this theme) would indicate the two are not a unit, because the value of the promissory note is not related to the actual security value.  Also how the transaction was booked and valued on the bank’s accounts would reveal the same.  I am guessing that they were valuing notes at a price much higher than the market value of the home. [Editor’s Note: Yes and as I have already been seen informed with documentation, the transactions were never booked as accounting transactions because from the standpoint of the assignor or assignee no transaction took place. These were assignments of convenience. They do not show on the balance sheet of the either the assignor or the assignee as a loan receivable. If they come to court claiming ownership or that someone else acquired ownership through them, they are doing so contrary to their own admissions in the own bookkeeping. THIS is where confidence and knowledge in motion practice and confidence and knowledge in discovery will put the homeowner in either extreme jeopardy or in a winning position — because the loan was never owned by ANY of the intermediaries who acted as conduits]

I believe the key is to assert the note as a ‘financial asset.’  That there is a market or exchange in which it trades.  In fact on many of the bank’s annual reports, they speak that the primary business is originating loans for sale/securitization, i.e. a market exists.  Along with pricing, this will be an easy case to make. [Editor’s Note: Read this carefully — it proves the point by reference to information in the public domain — and it is not subject to attack as being opinion or questionable fact or standing to raise the issue. What I believe he is telling me here is that even if there was ($10.00, or other valuable consideration), there are only three values that conceivably be used — the principal due on the note, the value of the collateral or the fair market value of the loan as determined by the freely traded secondary market. In nearly all cases the “traders” never even pretended that this was a real transaction and so there was no exchange of money at all. But if there was an exchange of money, this index could be used to prove that the transaction was a sham because it never met the elements of a reasonable business transaction. Judge Shack in New York asked the question himself — why and under what terms would anyone buy a loan that is in default? How could a loan declared in default be assigned into an investor pool where the investors were promised that they would at least initially receive performing loans. And how could they receive any loan after the 90 day cutoff period included in the PSA and the REMIC statute? The collateral  question that Judge Shack might have asked is why anyone would pay a price different than the price set on the secondary market regardless of the principal stated on the note or the current fair market value?]

Here is the kicker:  SECTION 36‑8‑406. Obligation to notify issuer of lost, destroyed, or wrongfully taken security certificate.

     If a security certificate has been lost, apparently destroyed, or wrongfully taken, and the owner fails to notify the issuer of that fact within a reasonable time after the owner has notice of it and the issuer registers a transfer of the security before receiving notification, the owner may not assert against the issuer a claim for registering the transfer under Section 36‑8‑404 (wrongful registration) or a claim to a new security certificate under Section 36‑8‑405 (replacement of a lost, destroyed or wrongfully taken security certificate).

I wonder out loud why I should not reregister my note.   Imagine the bank now arguing all the points of having to present an actual note, etc in order to change ownership.

The next big thing I am digging into is whether an owner/purchaser of a security has any authority to electronically register and transfer ownership.  I believe, but cannot find exact wording, that such is only limited to the issuer.  On the entire face, MERs may not even be allowed because the issuer of the note, the homeowner, never authorized them to keep track.

Think of why there are laws that require lenders to notify borrowers when their mortgage is sold, it is because the issuer needs a record.  Worse case is that the bank argues the issuer under Chapter 8 is the one who ‘becomes responsible for, or in place of, another person described as an issuer in this section.’   That is still not the bank, but the county registrar.


By Collete McDonald

Editor’s Note: Ms. McDonald hits the nail on the head with this article. You should incorporate it word for word in any relevant memoranda. Why is this important?

Because most of the “notes” (assuming they were the real notes and were timely indorsed and not back-dated) are presented as having been indorsed “without recourse.” Your opposition is counting on the fact that you don’t know the UCC, and you don’t know anything about indorsements.

This is another case where the instrument could appear valid on its face but for the fact that it is a fake. In this case the words “without recourse” on a note (executed as evidence of an obligation on a home loan) is contradicted by the very instrument that authorizes the indorsement — the PSA (Pooling and Servicing Agreement). The PSA ALWAYS provides for conditions, terms and provisions that are exactly the opposite of “without recourse.” These conditions have a negative effect on the negotiability of the instrument. So not only do we have a case where the “assignment” or indorsement” was merely an offer that was never accepted (and could not be accepted as per the terms of the PSA) but you also have an instrument that could not be negotiated under the terms expressed on it.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS EFFECTING THE INDORSEMENT “WITHOUT RECOURSE?”: Well the main one is that the pooling and servicing agreement states that if the loan becomes non-performing, the assignor must replace it with either cash or another performing loan. Nothing could be more clear that the indorsement was WITH RECOURSE.

The bottom Line: Most if not all “assignments” or “indorsements” are without effect, which means that the party having legal title to the instrument is the party named on it. And THAT means that each time the opposition attempts to establish authority under the chain of securitization, they are actually making the case that they have no such authority. You can’t come to court and say I am the Trustee for asset backed Pool XYZ which has ownership of this loan” and then turnaround and say you also have authority (legal authority supporting the power of sale in non-judicial states and the standing to foreclose in judicial states) to represent the “lender.” Not if the “lender” is named on the note as payee and on the mortgage or deed of trust as the lender.

If they want to establish some equitable right to enforce the note, they MUST file a judicial action.


A phrase used by an endorser (a signer other than the original maker) of a negotiable instrument (for example, a check or promissory note) to mean that if payment of the instrument is refused, the endorser will not be responsible.

An individual who endorses a check or promissory note using the phrase without recourse specifically declines to accept any responsibility for payment. By using this phrase, the endorser does not assume any responsibility by virtue of the endorsement alone and, in effect, becomes merely the assignor of the title to the paper.

A without recourse endorsement is governed by the laws of commercial paper, which have been codified in Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The UCC has been adopted wholly or in part by every state, establishing uniform rights of endorsers under UCC § 3-414(1).

A without recourse endorsement is a qualified endorsement and will be honored by the courts if certain requirements are met. Any words other than “without recourse” should clearly be of similar meaning. Because the payee’s name is on the back of the note, he is presumed to be an unqualified endorser unless there are words that express a different intention. The denial of recourse against a prior endorser must be found in express words. An implied qualification, based on the circumstances surrounding the endorsement to a third party, will not be recognized by the courts. An assignment of a note is generally regarded as constituting an endorsement, and the mere fact that an instrument is assigned by express statement on the back does not make the signer a qualified endorser.

The qualification without recourse, or its equivalent, is limited to the immediate endorsement to which it applies. It may precede or follow the name of the endorser, but its proximity to the name should be such as to give a subsequent purchaser reasonable notice of the endorsement to which it applies.

A person might agree to accept a check without recourse if the person believes she could collect the money in question. Often the purchaser of such a note will acquire it at a substantial discount from the face value of the note, in recognition that the purchaser can only seek to collect the money from the original maker of note.

An example of a without recourse note is a personal check written by A, the maker, to B, the payee. B, in turn pays off a debt to C by endorsing the check and adding the without recourse phrase. If A’s bank refuses to pay C the check amount because A has insufficient funds in his checking account, C cannot demand payment from B. C will have to attempt to collect the money from A.

Re-Orienting the Parties to Clarify Who is the Real Plaintiff

The procedural motion missed by most lawyers is re-orienting the parties. Just because you are initially the plaintiff doesn’t mean you should stay that way. Once it is determined that the party seeking affirmative relief is seeking to sell your personal residence and that all you are doing is defending, they must become the plaintiff and file a lawsuit against you which you have an opportunity to defend. A Judge who refuses to see that procedural point is in my opinion committing clear reversible error.

If the would-be forecloser could not establish standing and/or could not prove their case in a judicial foreclosure action, there is no doubt in my mind that the ELECTION to use the power of sale is UNAVAILABLE to them. They must show the court that they have a prima face case and the homeowners must present a defense. But that can only be done if the parties are allowed to conduct discovery. Otherwise the proceedings are a sham, and the Judge is committing error by giving the would-be forecloser the benefit of the doubt (which means that the Judge is creating an improper presumption at law).

If the Judge says otherwise, then he/she is putting the burden on the homeowner. But the result is the same. Any contest by the would-be forecloser should be considered under the same rules as a motion to dismiss, which means that all allegations made by the homeowner are taken as true for purposes of the preliminary motions.

Some people have experienced the victory of a default final judgment for quiet title only to have it reversed on some technical grounds. While this certainly isn’t the best case scenario, don’t let the fight go out of you and don’t let your lawyer talk you into accepting defeat. Reversal of the default doesn’t mean anyone won or lost. It just means that instead of getting the ultimate victory by default, you are going to fight for it. The cards are even more stacked in your favor with the court decisions reported over the last 6 months and especially over the last two weeks. See recent blog entries and articles.

All that has happened is that instead of a default you will fight the fight. People don’t think you can get the house for free. Their thinking is based upon the fact that there IS an obligation that WAS created.

The question now is whether the Judge will act properly and require THEM to have the burden of proof to plead and prove a case in foreclosure. THEY are the party seeking affirmative relief so they should have the burden of pleading and proving a case. Your case is a simple denial of default, denial of their right to foreclose and a counterclaim with several counts for damages and of course a count for Quiet Title. As a guideline I offer the following which your lawyer can use as he/she sees fit.

The fact that you brought the claim doesn’t mean you have to plead and prove their case. Your case is simple: they did a fraudulent and wrongful foreclosure because you told them you denied the claim and their right to pursue it. That means they should have proceeded judicially which of course they don’t want to do because they can’t make allegations they know are not true (the note is NOT payable to them, the recorded documentation prior to sale doesn’t show them as the creditor etc.).

I don’t remember if MERS was involved in your deal but if it was the law is getting pretty well settled that MERS possesses nothing, is just a straw man for an undisclosed creditor (table funded predatory loan under TILA) and therefore can neither assign nor make any claim against the obligation, note or mortgage.

Things are getting much better. Follow the blog — in the last two weeks alone there have been decisions, some from appellate courts, that run in your favor. There is even one from California. So if they want to plead a case now in foreclosure they must first show that they actually contacted you and tried to work it out. Your answer is the same as before. I assume you sent a qualified written request. Under the NC appellate decision it is pretty obvious that you do have a right of action for enforcement of RESPA. They can’t just say ANYONE contacted you they must show the creditor contacted you directly or through an authorized representative which means they must produce ALL the documentation showing the transfers of the note, the PSA the assignment and assumption agreement etc.

They can’t produce an assignment dated after the cutoff date in the PSA. They can’t produce an assignment for a non-performing loan. Both are barred by the PSA. So there may have been an OFFER of assignment  but there was no authority to accept it and no reasonable person would do so knowing the loan was already in default. And they must show that the loan either was or was not replaced by cash or a substitute loan in the pool, with your loan reverting back to the original assignor. Your loan probably is vested in the original assignor who was the loan aggregator. If it’s in the pool it is owned by the investors, collectively. There is no trust nor any assets in the trust since the ownership of the loans were actually conveyed when the investors bought the mortgage backed securities. They don’t want you going near the investors because when you compare notes, the investors are going to realize that the investment banker did not invest all the money that the investor gave the investment banker — they kept about a third of it for themselves which is ANOTHER undisclosed yield spread premium entitling you to damages, interest and probably treble damages.

The point of all this is that it is an undeniable duty for you to receive disclosure of the identity of the creditor, proof thereof, and a full accounting for all receipts and disbursements by the creditor and not just by the servicer who does not track third party payments through insurance, credit default swaps and other credit enhancements. It’s in federal and state statutes, federal regulations, state regulations and common law.

The question is not just what YOU paid but what ANYONE paid on your account. And even if those payments were fraudulently received and kept by the investment banker and even if the loan never made it through proper assignment, indorsement, and delivery, those payments still should have been allocated to your account, according to your note first to any past due payments (i.e., no default automatically, then to fees and then to the borrower). That is a simple breach of contract action under the terms of the note.

Again they don’t want to let you near those issues in discovery or otherwise because the fraud of the intermediaries would be instantly exposed. So while you have no automatic right to getting your house free and clear, that is often the result because they would rather lose the case than let you have the information required to prove or disprove their case in foreclosure. The bottom line is that you don’t want to let them or have the judge let them (Take an immediate interlocutory appeal if necessary) use the power of sale which is already frowned upon by the courts and use it as an end run around the requirements of due process, to wit: if you think you have a claim you must plead and prove it and give the opposition an opportunity to defend.

The procedural motion missed by most lawyers is re-orienting the parties. Just because you are initially the plaintiff doesn’t mean you should stay that way. Once it is determined that the party seeking affirmative relief is seeking to sell your personal residence and that all you are doing is defending, they must become the plaintiff and file a lawsuit against you which you have an opportunity to defend. A Judge who refuses to see that procedural point is in my opinion committing clear reversible error.

The worst case scenario if everything is done PROPERLY is that you get the full accounting, you are not in default (unless there really were no third party payments which is extremely unlikely) and they must negotiate new terms based upon all the money that is owed back to you, which might just exceed the current principal due on the loan — especially once you get rid of the fabricated fees and costs they attach to the account (see Countrywide settlement with FTC on the blog).

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