Banks Hedging Their Bets on Wrongful Foreclosures

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

The need for continuing pressure on state and federal legislators who are relentlessly pursued by Bank lobbyists has never been greater.  Anyone who cares about the state of our economy and the state of our justice system needs to be writing and calling state and federal legislators as well as state and federal agencies to oppose these naked attempts to seal the deal against the homeowners.

Anyone who thinks that our falling bridges and decaying infrastructure is going to be fixed without fixing housing is dreaming. Both the tax revenue and the potential for private investment are severely diminished by the failure of this government and governments around the world to take actual control of the situation, return wealth to those from whom wealth was stolen, and recover taxes from those who have failed to report and pay taxes on transactions that were conducted in the United States but never reported in any detail as to the method utilized to create “off balance sheet” and “offshore” transactions.

Michigan homeowners in foreclosure would have less time to save, sell home under new proposal
http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/michigan_homeowners_in_foreclo.html

In Michigan the proposal put forth by the banks would extend the time that borrowers could contest an impending foreclosure but shorten the time that borrowers could attack a wrongful foreclosure seeking monetary damages or to overturn the fraudulent auction sale awarded to a party who submitted a credit bid but who was not a creditor.  It is a tacit admission by the banks that they are doing well before a foreclosure judgment is entered but they are afraid of the consequences after the sale.

The fact that they were not a creditor obviously also brings in the issues of jurisdictional standing and whether they have any potential rights to initiate foreclosure. The confusion here is closed by rulings in many states which seem to indicate that almost anyone can initiate a foreclosure proceeding. The mistake made by both pro se litigants and attorneys for homeowners is that they concede the rest of the case once a decision is made that a non-creditor can initiate foreclosure proceedings.

In the initial phase of litigation those early motions will obviously have an effect on the momentum of the case in favor of either the banks or the borrowers. But the fact remains that if the party initiating the foreclosure was doing so in a representative capacity, or if they were doing so in their own name lacking any history or facts supporting their assertions of being a “holder” then the point needs to be made to the court that there is no creditor based upon any evidence in the court record who can submit a credit bid.

The court is presented then with the choice of either dismissing the case because of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and potentially lack of jurisdiction over the parties or entering a final order or judgment allowing the foreclosure to proceed but stipulating that the party conducting the auction may not accept a credit bid  in the absence of uncontested proof of payment, proof of loss and proof of ownership of the loan receivable. This step has less far been ignored in nearly all cases of foreclosure litigation throughout the country. It is time to invoke it.

The initiative in Michigan reflects the tacit admission of the banks that while they can still easily prevail in pre-judgment motions, they are highly vulnerable to enormous liabilities after the sale of the property at auction or at a closing table. The fact remains that they must show a canceled check, wire transfer receipts, ACH confirmation or check 21 confirmation in order to establish the loss;  in addition, they must show the same facts for each and every predecessor in the alleged securitization chain which we already know has been falsely presented.

 By hammering on the money trail, you will be educating the judge as to the difference between the actual transactions in which money was exchanged or in which consideration was exchanged and the paper  documents that refer to transactions which never actually occurred. Each transaction requires, for enforcement, and offer, acceptance and consideration. If you closely examine the documents used by the banks in the falsely presented securitization chain you might find an offer but you probably won’t find acceptance and you definitely won’t find consideration. The same holds true in the origination of the loan wherein the designated payee and secured party had nothing to do with the funding of the original loan. It is all smoke and mirrors.

The point needs to be made that if the judge is all fired up about whether or not the borrower made payments that the attorney representing the homeowner agrees that payments are an important issue which is why he is requiring the other side to present proof of their payments to creditors and their receipt of payments from parties other than the borrower. Your argument is obviously that either payments matter where they don’t. It should be pointed out to the judge that a double standard is being applied if the borrower’s payments are at issue but the so-called lenders’ payments and receipts are out of bounds. The point should also be made that rather than arguing about it, if there was no defect in the money trail and if there was therefore complete compliance between the money trail in the document trail, the party initiating foreclosure should be more than anxious to display the canceled check and end the debate.

JPMorgan exposed: Company found guilty of masterminding ‘manipulative schemes’
http://www.naturalnews.com/040481_JP_Morgan_Jamie_Dimon_too_big_to_fail.html

Wasted wealth – The ongoing foreclosure crisis that never had to happen – The Hill’s Congress Blog
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/301415-wasted-wealth–the-ongoing-foreclosure-crisis-that-never-had-to-happen

Negative Home Equity Still Plagues 13 Million Mortgage Loans
http://247wallst.com/2013/05/23/negative-home-equity-still-plagues-13-million-mortgage-loans/

Jon Stewart Tears Apart Obama, DOJ For Prosecuting Whistleblowers And Potheads But Not Bankers
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jon-stewart-tears-apart-obama-doj-for-prosecuting-whistleblowers-and-potheads-but-not-bankers/

How Many People Have Lost Their Homes? US Home Foreclosures are Comparable to the Great Depression
http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-many-people-have-lost-their-homes-us-home-foreclosures-are-comparable-to-the-great-depression/5335430

As Of This Moment Ben Bernanke Own 30.5% Of The US Treasury Market… And Will Own All By 2018
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-23/moment-ben-bernanke-own-305-us-treasury-market-and-will-own-all-2018

Pensioners Will Feel the Pinch from Illegal Mortgages and Foreclosures

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Editor’s Comment:

There are many people whose opinion produces the resistance of government to rip up the banks that got us into this economic mess. They all say government is too big, that we already have too much regulation and that Obama is the cause of the recession. Their opinions are based largely on the fact that they perceive the borrowers as deadbeats and government assistance as another “handout.” 

But when it comes down to it, it’s easy to make a decision based upn ideology if the consequences are not falling on you. Read any news source and you will see that the pension funds are taking a huge hit as a rsult of illegal bank activities and fraudulent practices leaving the victims and our economy in a lurch.

The article below is about public pensions where the pension funds and the governmental units took a monumental hit when the banks sucked the life out of our economy. TRANSLATION: IF YOU DEPEND UPON PENSION INCOME YOU ARE LIKELY TO FIND OUT YOU ARE SCREWED. And even if you don’t depend upon pension income, you are likely to be taxed for the shortfall that is now sitting in the pockets of Wall Street Bankers.

Think about it. If the Banks were hit hard like they were in Iceland andother places (and where by the way they still exist and make money) then your pension fund would not have the loss that requires either more taxes or less benefits. And going after the banks doesn’t take a dime out of pulic funds which should (but doesn’t) make responsible people advocating austerity measures rejoice. They still say they don’t like the obvious plan of getting restitution from thieves because the theives are paying them and feeding them talking points. And some of us are listening. Are you?

Public Pensions Faulted for Bets on Rosy Returns

By: Mary Williams Walsh and Danny Hakim

Few investors are more bullish these days than public pension funds. While Americans are typically earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings accounts and watching their 401(k) balances yo-yo along with the stock market, most public pension funds are still betting they will earn annual returns of 7 to 8 percent over the long haul, a practice that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently called “indefensible.”

Now public pension funds across the country are facing a painful reckoning. Their projections look increasingly out of touch in today’s low-interest environment, and pressure is mounting to be more realistic. But lowering their investment assumptions, even slightly, means turning for more cash to local taxpayers — who pay part of the cost of public pensions through property and other taxes.

In New York, the city’s chief actuary, Robert North, has proposed lowering the assumed rate of return for the city’s five pension funds to 7 percent from 8 percent, which would be one of the sharpest reductions by a public pension fund in the United States. But that change would mean finding an additional $1.9 billion for the pension system every year, a huge amount for a city already depositing more than a tenth of its budget — $7.3 billion a year — into the funds.

But to many observers, even 7 percent is too high in today’s market conditions.

“The actuary is supposedly going to lower the assumed reinvestment rate from an absolutely hysterical, laughable 8 percent to a totally indefensible 7 or 7.5 percent,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a trip to Albany in late February. “If I can give you one piece of financial advice: If somebody offers you a guaranteed 7 percent on your money for the rest of your life, you take it and just make sure the guy’s name is not Madoff.” Public retirement systems from Alaska to Maine are running into the same dilemma as they struggle to lower their assumed rates of return in light of very low interest rates and unpredictable stock prices.

They are facing opposition from public-sector unions, which fear that increased pension costs to taxpayers will further feed the push to cut retirement benefits for public workers. In New York, the Legislature this year cut pensions for public workers who are hired in the future, and around the country governors and mayors are citing high pension costs as a reason for requiring workers to contribute more, or work longer, to earn retirement benefits.

In addition to lowering the projected rate of return, Mr. North has also recommended that the New York City trustees acknowledge that city workers are living longer and reporting more disabilities — changes that would cost the city an additional $2.8 billion in pension contributions this year. Mr. North has called for the city to soften the blow to the budget by pushing much of the increased pension cost into the future, by spreading the increased liability out over 22 years. Ailing pension systems have been among the factors that have recently driven struggling cities into Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Such bankruptcies are rare, but economists warn that more are likely in the coming years. Faulty assumptions can mask problems, and municipal pension funds are often so big that if they run into a crisis their home cities cannot afford to bail them out. The typical public pension plan assumes its investments will earn average annual returns of 8 percent over the long term, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Actual experience since 2000 has been much less, 5.7 percent over the last 10 years, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. (New York State announced last week that it had earned 5.96 percent last year, compared with the 7.5 percent it had projected.)

Worse, many economists say, is that states and cities have special accounting rules that have been criticized for greatly understating pension costs. Governments do not just use their investment assumptions to project future asset growth. They also use them to measure what they will owe retirees in the future in today’s dollars, something companies have not been permitted to do since 1993.

As a result, companies now use an average interest rate of 4.8 percent to calculate their pension costs in today’s dollars, according to Milliman, an actuarial firm.

In New York City, the proposed 7 percent rate faces resistance from union trustees who sit on the funds’ boards. The trustees have the power to make the change; their decision must also be approved by the State Legislature.

“The continued risk here is that even 7 is too high,” said Edmund J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a research group for fiscal issues.

And Jeremy Gold, an actuary and economist who has been an outspoken critic of public pension disclosures, said, “If you’re using 7 percent in a 3 percent world, then you’re still continuing to borrow from the pension fund.” The city’s union leaders disagree. Harry Nespoli, the chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group for the city’s public employee unions, said that lowering the rate to 7 percent was unnecessary.

“They don’t have to turn around and lower it a whole point,” he said.

When asked if his union was more bullish on the markets than the city’s actuary, Mr. Nespoli said, “All we can do is what the actuary is doing. He’s guessing. We’re guessing.”

Vermont has lowered its rate by 2 percentage points, but for only one year. The state recently adopted an unusual new approach calling for a sharp initial reduction in its investment assumptions, followed by gradual yearly increases. Vermont has also required public workers to pay more into the pension system.

Union leaders see hidden agendas behind the rising calls for lower pension assumptions. When Rhode Island’s state treasurer, Gina M. Raimondo, persuaded her state’s pension board to lower its rate to 7.5 percent last year, from 8.25 percent, the president of a firemen’s union accused her of “cooking the books.”

Lowering the rate to 7.5 percent meant Rhode Island’s taxpayers would have to contribute an additional $300 million to the fund in the first year, and more after that. Lawmakers were convinced that the state could not afford that, and instead reduced public pension benefits, including the yearly cost-of-living adjustments that retirees now receive. State officials expect the unions to sue over the benefits cuts.

When the mayor of San Jose, Calif., Chuck Reed, warned that the city’s reliance on 7.5 percent returns was too risky, three public employees’ unions filed a complaint against him and the city with the Securities and Exchange Commission. They told the regulators that San Jose had not included such warnings in its bond prospectus, and asked the regulators to look into whether the omission amounted to securities fraud. A spokesman for the mayor said the complaint was without merit. In Sacramento this year, Alan Milligan, the actuary for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, recommended that the trustees lower their assumption to 7.25 percent from 7.75 percent. Last year, the trustees rejected Mr. Milligan’s previous proposal, to lower the rate to 7.5 percent.

This time, one trustee, Dan Dunmoyer, asked the actuary if he had calculated the probability that the pension fund could even hit those targets.

Yes, Mr. Milligan said: There was a 50-50 chance of getting 7.5 percent returns, on average, over the next two decades. The odds of hitting a 7.25 percent target were a little better, he added, 54 to 46.

Mr. Dunmoyer, who represents the insurance industry on the board, sounded shocked. “To me, as a fiduciary, you want to have more than a 50 percent chance of success.”

If Calpers kept setting high targets and missing them, “the impact on the counties won’t be bigger numbers,” he said. “It will be bankruptcy.”

In the end, a majority decided it was worth the risk, and voted against Mr. Dunmoyer, lowering the rate to 7.5 percent.


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