“True Lender” Lawsuits Causing Business and Legal Headaches for Banks

hat tip Bill Paatalo

You can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other end as well. Or, if you like, you can’t eat your cake and still have it.

Banks used third party intermediaries all the time, and in non-mortgage loans they are considered as the real lender for purposes of being able to charge the interest rate stated in the consumer loan agreement.

But the situation is quite different and maybe the reverse in most alleged mortgage loans for the past 20 years. Usually a non-bank funding source was using a third party intermediary to originate the loan. Hence the term “originator” which in reality means nothing more than “salesman.”

The actual party funding the loan is not disclosed at all, ever. In most cases it is an investment bank which is different from a commercial bank, but the investment bank is not funding the loan with its own money but rather using money diverted from the advances of investors who thought they were purchasing mortgage backed securities.

In other words the investors think they are getting certificates that are backed by mortgage loans when in fact, in most cases, the certificate holders have no claim on any debt, note or mortgage executed or incurred by a borrower.

Since the loans are mostly originated rather than purchased by a Trust as advertised to investors, the actual ledner is neither disclosed nor shown on any of the closing documents possibly because it is impossible to determine the identity of a “Lender” whose money was  used from an undifferentiated slush fund in which money from investors is intermingled. Information ascertained thus far indicates that the slush fund includes money from the sale of certificates in the name of multiple nonexistent trusts.

Hence the issue of who is the “true lender.” But the Bank’s position in court in unsecured loans may be its undoing when it pretends to litigate a loan in which it was never actually a party to the loan transaction or the loan documents.

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see https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/a-remedy-for-true-lender-lawsuits-already-exists

So if you think about it, you can explain why most documents in foreclosures are pure fabrications reflecting nonexistent transactions. If you look closely at these documents you will nearly always be able to ascertain a gap which makes the documents NOT FACIALLY VALID. Or, in the alternative, if the documents are facially valid, it is because of forgery, robosigning and fabrication.

Such a gap might be the oft-used “attorney-in-fact” designation. Without reference to a specific power of attorney and a warranty that it has not been revoked and that it covers the execution of the proffered document, the reference to “attorney-in-fact” is meaningless. Hence the document signed by Ocwen as attorney in fact, is really just a signature by Ocwen who is not in the chain of title, making the document facially invalid. In most cases Ocwen (or whoever is the claimed “servicer” is executing as attorney in fact for a real entity (like US Bank) with a nonexistent role — trustee of a nonexistent trust. Remember that US Bank is a real bank but is not acting in a real role. 

By attacking the facial validity of such false documents you are also attacking jurisdiction, which is a deal killer for the banks. Bank lawyers are coming to their own conclusions — independently of their arrogant bank clients and independently of the foreclosure mills who blindly follow whatever instructions they receive electronically. Bank lawyers see trouble on the horizon coming from TILA REscission, and the lack of REAL facial validity of the documents being used in foreclosure which are at odds with the documents used to sell derivatives, synthetic derivatives and hedge products all based upon the same loans.

Here is a quote from the above-referenced article on “true lender lawsuits” brought by borrowers who seek to avoid interest from a non-bank as being  contrary to state law:

As a general rule, the fact that a bank subcontracts marketing, loan servicing or other “ministerial,” or nonessential, lending activities to third-party service providers has no effect on the bank’s ability to export its home state’s interest rate under federal law. To this end, the Bank Service Company Act expressly authorizes banks to utilize the services of third-parties. In short, under the federal banking laws, there is no “tipping point” beyond which a servicer becomes the lender in lieu of the bank — so long as the bank remains the party that is performing the primary, or “non-ministerial,” lending activities laid out in the three-part test, the bank is the only lender.

Yet federal bank agency guidance is silent regarding true lender risk, despite the growing number of states in which such lawsuits have arisen. The FDIC published draft third-party lending guidance in July 2016 that had the potential to provide some clarity, but it is still pending. Moreover, the guidance merely observes in a footnote that “courts are divided on whether third-parties may avail themselves of such preemption.”

As to whether a bank’s status as the lender could be undermined by its use of agents, the guidance says nothing. This silence is problematic because, as things stand, one could evaluate the facts of the same loan program and reach opposite conclusions with respect to the program’s status under usury laws depending on whether federal interest rate preemption rules or judge-made, state true lender rules are applied.

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