November, 2011 | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Archive | November, 2011

Proposed changes to the MERS® System Rules of Membership

Proposed changes to the MERS® System Rules of Membership

via- MERS

Set forth on Exhibit A are proposed changes to the MERS® System Rules of Membership (“Rules”).

These proposed changes are “technical” in nature in that there are no substantive changes to any of the Rules. The changes mainly clarify the distinction between Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and its service provider, MERSCORP, Inc. They also properly reference the MERS® System, where appropriate.

The proposed changes to the Rules are highlighted and underlined in Exhibit A [Below].

[ipaper docId=74344261 access_key=key-2oldis7h147wp3xoxvyk height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Pillar Processing Firm That Helped Steven J. Baum P.C. To Lay Off 590 People

Pillar Processing Firm That Helped Steven J. Baum P.C. To Lay Off 590 People

Just as in Florida with Stern & DJSP, this will continue to repeat with others.

You all know who you are.

Rewind-

In 2007 Steven J. Baum sold all or most of his stake in Pillar to Tailwind Capital. Tailwind is a Hedge Fund that buys companies that are valued between $25 – and $100 Million. Sometime later, Ares Capital Corporation, a publicly traded company invested over $30 Million in Pillar. Both Baum & Pillar share an address.

Ares, Tailwind Said to Be Subpoenaed in N.Y. Foreclosure Probe.

BUFFALO NEWS-

Pillar Processing, a back-office and document-processing firm with close ties to the Steven J. Baum PC foreclosure law firm, will lay off 590 full- and part-time employees at its offices in Amherst.

The company told state and local officials that the layoffs are expected to take effect Feb. 27. Pillar is also laying off about 20 employees in Westbury, on Long Island.

[BUFFALO NEWS]

H/T JeffreyFreedman.com

“I’m not saying Baum and Pillar were not in the wrong, but according to my sources, many other firms in New York were doing the same things as Baum and Pillar,” Freedman said. “However, Baum and Pillar were the only upstate companies handling a large volume of foreclosure business, and now the work is most likely going to move to downstate firms that are still in business.”

I think we all know that they know who they all are. 🙂 Sound Off!

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Bond Insurer FGIC Sues Ally Units Over Mortgage Securities

Bond Insurer FGIC Sues Ally Units Over Mortgage Securities

WSJ-

Insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. is suing several Ally Financial Inc. subsidiaries, accusing the government-owned lender of lying about the quality of mortgages it packaged into securities.

Three lawsuits, filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court, claim GMAC Mortgage, Residential Capital and other affiliates made “material misrepresentations and omissions” about the “quality of the tens of thousands of mortgage loans” packaged into the securities. FGIC said it issued insurance policies to Ally for the securities based on this information.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Nueces County, Texas could join lawsuit over lost filing fees against BofA, MERS

Nueces County, Texas could join lawsuit over lost filing fees against BofA, MERS

Not could, SHOULD!


Caller-

Nueces County could join a group of Texas counties suing Bank of America and a related corporation over unpaid courthouse filing fees.

Nationwide, counties are claiming that a mortgage database created by banks is cheating the counties out of billions of dollars in filing fees.

Dallas County is leading the charge with a class-action suit against the bank and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins told NPR his county has lost about $100 billion in filing fees.

[CALLER]

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Quality Mortgage Services LLC (QMS) to Begin Offering Third-Party MERS Audits

Quality Mortgage Services LLC (QMS) to Begin Offering Third-Party MERS Audits

Mortgage News-

Quality Mortgage Services LLC (QMS) has announced that the company is now offering third-party Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) audits as required by MERS Training Bulletin No. 2011-03, dated July 1, 2011. The bulletin requires Independent Annual Attestation by Dec. 31, 2011, which may be performed by an independent control function within the organization. It must be provided by an independent auditor outside of the company after 2011. The rule impacts all servicers and subservicers.

[MORTGAGE NEWS]

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HERO Judge Rakoff May Have Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Testify

HERO Judge Rakoff May Have Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Testify

Judge Rakoff just keeps wowing us, day after day!

Sure he will do all in his power to squirm out of this one.


REUTERS-

Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein may be asked to testify in a market regulator’s insider-trading case against a former director of the Wall Street bank, a judge ruled.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Rajat Gupta, a former board member at Goldman and Procter & Gamble, of giving inside tips about the two companies to his friend Raj Rajaratnam in 2008 and 2009.

[REUTERS]

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Witness in LPS foreclosure case an apparent suicide

Witness in LPS foreclosure case an apparent suicide

* Empty medicine bottles found near body-sources

* No suicide note found

* No sign of foul play-Las Vegas police

By Scot J. Paltrow

Nov 30 (Reuters) – A key witness in a Nevada criminal foreclosure fraud case who was found dead on Monday apparently committed suicide, individuals close to the investigation of her death said.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that police had found the body of Tracy Lawrence, a notary, in her Las Vegas apartment shortly after she failed to appear in court for sentencing on a misdemeanor count related to the case.

[REUTERS]

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Cops, movers refuse to foreclose on 103-year-old woman

Cops, movers refuse to foreclose on 103-year-old woman

HEROS! Similar Story: Texana Hollis, 101-year-old woman evicted from her home, Gets Home Back!

RAW STORY-

In a heart warming story just in time for the holiday season, a 103-year-old woman in Atlanta avoided foreclosure of her home Tuesday afternoon, thanks entirely to the kindness of strangers.

According to WSBTV Atlanta, movers hired by Deutsche Bank AG and police were ready to go through with the bank’s request to remove Vita Lee and her 83-year old daughter from their home.

However, when they first got sight of Lee, they had a change of heart and declined to go through with it.

[RAW STORY]

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“The Wikipedia of Land Registration Systems” – Adam Levitin

“The Wikipedia of Land Registration Systems” – Adam Levitin

Read ruling here: KaBOOM! MA Federal District Court SLAMS MERS “Illegal Foreclosure”, “Need Note AND Mortgage To Foreclose” – CULHANE vs. AURORA LOAN SVCS of NEBRASKA


Credit Slips-

Pretty amazing opinion in Culhane v Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska byJudge Young of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Judge Young breaks out a fresh can of whoop-ass on MERS, which wasn’t even a litigant. How are these choice lines:  “MERS is the Wikipedia of Land Registration Systems.”  Now I like Wikipedia, but property title isn’t do-it-yourself. Or this gem: “a MERS certifying officer is more akin to an Admiral in the Georgia navy or a Kentucky Colonel with benefits than he is to any genuine financial officer.” Well, at least he didn’t call them an “Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska”.  You gotta love a landlocked navy. 

That said, for all of his misgivings about MERS supplying “the thinnest possible veneer of formality and legality to the wholesale marketing of home mortgages to large institutional investors,” Judge Young still says that it’s kosher, if unseemly.

[CREDIT SLIPS]

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Oversight Committee Democrats Urge FHFA Director to Produce Documents on Principal Reduction

Oversight Committee Democrats Urge FHFA Director to Produce Documents on Principal Reduction

Washington, DC (Nov. 30, 2011) – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and all Democratic Members of the Committee sent a letter to Edward DeMarco, the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, seeking documents he promised to produce to the Committee regarding his analysis of programs to reduce mortgage principal and why such programs never serve the long-term interests of taxpayers when compared to foreclosure.

“For too long now,” Cummings said, “we have heard superficial excuses about why principal reduction programs are not feasible at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite a growing chorus of economists and other experts who believe these programs serve the long-term interests of taxpayers.  Even though commercial banks have implemented their own principal reduction programs, FHFA stubbornly continues to favor massive waves of foreclosures.  It’s high time to see the actual data and analyses behind this policy, and to work towards new approaches that finally put American homeowners and our nation’s economy first.”

DeMarco committed to providing these documents during a hearing before the Committee on November 16, 2011, in response to questioning by Representative John Tierney, who pointed out that several banks are already implementing principal reduction programs that serve their financial interests while providing assistance to homeowners.  The Members requested that DeMarco provide the documents by December 9, 2011. 

The full letter follows:

November 30, 2011

Mr. Edward DeMarco
Acting Director
Federal Housing Finance Agency
1700 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20551

Dear Acting Director DeMarco:

            During the Committee’s hearing on November 16, 2011, you agreed to provide the Committee with:  (1) the specific statutory provision you believe prohibits the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) from allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce mortgage principal in all cases; and (2) the analysis you conducted, including the data you examined, demonstrating that principal reduction never serves the long-term interests of the taxpayer when compared to foreclosure.  We are writing to request that you provide these documents by December 9, 2011.

            When you were asked about statutory prohibitions against principal reduction programs, you responded:  “I believe that the decisions that we’ve made with regard to principal forgiveness are consistent with our statutory mandate.”  Although you were not asked about providing “general support” to the housing market, you also said this:  “I do not believe that I’ve been appropriated taxpayer funds for the purpose of providing general support to the housing market.”  During your testimony, however, you identified no specific statute that prohibits FHFA from allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from developing principal forgiveness programs in select cases that would serve the long-term interests of both taxpayers and homeowners.

            As Rep. John Tierney explained, when Congress enacted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act in 2008, it specifically directed FHFA, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, among other things, to “implement a plan that seeks to maximize assistance for homeowners.”  Many economists believe that principal reduction programs could fulfill this goal while also serving the long-term interests of the taxpayers who are funding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  They include the following:

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke:  “In this environment, principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure.”
  • Martin S. Feldstein, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan:  “To halt the fall in house prices, the government should reduce mortgage principal when it exceeds 110 percent of the home value.”
  • Alan Blinder, Former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve:  “Most economists see principal reductions as central to preventing foreclosures. … Perhaps the cost to taxpayers could be reduced by giving the government—or even private investors—some of the upside when house prices finally start climbing.”
  • Neil Barofsky, former Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program:  “There needs to be a recognition that many borrowers will never make the required payments on their underwater mortgages, and that the owners of these mortgages have already lost any meaningful chance of obtaining a full recovery of the outstanding principal.  The sooner that this reality is recognized and addressed, the sooner a recovery can take hold.  As such, an aggressive principal reduction program is necessary.”

          During your testimony, you stated that you had completed a thorough analysis of why foreclosures always serve the interests of taxpayers better than principal reduction programs.  Specifically, you stated:

We have been through the analytics of the underwater borrowers at Fannie and Freddie, and looked at the foreclosure alternative programs that are available, and we have concluded that the use of principal reduction within the context of a loan modification is not going to be the least-cost approach for the taxpayer.

          As Rep. Tierney noted, however, several banks are already implementing principal reduction programs that serve their financial interests while providing assistance to homeowners.  For example, Ocwen has established a program under which a servicer may reduce a loan to 95% of a home’s fair market value, and the excess principal is forgiven over three years as long as the homeowner remains current on mortgage payments.  When the home is sold or refinanced, the borrower is required to share 25% of the appreciated value with Ocwen.  According to the company’s CEO:

Shared appreciation modifications help homeowners avoid foreclosure and restore equity, providing a significant benefit to the customer, the economy, and the housing market.

          Other banks also have principal reduction programs, including JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, which reportedly reduced the balances of approximately 73,000 borrowers by an average of $51,000 in 2009 and 2010.

          At the conclusion of Rep. Tierney’s questioning, he asked you to provide both the statutory authority for your claim that you are prohibited from allowing principal reduction programs and the analysis you conducted demonstrating that foreclosures always serve taxpayer interests when compared to principal reductions.  He stated:

What you’re telling me flies in the face of all these people who have come up with a quite different idea. … I’d like you to do two things for the Committee if you would.  First, I want you to identify anywhere in the statute that specifically prohibits you from developing principal reduction programs. … [S]econd, I’d like you to submit whatever analysis you have done that shows why reducing the principal on some mortgages is worse for the United States taxpayer than foreclosure.

          In response, you committed under oath to providing these documents, stating:  “We can provide that information as you suggested, Congressman.”

          We are writing to request that you provide this information by December 9, 2011.  If you have any questions, please contact Davida Walsh at (202) 225-5051.  Thank you for your cooperation with this request.
Sincerely,
Elijah E. Cummings                                                       Edolphus Towns
Ranking Member                                                          Member
Carolyn B. Maloney                                                     Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member                                                                       Member
Dennis J. Kucinich                                                        John F. Tierney
Member                                                                       Member          
Wm. Lacy Clay                                                            Stephen F. Lynch                                            
Member                                                                       Member
Jim Cooper                                                                  Gerald E. Connolly
Member                                                                       Member
Mike Quigley                                                                Danny K. Davis                                               
Member                                                                       Member
Bruce Braley                                                                Peter Welch
Member                                                                       Member
John Yarmuth                                                               Christopher S. Murphy                        
Member                                                                       Member
Jackie Speier
Member

cc:        The Honorable Darrell E. Issa, Chairman
            Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

[ipaper docId=74272897 access_key=key-2omtyx5qm7z96puweo30 height=600 width=600 /]

source: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov

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Iowa AG Expected to Press California AG to Join Foreclosure Settlement

Iowa AG Expected to Press California AG to Join Foreclosure Settlement

My mother always said “Don’t have nothing good to say, Don’t say anything at all”

FOX BUSINESS-

The impasse over the nationwide mortgage foreclosure settlement continues, but could a meeting Tuesday provide the much needed breakthrough that brings the California Attorney General into the settlement and paves the way for a deal?

Some people close the negotiations say yes. That is because California Attorney General Kamala Harris will be attending a meeting with Iowa’s Attorney General, Tom Miller, who is leading the negotiations with the banks over faulty mortgage foreclosures and who is likely to press Harris to join the broader group.

.
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NY, Delaware AGs may intervene in BofA, BNY Mellon MBS settlement

NY, Delaware AGs may intervene in BofA, BNY Mellon MBS settlement

What a team!

HW-

Attorneys General for Delaware and New York secured permission from a U.S. District Judge to intervene in court proceedings discussing the Bank of New York Mellon (BK: 18.03 -0.33%) $8.5 billion settlement with Bank of America (BAC: 5.045 -3.90%) over toxic mortgage-backed securities.

The AGs are eager to get a presence in the proceedings, so they can represent the interests of the investing public in their respective states before a final deal is reached. Admission to the process gives the AGs a chance to hear where talks are going and an opportunity to object to provisions of the deal.

[HOUSING WIRE]

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New York probes military foreclosures – FT

New York probes military foreclosures – FT

Another great job by Shahien Nasiripour

FT-

Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney-general, has launched an investigation into possibly unlawful foreclosures on the mortgages of active-duty members of the US military.

Data released last week by a federal banking regulator suggested that 10 leading lenders may have seized the homes of about 5,000 service members in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The nearly-decade old law restricts foreclosures on the homes of members of the US armed forces while they are on active duty.

[FINANCIAL TIMES]

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BREAKING NEWS: Notary “Tracy Lawrence” who blew whistle on foreclosure fraud found dead

BREAKING NEWS: Notary “Tracy Lawrence” who blew whistle on foreclosure fraud found dead

For those who are just following: Lawrence was the whistleblower who turned in LPS’ employees to Nevada AG Masto that led to indictments of robo-signing.

 

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) —

The notary who signed tens of thousands of false documents in a massive robo-signing scandal case was found dead in her home on Monday.

The notary, 43-year-old Tracy Lawrence, was supposed to be in court at 8:30 Monday morning for her sentencing hearing. When her attorney did not hear from her for more than an hour, Sr. Deputy Attorney General Robert Giunta asked for a bench warrant to be issued for Lawrence. The judge denied the request.

Metro Homicide Detectives are working currently the case. It is unclear if her death was due to natural causes, or if it was a suicide or homicide. Last Monday, Lawrence pled guilty to only one criminal charge of notary fraud.

[KSNV MyNews3]

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Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie abuses went unchecked, Improperly foreclosed on homeowners

Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie abuses went unchecked, Improperly foreclosed on homeowners

AP-

A government watchdog said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac improperly foreclosed on homeowners and cost the government billions of dollars by not holding major banks to strict underwriting requirements.

The report released Tuesday also said the Federal Housing Finance Agency gave “undue deference” to Fannie and Freddie officials and didn’t scrutinize more than $35 million in bonuses and compensation to Fannie and Freddie executives.

FHFA’s inspector general had previously released each of the findings on an individual basis. But the semi-annual report to Congress sketched a portrait of abuse at the two mortgage giants that the government failed to stop.

Fannie, Freddie and the FHFA didn’t respond to the report. But they have responded to similar allegations in previous reports.

[ASSOCIATED PRESS]

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FHFA Announces Senior Staff Appointments

FHFA Announces Senior Staff Appointments

Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco has announced the appointments of Richard B. Hornsby, as FHFA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO),
and Jon Greenlee, as the agency’s Deputy Director of the Division of Enterprise Regulation.

[ipaper docId=74182269 access_key=key-10adm7gp8ybl9s99w8j8 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Banks May Have Illegally Foreclosed On Nearly 5,000 Military Members

Banks May Have Illegally Foreclosed On Nearly 5,000 Military Members

HuffPO-

Even those people putting their lives on the line for their country may not be safe from the American foreclosure crisis.

Ten lenders are reviewing close to 5,000 foreclosures of homes belonging to active-duty service members in an attempt to discover if they were carried out improperly, according to data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, cited by the Financial Times. The OCC’s report is based on projections prepared by the lenders and and their consultants. Bank of America said it is reviewing 2,400 foreclosures of homes belonging to active-duty service members and Wells Fargo said it’s looking at nearly 900 cases. Citigroup is reviewing 700 foreclosures, the bank said.

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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KaBOOM! MA Federal District Court SLAMS MERS “Illegal Foreclosure”, “Need Note AND Mortgage To Foreclose”  – CULHANE vs. AURORA LOAN SVCS of NEBRASKA

KaBOOM! MA Federal District Court SLAMS MERS “Illegal Foreclosure”, “Need Note AND Mortgage To Foreclose” – CULHANE vs. AURORA LOAN SVCS of NEBRASKA

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS

ORATAI CULHANE,

Plaintiff,

v.

AURORA LOAN SERVICES
OF NEBRASKA,

Defendant.

EXCERPT:

Nationwide, courts are grappling with challenges to MERS’s
power to assign mortgages as well as its practice of deputizing
employees of other companies to make assignments on its behalf.
The present case is distinct only in that it is this Court’s
first encounter with MERS and with the question whether its
involvement in the origination and assignment of a mortgage loan
clouds record title to the mortgaged property. The public has an
interest in ensuring the liquidity of the mortgage market. Thus,
even if Culhane is unable to exercise her equitable right of
redemption and foreclosure of her mortgage loan is inevitable,
title must pass free of cloud and not subject to challenge in any
future action for summary process or to try title on the ground
that the foreclosure process was conducted unlawfully. See
Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez, 460 Mass. 762, 772 (2011); Bank of N.Y.
v. Bailey, 460 Mass. 327, 333-34 (2011).

[…]

Indeed, a MERS certifying officer is more akin to an Admiral in the Georgia navy or a Kentucky Colonel with benefits than he is to any genuine financial officer. In its rush to cash in on the sale of mortgage-backed securities, the MERS system supplies the thinnest possible veneer of formality and legality to the wholesale marketing of home mortgages to large institutional investors.14

 

[ipaper docId=74158654 access_key=key-pqry20k43wmqfqy06dt height=600 width=600 /]

 

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How Henry Paulson Tipped Off Hedge Funds of Fannie Mae Rescue

How Henry Paulson Tipped Off Hedge Funds of Fannie Mae Rescue

I’m sure this is only a “tip” of this iceberg!

Around the conference room table were a dozen or so hedge- fund managers and other Wall Street executives — at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. In addition to Eton Park founder Eric Mindich, they included such boldface names as Lone Pine Capital LLC founder Stephen Mandel, Dinakar Singh of TPG-Axon Capital Management LP and Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.

Business Week-

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July 21, 2008, and market fears were mounting. Four months earlier, Bear Stearns Cos. had sold itself for just $10 a share to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Now, amid tumbling home prices and near-record foreclosures, attention was focused on a new source of contagion: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together had more than $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and other debt outstanding.

[BUSINESS WEEK]

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Judge Rakoff’s Ruling in S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets

Judge Rakoff’s Ruling in S.E.C. v. Citigroup Global Markets

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

U.S. SECURITIES COMMISSION,
AND
EXCHANGE
Plaintiff,

v-

CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC.,
Defendant.
————-

[ipaper docId=74108307 access_key=key-1emgh0xyn9gh44ecppdn height=600 width=600 /]

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Should the Courts Appoint an Equitable Receiver for Bank of America?

Should the Courts Appoint an Equitable Receiver for Bank of America?

The path of economic interest is strewn with casualties, what some analysts call collateral damage. In this issue, we look at the who is looking out for whom and ask the question of whether or not something other than the relatively narrow interests of central government and corporate management need to be taken into account in the greater scheme of restoring confidence in the financial system. — D.S.

First we send kudos to the Federal Reserve Board for approving the acquisition of a UT based industrial lender by Green Dot Corp, as reported by American Banker. It is long past time for the Fed to encourage the entry of new capital investment and management talent into the banking sector. “Green Dot’s dominant partner is Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is also a shareholder and relies on Green Dot to help run its own prepaid cards,” American Banker’s Dean Anason reports.

Now federal regulators, however, face the near certainty that another large industrial corporation will challenge the non-bank moratorium that has been in effect, illegally, at the FDIC for many years. We repeat our call for Congress to repeal the ownership restrictions in the Bank Holding Company Act.

[THE INSTITUTIONAL RISK ANALYST]

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Assured Guaranty files new claims against JPMorgan

Assured Guaranty files new claims against JPMorgan

This will never end and the fraud will go on forever with no end in sight.

 

REUTERS-

Bond insurer Assured Guaranty Ltd filed new claims against JPMorgan Chase & Co over a mortgage-backed security sold by Bear Stearns, saying more than 35 witnesses have come forward to testify about how loans in the $337 million transaction were misrepresented.

The lawsuit contends Bear Stearns and its EMC mortgage arm, acquired by JPMorgan after their collapse in 2008, knew the pool of more than 6,000 home-equity lines of credit that served as collateral for the investment was filled with defective loans.

[REUTERS]

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