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Handcuffs for Wall Street, Not Happy-Talk

Handcuffs for Wall Street, Not Happy-Talk

“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists
– to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.”
– BARACK OBAMA, speech, Aug. 28, 2006

Zach Carter

Zach Carter

Economics Editor, AlterNet; Fellow, Campaign for America’s Future

Posted: September 12, 2010 02:52 PM

The Washington Post has published a very silly op-ed by Chrystia Freeland accusing President Barack Obama of unfairly “demonizing” Wall Street. Freeland wants to see Obama tone down his rhetoric and play nice with executives in pursuit of a harmonious economic recovery. The trouble is, Obama hasn’t actually deployed harsh words against Wall Street. What’s more, in order to avoid being characterized as “anti-business,” the Obama administration has refused to mete out serious punishment for outright financial fraud. Complaining about nouns and adjectives is a little ridiculous when handcuffs and prison sentences are in order.

Freeland is a long-time business editor at Reuters and the Financial Times, and the story she spins about the financial crisis comes across as very reasonable. It’s also completely inaccurate. Here’s the key line:

“Stricter regulation of financial services is necessary not because American bankers were bad, but because the rules governing them were.”

Bank regulations were lousy, of course. But Wall Street spent decades lobbying hard for those rules, and screamed bloody murder when Obama had the audacity to tweak them. More importantly, the financial crisis was not only the result of bad rules. It was the result of bad rules and rampant, straightforward fraud, something a seasoned business editor like Freeland ought to know. Seeking economic harmony with criminals seems like a pretty poor foundation for an economic recovery.

The FBI was warning about an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud as early as 2004. Mortgage fraud is typically perpetrated by lenders, not borrowers — 80 percent of the time, according to the FBI. Banks made a lot of quick bucks over the past decade by illegally conning borrowers. Then bankers who knew these loans were fraudulent still packaged them into securities and sold them to investors without disclosing that fraud. They lied to their own shareholders about how many bad loans were on their books, and lied to them about the bonuses that were derived from the entire scheme. When you do these things, you are stealing lots of money from innocent people, and you are, in fact, behaving badly (to put it mildly).

The fraud allegations that have emerged over the past year are not restricted to a few bad apples at shady companies– they involve some of the largest players in global finance. Washington Mutual executives knew their company was issuing fraudulent loans, and securitized them anyway without stopping the influx of fraud in the lending pipeline. Wachovia is settling charges that it illegally laundered $380 billion in drug money in order to maintain access to liquidity. Barclays is accused of illegally laundering money from Iran, Sudan and other nations, jumping through elaborate technical hoops to conceal the source of their funds. Goldman Sachs set up its own clients to fail and bragged about their “shitty deals.” Citibank executives deceived their shareholders about the extent of their subprime mortgage holdings. Bank of America executives concealed heavy losses from the Merrill Lynch merger, and then lied to their shareholders about the massive bonuses they were paying out. IndyMac Bank and at least five other banks cooked their books by backdating capital injections.

Continue reading…..The  Huffington Post


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Bank Owned, citi, conspiracy, Economy, FED FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, goldman sachs, hamp, indymac, investigation, jobless, lehman brothers, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., OCC, racketeering, RICO, rmbs, Wall Street, wamu, washington mutual, wells fargo0 Comments

INSIDE CHASE and the Perfect Foreclosure

INSIDE CHASE and the Perfect Foreclosure

“JPMorgan CHASE is in the foreclosure business, not the modification business’.”  That, according to Jerad Bausch, who until quite recently was an employee of CHASE’s mortgage servicing division working in the foreclosure department in Rancho Bernardo, California.

I was recently introduced to Jerad and he agreed to an interview.  (Christmas came early this year.)  His answers to my questions provided me with a window into how servicers think and operate.  And some of the things he said confirmed my fears about mortgage servicers… their interests and ours are anything but aligned.

Today, Jerad Bausch is 25 years old, but with a wife and two young children, he communicates like someone ten years older.  He had been selling cars for about three and a half years and was just 22 years old when he applied for a job at JPMorgan CHASE.  He ended up working in the mega-bank’s mortgage servicing area… the foreclosure department, to be precise.  He had absolutely no prior experience with mortgages or in real estate, but then… why would that be important?

“The car business is great in terms of bring home a good size paycheck, but to make the money you have to work all the time, 60-70 hours a week.  When our second child arrived, that schedule just wasn’t going to work.  I thought CHASE would be kind of a cushy office job that would offer some stability,” Jerad explained.

That didn’t exactly turn out to be the case.  Eighteen months after CHASE hired Jared, with numerous investors having filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of the housing meltdown, he was laid off.  The “investors” in this case are the entities that own the loans that Chase services.  When an investor files bankruptcy the loan files go to CHASE’S bankruptcy department, presumably to be liquidated by the trustee in order to satisfy the claims of creditors.

The interview process included a “panel” of CHASE executives asking Jared a variety of questions primarily in two areas.  They asked if he was the type of person that could handle working with people that were emotional and in foreclosure, and if his computer skills were up to snuff.  They asked him nothing about real estate or mortgages, or car sales for that matter.

The training program at CHASE turned out to be almost exclusively about the critical importance of documenting the files that he would be pushing through the foreclosure process and ultimately to the REO department, where they would be put back on the market and hopefully sold.  Documenting the files with everything that transpired was the single most important aspect of Jared’s job at CHASE, in fact, it was what his bonus was based on, along with the pace at which the foreclosures he processed were completed.

“A perfect foreclosure was supposed to take 120 days,” Jared explains, “and the closer you came to that benchmark, the better your numbers looked and higher your bonus would be.”

CHASE started Jared at an annual salary of $30,000, but he very quickly became a “Tier One” employee, so he earned a monthly bonus of $1,000 because he documented everything accurately and because he always processed foreclosures at as close to a “perfect” pace as possible.

“Bonuses were based on accurate and complete documentation, and on how quickly you were able to foreclosure on someone,” Jerad says.  “They rate you as Tier One, Two or Three… and if you’re Tier One, which is the top tier, then you’d get a thousand dollars a month bonus.  So, from $30,000 you went to $42,000.  Of course, if your documentation was off, or you took too long to foreclose, you wouldn’t get the bonus.”

Day-to-day, Jerad’s job was primarily to contact paralegals at the law firms used by CHASE to file foreclosures, publish sale dates, and myriad other tasks required to effectuate a foreclosure in a given state.

“It was our responsibility to stay on top of and when necessary push the lawyers to make sure things done in a timely fashion, so that foreclosures would move along in compliance with Fannie’s guidelines,” Jerad explained.  “And we documented what went on with each file so that if the investor came in to audit the files, everything would be accurate in terms of what had transpired and in what time frame.  It was all about being able to show that foreclosures were being processed as efficiently as possible.”

When a homeowner applies for a loan modification, Jerad would receive an email from the modification team telling him to put a file on hold awaiting decision on modification.  This wouldn’t count against his bonus, because Fannie Mae guidelines allow for modifications to be considered, but investors would see what was done as related to the modification, so everything had to be thoroughly documented.

“Seemed like more than 95% of the time, the instruction came back ‘proceed with foreclosure,’ according to Jerad.  “Files would be on hold pending modification, but still accruing fees and interest.  Any time a servicer does anything to a file, they’re charging people for it,” Jerad says.

I was fascinated to learn that investors do actually visit servicers and audit files to make sure things are being handled properly and homes are being foreclosed on efficiently, or modified, should that be in their best interest.  As Jerad explained, “Investors know that Polling & Servicing Agreements (“PSAs”) don’t protect them, they protect servicers, so they want to come in and audit files themselves.”

“Foreclosures are a no lose proposition for a servicer,” Jerad told me during the interview.  “The servicer gets paid more to service a delinquent loan, but they also get to tack on a whole bunch of extra fees and charges.  If the borrower reinstates the loan, which is rare, then the borrower pays those extra fees.  If the borrower loses the house, then the investor pays them.  Either way, the servicer gets their money.”

Jerad went on to say: “Our attitude at CHASE was to process everything as quickly as possible, so we can foreclose and take the house to sale.  That’s how we made our money.”

“Servicers want to show investors that they did their due diligence on a loan modification, but that in the end they just couldn’t find a way to modify.  They’re whole focus is to foreclose, not to modify.  They put the borrower through every hoop and obstacle they can, so that when something fails to get done on time, or whatever, they can deny it and proceed with the foreclosure.  Like, ‘Hey we tried, but the borrower didn’t get this one document in on time.’  That sure is what it seemed like to me, anyway.”

According to Jerad, JPMorgan CHASE in Rancho Bernardo, services foreclosures in all 50 states.  During the 18 months that he worked there, his foreclosure department of 15 people would receive 30-40 borrower files a day just from California, so each person would get two to three foreclosure a day to process just from California alone.  He also said that in Rancho Bernardo, there were no more than 5-7 people in the loan modification department, but in loss mitigation there were 30 people who processed forbearances, short sales, and other alternatives to foreclosure.  The REO department was made up of fewer than five people.

Jerad often took a smoke break with some of the guys handing loan modifications.  “They were always complaining that their supervisors weren’t approving modifications,” Jerad said.  “There was always something else they wanted that prevented the modification from being approved.  They got their bonus based on modifying loans, along with accurate documentation just like us, but it seemed like the supervisors got penalized for modifying loans, because they were all about finding a way to turn them down.”

“There’s no question about it,” Jerad said in closing, “CHASE is in the foreclosure business, not the modification business.”

Well, now… that certainly was satisfying for me.   Was it good for you too? I mean, since, as a taxpayer who bailed out CHASE and so many others, to know that they couldn’t care less about what it says in the HAMP guidelines, or what the President of the United States has said, or about our nation’s economy, or our communities… … or… well, about anything but “the perfect foreclosure,” I feel like I’ve been royally screwed, so it seemed like the appropriate question to ask.

Now I understand why servicers want foreclosures.  It’s the extra fees they can charge either the borrower or the investor related to foreclosure… it’s sort of license to steal, isn’t it?  I mean, no one questions those fees and charges, so I’m sure they’re not designed to be low margin fees and charges.  They’re certainly not subject to the forces of competition.  I wonder if they’re even regulated in any way… in fact, I’d bet they’re not.

And I also now understand why so many times it seems like they’re trying to come up with a reason to NOT modify, as opposed to modify and therefore stop a foreclosure. In fact, many of the modifications I’ve heard from homeowners about have requirements that sound like they’re straight off of “The Amazing Race” reality television show.

“You have exactly 11 hours to sign this form, have it notarized, and then deliver three copies of the document by hand to this address in one of three major U.S. cities.  The catch is you can’t drive or take a cab to get there… you must arrive by elephant.  When you arrive a small Asian man wearing one red shoe will give you your next clue.  You have exactly $265 to complete this leg of THE AMAZING CHASE!”

And, now we know why.  They’re not trying to figure out how to modify, they’re looking for a reason to foreclose and sell the house.

But, although I’m just learning how all this works, Treasury Secretary Geithner had to have known in advance what would go on inside a mortgage servicer.  And so must FDIC Chair Sheila Bair have known.  And so must a whole lot of others in Washington D.C. too, right?  After all, Jerad is a bright young man, to be sure, but if he came to understand how things worked inside a servicver in just 18 months, then I have to believe that many thousands of others know these things as well.

So, why do so many of our elected representatives continue to stand around looking surprised and even dumbfounded at HAMP not working as it was supposed to… as the president said it would?

Oh, wait a minute… that’s right… they don’t actually do that, do they?  In fact, our elected representatives don’t look surprised at all, come to think of it.  They’re not surprised because they knew about the problems.  It’s not often “in the news,” because it’s not “news” to them.

I think I’ve uncovered something, but really they already know, and they’re just having a little laugh at our collective expense… is that about right?  Is this funny to someone in Washington, or anyone anywhere for that matter?

Well, at least we found out before the elections in November.  There’s still time to send more than a few incumbents home for at least the next couple of years.

I’m not kidding about that.  Someone needs to be punished for this.  We need to send a message.

Mandelman out.

@ MANDELMAN MATTERS


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in chase, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, geithner, hamp, jpmorgan chase, Wall Street1 Comment

Treasury Makes Shocking Admission: Program for Struggling Homeowners Just a Ploy to Enrich Big Banks

Treasury Makes Shocking Admission: Program for Struggling Homeowners Just a Ploy to Enrich Big Banks

The Treasury Dept.’s mortgage relief program isn’t just failing, it’s actively funneling money from homeowners to bankers, and Treasury likes it that way.

August 25, 2010 |AlterNet / By Zach Carter

The Treasury Department’s plan to help struggling homeowners has been failing miserably for months. The program is poorly designed, has been poorly implemented and only a tiny percentage of borrowers eligible for help have actually received any meaningful assistance. The initiative lowers monthly payments for borrowers, but fails to reduce their overall debt burden, often increasing that burden, funneling money to banks that borrowers could have saved by simply renting a different home. But according to recent startling admissions from top Treasury officials, the mortgage plan was actually not really about helping borrowers at all. Instead, it was simply one element of a broader effort to pump money into big banks and shield them from losses on bad loans. That’s right: Treasury openly admitted that its only serious program purporting to help ordinary citizens was actually a cynical move to help Wall Street megabanks.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has long made it clear his financial repair plan was based on allowing large banks to “earn” their way back to health. By creating conditions where banks could make easy profits, Getithner and top officials at the Federal Reserve hoped to limit the amount of money taxpayers would have to directly inject into the banks. This was never the best strategy for fixing the financial sector, but it wasn’t outright predation, either. But now the Treasury Department is making explicit that it was—and remains—willing to let those so-called “earnings” come directly at the expense of people hit hardest by the recession: struggling borrowers trying to stay in their homes.

This account comes secondhand from a cadre of bloggers who were invited to speak on “deep background” with a handful of Treasury officials—meaning that bloggers would get to speak frankly with top-level folks, but not quote them directly, or attribute views to specific people. But the accounts are all generally distressing, particularly this one from economics whiz Steve Waldman:

The program was successful in the sense that it kept the patient alive until it had begun to heal. And the patient of this metaphor was not a struggling homeowner, but the financial system, a.k.a. the banks. Policymakers openly judged HAMP to be a qualified success because it helped banks muddle through what might have been a fatal shock. I believe these policymakers conflate, in full sincerity, incumbent financial institutions with “the system,” “the economy,” and “ordinary Americans.”

Mike Konczal confirms Waldman’s observation, and Felix Salmon also says the program has done little more than delay foreclosures, as does Shahien Nasiripour.

Here’s how Geithner’s Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP) works, or rather, doesn’t work. Troubled borrowers can apply to their banks for relief on monthly mortgage payments. Banks who agree to participate in HAMP also agree to do a bunch of things to reduce the monthly payments for borrowers, from lowering interest rates to extending the term of the loan. This is good for the bank, because they get to keep accepting payments from borrowers without taking a big loss on the loan.

But the deal is not so good for homeowners. Banks don’t actually have to reduce how much borrowers actually owe them—only how much they have to pay out every month. For borrowers who owe tens of thousands of dollars more than their home is worth, the deal just means that they’ll be pissing away their money to the bank more slowly than they were before. If a homeowner spends $3,000 a month on her mortgage, HAMP might help her get that payment down to $2,500. But if she still owes $50,000 more than her house is worth, the plan hasn’t actually helped her. Even if the borrower gets through HAMP’s three-month trial period, the plan has done nothing but convince her to funnel another $7,500 to a bank that doesn’t deserve it.

Most borrowers go into the program expecting real relief. After the trial period, most realize that it doesn’t actually help them, and end up walking away from the mortgage anyway. These borrowers would have been much better off simply finding a new place to rent without going through the HAMP rigamarole. This example is a good case, one where the bank doesn’t jack up the borrower’s long-term debt burden in exchange for lowering monthly payments

But the benefit to banks goes much deeper. On any given mortgage, it’s almost always in a bank’s best interest to cut a deal with borrowers. Losses from foreclosure are very high, and if a bank agrees to reduce a borrower’s debt burden, it will take an upfront hit, but one much lower than what it would ultimately take from foreclosure.

That logic changes dramatically when millions of loans are defaulting at once. Under those circumstances, bank balance sheets are so fragile they literally cannot afford to absorb lots of losses all at once. But if those foreclosures unravel slowly, over time, the bank can still stay afloat, even if it has to bear greater costs further down the line. As former Deutsche Bank executive Raj Date told me all the way back in July 2009:

If management is only seeking to maximize value for their existing shareholders, it’s possible that maybe they’re doing the right thing. If you’re able to let things bleed out slowly over time but still generate some earnings, if it bleeds slow enough, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, because you never have to issue more stock and dilute your shareholders. You could make an argument from the point of view of any bank management team that not taking a day-one hit is actually a smart idea.

Date, it should be emphasized, does not condone this strategy. He now heads the Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institutions Policy, and is a staunch advocate of financial reform.

If, say, Wells Fargo had taken a $20 billion hit on its mortgage book in February 2009, it very well could have failed. But losing a few billion dollars here and there over the course of three or four years means that Wells Fargo can stay in business and keep paying out bonuses, even if it ultimately sees losses of $25 or $30 billion on its bad loans.

So HAMP is doing a great job if all you care about is the solvency of Wall Street banks. But if borrowers know from the get-go they’re not going to get a decent deal, they have no incentive to keep paying their mortgage. Instead of tapping out their savings and hitting up relatives for help with monthly payments, borrowers could have saved their money, walked away from the mortgage and found more sensible rental housing. The administration’s plan has effectively helped funnel more money to Wall Street at the expense of homeowners. And now the Treasury Department is going around and telling bloggers this is actually a positive feature of the program, since it meant that big banks didn’t go out of business.

There were always other options for dealing with the banks and preventing foreclosures. Putting big, faltering banks into receivership—also known as “nationalization”—has been a powerful policy tool used by every administration from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. When the government takes over a bank, it forces it to take those big losses upfront, wiping out shareholders in the process. Investors lose a lot of money (and they should, since they made a lousy investment), but the bank is cleaned up quickly and can start lending again. No silly games with borrowers, and no funky accounting gimmicks.

Most of the blame for the refusal to nationalize failing Wall Street titans lies with the Bush administration, although Obama had the opportunity to make a move early in his tenure, and Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Geithner, was a major bailout decision-maker on the Bush team as president of the New York Fed.

But Bush cannot be blamed for the HAMP nightmare, and plenty of other options were available for coping with foreclosure when Obama took office. One of the best solutions was just endorsed by the Cleveland Federal Reserve, in the face of prolonged and fervent opposition from the bank lobby. Unlike every other form of consumer debt, mortgages are immune from renegotiation in bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy, a judge literally cannot reduce how much you owe on your mortgage. The only way out of the debt is foreclosure, giving banks tremendous power in negotiations with borrowers.

This exemption is arbitrary and unfair, but the bank lobby contends it keeps mortgage rates lower. It’s just not true, as a new paper by Cleveland Fed economists Thomas J. Fitzpatrick IV and James B. Thomson makes clear. Family farms were exempted from bankruptcy until 1986, and bankers bloviated about the same imminent risk of unaffordable farm loans when Congress considered ending that status to prevent farm foreclosures.

When Congress did repeal the exemption, farm loans didn’t get any more expensive, and bankruptcy filings didn’t even increase very much. Instead, a flood of farmers entered into negotiations with banks to have their debt burden reduced. Banks took losses, but foreclosures were avoided. Society was better off, even if bank investors had to take a hit.

But instead, Treasury is actively encouraging troubled homeowners to subsidize giant banks. What’s worse, as Mike Konczal notes, they’re hoping to expand the program significantly.

There is a flip-side to the current HAMP nightmare, one that borrowers faced with mortgage problems should attend to closely and discuss with financial planners. In many cases, banks don’t actually want to foreclose quickly, because doing so entails taking losses right away, and most of them would rather drag those losses out over time. The accounting rules are so loose that banks can actually book phantom “income” on monthly payments that borrowers do not actually make. Some borrowers have been able to benefit from this situation by simply refusing to pay their mortgages. Since banks often want to delay repossessing the house in order to benefit from tricky accounting, borrowers can live rent-free in their homes for a year or more before the bank finally has to lower the hatchet. Of course, you won’t hear Treasury encouraging people to stop paying their mortgages. If too many people just stop paying, then banks are out a lot of money fast, sparking big, quick losses for banks — the exact situation HAMP is trying to avoid.

Borrowers who choose not to pay their mortgages don’t even have to feel guilty about it. Refusing to pay is actually modestly good for the economy, since instead of wasting their money on bank payments, borrowers have more cash to spend at other businesses, creating demand and encouraging job growth. By contrast, top-level Treasury officials who have enriched bankers on the backs of troubled borrowers should be looking for other lines of work.

Zach Carter is AlterNet’s economics editor. He is a fellow at Campaign for America’s Future, writes a weekly blog on the economy for the Media Consortium and is a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine.

Source: AlterNet

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in coercion, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, federal reserve board, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, geithner, hamp, insider, investigation, trade secrets0 Comments

Hard Times Are Getting Harder: Why The Silence?

Hard Times Are Getting Harder: Why The Silence?

WHO IS TALKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS?

Aren’t job losses and foreclosures as important as a “Ground Zero Mosque” (that has not been built, isn’t a mosque or even at ground zero?)

By Danny Schechter, Author of The Crime Of Our Time

We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record. The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers.

Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping 1/6th of those promised assistance.

And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months. This year, 1.9 million homes will be lost, down from 2 million last year. Is that progress? In July alone, 92, 858 homes were repossessed.

At the same time, the number of cancelled mortgage modifications exceeded the number of successful ones. According to Ml-implode.com, last month, “the number of trial modification cancellations surged to 616,839, greatly outnumbering the 421,804 active permanent modifications.”

The Treasury Department admits its HAMP program did not meet expectations but justifies it on the grounds that it gave homeowners lower payments—thatr is, until they were tossed out of their homes. Critics call this “extend and pretend.

And don’t think this is only a problem that affects the homeowners about to go homeless. The New York Times quotes Michael Feder, the chief executive of the real estate data firm Radar Logic to the effect that we are all at risk.

“My concern is that if we have another protracted housing dip, it’s going to bring the economy down,” Mr. Feder said. “If consumers don’t think their houses are worth what they were six months ago, they’re not going to go out and spend money. I’m concerned this problem isn’t being addressed.”

The larger point is that even if you believe the economy is already down, it can go lower. No one knows how to “fix it” either just as BP couldn’t plug the “leak” that, truth be told, is still oozing oil, and is 650 feet in scope.

So what are we doing about it? Are we demanding debt relief or a moratorium on foreclosures? Are we shutting down the foreclosure factories

Continue Reading…NewsDissector

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, Danny Schechter, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, geithner, goldman sachs, hamp, investigation, Moratorium, mortgage, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, mortgage modification, Real Estate, Wall Street0 Comments

Whistleblower| Fannie Mae Bungled HAMP Anti-Foreclosure Program

Whistleblower| Fannie Mae Bungled HAMP Anti-Foreclosure Program

By Michael Hudson | August 06, 2010

Fannie Mae executives bungled their stewardship of the federal government’s massive foreclosure-prevention campaign, creating a bureaucratic muddle characterized by “mismanagement and gross waste of public funds,” according to a whistleblower lawsuit by a former Fannie Mae executive and consultant.

Caroline Herron, a former Fannie vice president who returned to the mortgage giant in 2009 as a high-level consultant, claims that the homeowner-relief effort was marred by delays, missteps and executives preoccupied with their institution’s short-term financial interests.

“It appeared that Fannie Mae officers were focused on maximizing incentive payments available to Fannie Mae under various federal programs – even if this meant wasting taxpayer money and delaying the implementation of high-priority Treasury programs,” she claims in the lawsuit.

Herron alleges that Fannie Mae officials terminated her $200-an-hour consulting work in January because she raised questions about how it was administering the federal government’s push to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.

Continue Reading…PublicIntegrity.org

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, fannie mae, foreclosure, hamp, investigation, mortgage modification, scam1 Comment

Bank of America’s error cost Cape Coral woman a house

Bank of America’s error cost Cape Coral woman a house

Melanie Payne • Tellmel@news-press.com • July 22, 2010

1:10 A.M. — Nicole DePuy thought she was one of the lucky ones when she walked out of Harborside Event Center on Jan. 27 with a loan modification that would save her home from foreclosure.

After waiting hours to talk to her lender at the highly publicized event, the 40-year-old speech-language pathologist had been approved for a trial with the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Under the government-sponsored program called HAMP, DePuy’s mortgage payments were cut almost in half, dropping from $2,100 to $1,054.

And best of all, under the terms of the program, all foreclosure action would stop. The scheduled sale of DePuy’s Cape Coral home was prohibited under the terms of the agreement.

“I thought my problems were over,” DePuy said.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But DePuy didn’t know that until John Moffatt of Isla Blue Development LLC put a note on her door March 31 telling her to call about her property. Moffatt told DePuy the company he represented had purchased her home in a foreclosure sale at the courthouse.

DePuy called Bank of America to find out what happened and was told the bank had failed to notify the lawyer handling the foreclosure sale that DePuy was in the trial loan modification program.

Fort Myers attorney Robert D. Royston Jr. agreed to represent DePuy. He asked the court to set aside the sale “on the basis of the mistake by the plaintiff.”

Royston filed the contract showing the modification and the HAMP guidelines that read: “Foreclosure sales may not be conducted while the loan is being considered for a modification or during the trial period.”

The judge didn’t have an opportunity to read the pleadings.

“The judiciary is having difficulty given the volume to give the attention each case may require,” Royston said.

Because Isla Blue purchased the house fair and square, it belonged to it, the judge ruled.

Isla Blue could have kicked DePuy and her 11-year-old daughter out within days of the ruling, but she has been given until the end of the month to move.

Bank of America told me it would deal with this issue directly with DePuy. A customer advocate contacted her Tuesday, DePuy said, telling her she was looking into it.

DePuy’s story illustrates the pitfalls of homeowners going it alone when dealing with foreclosures. If DePuy had an attorney, the attorney would have seen the house was still on the foreclosure listings and taken action before the sale.

Martha Green, the executive assistant at the Home Ownership Resource Center, said that DePuy could have contacted the bank’s attorney herself and told the attorney she had worked out a modification. But going it alone, DePuy would not have known to do that.

The scary thing is that there are more than 1.2 million homeowners who have started a trial modification under the government’s “Making Home Affordable” plan. I hope it works better for them than it did for DePuy.

– For more columns and reader forums go to news-press.com/tellmel. Write to Tell Mel at 2442 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, 33901. Call her at 344-4772. E-mail her at tellmel@ news-press.com.


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of america, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, hamp, mistake, mortgage, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud1 Comment

The bank took my house and killed my children

The bank took my house and killed my children

On June 24, PACT, CCISCO and the PICO National Network hosted a U.S. Treasury Hearing with 500 community members to urge Policy Director Laurie Maggiano: Treasury must do more to hold banks accountable for modifying loans to keep families in their homes. Tax payers bailed out the big banks, and now they need to be a part of stopping preventable foreclosures and rebuilding the economy.

Treasury is responsible for implementing President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that promised to help 3-4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Fewer than 10% of these homeowners have received permanent loan modifications. We are working to change that!

Treasury Policy Director Laurie Maggiano agreed to:
• Make the program more inclusive of homeowners in need of loan modifications.
• Get back to PACT in writing within 30 days after taking all the stories, research, and demands for change back to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

CAN YOU FEEL the ANGER? ….I DID!

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in hamp, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, mortgage modification0 Comments

Potentially ‘Thousands’ Of Homeowners Improperly Denied Obama Mortgage Modifications, Administration Admits

Potentially ‘Thousands’ Of Homeowners Improperly Denied Obama Mortgage Modifications, Administration Admits

Lets not act surprise…by now we all know ANYTHING the US GOVERNMENT touches turns to ___________!

Because these lying banksters get away with ________________! We should foreclose on their _____________and kick them to the curb! Get your stress out and fill in the blank!

WE are not fools and we do not believe one thing they say!

shahien@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting
First Posted: 06-29-10 06:22 PM   |   Updated: 06-29-10 06:22 PM



Potentially “thousands” of troubled homeowners were denied opportunities to lower their monthly mortgage payments under the Obama administration’s signature foreclosure-prevention plan due to servicer errors and inadequate oversight by the Treasury Department, a government audit has found.

Mortgage servicers failed to comply with basic guidelines, used different criteria to evaluate borrowers, recorded error rates up to six times their established thresholds, and couldn’t provide evidence that potentially eligible homeowners had been solicited for the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP.

The errors are partly due to Treasury’s failure to issue specific guidelines for servicers to follow, and the administration’s lack of quality-control standards. Because servicers aren’t required to adhere to the same set of standards, there’s a risk that firms aren’t identifying practices “that may lead to inequitable treatment of borrowers or harm taxpayers through greater potential for fraud or waste,” according to a Thursday report by the Government Accountability Office.

But even if servicers were fraudulently modifying loans or improperly denying modifications to distressed homeowners, Treasury “has yet to establish specific consequences or penalties for noncompliance,” the GAO notes. The department has yet to fine any servicers for noncompliance, according to the report.

Already, “Treasury specifically allows some differences in how servicers evaluate borrowers… that could result in inconsistent outcomes for borrowers,” the report found.

The end result could be the “inequitable treatment” of struggling homeowners who were looking to an administration for help during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. HAMP is the centerpiece of the administration’s $75 billion effort to stem the rising tide of foreclosures.

“I find it saddening and frustrating that none of these problems, which we among other people identified to Treasury over a year ago, have been meaningfully addressed,” said Diane E. Thompson, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center. “And as a result, we lost a major opportunity to stem the foreclosure crisis.”

Continue reading….here

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, hamp2 Comments

Mortgage Modifications: Why a Third Are Canceled

Mortgage Modifications: Why a Third Are Canceled

By Bendix Anderson Jun 29th 2010 @ 1:13PM

The federal government says foreclosure prevention has helped millions of people. But sometimes it seems hard to find a pundit or news story that mentions foreclosure prevention program without using the word “failed,” often in the headline.

Whom should you believe?

Government officials say 2.8 million homeowners at risk of foreclosure have had their home mortgages modified, lowering monthly payment by an average of about $500 since April 2009. But critics point out that not all of those modifications have lasted.

For example, of the 1.2 million trial modification started so far through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), about a third, or 429,696, have been canceled, according to the latest reports. Many skeptics worry that foreclosure prevention has merely delayed foreclosure for millions of homeowners who are still likely to eventually lose their homes.
First, let’s look at the big number: the 2.8 million modifications claimed by the government. That includes the 1.2 million HAMP trial modifications, 400,000 modifications through the Federal Housing Administration, and another 1.2 million loan modifications negotiated by HOPE NOW, a national coalition including government-approved loan counselors, mortgage companies and investors.

Based partly on these modifications, officials are taking credit for stabilizing a collapsing housing market. “We already know that due to the Obama administration’s efforts, the housing market is significantly better than anyone predicted a year ago,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

But that still leaves the question of the what happened to the close to half-a-million people who had their trial modifications canceled. They were kicked out of the program for a range of reasons: Some had mortgage payments already less than 31 percent of their income, missed trial payments or had incomplete or unverifiable documentation, according to Treasury officials.

According to a January statement by JPMorgan Chase, for every 100 trial modifications begun through the fall of 2009, a quarter had not paid as agreed. Another 29 borrowers did not submit all the required documents. “Many borrowers return forms missing key information (signatures, Social Security numbers, etc.) or do not return one of four required documents,” according to a statement from Chase. Another 13 out of a 100 borrowers are not eligible for HAMP but will qualify for another type of loan modification and 33 out of 100 borrowers are able to be underwritten for permanent HAMP modifications.

What happened to these people? How were they “helped?”

It now appears that about half of the borrowers that didn’t qualify for HAMP had their loans permanently modified anyway by their loan servicers under alternative programs, according to a survey of the eight biggest loan companies in the HAMP program. Another quarter of the canceled modifications were still awaiting action by the lenders, according to the survey. The remaining quarter of the canceled modifications ended in a variety of ways, ranging from a payment plan, a loan payoff, a bankruptcy filing to knock out heavy credit card debts, or a short sale. Only 7 percent had gone to foreclosure by the end of May.

And here’s another unexpected thing — 10 percent of the loans that had their modifications canceled are now current. The borrowers got out of foreclosure and kept their homes without any help from the program. It’s not clear from the report where these borrowers got the money to get up to date on their loans. Some may have had the money all along. Others borrowers who had lost income may have found new employment.

The survey results are a surprise for all the pundits, myself included, who thought loans that had their trial modifications canceled would be headed straight to foreclosure.

Of course, the future is still unclear for many borrowers who entered foreclosure-prevention programs. More than 400,000 borrowers still have unresolved HAMP trial modifications. Researchers and officials have also begun to track the hundreds of thousands of borrowers with permanent modifications, to see how many slip back into foreclosure, according The Associated Press.

Whatever you think of the federal plan to stop foreclosures, the last page of the latest government-issued Housing Scorecard report has some important numbers. In addition to the tally of temporary and permanent modifications, there’s the number of borrowers who are “underwater,” meaning they owe a larger balance on their home mortgage than the home is now worth: 11.3 million, according to First American CoreLogic. These people might not all give up their homes to foreclosure, but they are vulnerable to new economic shocks. The report also counts 2.4 million seriously delinquent loans, according to LPS-McDash and HUD. Finally, officials count 3.6 million vacant homes held off the market, according to the Census Bureau. Those homes will eventually have to be sold.

So, no matter what you think federal foreclosure prevention effort — and I think the feds are doing better than anyone gives them credit for — the housing market still faces huge challenges that won’t go away soon.
Source: Housing Watch

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in foreclosure, foreclosures, hamp, mortgage modification0 Comments

New Wave in Foreclosures: Borrowers ditch Obama mortgage program

New Wave in Foreclosures: Borrowers ditch Obama mortgage program

By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer Mon Jun 21, 7:14 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s flagship effort to help people in danger of losing their homes is falling flat.

More than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who have enrolled in the $75 billion mortgage modification program have dropped out. That exceeds the number of people who have managed to have their loan payments reduced to help them keep their homes.

Last month alone,155,000 borrowers left the program — bringing the total to 436,000 who have dropped out since it began in March 2009.

About 340,000 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications and are making payments on time.

Administration officials say the housing market is significantly better than when President Barack Obama entered office. They say those who were rejected from the program will get help in other ways.

But analysts expect the majority will still wind up in foreclosure and that could slow the broader economic recovery.

A major reason so many have fallen out of the program is the Obama administration initially pressured banks to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.

Many borrowers complained that the banks lost their documents. The industry said borrowers weren’t sending back the necessary paperwork.

Carlos Woods, a 48-year-old power plant worker in Queens, N.Y., made nine payments during a trial phase but was kicked out of the program after Bank of America said he missed a $1,600 payment afterward. His lawyer said they can prove he made the payment.

Such mistakes happen “more frequently than not, unfortunately,” said his lawyer, Sumani Lanka. “I think a lot of it is incompetence.”

A spokesman for Bank of America declined to comment on Woods’s case.

Treasury officials now require banks to collect two recent pay stubs at the start of the process. Borrowers have to give the Internal Revenue Service permission to provide their most recent tax returns to lenders.

Requiring homeowners to provide documentation of income has turned people away from enrolling in the program. Around 30,000 homeowners started the program in May. That’s a sharp turnaround from last summer when more than 100,000 borrowers signed up each month.

As more people leave the program, a new wave of foreclosures could occur. If that happens, it could weaken the housing market and hold back the broader economic recovery.

Even after their loans are modified, many borrowers are simply stuck with too much debt — from car loans to home equity loans to credit cards.

“The majority of these modifications aren’t going to be successful,” said Wayne Yamano, vice president of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a research firm in Irvine, Calif. “Even after the permanent modification, you’re still looking at a very high debt burden.”

So far nearly 6,400 borrowers have dropped out after the loan modification was made permanent. Most of those borrowers likely defaulted on their modified loans, but a handful either refinanced or sold their homes.

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings projects that about two-thirds of borrowers with permanent modifications under the Obama plan will default again within a year after getting their loans modified.

Obama administration officials contend that borrowers are still getting help — even if they fail to qualify. The administration published statistics showing that nearly half of borrowers who fell out of the program as of April received an alternative loan modification from their lender. About 7 percent fell into foreclosure.

Another option is a short sale — one in which banks agree to let borrowers sell their homes for less than they owe on their mortgage.

A short sale results in a less severe hit to a borrower’s credit score, and is better for communities because homes are less likely to be vandalized or fall into disrepair. To encourage more of those sales, the Obama administration is giving $3,000 for moving expenses to homeowners who complete such a sale or agree to turn over the deed of the property to the lender.

Administration officials said their work on several fronts has helped stabilize the housing market. Besides the foreclosure-prevention plan, they cited government efforts to provide money for home loans, push down mortgage rates and provide a federal tax credit for buyers.

“There’s no question that today’s housing market is in significantly better shape than anyone predicted 18 months ago,” said Shaun Donovan, President Barack Obama’s housing secretary.

The mortgage modification plan was announced with great fanfare a month after Obama took office.

It is designed to lower borrowers’ monthly payments — reducing their mortgage rates to as low as 2 percent for five years and extending loan terms to as long as 40 years. Borrowers who complete the program are saving a median of $514 a month. Mortgage companies get taxpayer incentives to reduce borrowers’ monthly payments.

Consumer advocates had high hopes for Obama’s program when it began. But they have since grown disenchanted.

“The foreclosure-prevention program has had minimal impact,” said John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a consumer group. “It’s sad that they didn’t put the same amount of resources into helping families avoid foreclosure as they did helping banks.”

(This version CORRECTS spelling of Shaun Donovan’s name from Sean Donovan, adds dropped word in paragraph 24.)

Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, hamp, walk away0 Comments


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