Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recently spoke with the Sun discussing Nevada’s participation in the national mortgage settlement as well as a separate agreement the state made with Bank of America. See here for a news story about the settlement. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation.
Bankers, money changers, predatory lenders and financial criminals are jumping for joy after the United States government unveiled a plan that would allow each and every one of the crooks who conspired to steal trillions of dollars from innocent citizens to escape jail time.
Think about it. If your checking account is a penny overdrawn, you get punished but if you lie, cheat, falsify documents and take homes from everybody but the rich, you get bailed out by politicians.
Government talks about the great proposed settlement deal with Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo whereby the banks agreed to pay $5 billion in cash to try to remedy complaints about dubious mortgage practices and foreclosure abuses. But even if you settle with Ali Baba and four other crooks, there are still 35 thieves left to continue to rob you blind.
It’s embarrassing that the most information we’ve yet received about the foreclosure fraud settlement comes from an annual report to stockholders by Wells Fargo. In other words, we had to wait for the banks to tell us what was in the settlement, I guess because the regulatory officials who negotiated it weren’t entirely proud of their work.
The Wells notice (it begins on page 74) isn’t legal language, and it states clearly that “the terms… do not become final until approval of the settlement agreement by the U.S. District Court and execution of a consent order.” But it provides some more detailed information than the broad sketch that has been released. For example, we have the first breakdown that I’ve seen of the credit system for principal reductions.
first lien principal forgiveness for LTV less than or equal to 175%: 100% credit (must constitute at least 30% of the Consumer Relief Program credits);
first lien principal forgiveness for LTV greater than 175%: 50% credit for portion forgiven over 175% LTV;
forgiveness of forbearance amounts on existing loan modifications – 40% credit;
earned forgiveness over no more than a 3 year period: 85% credit for LTV less than or equal to 175%; 45% credit for forgiveness over 175% LTV;
second lien principal forgiveness: 90% credit for loans 90 days or less delinquent; 50% credit for loans greater than 90 but less than 180 days delinquent; 10% credit for loans 180 days more delinquent. Subject to a number of requirements, servicers participating in the settlement will be obligated to implement second lien principal forgiveness on second mortgages it owns when another participating servicer reduces principal on a first mortgage via its proprietary non-HAMP modification programs (must constitute at least 60% of the Consumer Relief Program credits when combined with the first lien principal forgiveness credits);
deficiency balance waivers on first and second lien loans: 10% credit;
short sale deficiency balance waivers on first and second lien loans: 20% to 100% credit depending on whether the servicer, servicer/lien holder or investor incurs the loss;
payment arrearages forgiveness for unemployed borrowers: 100% credit;
transitional funds paid to homeowners in connection with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure for payments in excess of $1,500: 45% credit if a non-GSE investor bears the cost or 100% if the servicer bears the cost;
anti-blight – forgiveness of principal associated with properties where foreclosure is not pursued: 50% credit;
anti-blight – cash costs paid by servicer for property demolition – 100% credit; and
anti-blight – donation of real estate owned properties to qualifying recipients such as non-profit organizations: 100% credit.
The terms for the settlement of the robo-mortgage scandal and the states participating in the settlement are expected to be resolved soon. Unfortunately, as this settlement approaches, new and grave questions have emerged. These questions raise the possibility that the government may be turning a blind eye to tax evasion and fraud.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto won’t decide by today whether to join a nationwide settlement with banks over foreclosure practices, a spokeswoman said. A deadline for joining the accord was today.
Masto’s office is “still reviewing the terms” of a proposed nationwide settlement over bank foreclosure practices, Jennifer Lopez, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said. Masto is “working to address Nevada homeowners’ needs,” Lopez said. Masto said in a Jan. 27 letter to state and federal officials involved in negotiating the accord that she needed answers to 38 questions to evaluate the deal.
After New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed his new complaint against JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and the Mortgage Electronic Registry System, I got an email from the AG’s spokesman. “Looking forward to your story on the MERS lawsuit in the wake of your inaccurate conjecture this week,” it said, referring to my column expressing skepticism that the recently-announced joint mortgage-backed securities task force will accomplish more than the individual task force members have.
As I said in that piece, I’m eager for my skepticism to be proved unfounded. I hope the task force tells the world exactly who is responsible for the greed-driven securitization deficiencies already alleged in private MBS suits and in Congressional reports. I hope someone comes up with a legal theory to hold wrongdoers accountable for packaging mortgages that never should have been issued into securities that were (allegedly) not what they were represented to be.
That, however, is not what the AG’s new case does. […]
Once again we’re hearing that a foreclosure fraud deal is about to be announced between major banks, the U.S. government and most or all of the states. We’ve heard that before, only to have the deadline pushed back so that holdout Attorneys General can be brought on board with the agreement.
Deal, or no deal? We’re not sure, but it’s certainly possible we’ll hear something today, tonight or tomorrow.
How will we know if it’s a good deal for the American people? After all, this is an issue with a lot of moving parts. It includes all of the states and multiple agencies within the Federal government, and involves a multitude of allegations involving several different kinds of crime that come under different jurisdictions. Even the statutes of limitations are a moving target.
It’s incredibly important that you–voters–understand that you are being lied to right now by your Federal Government and Team Obama.
Today a still secret deal will be announced and signed by the Bailed-Out Banks (B.O.B.s), our Federal Government, and an unknown but probably tragically high number of states attorneys general. You’ll hear this deal called a “Robo-signing settlement”, though it’s impossible to see how it can end the fraudulent manufacture of evidence by creditors in foreclosure cases. You might also hear it called a “mortgage servicer settlement”, because the B.O.B.’s conduct while wearing their mortgage servicing hats is supposedly the focus of the deal. But here’s how it should be known: The United States’s Latest Lavish/Slavish Gift to the Bailed-Out Banks Settlement.
A multi-state mortgage settlement in the works for more than a year will likely be pushed back again as dissident U.S. states continue to press specific concerns and ignore a Monday deadline to decide whether they will sign it.
States had been given two weeks to assess a proposed settlement, under which top U.S. banks would pay up to $25 billion in exchange for resolving civil government lawsuits about misconduct in servicing home loans and pursuing faulty foreclosures.
But on Monday, as a close-of-business deadline loomed, many states had not yet reached a decision.
We have even received information in recent days that shows LPS, a document mill includedin the proposed settlement, specifically requested to have this criminal investigationconverted to a civil lawsuit. It seems clear that they are aware of their vulnerability to these charges, and are attempting to save their company’s stock price by avoiding responsibility.
Rumor (Now Confirmed) behind the scenes points to LPS also being part of the discussions to walk.
This is outrageous!
States that balked at bank liability releases in a proposed $25 billion nationwide settlement over foreclosure practices must decide by today whether its mortgage relief and reforms are worth the legal claims they’ll give up.
While some states have already announced their intention to sign the deal, others including California Attorney General Kamala Harris have yet to publicly commit in part due to terms that protect the banks from future litigation. Without Harris, the deal’s value will drop by several billion dollars, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The agreement is “beyond fixing,” said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action, a network of community organizations which advocates for fair lending and affordable housing.
“People are very disappointed in what this is going to be both in terms of dollars and release of claims,” Goehl said in a telephone interview. “We’re giving away the store.”
With a deadline looming on Monday for state officials to sign onto a landmark multibillion-dollar settlement to address foreclosure abuses, the Obama administration is close to winning support from crucial states that would significantly expand the breadth of the deal.
The biggest remaining holdout, California, has returned to the negotiating table after a four-month absence, a change of heart that could increase the pot for mortgage relief nationwide to $25 billion from $19 billion.
Another important potential backer, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, has also signaled that he sees progress on provisions that prevented him from supporting it in the past.
The potential support from California and New York comes in exchange for tightening provisions of the settlement to preserve the right to investigate past misdeeds by banks, and stepping up oversight to ensure that the financial institutions live up to the deal and distribute the money to the hardest-hit homeowners.
Just when you’ve thought you seen, heard and been hurt by this all, Abigail has another jackpot story on her site…besides what’s to stop them since they aren’t protecting the homeowners!
Abigail C. Field-
A shocking aspect of the proposed foreclosure fraud settlement among Bailed-Out Banks, the state attorneys general, and the Feds has rightly gotten a lot of attention, namely the Bailed-Out Banks’ ability to use other people’s money to pay their “penalty.” I confess, when I first heard about it, I figured it was a testament to the federal government’s craven capitulation to the Bailed Out Banks. (Let’s call them the B.O.B.s, rhymes with S.O.Bs.) But now I know it’s much worse than that, thanks to excellent reporting by David Dayen. The federal government really wants the B.O.Bs to use pension fund money to pay their “penalty.”
There are a few voices emerging suggesting that the current iteration of the “50 AG settlement” is somehow wonderful, or at least OK, because it only immunizes robosigning. “Only,” as if robosigning was some relatively benign peccadillo, instead of a massive conspiracy to commit forgery and perjury that is systematically driving our population into homelessness AND continuing to drive down the value of our homes…
But one could be forgiven for being confused. Since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo installed him as superintendent of a new state agency, the Department of Financial Services, which became active in October, Mr. Lawsky has been making headlines normally associated with attorneys general.
He has forced insurers to turn over more than $100 million in unpaid death benefits to surviving family members, dispatched rafts of subpoenas to banks, and pressed lenders to curb abusive foreclosure practices.
I’ve watched several of Chris’s videos and he has a way of explaining foreclosure fraud very well & always asks the right questions. This is a great video for those who are just in the beginning stages.
Must watch in its entirety…
New York Attorney General and co-chair of President Obama’s new mortgage crisis unit Eric Schneiderman talks with Chris about his expectations for the new mortgage crisis investigations.
So there was big news yesterday on the foreclosure settlement front. We still have to wait and see what the final deal looks like, but there are reports out that the long-awaited settlement is a far, far better deal for the public than expected. If these reports are true, it looks like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California AG Kamala Harris have scored an enormous victory in narrowing the scope of the settlement to the point where it really only covers robosigning abuses.
Where was Obama these last years, millions getting thrown out in the streets?
This is purely political and this is election year…coincidence? NOT.
PRESIDENT OBAMA told the nation last week that he was convening a task force to investigate the abusive practices in the mortgage industry that led to our economic woes. Both lending and the practice of bundling loans into securities will come under scrutiny, he said, adding: “This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.”
Some greeted this new task force — its unwieldy name is the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group — with skepticism. It is an election year, after all, and many might wonder if this is just a public-relations response to the outrage against the institutions and executives that almost wrecked the economy.
If this task force nailed some big names, and soon, it would help to allay deep suspicions that the authorities have given powerful people and institutions a pass during this awful episode.
When I started digging into whether this Monday meeting with HUD and DoJ officials to go over a proposal for a foreclosure fraud settlement was legitimate, I couldn’t find one state Attorney General who mattered actually committed to showing up. When I say AGs who “matter,” I mean the ones who have been critical of a settlement in the past. I mean the Justice Democrats. I mean Eric Schneiderman in New York, Beau Biden in Delaware, Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Kamala Harris in California, not to mention the AGs from Hawaii, New Hampshire, Missouri, Mississippi, Maryland, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Montana who showed up (either themselves or representatives) at the meeting in DC last week to discuss alternatives to a settlement. I mean them. They aren’t going to Chicago, by all accounts.
That doesn’t mean the negotiators aren’t trying to push a deal, of course. And Shahien Nasiripour reports that the terms of the deal have been set and will get circulated to the AGs for approval.
The proposed pact would potentially reduce mortgage balances and monthly payments by more than $25bn for distressed US homeowners, these five people said.
The tentative agreement still must be approved by all 50 state attorneys-general, and negotiators have previously missed proposed deadlines. Participants described the proposal terms as set, meaning the states will be asked either to agree to them or decline to participate.
The amount of potential aid is contingent on state participation and would decrease significantly if big states do not sign the agreement. New York and California are among several states that have voiced concerns about the terms of the proposed deal with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial. New York and California are particularly concerned with the part of the deal that would absolve the banks of civil liability for allegedly illegal mortgage-related conduct.
California borrowers would be eligible to receive more than $10bn in aid if the state were to agree to the terms, according to several people involved in the talks.
But while Shahien, who has been pretty good on the reporting of this …
“I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history,” said Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who has written articles analyzing the role of courts in the financial crisis. “I can’t think of one where you have literally tens of thousands of fraudulent documents filed in tens of thousands of cases.”
Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing.
The federal government, as has been widely noted, has pressed few criminal cases against major lenders or senior executives for the events that led to the meltdown of 2007. Finding hard evidence has proved difficult, the Justice Department has said.
The government also hasn’t brought any prosecutions for dubious foreclosure practices deployed since 2007 by big banks and other mortgage-servicing companies.
But this part of the financial system, a Reuters examination shows, is filled with potential leads.
For all those AG’s who ARE doing their job to protect the people (tiny handful only), we thank you very much.
This is BIG NEWS!
As other Attorneys General took the lead in efforts to fight foreclosure fraud, with lawsuits from Delaware’s Beau Biden, Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, we hadn’t heard as much from New York’s Eric Schneiderman lately. But he’s back in the news, teaming with a federal Inspector General on an investigation:
The federal watchdog overseeing US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is joining forces with New York’s attorney-general to investigate banks’ mortgage securitisation practices, a partnership that could make it easier for authorities to bring fraud charges against Wall Street companies.
Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney-general, and Steve Linick, the inspector general supervising Fannie and Freddie and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the unit responsible for the taxpayer-owned home loan financiers, signed a co-operation agreement in recent weeks that allows the two investigators to share documents, findings and to pool their resources, according to people familiar with the matter.
The collaboration escalates Mr Schneiderman’s probe into roughly a dozen banks and mortgage insurers as part of a broad investigation into whether banks properly bundled hundreds of billions of dollars worth of home loans into now-soured securities sold to investors.