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Morgan Stanley to be fined in electronic mortgage system (MERS) and foreclosure scandal

Morgan Stanley to be fined in electronic mortgage system (MERS) and foreclosure scandal


Wonder when they will get to LPS…

Computer World UK-

The US Federal Reserve has issued a punishing court order to Morgan Stanley, as it prepares to fine the bank over the use of automated ‘robo signing’ of documents relating to foreclosures for struggling US mortgage payers. It ordered the bank to make significant process, data and systems improvements.

The issue relates to a troubled electronic mortgage registry created by a range of the largest banks, which is allegedly plagued with errors. Those that have brought claims against the banks have said access to the database was deliberately restricted by the banks, and that mortgage foreclosures were often based on incorrect data entered by the banks as they rushed to offload the loans.

The court order issued this week concerns the Saxon business, which Morgan Stanley has sold to mortgage servicing group Ocwen Financial. The Fed said Morgan Stanley retained responsibility for the impact of Saxon’s actions. Saxon had issued over 225,000 residential mortgage loans.

Robo-signing typically involves employees of mortgage servicing companies automatically signing off foreclosure papers without checking them, in the interests of fast processing the papers.

The practice was allegedly supported by the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), which

[COMPUTER WORLD UK]

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MOORE v. MERS | NH Dist. Court “defendants do not possess the note, and it is enforcement of the note which the Moores seek to avoid”

MOORE v. MERS | NH Dist. Court “defendants do not possess the note, and it is enforcement of the note which the Moores seek to avoid”


Angela Jo Moore and M. Porter Moore
v.
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., et al.

Civil No. 10-cv-241-JL, Opinion No. 2012 DNH 021.

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire.

January 27, 2012.



MEMORANDUM ORDER

JOSEPH N. LAPLANTE, District Judge.

<EXCERPT>

After hearing oral argument, the court grants the motions in part and denies them in part. As explained in more detail below:

Count 4, a claim against defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, is not dismissed. Contrary to Ocwen’s argument, the Moores have sufficiently pleaded that they suffered actual damages—in the form of emotional distress—as a result of its statutory violation.

Count 5, which makes claims against Ocwen and its co-defendant Harmon Law Offices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, is not dismissed. Though Harmon argues that it was not engaged in “debt collection” subject to that statute, Harmon’s own representations in its letters to the Moores suggest otherwise.

Count 6, a claim for violations of the New Hampshire Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act, is dismissed as to Harmon because the Moores have not pleaded facts stating a plausible claim for relief under that statute.

Count 8, a claim for fraud, is dismissed as to Harmon because the Moores have not pleaded their claim against it with sufficient specificity. Count 8 is also dismissed insofar as it claims fraud in the assignment of the Moores’ mortgage because they did not rely on the alleged fraud. The Moores’ claim for “modification fraud” against Ocwen and its co-defendant Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc., however, is pleaded with the particularity required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9 and may proceed.

Count 11, a claim for intentional and negligent misrepresentation against all defendants, is dismissed as to Harmon and its co-defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Holding Corp., and Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2007-HE5. The claims against those defendants are not pleaded with the particularity required of fraud claims by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9. The Moores’ claim against Saxon and Ocwen for intentional and negligent misrepresentation are, however, sufficiently pleaded and may proceed.

Finally, Count 17, a claim for “avoidance of note” against “all defendants claiming to own the note and mortgage,” is not dismissed. Though defendants argue that under New Hampshire law, they need not possess the Moores’ promissory note in order to foreclose on the associated mortgage, possession of the note is a necessary prerequisite of a claim to enforce it, which is what the Moores seek to avoid through this count.

C. Foreclosure proceedings and removal

In late January 2010, Ocwen sent the Moores a Reinstatement Quote informing them that the total amount due by April 1, 2010 to reinstate their loan was $79,151.46. Not long thereafter, on February 20, 2010, Harmon sent Mr. and Mrs. Moore each a separate Notice of Mortgage Foreclosure Sale. The Notices informed the Moores that a foreclosure sale of their property would take place on March 18, 2010, on behalf of defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for the registered holders of Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2007-HE5 Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-HE5. MERS had assigned the Moores’ mortgage to Deutsche Bank on February 18, 2010, in an assignment reciting an effective date of November 16, 2009.[3]

[…]

M. Count 17 — Avoidance of note

Finally, Count 17 of the complaint makes a claim for “avoidance of note” against “all defendants claiming to own the note [and] mortgage.” In support of this claim, the Moores allege that the defendants “have been unable or unwilling to provide the Plaintiffs with evidence that they hold the original of the Note or Mortgage,” that “[a]ctual possession of the original of the note is a necessary legal prerequisite to enforcement of the Note,” and that “[i]n the absence of an ability to show that [they possess] the original of the Note” none of the defendants “has a right to enforce the same.” Third Am. Compl. (document no. 47) at ¶¶ 184-86. While New Hampshire courts have not recognized a cause of action for “avoidance of note”[18] and a federal court sitting in diversity should not “create new doctrines expanding state law,” Bartlett v. Mut. Pharm. Co., Inc., 2010 DNH 164, at 16, the court interprets this cause of action as seeking a declaratory judgment that the defendants may not enforce the note against the Moores.[19] The only parties that have moved to dismiss this claim (and the only parties who appear to “claim to own the note and mortgage”) are Deutsche Bank and the Morgan Stanley defendants. They argue that under New Hampshire law, they need not possess the Note in order to foreclose on the mortgage.

Even if this argument is correct (and the court need not and does not reach that issue at this time), it is beside the point. On its face, Count 17 does not assert that defendants may not enforce the mortgage by foreclosing, but that they may not enforce the note—e.g., by attempting to collect the amount due under it. Under New Hampshire law, possession of a negotiable instrument such as the note is (with limited exceptions not invoked here) a prerequisite to its enforcement. See N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 382-A:3-301. As the Moores have sufficiently alleged that the defendants do not possess the note, and it is enforcement of the note which the Moores seek to avoid, the motions to dismiss Count 17 are denied.

IV. Conclusion

For the reasons set forth above, WMC’s motion to dismiss[20] is GRANTED. The remaining defendants’ motions to dismiss[21] are each GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.  ……..

Accordingly, counts 4 and 6 may proceed against Ocwen; count 5 against Ocwen and Harmon; counts 8 and 11 against Saxon and Ocwen; and count 17 against Deutsche Bank and the Morgan Stanley defendants.

SO ORDERED.

[1] The third amended complaint does not identify this person any more specifically.

[2] A “jumbo loan,” also known as a non-conforming loan, “is a loan that exceeds Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s loan limits.” U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Glossary, http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/ sfh/buying/glossary (last visited Jan. 23, 2012).

[3] The assignment, which was filed with the Carroll County registry of deeds on February 18, 2010, was signed by Juan Pardo as Vice President of MERS. The Moores allege that Pardo is not an employee of MERS, but of Ocwen, though they do not allege that Pardo lacked authority from MERS to assign the mortgage.

[4] The complaint alleges that on the date of the scheduled sale, an auctioneer arrived at the Moores’ property and informed them that the foreclosure sale had been rescheduled for April 20, 2010. But no foreclosure sale has actually taken place, and the Moores confirmed at oral argument that they continue to occupy the property.

[5] These claims include agency/respondeat superior (Count 1), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count 7), origination fraud (Count 8), negligence (Count 10), intentional and negligent misrepresentation (Count 11), breach of assumed duty (Count 12), breach of fiduciary duty (Count 13), civil conspiracy (Count 14), and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count 15).

[6] TILA also contains a three-year statute of limitations for a claim seeking rescission of the loan. 15 U.S.C. § 1635(f). Here, the only relief the Moores seek for the alleged TILA violations in Counts 2 and 3 are damages and attorneys’ fees and costs, see Third Am. Compl. (document no. 47) at 20, ¶ 86, so the limitations period for rescission claims is not at issue.

[7] This view is extremely charitable to the Moores, given the court of appeals’ holding in Salois. There, the court held that because the loan documents contained all the information necessary for the plaintiffs to discover that they had been misled about the terms of their loan, and because “one who signs a writing that is designed to serve as a legal document is presumed to know its contents,” the “plaintiffs were on notice of their claims when they signed their loan documents.” 128 F.3d at 26 & n.10. In evaluating the Moores’ claims, this court has assumed, dubitante, that the loan documents themselves did not place the Moores on notice of their claims.

[8] Although this allegation appears in a separate count of the complaint, because the Moores are pro se the court reads their complaint “with an extra degree of solicitude.” Hecking v. Barger, 2010 DNH 032, at 4. The allegation specifically ties the Moores’ emotional distress to Ocwen’s alleged conduct—which includes its failure to respond to their letters—and to ignore it simply because it does not appear in the RESPA count itself would elevate form over substance. Indeed, in their objections to the motions to dismiss the Moores maintain that their emotional distress stemmed in part from Ocwen’s RESPA violations. See, e.g., Pls.’ Objection to Morgan Stanley Mot. to Dismiss (document no. 72) at 7-8, ¶ 24.

[9] The court may consider this letter, which is expressly referenced in the complaint and forms part of the basis for the Moores’ claims, without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. Giragosian v. Ryan, 547 F.3d 59, 65 (1st Cir. 2008).

[10] Given the dearth of case law on the UDUCPA, these FDCPA cases are also useful in interpreting the UDUCPA “because [the FDCPA] contains provisions similar to the [UDUCPA].” Gilroy, 632 F. Supp. 2d at 136.

[11] There is some support for Harmon’s position, see, e.g., Beadle, 2005 DNH 016, at 7-12 (McAuliffe, J.) (concluding that attorneys who conducted foreclosure proceedings were not subject to FDCPA); see also Speleos v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, No. 10-cv-11503-NMG, 2011 WL 4899982, *5-6 (D. Mass. Oct. 14, 2011) (same), but the case law is not uniform on this point. One court of appeals has held that the FDCPA may apply to efforts to recoup a debt through foreclosure, expressing concern that to hold otherwise “would create an enormous loophole in the Act immunizing any debt from coverage if that debt happened to be secured by a real property interest and foreclosure proceedings were used to collect the debt.” Wilson v. Draper & Goldberg, P.L.L.C., 443 F.3d 373, 376 (4th Cir. 2006); cf. also Piper v. Portnoff Law Assocs., Ltd., 396 F.3d 227, 235 (3d Cir. 2005) (“[T]he text of the FDCPA evidences a Congressional intent to extend the protection of the Act to consumer defendants in suits brought to enforce liens.”).

[12] Deutsche Bank and one of the Morgan Stanley defendants, Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Holding Corp., also argue that the Moores did not allege a contract with either of them. The complaint alleges, however, that at various relevant times both defendants owned or purported to own the Moores’ mortgage.

[13] Again, because the SPAs are expressly referenced in the complaint and form part of the basis for the Moores’ claims, the court may consider them in ruling on this motion to dismiss. See supra n.6. Both SPAs are also posted for public review at the Treasury Department’s website: Saxon’s SPA is available at http://tinyurl.com/SaxonSPA (last visited Jan. 23, 2012); Ocwen’s at http://tinyurl.com/OcwenSPA (last visited Jan. 23, 2012).

[14] In so holding, the court joins the overwhelming majority of courts to have considered whether borrowers are the intended third-party beneficiaries of SPAs. See Alpino, 2011 WL 1564114 at *3; Speleos, 755 F. Supp. 2d at 308.

[15] The apparent absurdity of the Moores’ attempt to sue MERS for an allegedly fraudulent transfer of its own interest in the mortgage has not escaped the court’s attention. The parties did not address this issue in their memoranda, though, so the court does not address it here.

[16] Claims for negligence—like claims for breach of an assumed duty or a fiduciary duty—”rest primarily upon a violation of some duty owed by the offender to the injured party.” Ahrendt v. Granite Bank, 144 N.H. 308, 314 (1999).

[17] It is worth noting here that New Hampshire does not permit an action for negligence to be premised upon the violation of a duty imposed by statute unless a similar duty existed at common law. Stillwater Condo. Ass’n v. Town of Salem, 140 N.H. 505, 507 (1995). The Moores have not argued that their negligence claims are premised on alleged RESPA, FDCPA, or UDUCPA violations, so the court need not address whether the duties imposed by those statutes existed at common law so as to permit a negligence claim against any of the defendants.

[18] In the only publicly available opinions that so much as mention this cause of action—in New Hampshire or elsewhere—the courts never reached the question of whether such a cause of action exists because the plaintiff conceded that his claim for avoidance of the note could not survive the defendants’ motion to dismiss. See Dillon v. Select Portfolio Servicing, 630 F.3d 75, 83 (1st Cir. 2011); Dillon v. Select Portfolio Servicing, 2008 DNH 019, at 20. The court observes that in typical legal usage, “avoidance” refers to the power of a bankruptcy trustee under the Bankruptcy Code to undo “some prebankruptcy transfers of the debtor’s property and most postbankruptcy transfers of estate property.” 1 David G. Epstein et al., Bankruptcy § 6-1, at 498 (1992).

[19] The court here reads the Moores’ complaint with an extra degree of solicitude. See supra n.8.

[20] Document no. 80.

[21] Documents nos. 52, 53, 54, 60, 70, and 71.

[ipaper docId=81144657 access_key=key-3gd239of3m0krbqpqa4 height=600 width=600 /]

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Mortgagors, BEWARE! Ocwen Set to Buy $15 Billion in MSRs from JPMorgan

Mortgagors, BEWARE! Ocwen Set to Buy $15 Billion in MSRs from JPMorgan


Something strange is going on here and it looks like a complete set up… Don’t ask me why it just seems like risky business.

Wanna Bet?

The M Report

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a buyer for $15 billion in mortgage servicing rights from the financial institution, with the announcement that Ocwen Financial Corp. would purchase the bank’s MSRs for a rumored $950 million. Ocwen’s acquisition follows the company’s decision to raise $375 million in new equity through offering 25 million shares of public common stock.

The equity transaction is set to close on November 16, prior to the finalization of the MSR deal with JPMorgan, and Ocwen’s public common stock will be priced at $13 per unit. The company has previously stated that it intended to use proceeds from the sale to purchase JPMorgan’s MSRs, and that acquisition will close on January 1, 2012.

[THE M REPORT]

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Secret Docs Show Foreclosure Watchdog Doesn’t Bark or Bite

Secret Docs Show Foreclosure Watchdog Doesn’t Bark or Bite


by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Oct. 4, 2011, 11:26 a.m.

Why has the administration’s flagship foreclosure prevention program been so ineffective in helping struggling homeowners get loan modifications and stay in their homes? One reason: The government’s supervision of the program has apparently ranged from nonexistent to weak.

Documents obtained by ProPublica – government audit reports of GMAC, the country’s fifth largest mortgage servicer – provide the first detailed look at the program’s oversight. They show that the company operated with almost no oversight for the program’s first eight months. When auditors did finally conduct a major review more than a year into the program, they found that GMAC had seriously mishandled many loan modifications – miscalculating homeowner income in more than 80 percent of audited cases, for example. Yet GMAC suffered no penalty. GMAC itself said it hasn’t reversed a single foreclosure as a result of a government audit.

The documents also reveal that government auditors signed off on GMAC loan-modification denials that appear to violate the program’s own rules, calling into question the rigor and competence of the reviews.

Some of the auditors’ mistakes are “appalling,” said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group. “It suggests the government isn’t taking the auditing process seriously.”

In a written response to ProPublica questions [1], a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which runs the program, denied there were serious flaws in its oversight system, calling it “effective and unprecedented in many ways.”

The audits of GMAC, though revealing, give only a limited view into the program, because the Treasury has refused to release the documents for other servicers. For more than a year, ProPublica has sought the audits for ten of the largest program participants through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Treasury provided only GMAC’s audits, because the company consented to their release. ProPublica continues to seek all of the reports.

Abuses of the foreclosure process, in which banks and mortgage servicers cut corners or even created false documents [2] to move trouble borrowers out of their homes, have been extensively documented [3], along with failures by government [4] to regulate the industry. But the lapses revealed in the documents obtained by ProPublica stand out because they occurred within the government’s main effort to prevent foreclosures, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.

Oversight Shrouded in Secrecy

For HAMP’s first two years, the government offered very little public detail about its oversight efforts. It was virtually impossible for the public – or even Congress – to know how well the banks and mortgage servicers were complying with the government’s effort to prevent struggling homeowners from losing their homes. Those years were crucial, because that’s when the vast majority of homeowners eligible for a modification – about three million – were evaluated by servicers.

The documents obtained by ProPublica show auditors finding serious problems at a major servicer during that time. Instead of publicly revealing the findings, Treasury chose to privately request that GMAC fix the problems.

“For two years, they’ve known how abysmal servicers were performing and decided to do nothing,” said Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP or the bank bailout, which provided the money for HAMP.

“It demonstrates that if you have a set of rules for which compliance is completely voluntary and no meaningful consequences for those who violate them, having all the audits and reviews in the world are not going to make a bit of difference,” he continued. “It’s why the program has been a colossal failure.”

Treasury continued to release few details about its audits until this June, when it began publishing quarterly reports based on the audits’ results. The public report showed what Treasury called “substantial” problems at four of the ten largest servicers – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Ocwen – and Treasury for the first time [5] withheld taxpayer subsidies from three of them.

Mortgage servicers that signed up for the program agreed to follow strict guidelines on how to evaluate struggling homeowners seeking a reduced mortgage payment. In exchange, they’d receive taxpayer subsidies. But as we’ve reported extensively, the largest servicers haven’t abided by the guidelines [6]. Homeowners have often been foreclosed on in the midst of review for a modification [7] or been denied due to the servicer’s error. For many homeowners, navigating what was supposed to have been a simple, straightforward program has proven a maddening ordeal [6].

Meanwhile, HAMP has fallen dramatically short of the administration’s initial goals to help three to four million homeowners. So far, fewer than 800,000 homeowners have received a loan modification through HAMP, less than one in four of those who applied [8].

Part of the $700 billion TARP, HAMP launched in early 2009 with a $50 billion budget to encourage loan modifications by paying subsidies to servicers, investors, and homeowners. But in another example of how the program has fallen short, only about $1.6 billion has gone out so far [9].

GMAC said it agreed to release its audits under the program because the company “believes in honoring the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act process” and “elected to be transparent on our work with the [modification] program,” spokeswoman Gina Proia said.

GMAC has changed its parent company’s name to Ally Financial, but its mortgage division is still called GMAC. The government owns a majority stake in Ally, because it rescued the company with TARP funds, but both the company and the Treasury said that didn’t factor into the company’s decision to allow the documents to be released.

ProPublica contacted all nine servicers who objected to the reports’ release. All either declined to comment on why they wanted the audits kept secret or defended keeping them out of the public domain by saying the reports contained confidential information. Collectively, these companies have so far been paid more than $471 million in cash – dubbed “servicer incentive payments” – through the program. They are eligible for hundreds of millions more. The country’s four largest banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup – are also the largest servicers of mortgage loans.

In its written response, Treasury’s spokeswoman said it agreed to withhold the records in part because they could undermine “frank communications between mortgage servicers and compliance examiners” and hurt the program’s effectiveness. The department declined to provide either redacted versions or an index of the documents.

Early Reviews “Useless” and Flawed

Since the program’s beginning, homeowner advocates have wondered where HAMP’s watchdog was [10] and why it was having so little effect. That watchdog is Freddie Mac, tapped by Treasury in February 2009 and working under a contract worth $116 million and rising. The Freddie Mac unit, now staffed with 121 employees and employing about 150 more through contractors, is supposed to regularly audit servicers in the program to make sure they are following the rules. Treasury is ultimately responsible for deciding whether to punish a servicer, but it relies on auditors’ findings to make that decision.

It took several months for the unit to even get off the ground. In August of 2009, Treasury rejected Freddie Mac’s first reviews of servicers as inadequate [10], because they were “inconsistent and incomplete” and its staff was “unqualified,” according to a report by the TARP’s special inspector general. Freddie Mac promised to improve. That process took several more months.

As a result, for the program’s crucial first eight months there effectively was no watchdog. Nationwide, servicers filed to pursue foreclosure on about two million loans during that time.

Treasury disputed the idea that there was no watchdog for those months, saying that auditors had performed “readiness reviews” of servicers as early as the May of 2009, one month after the program began. The documents obtained by ProPublica show, however, that Freddie Mac’s auditing unit, called Making Home Affordable – Compliance (MHA-C), didn’t issue its first report for GMAC until early December, 2009 [11].

That audit was a modest effort that involved collecting a sample of 323 loans handled by GMAC and determining whether they’d been properly reviewed for the program. Because of the delays in starting the reviews, the report was based on a sample of loans that was five months old [12]. Such delays continued into 2010. Another Freddie Mac review, completed at the end of March 2010, was based on GMAC loans selected in October of the previous year [13].

The delays make those reviews “largely useless to homeowners,” said Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center. If a homeowner lost the house to foreclosure in July, it wouldn’t help to have an auditor notice that several months later, she explained.

The December 2009 audit notes that GMAC might have already foreclosed on loans auditors had flagged as potentially mishandled, but didn’t order remedial steps. It only requests that GMAC not take “further action.” [14]

GMAC said it had never reversed a foreclosure action as a result of a HAMP audit. ProPublica asked the other nine servicers who objected to the audits’ release the same question. American Home Mortgage Servicing, the only other servicer that answered the question, said it had also never reversed a foreclosure action due to a HAMP audit.

American Home handles about 384,000 loans [15], putting it among the ten largest servicers in the program.

A Treasury spokeswoman said that auditors have reviewed more than 50,000 loan files, but did not directly answer whether a servicer had ever reversed a foreclosure action because of a HAMP audit. Where auditors have found problems, she wrote, the department has “required servicers to take steps to tighten controls” and “re-evaluate any borrowers who may have been potentially impacted.”

In early 2010, around the same time that the auditing unit was issuing its first reports, auditors complained that servicers’ lack of responsiveness to their requests was hampering their efforts. Getting the right documents from servicers was “a cumbersome process,” the head of Freddie Mac’s audit team, Paul Heran, said in February 2010 at a mortgage industry conference. It seemed, he added, that servicers often relegated responding to the auditors to low-level staff who didn’t understand the requests. Another manager in the unit, Vic O’Laughlen, said servicers tended to respond with “at best fifty percent of what we’re expecting to see.”

However uncooperative the banks and mortgage services may have been, Freddie Mac’s auditing reports contain errors that call into question their reliability.

Every few months, the auditors examine a sample of the servicer’s loans that have been denied a HAMP modification to check whether the denials are legitimate. In each GMAC report reviewed by ProPublica, auditors found that the servicer had, with very few exceptions, given the homeowner fair and appropriate consideration. But among the justifications listed in the audits are some that violate the program’s rules or simply don’t make sense.

For instance, the December 2009 review says that 35 of the 247 loans auditors reviewed were denied because the homeowner was “less than 60 days delinquent.” [16] In the report, auditors said that was the right decision in all but one case. But being less than 60 days delinquent is never on its own a legitimate reason for a servicer to deny a modification, according to the program rules. Homeowners are eligible for a modification even if they’re current on their loans, as long as they can show they’re in imminent danger of defaulting.

Another example: Auditors agreed that GMAC had correctly denied a homeowner because of a failure to sign a trial modification offer by Dec. 31, 2012, HAMP’s end date [17]. That makes no sense, because the review took place in 2009. Treasury’s spokeswoman said this was a typo and that the homeowner was denied for a completely different reason.

There are several other examples in later reports of auditors signing off on denial reasons that have no apparent basis in the program’s rules. For instance, auditors cited “grandfathered foreclosure” [18] as a legitimate reason for some denials. The spokeswoman said such loans had been in the foreclosure process before GMAC signed up for the program, but the program rules explicitly stated at the time that such loans were eligible.

When ProPublica asked GMAC if it had denied homeowners loan modifications for these reasons, the company said it couldn’t comment because auditors, not GMAC, had generated those descriptions of why homeowners had been denied. In some cases, Proia said, the descriptions were simply wrong: GMAC had never denied homeowners simply because they weren’t 60 days delinquent.

But Treasury defended the questionable denials, and in so doing raised even more questions. For instance, the spokeswoman said HAMP “does not specifically require servicers to evaluate loans that are less than 60 days delinquent.” But Treasury’s official guidance to servicers said such borrowers “must be screened.”

“It makes you wonder if the Treasury even knows the rules for their own program,” said National Consumer Law Center’s Thompson.

A Congressionally-appointed panel, among others, has pointed to a fundamental flaw in the way the oversight was carried out: Auditors have had no direct contact with homeowners. The program has been dogged by servicers’ inadequate document systems. Borrowers have long reported [6] faxing and mailing the same documents over and over, because servicers kept losing them. Servicers have denied about a quarter of all modification applications due to an alleged lack of documentation [19]. Because HAMP’s auditors do not contact borrowers, there’s no way for them to ascertain if a denial for inadequate documentation was correct.

In response to this criticism from the Congressional Oversight Panel for the TARP last December [20], Treasury said auditors did not contact homeowners to avoid giving them added stress. The panel rejected that reason, saying that contacting borrowers was “critical to assessing the accuracy of a servicer’s determination.”

Instead of talking with borrowers, auditors conduct on-site reviews of mortgage servicing companies, Treasury’s spokeswoman said in her written response to ProPublica. Treasury believes that focusing “on servicer processes and internal controls is the most effective deployment of our compliance efforts,” she wrote.

Detailed Audit Shows Serious Problems

It wasn’t until July 2010, sixteen months after HAMP launched, that the unit performed their first major audit of GMAC. The review included a visit to GMAC’s offices and a detailed review of a sample of loans.

The report enumerated various rule violations, including in how GMAC evaluated homeowners for modifications. GMAC’s practice was to begin the foreclosure process too quickly [21]: The program required the servicer to give the homeowner 30 days to respond to a trial modification offer, but GMAC’s procedure was to wait only 20.

GMAC’s Proia said no homeowners were “negatively impacted by this issue.”

Auditors also found that GMAC was regularly miscalculating the homeowner’s income. In a review of 25 loan files of homeowners who had received a modification, the auditors said 21, or 84 percent, involved a miscalculation of income [22]. Since the borrower’s income is a key factor in whether the homeowner qualifies for a modification, the high error rate raises obvious questions about whether GMAC was accurately evaluating homeowners’ applications.

Asked about this the frequent income miscalculations, GMAC’s Proia said that the “issue was identified in the early stages of the program,” that calculating the borrower’s income is a “complicated process,” and that GMAC has improved since the mid-2010 review – an assertion backed up by recent audit results published by the Treasury.

The July 2010 review also found that GMAC had been aware of certain problems such as “incorrect income and expense calculations,” [23] but had not fixed them. Proia said the company does its best to fix problems when it becomes aware of them.

Penalties: Late and Weak

Typical of the Treasury’s oversight of the program, GMAC was never penalized for any of the rule violations. For the first two years of the program, Treasury officials publicly threatened servicers with the possibility of penalties, but instead followed a cooperative approach [24]. When auditors found problems, servicers were asked to fix them.

The documents illustrate that back and forth. In response to the auditors’ findings, GMAC was required to develop an “action plan.” GMAC refused to provide the action plan to ProPublica and recommended seeking it and other similar documents by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Treasury.

Treasury has sent mixed messages about its ability to penalize banks over the course of the program [24], threatening “monetary penalties and sanctions” in late 2009, and then later saying it lacked the power to enforce such penalties. Treasury finally departed from its cooperative approach this June, when it withheld incentive payments [5] from three of the top ten servicers. (GMAC was not among them.) The companies would not receive the public subsidies for completing modifications until they made certain changes. The companies were cited for some of the same problems for which auditors had criticized GMAC, such as regularly miscalculating the borrower’s income. JPMorgan Chase, for instance, had erred in estimating income in about a third of the homeowner loan files reviewed.

The punishment hasn’t had much sting to it. Two of the three companies had their incentive payments restored when Treasury’s most recent report [25] declared they’d improved. Only Chase and Bank of America, the country’s largest servicer, would continue to have their incentives withheld, Treasury said.

But while those incentives have slowed, they have not stopped, according to Treasury’s monthly TARP reports [26]. Since June, when Treasury first announced it would be withholding incentives, Bank of America has received $2.5 million in taxpayer incentives. While that’s a steep reduction from the roughly $7.5 million it had been receiving monthly, the bank is supposed to be receiving nothing. Chase received $404,000 during that same time.

Treasury responded that it has programs to encourage modifications on both first and second mortgages, and that the payments Bank of America and Chase received were related to second mortgages. “Current system limitations” meant the Treasury couldn’t withhold these payments, according to the Treasury spokeswoman. Treasury is working to fix the problem, she said.

 

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Goldman Sachs, Litton, Ocwen reach deal on robosigning with NY regulator

Goldman Sachs, Litton, Ocwen reach deal on robosigning with NY regulator


WSJ–

The mortgage industry will take a step toward cleaning up some of its most controversial practices under a deal between a New York regulator and three financial firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Under the agreement with the state’s financial-services superintendent, Benjamin M. Lawsky, the three firms—Goldman, its Litton Loan Servicing business and Ocwen Financial Corp.—promised to end so-called robo-signing, in which bank employees signed foreclosure documents without reviewing case files as required by law. They also agreed to comb through loan files for evidence they mishandled borrowers’ paperwork and to cut mortgage payments for some New York homeowners.

The …

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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A 96-Year-Old’s Mortgage Fraud Nightmare

A 96-Year-Old’s Mortgage Fraud Nightmare


Lillie Mae Washington may have been conned into an outrageous mortgage by a firm that had its license revoked. Ocwen Financial wants to evict her anyway.

Mother Jones

There is a term of art that was often used during the mortgage boom: “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone,” or “IBGYBG.” In the mortgage business, it meant that however bad or risky or outright fraudulent a mortgage was, the person who originated it didn’t have to worry—he’d have sold it and moved on long before the borrower was the wiser. The people to whom broker sold the mortgage wouldn’t be held responsible, either—after all, they weren’t responsible for the fraud.

[MOTHER JONES]

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Goldman to Sell Litton Loan Servicing to Ocwen Financial for $264 Million

Goldman to Sell Litton Loan Servicing to Ocwen Financial for $264 Million


Just recently it was announced that the NY Fed is probing Goldman Sachs mortgage servicing unit Litton Loan Servicing

BLOOMBERG-

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) agreed to sell Litton Loan Servicing LP to Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) for $263.7 million in cash, ending the New York-based bank’s 3-1/2 year experiment in processing home-loan payments.

In addition to the cash payment, which may be adjusted at closing, Ocwen will pay about $337.4 million to retire some of Litton’s debt, according to a filing by West Palm Beach, Florida-based Ocwen. The sale of Litton comes two months after Goldman Sachs wrote down the value of the mortgage-servicing business by about $200 million.


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NY Fed probing Goldman Sachs mortgage servicing unit Litton Loan Servicing

NY Fed probing Goldman Sachs mortgage servicing unit Litton Loan Servicing


REUTERS

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is investigating whether Goldman Sachs’ (GS.N) mortgage servicing arm did not conduct proper reviews before denying borrowers the option to lower their payments under a government loan modification programme.

In its quarterly filing with the SEC earlier this month, Goldman said regulators had sought information on the foreclosure and servicing protocols and activities of its mortgage servicing unit Litton Loan Servicing.

“We are in possession of the letter and are conducting an inquiry,” a NY Fed spokesperson told Reuters, referring to a letter from a Litton employee sent to the NY Fed by the Financial Times. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.


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WSJ | Ocwen Financial Discloses FTC Probe

WSJ | Ocwen Financial Discloses FTC Probe


MARCH 3, 2011, 5:09 P.M. ET

By RUTH SIMON

Ocwen Financial Corp. said it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which has asked the mortgage-servicing company for information about its employee training, debt-collection practices, loan modifications and foreclosure procedures.

The Atlanta company, one of the largest home-loan servicers in the U.S., received a formal legal request from the FTC for documents in late November, Paul Koches, executive vice president and general counsel at Ocwen, said in an interview. Ocwen is “fully cooperating” and is “not accused anywhere of any wrongdoing,” he added.

“We are taking it as informational and are providing the [requested] information,” Mr. Koches said. In a securities filing Monday, Ocwen said it had received a “civil investigative demand” from the federal agency.

Continue reading … Wall Street Jounal

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Rhode Island BK Judge Upholds “Mediation Program” In re: Sosa, In re: Lawton

Rhode Island BK Judge Upholds “Mediation Program” In re: Sosa, In re: Lawton


EXCERPTS:

To address that condition, and with no end to it in sight, we decided to break the log jam by introducing a process “for debtors and lenders to [mediate and to] reach consensual resolution when a debtor’s residential property is at risk of foreclosure” by “opening communications between debtors’ and [the] lenders’ decision-makers.”3 LMP §I Purpose, 1.

[…]

CONCLUSION
The Rhode Island Loss Mitigation Program was conceived as a case management tool designed to encourage the resolution of differences between residential mortgage lenders and their borrowers, and to provide a way for them to access the various federal housing programs available outside of bankruptcy, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The Loss Mitigation Program is intended to start a dialogue, giving the parties nothing more than the opportunity to discuss their respective positions. The alleged dire consequences of the implementation of such a Program, as predicted by PHH have not materialized, and if any do emerge, they will be judicially
addressed forthwith.

For the reasons discussed above, and based on the arguments of the NCLC and by the Debtors, here and in Lawton, which are adopted and incorporated herein by reference, PHH’s Objection to participating in this Court’s loss mitigation program is OVERRULED.

Dated at Providence, Rhode Island, this 28th day of January, 2011.

Arthur N. Votolato
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Entered on docket: 1/28/11

Continue to both orders below…

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OHIO APPEALS COURT GIVE HSBC A BEAT DOWN! “AG CORDRAY AMICUS”, “MERS ISSUE”, “AFFIDAVIT ISSUES”, “UNATTACHED ALLONGE TO NOTE”: HSBC Bank USA v. Thompson

OHIO APPEALS COURT GIVE HSBC A BEAT DOWN! “AG CORDRAY AMICUS”, “MERS ISSUE”, “AFFIDAVIT ISSUES”, “UNATTACHED ALLONGE TO NOTE”: HSBC Bank USA v. Thompson


IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO
SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT
MONTGOMERY COUNTY

HSBC BANK USA, N.A., as Indenture :
Trustee for the Registered Noteholders :
of Renaissance Home Equity Loan :
Trust 2007-1 :
:
v.
:
JAMIE W. THOMPSON, et al.

EXCERPTS:

{¶ 67} In contrast to Watson, no evidence was presented in the case before us to indicate that the allonges were ever attached or affixed to the promissory note. Instead, the allonges have been presented as separate, loose sheets of paper, with no explanation as to how they may have been attached. Compare In re Weisband, (Bkrtcy. D. Ariz., 2010), 427 B.R. 13, 19 (concluding that GMAC was not a “holder” and did not have ability to enforce a note, where GMAC failed to demonstrate that an allonge endorsement to GMAC was affixed to a note. The bankruptcy court noted that the endorsement in question “is on a separate sheet of paper; there was no evidence that it was stapled or otherwise attached to the rest of the Note.”)

{¶ 86} We need not decide which approach is correct, because the alleged assignment of mortgage is attached to Neil’s rejected affidavits. Since the trial court’s disregard of the affidavits was not an abuse of discretion, there is currently no evidence of a mortgage “assignment” to consider. Moreover, we would reject HSBC’s position even if we considered the alleged assignment, because HSBC failed to establish that it was the holder of the note. Therefore, no “equitable assignment” of the mortgage would have arisen. All that HSBC might have established is that the mortgage was assigned to it after the action was filed. However, as we noted, the matters pertaining to that fact were submitted with an
affidavit that the trial court rejected, within its discretion.

Continue below…

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HSBC’s Irregularities: Mortgage Documentation and Corporate Relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta

HSBC’s Irregularities: Mortgage Documentation and Corporate Relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta


HSBC BANK USA v. THOMPSON

2010 Ohio 4158

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-1, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Jamie W. Thompson, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Appellate No. 23761.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery County.

Rendered on September 3, 2010.

Benjamin D. Carnahan, Atty. Reg. #0079737, Shapiro, Van Ess, Phillips & Barragate, LLP, 4805 Montgomery Road, Norwood, OH 45212 and Brian P. Brooks, (pro hac vice), O’Melveny & Myers LLP, 1625 Eye Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20006-4001, Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant, HSBC Bank.

Amy Kaufman, Atty. Reg. #0073837, 150 East Gay Street, 21st Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215, Attorney for Appellee, Department of Taxation.

Andrew D. Neuhauser, Atty. Reg. #0082799, and Stanley A. Hirtle, Atty. Reg. #0025205, 525 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 300, Toledo, OH 43604, Attorneys for Amici Curiae, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, et al.

Richard Cordray, Atty. Reg. #0038034, by Susan A. Choe, Atty. Reg. #0067032, Mark N. Wiseman, Atty. Reg. #0059637, and Jeffrey R. Loeser, Atty. Reg. #0082144, Attorney General’s Office, 30 E. Broad Street, 14th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.

Andrew M. Engel, Atty. Reg. #0047371, 3077 Kettering Boulevard, Suite 108, Moraine, Ohio 45439, Attorney for Defendant-Appellee Jamie W. Thompson.

Colette Carr, Atty. Reg. #00705097, 301 W. Third Street, Fifth Floor, Dayton, OH 45422, Attorney for Appellee, Montgomery County Treasurer.

OPINION

FAIN, J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant HSBC Bank USA, N.A., as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-1 (HSBC), appeals from a judgment of the trial court, which rendered summary judgment and dismissed HSBC’s complaint for foreclosure, without prejudice. HSBC contends that the trial court improperly treated the date the assignment of mortgage was executed as dispositive of the claims before it. HSBC further contends that the trial court’s decision is erroneous, because it is premised on the court’s having improperly struck the affidavit of Chomie Neil, and having failed to consider Neil’s restated affidavit.

{¶ 2} Two briefs of amicus curiae have been filed in support of the position of defendants-appellees Jamie W. Thompson, Administratrix of the Estate of the Estate of Howard W. Turner, and Jamie W. Thompson (collectively Thompson). One brief was filed by the Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (Cordray). The other brief was filed by the following groups: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality; Equal Justice Foundation; Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio; Northeast Ohio Legal Aid Services; Ohio Poverty Law Center; and Pro Seniors, Inc. (collectively Legal Advocates). We have considered those briefs, all of which have been helpful, in deciding this appeal.

{¶ 3} We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking Neil’s affidavit, because of defects in the affidavit. We further conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to consider Neil’s restated affidavit, in the course of deciding objections to the magistrate’s decision, because HSBC failed to indicate why it could not have properly submitted the evidence, with reasonable diligence, before the magistrate had rendered a decision in the matter. Finally, we conclude that the trial court did not err in rendering summary judgment against HSBC, and dismissing the foreclosure action for lack of standing. HSBC failed to establish that it was the holder of a promissory note secured by a mortgage. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Affirmed.

I

{¶ 4} On January 27, 2007, Howard Turner borrowed $85,000 from Fidelity Mortgage, a division of Delta Funding Corporation (respectively, Fidelity and Delta). Turner signed a note promising to repay Fidelity in monthly payments of $786.44 for a period of thirty years. The loan number on the note is 0103303640, and the property listed on the note is 417 Cushing Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, 45429.

{¶ 5} In order to secure the loan, Turner signed a mortgage agreement, which names Fidelity as the “Lender,” and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as a nominee for Fidelity and Fidelity’s successors and assigns. The mortgage states that Turner, as borrower, “does hereby mortgage, grant and convey to MERS (solely as nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns) and to the successors and assigns of MERS, the following described property in the County of Montgomery, * * * which currently has the address of 417 Cushing Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45429.” The mortgage was recorded with the Montgomery County Recorder on February 20, 2007, as MORT-07-014366.

{¶ 6} The entire amount of the loan proceeds was not disbursed. Fidelity placed $5,000 in escrow after closing, until certain repairs (roofing and heating) were made to the house. The required deposit agreement indicated that Turner had three months to make the repairs, and that if the items were not satisfactorily cleared, Fidelity had the option of satisfying the items from the funds held, of extending the time to cure, or of taking any other steps Fidelity felt necessary to protect the mortgage property, including but not limited to, paying down the principal of the loan with the deposit.

{¶ 7} Turner made timely payments through June 2007. However, he died in late July 2007, and no further payments were made. HSBC filed a foreclosure action on November 8, 2007, alleging that it was the owner and holder of Turner’s promissory note and mortgage deed and that default had occurred. HBSC sued Thompson, as administratrix of her father’s estate, and individually, based on her interest in the estate.

{¶ 8} HSBC attached purported copies of the note and mortgage agreement to the complaint. The note attached to the complaint is also accompanied by two documents that are each entitled “Allonge.” The first allonge states “Pay to the Order of _________ without recourse,” and is signed on behalf of Delta Funding Corporation by Carol Hollman, Vice-President. The second allonge states “Pay to the Order of Delta Funding Corporation” and is signed by Darryl King, as “authorized signatory” for Fidelity Mortgage.

{¶ 9} In January 2008, Thompson filed an answer, raising, among other defenses, the fact that the action was not being prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. HSBC subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment in February 2007, supported by the affidavit of an officer of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (Ocwen), which was a servicing agent for HSBC.

{¶ 10} Thompson filed a response to the summary judgment motion, pointing out various deficiencies in the affidavit and documents. Thompson further contended that HSBC was not the holder of the mortgage and note, and was not the real party in interest. In addition, Thompson filed an amended answer and counterclaim, contending that HSBC was not the real party in interest, and that HSBC had made false, deceptive, and misleading representations in connection with collecting a debt, in violation of Section 1692, Title 15, U.S. Code (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA).

{¶ 11} HSBC withdrew its motion for summary judgment in March 2008. In November 2008, the trial court vacated the trial date and referred the matter to a magistrate. HSBC then filed another motion for summary judgment in January 2009. This motion was supported by the affidavit of Chomie Neil, who was employed by Ocwen as a manager of trial preparation and discovery. Neil averred in the affidavit that he had executed it in Palm Beach, Florida. However, the notation at the top of the first page of the affidavit and the jurat both state that the affidavit was sworn to and subscribed to in New Jersey, before a notary public.

{¶ 12} Thompson moved to strike the affidavit, contending that it was filled with inadmissible hearsay, contained legal conclusions, and purported to authenticate documents, when no proper documentation had been offered. Thompson also questioned when the affidavit was executed, and whether it had been properly acknowledged, due to the irregularities in execution and acknowledgment. In addition, Thompson responded to the summary judgment motion, contending that HSBC was not the real party in interest and was not the holder of the note, because HSBC’s name was not on the note, and HSBC had failed to provide evidence that it was in possession of the note. In responding to the motion to strike, HSBC contended that the defects in the affidavit were the result of a scrivener’s error. HSBC did not attempt to correct the affidavit.

{¶ 13} In late March 2009, Thompson filed a motion for partial summary judgment against HSBC. The motion was based on the fact that under the allonges, Delta Funding Corporation was the payee of the note. Thompson also noted that MERS failed to assign the mortgage note to HSBC before the action was commenced. Thompson contended that HSBC was not the real party in interest when it filed the lawsuit, and lacked standing to invoke the court’s jurisdiction.

{¶ 14} In May 2009, the magistrate granted Thompson’s motion to strike the affidavit, because the affidavit stated that it had been sworn to in New Jersey, and the affiant declared that the affidavit was executed in Florida. The magistrate also overruled HSBC’s motion for summary judgment, and granted Thompson’s partial motion for summary judgment. The magistrate concluded that HSBC lacked standing because it was not a mortgagee when the suit was filed and could not cure its lack of standing by subsequently obtaining an interest in the mortgage. The magistrate further concluded that there was no evidence properly before the court that would indicate that HSBC was the holder of the promissory note originally executed by Turner. Accordingly, the magistrate held that HSBC’s foreclosure claim should be dismissed without prejudice. Due to factual issues regarding Thompson’s FDCPA counterclaim, HSBC’s motion for summary judgment on the counterclaim was denied.

{¶ 15} HSBC filed objections to the magistrate’s decision, and attached the “restated” affidavit of Neil. The affidavit was identical to what was previously submitted, except that the first page indicated that the affidavit was being signed in Palm Beach County, Florida. The jurat is signed by a notary who appears to be from Florida, although the notary seals on the original and copy that were submitted are not very clear. HSBC did not offer any explanation for the mistake in the original affidavit.

{¶ 16} In November 2009, the trial court overruled HSBC’s objections to the magistrate’s report. The court concluded that the errors in the affidavit were more than format errors. The court further noted that the document became an unsworn statement and could not be used for summary judgment purposes, because the statements were sworn to a notary in a state outside the notary’s jurisdiction. The court also held that, absent Neil’s affidavit, HSBC had failed to provide support for its summary judgment motion. Finally, the court concluded that HSBC failed to provide evidence that it was in possession of the note prior to the filing of the lawsuit, because the Neil affidavit had been struck, and a prior affidavit only verified the mortgage and note as true copies; it did not verify the undated allonges. Accordingly, the trial court dismissed HSBC’s action with prejudice, and entered a Civ. R. 54(B) determination of no just cause for delay.

{¶ 17} HSBC appeals from the judgment dismissing its action without prejudice.

II

{¶ 18} We will address HSBC’s assignments of error in reverse order. HSBC’s Second Assignment of Error is as follows:

{¶ 19} “THE LOWER COURT’S DECISION IS PREMISED ON IMPROPERLY STRIKING MR. NEIL’S AFFIDAVIT AND FAILING TO CONSIDER THE RESTATED AFFIDAVIT.”

{¶ 20} Under this assignment of error, HSBC contends that the errors in Neil’s affidavit were scrivener’s errors that have no bearing on the content of the affidavit. HSBC contends, therefore, that the trial court erred in refusing to consider the affidavit.

{¶ 21} The error, as noted, is that Neil averred that he signed the affidavit in Florida, while the first page and the jurat indicate that the affidavit was executed before a notary public in New Jersey.

{¶ 22} Thompson, Cordray, and Legal Advocates argue that the defect is not merely one of form, because the errors transform the affidavit into an unsworn statement that cannot be used to support summary judgment. The trial court agreed with this argument.

{¶ 23} Legal Advocates also stresses that HSBC was notified of problems with Neil’s affidavit, but made no attempt to cure the defect until after the magistrate had issued an unfavorable ruling. In addition, Cordray notes that the integrity of evidence in foreclosure cases is critical, due to the imbalance between access to legal representation of banks and homeowners. Thompson, Cordray, and Legal Advocates further contend that even if Neil’s affidavit could be considered, it is replete with inadmissible hearsay and legal conclusions, and is devoid of evidentiary value.

{¶ 24} Concerning the form of affidavits, Civ. R. 56(E) provides that:

{¶ 25} “Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated in the affidavit. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts of papers referred to in an affidavit shall be attached to or served with the affidavit. The court may permit affidavits to be supplemented or opposed by depositions or by further affidavits. * * *”

{¶ 26} The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that “An affidavit must appear, on its face, to have been taken before the proper officer and in compliance with all legal requisites. A paper purporting to be an affidavit, but not to have been sworn to before an officer, is not an affidavit.” In re Disqualification of Pokorny (1992), 74 Ohio St.3d 1238 (citation omitted). Accord, Pollock v. Brigano (1998), 130 Ohio App.3d 505, 509.

{¶ 27} The affidavit submitted to the magistrate contains irreconcilable conflicts, because the affiant, Neil, states that he executed the affidavit in Florida. In contrast, the jurat, as well as the first page of the affidavit, indicate that the affidavit was signed in New Jersey.

{¶ 28} In Stern v. Board of Elections of Cuyahoga Cty. (1968), 14 Ohio St.2d 175, the Supreme Court of Ohio noted that in common use, a jurat “is employed to designate the certificate of a competent administering officer that a writing was sworn to by the person who signed it. It is no part of the oath, but is merely evidence of the fact that the oath was properly taken before the duly authorized officer.” Id. at 181 (citations omitted).

{¶ 29} In light of the inconsistencies, Neil’s oath could not have been properly taken before a duly authorized officer. Under New Jersey law, a notary public commissioned in New Jersey may perform duties only throughout the state of New Jersey. See N.J. Stat. Ann. 52:7-15. Therefore, a New Jersey notary public could not properly have administered the oath in Florida. A New Jersey notary public also could not properly have certified that the writing was sworn to, when the person signed it in another jurisdiction.

{¶ 30} As support for admission of Neil’s affidavit, HSBC cites various cases that have overlooked technical defects in affidavits. See, e.g., State v. Johnson (Oct. 24, 1997), Darke App. No. 96CA1427 (holding that a “scrivener’s error” was inconsequential and did not invalidate an affidavit), and Chase Manhattan Mtg. Corp. v. Locker, Montgomery App. No. 19904, 2003-Ohio-6665, ¶ 26 (holding that omission of specific date of month on which affidavit was signed was “scrivener’s error” and did not invalidate affidavit, because notary public did include the month and year).

{¶ 31} In Johnson, the error involved a discrepancy between the preamble and the jurat.

{¶ 32} The preamble said the site of the oath was in a particular county, but the notary swore in the jurat that the affidavit had been signed in a different county. The trial court concluded that this was a typographical error, and we agreed. This is consistent with the fact that in Ohio, a notary public may administer oaths throughout the state. See R.C. 147.07. Therefore, even if a discrepancy exists between the location listed in the preamble and the notary’s location, the official status of the affidavit is not affected. In contrast, the affiant in the case before us stated that he signed the affidavit in a different state, where the notary did not have the power to administer oaths. The difference is not simply one of form.

{¶ 33} HSBC contends that the trial court should have accepted the “restated” affidavit that it attached to HSBC’s objections to the magistrate’s decision. The trial court did not specifically discuss the restated affidavit when it overruled HSBC’s objections. We assume, therefore, that the court rejected the affidavit. See, e.g., Maguire v. Natl. City Bank, Montgomery App. No. 23140, 2009-Ohio-4405, ¶ 16, and Takacs v. Baldwin (1995), 106 Ohio App.3d 196, 209 (holding that where a trial court fails to rule on a motion, an appellate court assumes that the matter was overruled or rejected).

{¶ 34} The trial court was not required to consider the restated affidavit, because HSBC failed to explain why the affidavit could not have been properly produced for the magistrate. In this regard, Civ. R. Rule 53(D)(4)(d) provides that:

{¶ 35} “If one or more objections to a magistrate’s decision are timely filed, the court shall rule on those objections. In ruling on objections, the court shall undertake an independent review as to the objected matters to ascertain that the magistrate has properly determined the factual issues and appropriately applied the law. Before so ruling, the court may hear additional evidence but may refuse to do so unless the objecting party demonstrates that the party could not, with reasonable diligence, have produced that evidence for consideration by the magistrate.”

{¶ 36} Well before the magistrate ruled, HSBC was aware that objections had been raised to the affidavit. HSBC made no attempt to submit a corrected document to the magistrate, nor did it provide the trial court with an explanation for the cause of the problem. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to consider the original or restated affidavit. See Hillstreet Fund III, L.P. v. Bloom, Montgomery App. No. 23394, 2010-Ohio-2267, ¶ 49 [noting that trial courts have discretion to accept or refuse additional evidence under Civ. R. 53(D)(4)(d).]

{¶ 37} Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting the Neil affidavits, we need not consider whether the contents of the affidavits are inadmissible.

{¶ 38} HSBC’s Second Assignment of Error is overruled.

III

{¶ 39} HSBC’s First Assignment of Error is as follows:

{¶ 40}THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS IMPROPERLY TREATED THE DATE THE ASSIGNMENT OF MORTGAGE WAS EXECUTED AS DISPOSITIVE OF THE CLAIMS BEFORE IT.”

{¶ 41} Under this assignment of error, HSBC contends that the trial court committed reversible error by disregarding the ruling in State ex rel. Jones v. Suster, 84 Ohio St.3d 70, 1998-Ohio-275, that defects in standing may be cured at any time before judgment is entered. According to HSBC, an assignment of mortgage recorded with the Montgomery County Recorder establishes that HSBC is the current holder of the mortgage interest, because the interest was transferred about one week after the action against Thomson was filed. HSBC further contends that the trial court improperly disregarded evidence that HSBC legally owned the note before its complaint was filed. Before addressing the standing issue, we note that the case before us was resolved by way of summary judgment. “A trial court may grant a moving party summary judgment pursuant to Civ. R. 56 if there are no genuine issues of material fact remaining to be litigated, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and reasonable minds can come to only one conclusion, and that conclusion is adverse to the nonmoving party, who is entitled to have the evidence construed most strongly in his favor.” Smith v. Five Rivers MetroParks (1999), 134 Ohio App.3d 754, 760. “We review summary judgment decisions de novo, which means that we apply the same standards as the trial court.” GNFH, Inc. v. W. Am. Ins. Co., 172 Ohio App.3d 127, 2007-Ohio-2722, ¶ 16.

{¶ 42} To decide the real-party-in-interest issue, we first turn to Civ. R. Rule 17(A), which states that:

{¶ 43} “Every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. * * * * No action shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest until a reasonable time has been allowed after objection for ratification of commencement of the action by, or joinder or substitution of, the real party in interest. Such ratification, joinder, or substitution shall have the same effect as if the action had been commenced in the name of the real party in interest.”

{¶ 44} “Standing is a threshold question for the court to decide in order for it to proceed to adjudicate the action.” Suster, 84 Ohio St.3d at 77. The issue of lack of standing “challenges the capacity of a party to bring an action, not the subject matter jurisdiction of the court.” Id. To decide whether the requirement has been satisfied that an action be brought by the real party in interest, “courts must look to the substantive law creating the right being sued upon to see if the action has been instituted by the party possessing the substantive right to relief.” Shealy v. Campbell (1985), 20 Ohio St.3d 23, 25.

{¶ 45}In foreclosure actions, the real party in interest is the current holder of the note and mortgage.” Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Sessley, Franklin App. No. 09AP-178, 2010-Ohio-2902, ¶ 11 (citation omitted). Promissory notes are negotiable, and may be transferred to someone other than the issuer. That person then becomes the holder of the instrument. R.C. 1303.21(A). R.C. 1303.21(B) provides, however, that:

{¶ 46} “Except for negotiation by a remitter, if an instrument is payable to an identified person, negotiation requires transfer of possession of the instrument and its indorsement by the holder. If an instrument is payable to bearer, it may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone.”

{¶ 47} R.C, 1301.01(T)(1) also states that a holder with regard to a negotiable instrument means either of the following:

{¶ 48} “(a) If the instrument is payable to bearer, a person who is in possession of the instrument;

{¶ 49} “(b) If the instrument is payable to an identified person, the identified person when in possession of the instrument.”

{¶ 50} In the case before us, the promissory note identifies Fidelity as the holder. The note, therefore, could have been negotiated only by Fidelity, through transfer of possession, and by either endorsing the note to a specific person, or endorsing the note to “bearer.”

{¶ 51} HSBC contends that it is the legal holder of the promissory note, and is entitled to enforce it, because it obtained the note as a bearer. A “bearer” is “the person in possession of an instrument, document of title, or certificated security payable to bearer or endorsed in blank.” R.C. 1301.01(E). HSBC’s claim that it is the bearer of the note is based on the “allonges” that were included as part of the exhibits to the complaint.

{¶ 52} The rejected affidavits of Neil do not refer to the allonges, nor were any allonges included with the promissory note that was attached to Neil’s affidavit. During oral argument, HSBC referred frequently to the Jiminez-Reyes affidavit, which was attached to a February 2008 summary judgment motion filed by HSBC. Jiminez-Reyes identified the exhibits attached to the complaint, but did not refer to the allonges. HSBC withdrew the summary judgment motion in March 2008, after Thompson had identified various deficiencies in the affidavit, including the fact that Jiminez-Reyes had incorrectly identified Thompson as the account holder. Since the motion was withdrawn, it is questionable whether the attached affidavit of Jiminez-Reyes was properly before the trial court. Byers v. Robinson, Franklin App. No. 08AP-204, 2008-Ohio-4833, ¶ 16 (effect of withdrawing motion is to leave the record as it stood before the motion was filed).

{¶ 53} Nonetheless, shortly after the complaint was filed, and prior to its first summary judgment motion, HSBC filed an affidavit of Jessica Dybas, who is identified in the affidavit as an “agent” of HSBC. The exact status of Dybas’s agency or connection to HSBC is not explained in the affidavit.

{¶ 54} Dybas states in the affidavit that she has personal knowledge of the history of the loan, that she is the custodian of records pertaining to the loan and mortgage, and that the records have been maintained in the ordinary course of business. See “Exhibit A attached to Plaintiff’s Notice of Filing of Loan Status, Military, Minor and Incompetent Affidavit and Loan History,” which was filed with the trial court in February 2008. Dybas’s affidavit also identifies Exhibits A and B of the complaint as true and accurate copies of the originals. Exhibit A to the complaint includes a copy of the promissory note of the decedent, Howard Turner, made payable to Fidelity, and a copy of two documents entitled “Allonge,” that are placed at the end of the promissory note. Exhibit B is a copy of the mortgage agreement, which names Fidelity as the “Lender” and MERS as “nominee” for Fidelity and its assigns. Dybas’s affidavit does not specifically mention the allonges. Like the affidavit of Jiminez-Reyes, Dybas’s affidavit incorrectly identifies Thompson as the borrower on the note. Thompson was not the borrower; she is the administratrix of the estate of the borrower, Howard Turner.

{¶ 55} Assuming for the sake of argument that Dybas’s affidavit is sufficient, or that the affidavit of Jiminez-Reyes was properly before the court, we note that Ohio requires endorsements to be “on” an instrument, or in papers affixed to the instrument. See R.C. 1303.24(A)(1) and (2), which state that “For the purpose of determining whether a signature is made on an instrument, a paper affixed to the instrument is a part of the instrument.”

{¶ 56} “The use of an allonge to add indorsements to an instrument when there is no room for them on the instrument itself dates from early common law.” Southwestern Resolution Corp. v. Watson (Tex. 1997), 964 S.W.2d 262, 263. “An allonge is defined as `[a] slip of paper sometimes attached to a negotiable instrument for the purpose of receiving further indorsements when the original paper is filled with indorsements.'” Chase Home Finance, LLC v. Fequiere (2010), 119 Conn.App. 570, 577, 989 A.2d 606, quoting from Black’s Law Dictionary (9th Ed. 2009).

{¶ 57} In Watson, a note and allonge produced at trial were taped together and had several staple holes. The president of the noteholder testified that when his company received the note, “the allonge was stapled to it and may also have been clipped and taped, but that the note and allonge had been separated and reattached five or six times for photocopying.” 964 S.W.2d at 263. The lower courts agreed with a jury that the allonge was not so firmly affixed as to be part of the note. But the Supreme Court of Texas disagreed.

{¶ 58} The Supreme Court of Texas recounted the history of allonges throughout various versions of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The court noted that an early provision had provided that an endorsement must be written on the note or on a paper attached thereto. Id., citing Section 31 of the Uniform Negotiable Instruments Law. Under this law, an allonge could be attached by a staple. Id (citation omitted). The Supreme Court of Texas also noted that:

{¶ 59} “When the UCC changed the requirement from `attached thereto’ to `so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof’, * * * the drafters of the new provision specifically contemplated that an allonge could be attached to a note by staples. American Law Institute, Comments & Notes to Tentative Draft No. 1-Article III 114 (1946), reprinted in 2 Elizabeth Slusser Kelly, Uniform Commercial Code Drafts 311, 424 (1984) (`The indorsement must be written on the instrument itself or on an allonge, which, as defined in Section ___, is a strip of paper so firmly pasted, stapled or otherwise affixed to the instrument as to become part of it.’).” Id. at 263-64 (citation omitted).

{¶ 60} The Supreme Court of Texas further observed that:

{¶ 61} “The attachment requirement has been said to serve two purposes: preventing fraud and preserving the chain of title to an instrument. * * * * Still, the requirement has been relaxed in the current code from `firmly affixed’ to simply `affixed’. Tex. Bus. & Com.Code § 3.204(a). As the Commercial Code Committee of the Section of Business Law of the State Bar of Texas concluded in recommending adoption of the provision, `the efficiencies and benefits achieved by permitting indorsements by allonge outweigh[] the possible problems raised by easily detachable allonges.'” Id. at 264 (citations omitted).

{¶ 62} The Supreme Court of Texas, therefore, concluded that a stapled allonge is “firmly affixed” to an instrument, and that the allonge in the case before it was properly affixed. In this regard, the court relied on the following evidence:

{¶ 63} “In the present case, Southwestern’s president testified that the allonge was stapled, taped, and clipped to the note when Southwestern received it. There was no evidence to the contrary. The fact that the documents had been detached for photocopying does not raise a fact issue for the jury about whether the documents were firmly affixed. If it did, the validity of an allonge would always be a question of the finder of fact, since no allonge can be affixed so firmly that it cannot be detached. One simply cannot infer that two documents were never attached from the fact that they can be, and have been, detached. Nor could the jury infer from the staple holes in the two papers, as the court of appeals suggested, that the two documents had not been attached. This would be pure conjecture.” Id. at 264.

{¶ 64} Like Texas, Ohio has adopted the pertinent revisions to the UCC. In All American Finance Co. v. Pugh Shows, Inc. (1987), 30 Ohio St.3d 130, the Supreme Court of Ohio noted that under UCC 3-302, “a purported indorsement on a mortgage or other separate paper pinned or clipped to an instrument is not sufficient for negotiation.” Id. at 132, n. 3. At that time, R.C. 1303.23 was the analogous Ohio statute to UCC 3-202, which required endorsements to be firmly affixed.

{¶ 65} Ohio subsequently adopted the revisions to the UCC. R.C. 1303.24(A)(2) now requires that a paper be affixed to an instrument in order for a signature to be considered part of the instrument. R.C. 1303.24 is the analogous Ohio statute to UCC. 3-204. The 1990 official comments for UCC 3-204 state that this requirement is “based on subsection (2) of former Section 3-202. An indorsement on an allonge is valid even though there is sufficient space on the instrument for an indorsement.” This latter comment addresses the fact that prior to the 1990 changes to the UCC, the majority view was that allonges could be used only if the note itself contained insufficient space for further endorsements. See, e.g., Pribus v. Bush (1981), 118 Cal.App.3d 1003, 1008, 173 Cal.Rptr. 747. See, also, All American Finance, 30 Ohio St.3d at 132, n.3 (indicating that while the court did not need to reach the issue for purposes of deciding the case, several jurisdictions “hold that indorsement by allonge is permitted only where there is no longer room on the instrument itself due to previous indorsements.”)

{¶ 66} The current version of the UCC, codified as R.C. 1303.24(A)(2), allows allonges even where room exists on the note for further endorsements. However, the paper must be affixed to the instrument in order for the signature to be considered part of the instrument. As the Supreme Court of Texas noted in Watson, the requirement has changed from being “firmly affixed” to “affixed.” However, even the earlier version, which specified that the allonge be “attached thereto,” was interpreted as requiring that the allonge be stapled. Watson, 964 S.W.2d at 263.

{¶ 67} In contrast to Watson, no evidence was presented in the case before us to indicate that the allonges were ever attached or affixed to the promissory note. Instead, the allonges have been presented as separate, loose sheets of paper, with no explanation as to how they may have been attached. Compare In re Weisband, (Bkrtcy. D. Ariz., 2010), 427 B.R. 13, 19 (concluding that GMAC was not a “holder” and did not have ability to enforce a note, where GMAC failed to demonstrate that an allonge endorsement to GMAC was affixed to a note. The bankruptcy court noted that the endorsement in question “is on a separate sheet of paper; there was no evidence that it was stapled or otherwise attached to the rest of the Note.”)

{¶ 68} It is possible that the allonges in the case before us were stapled to the note at one time and were separated for photocopying. But unlike the alleged creditor in Watson, HSBC offered no evidence to that effect. Furthermore, assuming for the sake of argument that the allonges were properly “affixed,” the order of the allonges does not permit HSBC to claim that it is the possessor of a note made payable to bearer or endorsed in blank.

{¶ 69} The first allonge is endorsed from Delta to “blank,” and the second allonge is endorsed from Fidelity to Delta. If the endorsement in blank were intended to be effective, the endorsement from Fidelity to Delta should have preceded the endorsement from Delta to “blank,” because the original promissory note is made payable to Fidelity, not to Delta. Delta would have had no power to endorse the note before receiving the note and an endorsement from Fidelity.

{¶ 70} HSBC contends that the order of the allonges is immaterial, while Thompson claims that the order is critical. At the oral argument of this appeal, HSBC appeared to be arguing that the order of allonges would never be material. This is easily refuted by the example of two allonges, one containing an assignment from the original holder of the note to A, and the other containing an assignment from the original holder of the note to B. Whichever allonge was first would determine whether the note had been effectively assigned to A, or to B.

{¶ 71} Thompson contends that because the last-named endorsement is made to Delta, Delta was the proper holder of the note when this action was filed, since the prior, first-named endorsement was from an entity other than the current holder of the note. In Adams v. Madison Realty & Development, Inc. (C.A.3, 1988), 853 F.2d 163, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals stressed that from the maker’s standpoint:

{¶ 72} “it becomes essential to establish that the person who demands payment of a negotiable note, or to whom payment is made, is the duly qualified holder. Otherwise, the obligor is exposed to the risk of double payment, or at least to the expense of litigation incurred to prevent duplicative satisfaction of the instrument. These risks provide makers with a recognizable interest in demanding proof of the chain of title.” Id. At 168.

{¶ 73} The Third Circuit Court of Appeals further observed that:

{¶ 74} “Financial institutions, noted for insisting on their customers’ compliance with numerous ritualistic formalities, are not sympathetic petitioners in urging relaxation of an elementary business practice. It is a tenet of commercial law that `[h]oldership and the potential for becoming holders in due course should only be accorded to transferees that observe the historic protocol.'” 853 F.2d at 169 (citation omitted).

{¶ 75} Consistent with this observation, recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Cherry (2007), 18 Misc.3d 1102(A), 856 N.Y.S.2d 24 (Table), 2007 WL 4374284, and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Yeasmin (2010), 27 Misc.3d 1227(A), 2010 N.Y. Slip Op. 50927(U)(Table), 2010 WL 2080273 (dismissing HSBC’s requests for orders of reference in mortgage foreclosure actions, due to HSBC’s failure to provide proper affidavits). See, also, e.g., HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Charlevagne (2008), 20 Misc.3d 1128(A), 872 N.Y.S.2d 691 (Table), 2008 WL 2954767, and HSBC Bank USA, Nat. Assn. v. Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc.3d 1127(A), 872 N.Y.S.2d 691,(Table), 2008 WL 2928553 (describing “possible incestuous relationship” between HSBC Bank, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact that the entities all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied affidavits in support of foreclosure from individuals who claimed simultaneously to be officers of more than one of these corporations.).

{¶ 76} Because the last allonge endorses the note to Delta, and no further endorsement to HSBC was provided, the trial court did not err in concluding that HSBC was not the holder of the note when the litigation was commenced against Thompson.

{¶ 77} As an alternative position, HSBC contended at oral argument that it had standing to prosecute the action, because assignment of the mortgage alone is sufficient. In this regard, HSBC notes that the mortgage was transferred to HSBC by MERS on November 14, 2007. This was about one week after HSBC commenced the mortgage foreclosure action.

{¶ 78} HSBC did not argue this position in its briefs, and did not provide supporting authority for its position at oral argument. In fact, HSBC relied in its brief on the contrary position that HSBC “was the legal holder of the note and, accordingly, entitled to enforce the mortgage loan regardless of the date the Mortgage was assigned, and under Marcino, even if the Mortgage had never been separately assigned to HSBC.” Brief of Appellant HSBC Bank USA, N.A., pp. 15-16 (bolding in original).

{¶ 79} The Marcino case referred to by HSBC states as follows:

{¶ 80} “For nearly a century, Ohio courts have held that whenever a promissory note is secured by a mortgage, the note constitutes the evidence of the debt and the mortgage is a mere incident to the obligation. Edgar v. Haines (1923), 109 Ohio St. 159, 164, 141 N.E. 837. Therefore, the negotiation of a note operates as an equitable assignment of the mortgage, even though the mortgage is not assigned or delivered.” U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v. Marcino, 181 Ohio App.3d 328, 2009-Ohio-1178, ¶ 52.

{¶ 81} Even if HSBC had provided support for the proposition that ownership of the note is not required, the evidence about the assignment is not properly before us. The alleged mortgage assignment is attached to the rejected affidavits of Neil. Furthermore, even if we were to consider this “evidence,” the mortgage assignment from MERS to HSBC indicates that the assignment was prepared by Ocwen for MERS, and that Ocwen is located at the same Palm Beach, Florida address mentioned in Charlevagne and Antrobus. See Exhibit 3 attached to the affidavit of Chomie Neil. In addition, Scott Anderson, who signed the assignment, as Vice-President of MERS, appears to be the same individual who claimed to be both Vice-President of MERS and Vice-President of Ocwen. See Antrobus, 2008 WL 2928553, * 4, and Charlevagne, 2008 WL 2954767, * 1.

{¶ 82} In support of its argument that a subsequent mortgage assignment can confer standing on a noteholder, HSBC cites some Ohio cases in which “courts have rejected claims that the execution of an assignment subsequent to the filing of a complaint necessarily precludes a party from prosecuting a foreclosure action as the real party in interest.” Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v. Cassens, Franklin App. No. 09-AP-865, 2010-Ohio-2851, ¶ 17. Accordingly, at least in the view of some districts in Ohio, if the note had been properly negotiated to HSBC, HSBC may have been able to claim standing, based on equitable assignment of the mortgage, supplemented by the actual transfer of the mortgage after the complaint was filed.

{¶ 83} In contrast to the Seventh District, other districts take a more rigid view. See Wells Fargo Bank v. Jordan, Cuyahoga App. No. 91675, 2009-Ohio-1092 (holding that Civ. R. 17(A) does not apply unless a plaintiff has standing in the first place to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. Accordingly, a bank that is not a mortgagee when suit is filed is not the real party in interest on the date the complaint is filed, and cannot cure its lack of standing by subsequently obtaining an interest in the mortgage). Accord Bank of New York v. Gindele, Hamilton App. No. C-090251, 2010-Ohio-542.

{¶ 84} In Gindele, the First District Court of Appeals commented as follows:

{¶ 85} “We likewise reject Bank of New York’s argument that the real party in interest when the lawsuit was filed was later joined by the Gindeles. We are convinced that the later joinder of the real party in interest could not have cured the Bank of New York’s lack of standing when it filed its foreclosure complaint. This narrow reading of Civ.R. 17 comports with the intent of the rule. As other state and federal courts have noted, Civ.R. 17 generally allows ratification, joinder, and substitution of parties `to avoid forfeiture and injustice when an understandable mistake has been made in selecting the parties in whose name the action should be brought.’ * * * * `While a literal interpretation of * * * Rule 17(a) would make it applicable to every case in which an inappropriate plaintiff was named, the Advisory Committee’s Notes make it clear that this provision is intended to prevent forfeiture when determination of the proper party to sue is difficult or when an understandable mistake has been made. When determination of the correct party to bring the action was not difficult and when no excusable mistake was made, the last sentence of Rule 17(a) is inapplicable and the action should be dismissed.'” Id. at ¶ 4 (footnotes omitted).

{¶ 86} We need not decide which approach is correct, because the alleged assignment of mortgage is attached to Neil’s rejected affidavits. Since the trial court’s disregard of the affidavits was not an abuse of discretion, there is currently no evidence of a mortgage “assignment” to consider. Moreover, we would reject HSBC’s position even if we considered the alleged assignment, because HSBC failed to establish that it was the holder of the note. Therefore, no “equitable assignment” of the mortgage would have arisen. All that HSBC might have established is that the mortgage was assigned to it after the action was filed. However, as we noted, the matters pertaining to that fact were submitted with an affidavit that the trial court rejected, within its discretion.

{¶ 87} Accordingly, the trial court did not err in dismissing the action without prejudice, based on HSBC’s failure to prove that it had standing to sue.

{¶ 88} HSBC’s First Assignment of Error is overruled.

IV

{¶ 89} The final matter to be addressed is Thompson’s motion to dismiss the part of HSBC’s appeal which assigns error in the trial court’s denial of HSBC’s motion for summary judgment. HSBC filed a motion for summary judgment on Thompson’s counterclaim, which alleged violations of the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment, and filed a Civ. R. 54(B) certification regarding the summary judgment that had been rendered in Thompson’s favor.

{¶ 90} Thompson contends that denial of summary judgment is not a final appealable order, and that HSBC’s argument regarding the FDCPA should not be considered on appeal. In response, HSBC maintains that it is not appealing the denial of its motion for summary judgment. HSBC argues instead, that if we reverse the trial court order granting Thompson’s motion to strike the affidavit of Neil, or if we reverse the order dismissing HSBC’s foreclosure complaint, we would then be entitled under App. R. 12(B) to enter a judgment dismissing the FDCPA claims.

{¶ 91} App. R. 12(B) provides that:

{¶ 92} “When the court of appeals determines that the trial court committed no error prejudicial to the appellant in any of the particulars assigned and argued in appellant’s brief and that the appellee is entitled to have the judgment or final order of the trial court affirmed as a matter of law, the court of appeals shall enter judgment accordingly. When the court of appeals determines that the trial court committed error prejudicial to the appellant and that the appellant is entitled to have judgment or final order rendered in his favor as a matter of law, the court of appeals shall reverse the judgment or final order of the trial court and render the judgment or final order that the trial court should have rendered, or remand the cause to the court with instructions to render such judgment or final order. In all other cases where the court of appeals determines that the judgment or final order of the trial court should be modified as a matter of law it shall enter its judgment accordingly.”

{¶ 93} App. R. 12(B) does not apply, because the trial court did not commit error prejudicial to HSBC. Furthermore, HSBC admits that it is not appealing the denial of its summary judgment motion. Accordingly, Thompson’s motion to dismiss is without merit and is overruled.

V

{¶ 94} All of HSBC’s assignments of error having been overruled, the judgment of the trial court is Affirmed. Thompson’s motion to dismiss part of HSBC’s appeal is overruled.

Brogan and Froelich, JJ., concur.

This copy provided by Leagle, Inc.

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Posted in bogus, chain in title, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, fdcpa, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, HSBC, MERS, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Notary, notary fraud, note, robo signers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, trade secrets, trustee, TrustsComments (0)

WHISTLE BLOWER | Report On Fraudulent & Forged Assignments Of Mortgages & Deeds In U.S. Foreclosures

WHISTLE BLOWER | Report On Fraudulent & Forged Assignments Of Mortgages & Deeds In U.S. Foreclosures


Pew family trusts which I am a beneficiary and/or remainderman have maintained
investments in various banks, mutual funds, and other entities that maintain
interests in various shares, mortgage backed securities and/or debt issuances and I
have been a shareholder in many mortgage companies including Fannie Mae,
Bear Stearns, JPMorganChase, Washington Mutual, MGIC, Ocwen and Radian,
many of which are members, owners and shareholders in Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. [MERS].

© 2010 Nye Lavalle, Pew Mortgage Institute
•10675 Pebble Cove Lane • Boca Raton, FL 33498
561/860-7632 • mortgagefrauds@aol.com

[ipaper docId=36753239 access_key=key-1xwnf3x33iwj6zod9965 height=600 width=600 /]

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Posted in bear stearns, bogus, chain in title, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forensic document examiner, forensic mortgage investigation audit, forgery, insider, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, Max Gardner, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, neil garfield, notary fraud, note, OCC, R.K. Arnold, racketeering, RICO, robo signers, shapiro & fishman pa, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.com, trade secrets, Trusts, Violations, Wall StreetComments (0)

MERS “Common Thread” to hundreds of Mortgage Fraud lawsuits planned in MI

MERS “Common Thread” to hundreds of Mortgage Fraud lawsuits planned in MI


Hundreds of mortgage fraud lawsuits planned

Published: Saturday, July 24, 2010

By Jameson Cook, Macomb Daily Staff Writer

Macomb, Oakland cases in federal court but may return to state

Officials at an organization representing homeowners battling their mortgage lenders say hundreds more people in the tri-county area will join additional lawsuits.

Officials at Michigan Loan Compliance Advisory Group Inc. in Troy said they plan to file lawsuits including up to another 1,000 plaintiffs against financial institutions for deceptive lending, excessive fees and other wrongdoing in granting subprime mortgages.

That’s on top of the 88 plaintiffs representing 78 mortgages in Macomb and Oakland counties who through Michigan Loan Compliance sued more than two dozen banks for awarding inflated mortgages to borrowers.

“We’re not stopping,” said May Brikho, senior consultant at Michigan Loan Compliance.

“We’re trying to convince judges there is fraud, there is a scam. The banks are not the victims. They never lost anything.

“We are getting a lot of new plaintiffs who are out of a job and they do not qualify for loan modification. People are telling other people and they are contacting us.”

The pending cases in Macomb, Oakland and a third in Wayne County were filed in state circuit court, but have since been moved to U.S. District Court in Detroit.

However, Loan Compliance attorney Ziyad Kased has asked federal Judge Arthur Tarnow to return the Oakland case to Judge Colleen O’Brien in the Oakland court in Pontiac and said he believes federal Judge Nancy Edmunds on her own may return the Macomb case back to circuit Judge John Foster in Mount Clemens.

Kased said the Oakland case should remain in state court because all of the defendants and plaintiffs do not have different state residences, which is a requirement to get the case moved.

He said that Ocwen and Saxon must gain “concurrence” of the other defendants to warrant permanent transfer and that all of the defendants must be located outside the state.

Attorney Chantelle Neumann, representing Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, named in the Macomb case, and Saxon Mortgage Co., named in the Oakland case, gained “removal” to federal court for the time being. Neumann said the defendants did not have to gain concurrence from other defendants because the plaintiffs improperly got together.

“Plaintiffs have aggregated their grievances into one mass action in an effort to evade federal jurisdiction,” said Neumann, a Rochester Hills-based lawyer also representing Saxon, in a legal brief.

Kased says the plaintiffs have similar claims.

“There were all victims of the same predatory lending practices listed in the complaint (inflated income, understated debt, manufactured debt to income ratios etc.),” Kased says in a court document.

He contends that the case should remain since three of the defendants are “domestic Michigan corporations.”

He also said that all but three mortgages in the Oakland case are affiliated with co-defendant Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., so there is a “common thread” among them.

Continue reading….MacombDaily

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Posted in conflict of interest, conspiracy, lawsuit, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., mortgage modification, sub-primeComments (5)

New Hampshire couple get Permanent Injunction on their mortgage

New Hampshire couple get Permanent Injunction on their mortgage


Many thanks to Foreclosure Fraud Fighter MIKE DILLON!

Couple Fighting Foreclosure Gets Day In Court

Manchester Homeowner Helps Couple Navigate Paperwork

POSTED: 5:41 pm EDT July 13, 2010

SANDWICH, N.H. —
A couple in Sandwich who nearly lost their home to foreclosure is gaining traction in their fight against what they said is fraudulent action by the companies trying to take their home.

In March, a last-minute court order forced a foreclosure auctioneer to drive away on auction day without selling the home of Porter and Angie Moore.

While many foreclosures are a legitimate result of a down economy, lost jobs and homeowners taking on more debt than they can manage, the Moores said that’s not the case for them. They said they may have enough proof that their home shouldn’t be foreclosed to get them their day in court.

The Moores said one problem with the foreclosure proceedings is that it’s unclear who owns their bank note. The confusion has made it difficult to appeal, and they had almost given up before they met Mike Dillon.

Dillon, of Manchester, said he’s no expert in foreclosures, but he’s an angry homeowner in the middle of a 10-year battle to keep a bank from foreclosing on his home. He heard the Moores’ story and gave them some advice on how to fight back.

“I was able to share some information with Porter as far as what was going on with his case, just based on his paperwork, on his assignment of mortgage filed at the Registry of Deeds,” Dillon said.



Continue Reading…WMUR

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Posted in conflict of interest, conspiracy, deutsche bank, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, injunction, lawsuit, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, Ocwen, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, TROComments (1)

Ocwen Leads Mortgage Servicers in Converting Federal HAMP Trial Loan Modifications to Permanent Status

Ocwen Leads Mortgage Servicers in Converting Federal HAMP Trial Loan Modifications to Permanent Status


May 18, 2010, 1:01 p.m. EDT

83% of Ocwen’s Trial Modifications are Now Permanent Ones, According to Report From Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Ocwen Financial Corporation(OCN 11.83, -0.21, -1.74%), servicer of subprime mortgages, has converted the highest percentage of trial loan modifications for distressed homeowners to permanent status, when compared with the other servicers participating in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

According to a just-released HAMP report on servicer performance through April 2010, 83% of Ocwen’s customers who had trial modifications under HAMP now have permanent modifications, meaning their home loan payments have been reduced to a level that should be affordable and sustainable. (Borrowers in permanent HAMP reductions are receiving median payment reductions of 36%, more than $500 per month, the report said.) One other servicer converted 83% of eligible borrowers, and the four largest servicers in HAMP — including big banks — have conversion rates below 30%.

Ocwen attributes its conversion success in part to its established practice of requiring verified documentation from borrowers before putting them in trial modifications. Many servicers have relied simply on stated income for trial modifications. Treasury is now requiring all HAMP servicers, as of June 1, 2010, to require upfront documentation prior to initiating new trial modifications.

Said Ronald M. Faris, Ocwen’s President, “We are doing everything we can to help make the HAMP program a success. Loan modifications are the best solution for helping American families avoid foreclosure, but modifications have to be sustainable, rigorously formulated and effected on a meaningful scale. We’re gratified that the Treasury has recognized that our upfront documentation approach, while process-intensive, benefits homeowners and the program — and that approach is now required of all HAMP servicers.”

Mr. Faris said Ocwen’s success with modifications also stems from its 30-year track record servicing high-risk loans, as well as the firm’s proprietary technology that allows it to modify mortgages for distressed homeowners so they’re affordable on a sustainable basis and also deliver more cash flow to investors than they would get from a foreclosure. Ocwen has invested over $100 million in R&D to build loan servicing technology that is scalable for high volumes. The firm also cites its reliance on consumer behavioral science research and long-standing partnerships with grass roots consumer advocacy groups as instrumental in enhancing borrower outreach and effective communications.

In testimony before Congress in March, Mr. Faris voiced Ocwen’s support for HAMP and recommended several program enhancements, including:

  --  Lowering the borrower debt-to-income ratio for modifications -- i.e.,
      allowing for lower monthly payments on modifications.
  --  Allowing for principal reductions on modified loans. (Approximately 15%
      of Ocwen modifications, including those outside HAMP, involve principal
      reductions.)
  --  Making additional funding available for housing counseling groups.
  --  Requiring underperforming servicers in HAMP to outsource to servicers
      that perform.

Since the onset of the mortgage crisis, Ocwen has saved more than 100,000 homes from foreclosure. In doing this, Ocwen has partnered with community groups around the country to reach out to, educate and provide services for customers in distress and at foreclosure risk.

“Our message to homeowners facing difficulty paying their mortgages is to work with their servicer. Modifications represent a very promising solution. They also require proactive communications with the servicer and a real investment of time. But it’s worth it. We urge patience and persistence,” Mr. Faris said.

About Ocwen

Ocwen Financial Corporation is a leading provider of residential and commercial loan servicing, special servicing and asset management services. Ocwen is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida with offices in California, the District of Columbia and Georgia and support operations in India and Uruguay. Utilizing proprietary technology and world-class training and processes, we provide solutions that make our clients’ loans worth more. Additional information is available at www.ocwen.com.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Ocwen Financial Corp.

CONTACT:  Sommerfield Communications
Itay Engelman
(212) 255-8386
itay@sommerfield.com


(C) Copyright 2010 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved.

Posted in foreclosure fraudComments (1)

JUAN PARDO…"I wear many hats (too)" MERS/ OCWEN/ Union Capital/ Berkeley

JUAN PARDO…"I wear many hats (too)" MERS/ OCWEN/ Union Capital/ Berkeley


Livinglies blog:

Juan Pardo MERS/Ocwen cross employment. Have a dozen docs confirming this from NH/MA registries of deeds. Notarized in one place, executed in another, prepared in another.

Also, have confirmation of one Carla Tinoco, witnessing and notarizing Pardo’s MERS docs. Ms. Tinoco is also a confirmed Ocwen employee as she has appeared as Doc prep for Ocwen. Ms. Tinoco’s FL Notary registration also confirms business address of Ocwen:

http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us/notidsearch.asp?id=1264522

Commission Detail
Notary ID:1264522
Last Name:Tinoco
First Name:Carla
Middle Name:
Birth Date:07/30/75
Transaction Type:NEW
Certificate:DD 912557
Status:ACT
Issue Date:07/31/09
Expire Date:07/30/13
Bonding Agency:Atlantic Bonding Company
Mailing Address:1661 Worthington Rd.
Ste. #100
WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33409-0000

[ipaper docId=29254946 access_key=key-2hjfdefz0crtq1z4of9x height=600 width=600 /]

Source: Juan Pardo MERS/Ocwen cross employment

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



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure fraud, juan pardo, orlans moran, robo signerComments (0)

Follow the Trail —Don’t get lost in the documents

Follow the Trail —Don’t get lost in the documents


Posted on March 25, 2010 by Neil Garfield

I THOUGHT THIS COMMENT WAS WORTHY OF MAKING INTO A POST.

See for Deutsch bank references Prospectus offered all over the world: Anyone who had a Deed of Trust with: Indymac, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, GMAC, Ocwen, American Home, Residential Funding Company, Washington Mutual Bank, BofA, and many others you might want to check this link out.

Editor’s Note: The only thing I would add is that the obligation arose when the borrower executed a note, but the creditor got a securitized bond with different terms, deriving its value from your note and thousands of others. Once you realize that the obligation is NOT the same as the Note, which is only EVIDENCE of the obligation, and that the MORTGAGE is NOT the obligation, it is only incident to the note, THEN you will understand that following the money means following the obligation, not the note or the mortgage. And figuring out what effect there was on the obligation at each step that the note was transferred, bought or paid, is the key to understanding whether the note became a negotiable instrument, and if it did, if it retained that status as a negotiable instrument.

FROM Jan van Eck
dutchman4753@gmail.com

to foreclosurefight:

What you are missing in your attempt to analyze this is that you are trying to follow the “mortgage,” not the Note. the reason you are doing this is that only the “mortgage,” as the Security Instrument, is being recorded on the land records – so it is all you get to see.

the reason your adversaries, whoever they really are, “withdrew” from the relief from Stay Motion in the BK Court is that they do not have the Note. Somebody else does. And you have no clue as to who that is.

You have to start by determining what has happened to the Note, and how the Indorsements on the Note flow. And you have not seen the Note, not in years, so the raw truth is that you have no clue.

the “mortgage” never went into any “Trust.” Mortgages do not go into trusts. Only the Note (“maybe”) went into a trust – and only if it had proper Indorsement. Since Deutsche is involved, you can safely bet that it did not. Deutsche is NOTORIOUS for perpetrating fraud on the Courts and by fabricating documents. You may assume that EVERYTHING that Deutsche shows up with is a fraud, and has been fraudulently fabricated, typically in their offices on Liberty Street in Downtown Manhattan NY.

What is missing in your convoluted chain of title is that there was a ton of other parties involved in setting up that “Trust”, including some Delaware sham entity known as the “Depositor,” and then another sham known as the “Seller,” and more. When you burrow through that Prospectus you will find those entities listed. Now you have to dig out the Note, and find if those entities are individually and sequentially listed on the Note by consecutive Indorsements. Since Deutsche had their sticky fingers in the pie, you already know that they did not.

What State are you in? Yes, you need new counsel. You should never have gotten into this with old counsel.

You can still defeat them, but you probably will have to go file in District (Federal ) Court. You will have to sue Deutsche. Think in terms of suing them in the USDC for the Sou.Distr. NY, in White Plains, NY. Now you are not tangled up in the State-Fed politics of your local judges.

You cannot ask for Quiet title as you are asking for that in the State Court. You have to go in with entirely new grounds or they will not hear your case. So you sue them for fraud in interstate commerce. Try the “Commerce Clause” in the US Constitution (Amendment 16? I forget), to try to get “jurisdiction.” You get “venue” easily as Deutsche Bank is in NY. You do not need to show up; you just file and do your papers by mail. If yo ask for enough money, e.g. 40 million, then DB has something to start worrying about.

Right now, DB has no downside. If they lose, all they lose is some paper on some worthless piece of property in some state that is flooded with empty foreclosed houses that nobody can sell. So what do they care? DB probably does not even know or care that your lawsuit is going on; you are just dealing with lawyers that are running up their tab with DB, and DB has so many tabs that they do not try to keep track of it all. So you have to expose them to some serious hurt. A gigantic lawsuit is a good place to start.

You may assume that everything DB and those attys produce is utterly fraudulent. I have seen documents produced where the entire Trust Agreement was fabricated, and notarized by a notary who did not even get his first commission until two years after he swore that the parties were standing in front of him. Welcome to Wall Street banks – the international predator banks.

Besides Deutsche, Credit Suisse is also notorious for this type of flagrant fraud upon our Courts.

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GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
Kenneth Eric Trent, www.ForeclosureDestroyer.com

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