Treasury | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA - Part 2

Tag Archive | "Treasury"

NYTimes | Banks Want Pieces of Fannie-Freddie Pie

NYTimes | Banks Want Pieces of Fannie-Freddie Pie


By LOUISE STORY
Published: January 20, 2011

As the Obama administration prepares a report on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, some of the nation’s largest banks are offering a few suggestions.

Wells Fargo and some other large banks would like private companies, perhaps even themselves, to become the new housing finance giants helping to bundle individual mortgages into securities — that would be stamped with a government guarantee.

The banks have presented their ideas publicly through trade groups. Housing industry consultants and people familiar with recent meetings at the Treasury Department say these banks view the government’s overhaul of the mortgage market as a potential profit opportunity. Treasury officials have met with executives from several institutions, including Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, according to a public listing of the meetings.

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Embattled Virtual Mortgage Registry MERS Retains Top Lobbying Talent

Embattled Virtual Mortgage Registry MERS Retains Top Lobbying Talent


By Michael Beckel on January 5, 2011 12:00 AM

One company embroiled in the nation’s property foreclosure crisis is not unprepared for a fight.

In Washington, D.C., Merscorp Inc. has retained several well-heeled lobbyists and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying efforts since the start of the mortgage crisis and economic meltdown.

Merscorp Inc. is the parent company of Virginia-based Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), which serves as an electronic registry for 67 million U.S. mortgages — more than 60 percent of the country’s total.

MERS was created in the 1990s by the mortgage banking industry to save them significant sums of cash by capitalizing on the digital revolution. The firm’s motto is “process loans, not paperwork.”

The ease of this streamlining process has brought trouble and detractors, however, especially in the face of the $12 trillion real estate bubble’s burst, and the company’s role in helping banks foreclose on properties, as the Washington Post recently reported.

“Several state courts have rejected attempts by MERS to act on behalf of banks seeking to foreclose on delinquent mortgages,” the Post reported last week. “And Congress is weighing legislation that would bar home loan giant Fannie Mae from buying any mortgage listed in MERS, potentially a death knell for the registry.”


Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi recently
summed up the company’s status this way: “In short, the mortgage industry considers MERS owner enough to foreclose on you, but not owner enough to be sued, or reasoned with, or even to provide basic customer service.”

In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in November, Merscorp Chief Executive Officer R.K. Arnold maintained his firm did not profit from foreclosures or decide when to foreclose upon a property.

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Do You Know Exactly Who Is Receiving Info When You Apply For HAMP?

Do You Know Exactly Who Is Receiving Info When You Apply For HAMP?


Via: Anonymous

This is fascinating. It showed up on the American Banker site this morning, which is not readable without subscription.

Contrary to the statement that these ‘counselors’ do not “track” follow-up, I recently received a request to fill-in a follow up e-survey which was oddly pre-filled out stating erroneously that I had not disclosed the identity of my bank during my “counseling” session.

I forwarded it to SIGTARP, COP, and the President with the relevant questions.

So… Could it be that counsel-obtained info via Hope hotlines could corrupt HAMP performance data, and/or disadvantage borrowers in litigation/settlement?

http://www.collectionscreditrisk.com/news/lender-tie-to-borrower-aid-3004375-1.html

Excerpt from article:

Some industry experts have questioned why a nonprofit affiliated with servicers is receiving government funding to resolve disputes between borrowers and the same servicers who are denying modifications. Several distressed homeowners who contacted American Banker said servicers refuse to give explanations for denied mods. Many were put into trial mods at a reduced payment but were later denied and are now in worse shape because servicers demand that any arrearages be paid in full for the loan to become current.

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Congressional Oversight Panel: HAMP FAILED YOU, SERVICERS CONFLICTS

Congressional Oversight Panel: HAMP FAILED YOU, SERVICERS CONFLICTS


Congressional Oversight Panel Reviews Treasury’s Foreclosure Prevention Programs
HAMP On Track to Prevent Far Fewer Foreclosures Than Expected, but Treasury Can Still Take Steps to Help More Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2010

Thomas Seay
Thomas_Seay@cop.senate.gov
202-224-9979

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Congressional Oversight Panel today released its December oversight report, “A Review of Treasury’s Foreclosure Prevention Programs.” In the eight months since the Panel’s last report on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Treasury has made minor tweaks to the program, but the changes have not resolved the Panel’s core concerns. The Panel now estimates that, if current trends hold, HAMP will prevent only 700,000 foreclosures – far fewer than the three to four million foreclosures that Treasury initially aimed to stop, and vastly fewer than the eight to 13 million foreclosures expected by 2012.

While HAMP’s most dramatic shortcoming has been its poor results in preventing foreclosures, the program has had other significant flaws. For example, despite repeated urgings from the Panel, Treasury has failed to collect and analyze data that would explain HAMP’s shortcomings, and it does not even have a way to collect data for many of HAMP’s add-on programs. Further, Treasury has refused to specify meaningful goals by which to measure HAMP’s progress, while the program’s sole initial goal – to prevent three to four million foreclosures – has been repeatedly redefined and watered down.

Treasury has failed to hold loan servicers accountable when they have repeatedly lost borrower paperwork or refused to perform loan modifications. Treasury has essentially outsourced the responsibility for overseeing servicers to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Freddie Mac in particular has hesitated to enforce some of its contractual rights related to the foreclosure process, arguing that doing so “may negatively impact our relationships with these seller/servicers, some of which are among our largest sources of mortgage loans.” Treasury bears the ultimate responsibility for preventing such conflicts of interest, and it should ensure that loan servicers are penalized when they fail to complete loan modifications appropriately.

It is too late for Treasury to revamp its foreclosure prevention strategy, but Treasury can still take steps to wring every possible benefit from its programs. Treasury should enable borrowers to apply for loan modifications more easily – for example, by allowing online applications. Treasury should also carefully monitor and, where appropriate, intervene in cases in which borrowers are falling behind on their HAMP-modified mortgages. Preventing redefaults is an extremely powerful way of magnifying HAMP’s impact, as each redefault prevented translates directly into a borrower keeping his home.

Treasury should acknowledge that HAMP will not reach the expected number of homeowners and should provide a meaningful framework for evaluating the program in the future. Treasury continues to state that HAMP will expend $30 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funding, yet the Panel’s estimate based on Congressional Budget Office figures is that HAMP will likely spend only around $4 billion. Had Treasury acknowledged this reality before its crisis authority expired, it could have reallocated the money to a more effective program. Now, that option is gone. Absent a dramatic and unexpected increase in HAMP enrollment, many billions of dollars set aside for foreclosure mitigation may well be left unused. As a result, an untold number of borrowers may go without help – all because Treasury failed to acknowledge HAMP’s shortcomings in time.

The full report is available at cop.senate.gov.

The Congressional Oversight Panel was created to oversee the expenditure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds authorized by Congress in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) and to provide recommendations on regulatory reform. The Panel members are former Senator Ted Kaufman; J. Mark McWatters; Richard H. Neiman, Superintendent of Banks for the State of New York; Damon Silvers, Policy Director and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO; and Kenneth Troske, William B. Sturgill Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky.

###

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Usage of Federal Reserve Credit and Liquidity Facilities “BAILOUT FUNDS”

Usage of Federal Reserve Credit and Liquidity Facilities “BAILOUT FUNDS”


This section of the website provides detailed information about the liquidity and credit programs and other monetary policy tools that the Federal Reserve used to respond to the financial crisis that emerged in the summer of 2007. These programs fall into three broad categories–those aimed at addressing severe liquidity strains in key financial markets, those aimed at providing credit to troubled systemically important institutions, and those aimed at fostering economic recovery by lowering longer-term interest rates.

The emergency liquidity programs that the Federal Reserve set up provided secured and mostly short-term loans. Over time, these programs helped to alleviate the strains and to restore normal functioning in a number of key financial markets, supporting the flow of credit to businesses and households. As financial markets stabilized, the Federal Reserve closed most of these programs. Indeed, many of the programs were intentionally priced to be unattractive to borrowers when markets are functioning normally and, as a result, wound down as market conditions improved. The programs achieved their intended purposes with no loss to taxpayers.

The Federal Reserve also provided credit to several systemically important financial institutions. These actions were taken to avoid the disorderly failure of these institutions and the potential catastrophic consequences for the U.S. financial system and economy. All extensions of credit were fully secured and are in the process of being fully repaid.

Finally, the Federal Reserve provided economic stimulus by lowering interest rates. Over the course of the crisis, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) reduced its target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0 to 1/4 percent. With the federal funds rate at its effective lower bound, the FOMC provided further monetary policy stimulus through large-scale purchases of longer-term Treasury debt, federal agency debt, and agency mortgage-backed securities (agency MBS). These asset purchases helped to lower longer-term interest rates and generally improved conditions in private credit markets.

The links to the right provide detailed information about the programs that were established in response to the crisis. Details for each loan include: the borrower, the date that credit was extended, the interest rate, information about the collateral, and other relevant terms. Similar information is supplied for swap line draws and repayments. Details for each agency MBS purchase include: the counterparty to the transaction, the date of the transaction, the amount of the transaction, and the price at which each transaction was conducted. The transaction data are provided in compliance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Federal Reserve will revise the data to ensure that they are accurate and complete.

No rules about executive compensation or dividend payments were applied to borrowers using Federal Reserve facilities. Executive compensation restrictions were imposed by statute on firms receiving assistance through the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Dividend restrictions were the province of the appropriate supervisors and were imposed by the Federal Reserve on bank holding companies in that role, but not because of borrowing through the facilities discussed here.

Additional information about the Federal Reserve’s credit and liquidity programs is available on the Credit and Liquidity Programs and the Balance Sheet section.

Facilities and Programs

Source: federalreserve.gov

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U.S. Homeowners Drop Out of Foreclosure Program Amid Record Defaults

U.S. Homeowners Drop Out of Foreclosure Program Amid Record Defaults


By Lorraine Woellert and Clea Benson – Nov 18, 2010 7:26 PM ET

U.S. homeowners are dropping out of the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention program at a faster rate than they are joining it, according to figures released today by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Borrowers aided by the Home Affordable Modification Program grew to nearly 520,000 in October, up 23,750 from a month earlier, the Treasury said in its monthly report. The increase was less than five percent. A total of 36,300 borrowers have dropped out of the plan for failing to make their payments, an increase of 24 percent from a month earlier.

At a congressional hearing earlier in the day, lawmakers said HAMP, which pays lenders to modify loans and reduce monthly payments for struggling borrowers, isn’t doing enough to help homeowners falling behind on their mortgages amid high unemployment and depressed real estate values.

“It’s safe to say that HAMP isn’t meeting its goal of preventing foreclosures,” Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, said at a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing after the Treasury provided a preview of the report.

The Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development issue monthly progress reports on HAMP, a $50 billion program authorized by Congress in 2009. The program was targeted to reach more than 3 million homeowners by paying mortgage servicers $1,000 to rewrite loan terms and $1,000 annually as long as the borrower participates, up to three years.

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Gov’t Has Spent Small Fraction of $50 Billion Pledged for Loan Mods

Gov’t Has Spent Small Fraction of $50 Billion Pledged for Loan Mods


By Paul Kiel
updated 11/11/2010 4:54:34 PM ET
.

When the Obama administration launched its flagship foreclosure prevention program in early 2009, it pledged to spend up to $50 billion helping struggling homeowners. But the government has so far only spent a tiny fraction of that.

A recent Treasury Department report summarizing TARP spending put the total at $600 million through October.

Although the Treasury Department posts the maximum amount that could go to each mortgage servicer on its website, it doesn’t report the details of the spending. So we filed a Freedom of Information request for the data, and can now show for the first time exactly how much money has gone to each servicer. (A Treasury Department spokeswoman said they’re considering regularly releasing the information going forward.)

The program, which uses TARP money, tries to prevent foreclosures by paying mortgages servicers incentives to make loan modifications. The largest payout, $79 million, has gone to JPMorgan Chase. Next on the list is Bank of America with $45.1 million. That’s a drop in the bucket for BofA, which reported net servicing income of $780 million in the third quarter. (You can use our bailout tracker to see how much money has gone to each mortgage servicer. The figures, which come from our FOIA request, only go through August.)

With the government’s program showing signs of slowing down, the small payout so far shows that Treasury won’t come close to using the full $50 billion, said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “It’s a joke, because everyone’s asking ‘is [the program] really worth the $50 billion we’ve committed?’” he said. “We’ll never spend anywhere near that.”

There are two main reasons why so little money has been paid out. First, there have been few modifications done through the program. The government only pays incentives for finalized modifications, not trials. For instance, even though $8.3 billion has been set aside for Bank of America, it won’t get that money unless it provides modifications.

Second, incentives are paid out over time. For instance, homeowners in the program receive a $1,000 reduction to their mortgage each year for five years if they stay current on the modified loan. The program is less than two years old, and few modifications were given during the first year.

Incentives are paid to three different groups: homeowners, investors, and banks and other companies who service the loans (The four biggest servicers of mortgages are also the U.S.’s largest banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.) So far, the servicers have kept most of the money paid out: $231.5 million all told. Investors (lenders and mortgage-backed securities investors) and homeowners have received $129.2 million and $34.7 million, respectively. Our database breaks those amounts down for each servicer.

It’s hard to estimate just how much Treasury will ultimately use of the $50 billion. One reason is that a portion of the modifications will default, so all the incentives for each modification will not be paid out. Of modifications completed a year ago, about 21 percent have already defaulted, according to Treasury data.

If a homeowner keeps up payments on a modified mortgage for the full five years, it could cost the government in the range of $20,000 over five years, according to a ballpark estimate provided by the Treasury spokeswoman. But many homeowners in the program are expected to default on their mortgages well before that.

The government has set aside billions of dollars from the TARP for other, related programs – but it also remains to be seen how much of that money will be spent. The government pays incentives for other ways of avoiding foreclosure, like short sales, but those programs started relatively recently. It’s also allocated $7.6 billion to 18 different states (plus Washington, D.C.) for local plans to avert foreclosure. Another $8.1 billion has been reserved for a plan to refinance homeowners in underwater mortgages into Federal Housing Agency loans.

Separate from the TARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both under government control, also participate in the loan modification program. Administration officials have said Fannie and Freddie could pay up to $25 billion in incentives to their servicers and homeowners, but it’s also doubtful that whole amount will be spent. As the TARP inspector general recently noted, they’ve only paid out $451 million through September.

© Copyright 2010 ProPublica Inc. All rights reserved.

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MUST WATCH VIDEOS: HANK PAULSON TESTIMONY A YEAR LATER

MUST WATCH VIDEOS: HANK PAULSON TESTIMONY A YEAR LATER


Please take the time to watch these videos with Mr. Paulson and where we are today after this…nothing has been done. What a Sham and a Shame!

Testimony of Hank Paulson, Part 27 (Rep. Stearns Questioning)

Testimony of Hank Paulson, Part 24 (Rep.Kaptur Questioning)

Kaptur calls Pelosi, Paulson CRIMINALS!!!

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The States Attorneys Take On Foreclosures Mess

The States Attorneys Take On Foreclosures Mess


The States Take On Foreclosures

By JOE NOCERA
Published: October 29, 2010

Have you noticed that the lead dogs investigating the mortgage foreclosure mess are not any federal prosecutors or national bank regulators, but rather the state attorneys general? I sure have. I can’t think of a more encouraging development.

Yeah, yeah, a handful of federal investigations have also been announced, but we all know that they’re not going to amount to a hill of beans. Ever since the financial crisis began two years ago, the federal overseers of the banking industry have been consistently unwilling to take the rod to the institutions they regulate. The robo-signing scandal — and it is, unquestionably, a scandal — hasn’t changed that attitude one iota.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have made it clear that they are more concerned about keeping the foreclosure mill going full speed than they are about determining whether the banks broke the law. Somehow throwing people out of their homes quickly is supposed to help the economy. Or so they keep telling us.

Ah, but the states. They’re a different story. Soon after tales of robo-signing began making headlines, the state attorneys general, led by Tom Miller of Iowa, mobilized their forces. Practically overnight, all 50 of them agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the bank practices that led to the scandal.

Unlike the feds’ tepid efforts, this will be a serious investigation, led by a handful of assistant attorneys general who’ve worked together for years, and who see this as their chance to finally do something for beleaguered homeowners. They’ve got resources, subpoena power and a justifiable suspicion that the robo-signing shenanigans are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg.

And best of all, they have a very clear idea of what they are trying to accomplish. They don’t want to merely reform the foreclosure system (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it?). Nor do they particularly want a big financial settlement, which would be meaningless for a giant like Bank of America.

Rather, they hope to use their investigation as a cudgel to force the big banks and servicers to do something they’ve long resisted: institute widespread, systematic loan modifications. “Instead of paying a huge fine,” Mr. Miller posited to me the other day, on his way to an election rally, “maybe have the servicers adequately fund a serious modification process.” Getting the banks and servicers to take loan modification seriously is another in a series of areas where the Obama Treasury Department has failed miserably.

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Testimony of Katherine M. Porter Before the Congressional Oversight Panel

Testimony of Katherine M. Porter Before the Congressional Oversight Panel


Please visit her website at MortgageStudy.org

The Mortgage Study is an empirical study of homeowners in financial distress. The co-principal investigators, Tara Twomey and Katherine Porter, began the project in 2004 to explore the intersection of homeownership and bankruptcy. With funding from the Endowment for Education of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, they constructed a sample of over 1700 chapter bankruptcy cases, coding over 100 data points for each case on each homeowner’s mortgage obligations. The first paper to use Mortgage Study data, Misbehavior and Mistake in Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims, was published in the Texas Law Review in 2008 and was featured in a front-page story in the New York Times. Porter and Twomey are frequent speakers on mortgage issues and continue to release new research using the Mortgage Study data.

[ipaper docId=40330531 access_key=key-212m96obszij55y33ghd height=600 width=600 /]

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Dear President Obama…

Dear President Obama…


Exactly 2 years ago to this day you held a rally in Toledo, Ohio. In your speech you spoke about our economy and the path it would travel if we did not propose “Change”.

In this speech in Ohio you proposed a 90 day Moratorium on Foreclosures.

You made this statement.

“We cannot allow homeowners and small towns to suffer because of the mess made by Wall Street and by Washington and for those Americans in danger of losing their homes today I’m also proposing a three month moratorium on foreclosures. If your a bank…if your a bank or a lender who’s getting money from the rescue plan that passed congress and your customers are making a good faith effort to make their mortgage payments and renegotiate their mortgage you will not be able to foreclose on their home for three months. We need to get to give the people the breathing room to get back on their feet”.

Today we come to the conclusion they not only are kicking us out of our homes but engaging in a “pattern of conduct” using fraudulent documents to do so. This is clear fraud upon the courts and this is unacceptable in AMERICA.

Yesterday I received an email informing me of a 74 year old woman will be evicted today. This is our sister, mother…grandmother. Can you imagine walking in her shoes and all she has struggled to maybe have a taste of being whole at 74? Do you understand the fear she has of not knowing where she will go, end up? Does anyone care what will happen to this human?

These are the emails that make me contribute to the cause.

I once had hope for change but now I am hopeless in what I witness being accepted.

Below is the actual video of the rally you held in Ohio. I hope you listen carefully to your own words and do the right thing for the American people today.

We are listening and demand a Foreclosure Freeze to this rampant Foreclosure Fraud.

Respectfully,

Damian-


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Posted in assignment of mortgage, CONTROL FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, Moratorium, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., robo signers, securitization, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.com, Wall StreetComments (3)

‘SHITTY BANK BANKS’ Might Go Belly UP After Foreclosure Mess Hit The Fan- Secrets Of Traders

‘SHITTY BANK BANKS’ Might Go Belly UP After Foreclosure Mess Hit The Fan- Secrets Of Traders


I can tell you there is MAJOR, MAJOR panic happening “behind the scenes” since I have started this site I have not seen this kind of activity! All I can say is don’t stop what ever you are doing GMAC or not…

Foreclosure Mess

By: Secrets Of Traders Wednesday, September 22, 2010 11:56 AM

I haven’t seen the following story get much national press (Ok, none. After all, isn’t Lindsey Lohan still in the news?) but if it continues to escalate, we will. The short & sweet of the matter is that it appears most banks do not have clear title to the homes they are foreclosing. In their mad rush to capitalize on the housing bubble, bankers skipped many of the legal steps necessary to have a clear title if things went badly, which is now, and the mortgages that were bundled then securitized as MBSs (mortgage backed securities) may actually belong to the homeowners.If this plays out as described below some banks will go belly-up, which should have happened a long time ago. Since the Treasury & the Federal Reserve will not let their buddies down, however, I am certain that it is already being sorted out in back room deals. “To hell with the LAW” they will say, Shitibank is on the brink of failure.

A member of Congress has already sent a letter to the Florida Supreme Court requesting it make an order to abate all foreclosure procedures until Florida can complete investigations into the matter. A portion of Representative Grayson’s letter is below.

I respectfully request that you abate all foreclosures involving these firms until the Attorney General of the state of Florida has finished his investigations of those firms for document fraud.

I have included a court order, in which Chase, WAMU, and Shapiro and Fishman are excoriated by a judge for document fraud on the court. In this case, Chase attempted to foreclose on a home, when the mortgage note was actually owned by Fannie Mae.

Taking someone’s home should not be done lightly. And it should certainly be done in accordance with the law.

This original post can be found here

Ok, we now appear to have a pattern of conduct here where organizations trying to foreclose on homeowners are in fact submitting forged (that is, willfully known to be false) affidavits to courts around the nation.

First we had GMAC, now it appears we have JPM/Chase. Everyone’s scrambling on this, of course.

But as I pointed out, the real panic is likely still to come, because I have reason to believe (but cannot yet prove) that many if not most of the non-agency securitizations were defective at the outset.

Worse, they’re now trying to cover it up. I am amassing more and more information on the mess, and what I’m seeing is increasingly looking like a pattern of conduct that may well go far beyond “innocent mistakes” or “accidents.”

So let’s take a close look at this problem, and how we can fix it.

There’s a real visceral outrage at letting people have a “free house.” But is it really a perversity of justice if that’s what happens in point of fact – or effect? Maybe not.

Look, if I want to write you a signature loan for $200,000, I have every right to do it. If you don’t pay I’m screwed in such a case, because I have no security interest.

Continue reading …iSTOCKANALYST

.

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Posted in assignment of mortgage, bifurcate, chain in title, conflict of interest, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, jeffrey stephan, jpmorgan chase, MERS, MERSCORP, Moratorium, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, rmbs, robo signers, securitization, stopforeclosurefraud.com, sub-prime, trade secrets, trustee, TrustsComments (3)

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

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


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

August 25, 2010 |AlterNet / By Zach Carter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: AlterNet

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in coercion, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, federal reserve board, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, geithner, hamp, insider, investigation, trade secretsComments (0)

Elizabeth Warren Uncovered What the Govt. Did to ‘Rescue’ AIG, and It Ain’t Pretty

Elizabeth Warren Uncovered What the Govt. Did to ‘Rescue’ AIG, and It Ain’t Pretty


August 6, 2010

The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

Three governmental investigative bodies have now pored through the AIG wreckage and turned up disturbing facts—the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which will make its report at year’s end; and the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which issued its report on AIG in June.

The five-member COP, chaired by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, has produced the most devastating and comprehensive account so far. Unanimously adopted by its bipartisan members, it provides alarming insights that should be fodder for the larger debate many citizens long to hear—why Washington rushed to forgive the very interests that produced this mess, while innocent others were made to suffer the consequences. The Congressional panel’s critique helps explain why bankers and their Washington allies do not want Elizabeth Warren to chair the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The most troubling revelation in this story is the astonishing weakness of the Federal Reserve and its incompetence as a faithful defender of the public interest.

The report concludes that the Federal Reserve Board’s intimate relations with the leading powers of Wall Street—the same banks that benefited most from the government’s massive bailout—influenced its strategic decisions on AIG. The panel accuses the Fed and the Treasury Department of brushing aside alternative approaches that would have saved tens of billions in public funds by making these same banks “share the pain.”

Bailing out AIG effectively meant rescuing Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (as well as a dozens of European banks) from huge losses. Those financial institutions played the derivatives game with AIG, the esoteric practice of placing financial bets on future events. AIG lost its bets, which led to its collapse. But other gamblers—the counterparties in AIG’s derivative deals—were made whole on their bets, paid off 100 cents on the dollar. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill.

“The AIG rescue demonstrated that Treasury and the Federal Reserve would commit taxpayers to pay any price and bear any burden to prevent the collapse of America’s largest financial institutions,” the COP report said. This could have been avoided, the report argues, if the Fed had listened to disinterested advisers with a less parochial understanding of the public interest.

Continue Reading…The Nation

or Alternet

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in conspiracy, corruption, Economy, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, geithner, TAXESComments (1)

1st Comes Fannie, then comes Freddie, then comes tax payer with…

1st Comes Fannie, then comes Freddie, then comes tax payer with…


Scratch this record!!!!! Need help go to MERS!!

Last week Fannie Mae asked treasury for $1.5 billiion in assistance …now comes Freddie with loss and seeks aid.

You know this is outrageous! They applaud MERS and write recommendations of how they are excited with MERS but yet MERS does nothing but conceal information from the borrowers and has secret agreements with the possible beneficiaries of these loans. MERS takes tax dollars away from our schools, children, counties etc.

While we are on this subject of counties and states, why are they crying bankruptcy and major cut backs…how about ending the MERS sham and go after the fees that you cry about with them? Who does this benefit? Not us but the Mortgage Banking Industry and Wall Street so called Lending Institutions.

All these problems came about the same time MERS came to existence…now tell me something? Isn’t this a tad of a coincidence these issues became at the same time sub-prime loans hit peak?

By now we all have witness the Foreclosure Barons you have as designated counsel and what do you plan to do about it? No matter what dots there are, both Fannie and Freddie have a connection?

Why was all this NEVER a REAL PROBLEM in the past with assignments…lets say prior to 1998? Hmmm…

We are no fools.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bogus, chain in title, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Freddie Mac, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, Mortgage Bankers Association, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., non disclosure, notary fraud, note, originator, QUI TAM, racketeering, sub-prime, trade secrets, Violations, Wall StreetComments (0)

Whistleblower| Fannie Mae Bungled HAMP Anti-Foreclosure Program

Whistleblower| Fannie Mae Bungled HAMP Anti-Foreclosure Program


By Michael Hudson | August 06, 2010

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading…PublicIntegrity.org

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, fannie mae, foreclosure, hamp, investigation, mortgage modification, scamComments (1)

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?  The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy? The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH


May 3, 2010

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?

The Subprime Conspiracy

By MIKE WHITNEY

Many people now believe that the financial crisis was not an accident. They think that the Bush administration and the Fed knew what Wall Street was up to and provided their support. This isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. As we will show, it’s clear that Bush, Greenspan and many other high-ranking officials understood the problem with subprime mortgages and knew that a huge asset bubble was emerging that threatened the economy. But while the housing bubble was more than just an innocent mistake, it doesn’t rise to the level of “conspiracy” which Webster defines as  “a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act.”  It’s actually worse than that, because bubblemaking is the dominant policy, and it’s used to overcome structural problems in capitalism itself, mainly stagnation.

The whole idea of a conspiracy diverts attention from what really happened. It conjures up a comical vision of  top-hat business tycoons gathered in a smoke-filled room stealthily mapping out the country’s future. It ignores the fact, that the main stakeholders don’t need to convene a meeting to know what they want. They already know what they want; they want a process that helps them to maintain profitability even while the “real” economy remains stuck in the mud.  Historian Robert Brenner has written extensively on this topic and dispels the mistaken view that the economy is “fundamentally strong”. (in the words of former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson)  Here’s Brenner :

“The current crisis is more serious than the worst previous recession of the postwar period, between 1979 and 1982, and could conceivably come to rival the Great Depression, though there is no way of really knowing. Economic forecasters have underestimated how bad it is because they have over-estimated the strength of the real economy and failed to take into account the extent of its dependence upon a buildup of debt that relied on asset price bubbles.

“In the U.S., during the recent business cycle of the years 2001-2007, GDP growth was by far the slowest of the postwar epoch. There was no increase in private sector employment. The increase in plants and equipment was about a third of the previous, a postwar low. Real wages were basically flat. There was no increase in median family income for the first time since World War II. Economic growth was driven entirely by personal consumption and residential investment, made possible by easy credit and rising house prices. Economic performance was weak, even despite the enormous stimulus from the housing bubble and the Bush administration’s huge federal deficits. Housing by itself accounted for almost one-third of the growth of GDP and close to half of the increase in employment in the years 2001-2005. It was, therefore, to be expected that when the housing bubble burst, consumption and residential investment would fall, and the economy would plunge. ” (“Overproduction not Financial Collapse is the Heart of the Crisis”, Robert P. Brenner speaks with Jeong Seong-jin, Asia Pacific Journal)

What Brenner describes is an economy \that–despite unfunded tax cuts, massive military spending and gigantic asset bubbles–can barely produce positive growth.  The pervasive lethargy of mature capitalist economies poses huge challenges for industry bosses who are judged solely on their ability to boost quarterly profits. Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein and JPM’s Jamie Dimon could care less about economic theory, what they’re interested in is making money; how to deploy their capital in a way that maximizes return on investment. “Profits”, that’s it.  And that’s much more difficult in a world that’s beset by overcapacity and flagging demand.  The world doesn’t need more widgets or widget-makers. The only way to ensure profitability is to invent an alternate system altogether, a new universe of financial exotica (CDOs, MBSs, CDSs) that operates independent of the sluggish real economy. Financialization provides that opportunity. It allows the main players to pump-up the leverage, minimize capital-outlay, inflate asset prices, and skim off record profits even while the real  economy endures severe stagnation.

Financialization provides a  path to wealth creation, which is why the sector’s portion of total corporate profits is now nearly 40 per cent. It’s a way to bypass the pervasive inertia of the production-oriented economy. The Fed’s role in this new paradigm is to create a hospitable environment (low interest rates) for bubble-making so the upward transfer of wealth can continue without interruption. Bubblemaking is policy.

As we’ve pointed out in earlier articles, scores of people knew what was going on during the subprime fiasco. But it’s worth a quick review, because Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and others have been defending themselves saying, “Who could have known?”.

The FBI knew (“In September 2004, the FBI began publicly warning that there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud, and it predicted that it would produce an economic crisis, if it were not dealt with.”) The FDIC knew. ( In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, FDIC chairman Sheila Bair confirmed that she not only warned the Fed of what was going on in 2001, but cited particular regulations (HOEPA) under which the Fed could stop the “unfair, abusive and deceptive practices” by the banks.) Also Fitch ratings knew, and even Alan Greenspan’s good friend and former Fed governor Ed Gramlich knew. (Gramlich personally warned Greenspan of the surge in predatory lending that was apparent as early as 2000. Here’s a bit of what Gramlich said in the Wall Street Journal:

“I would have liked the Fed to be a leader” in cracking down on predatory lending, Mr. Gramlich, now a scholar at the Urban Institute, said in an interview this past week. Knowing it would be controversial with Mr. Greenspan, whose deregulatory philosophy is well known, Mr. Gramlich broached it to him personally rather than take it to the full board. “He was opposed to it, so I didn’t really pursue it,” says Mr. Gramlich. (Wall Street Journal)

So, Greenspan knew, too. And, according to Elizabeth MacDonald  in an article titled “Housing Red flags Ignored”:

“One of the nation’s biggest mortgage industry players repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other bank regulators during the housing bubble that the U.S. faced an imminent housing crash….But bank regulators not only ignored the group’s warnings, top Fed officials also went on the airwaves to say the economy was “building on a sturdy foundation” and a housing crash was “unlikely.”

So, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America [MICA] also knew. And, here’s a clip from the Washington Post by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who accused Bush of being a ‘partner in crime’ in the subprime fiasco. Spitzer says that the OCC launched “an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general just to make sure the looting would continue without interruption. Here’s an except from Spitzer’s article:

“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis….the OCC promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules. (Washington Post)

So, the Fed knew, the Treasury knew, the FBI knew, the OCC knew, the FDIC knew, Bush knew, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America knew, Fitch ratings knew, all the states Attorneys General knew, and thousands, of traders, lenders, ratings agency executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity bosses, regulators knew. Everyone knew, except the unlucky people who were victimized in the biggest looting operation of all time.

Once again, looking for conspiracy, just diverts attention from the nature of the crime itself. Here’s a statement from former regulator and white collar criminologist William K. Black which helps to clarify the point:

“Fraudulent lenders produce exceptional short-term ‘profits’ through a four-part strategy: extreme growth (Ponzi), lending to uncreditworthy borrowers, extreme leverage, and minimal loss reserves. These exceptional ‘profits’ defeat regulatory restrictions and turn private market discipline perverse. The profits also allow the CEO to convert firm assets for personal benefit through seemingly normal compensation mechanisms. The short-term profits cause stock options to appreciate. Fraudulent CEOs following this strategy are guaranteed extraordinary income while minimizing risks of detection and prosecution.” (William K. Black,“Epidemics of’Control Fraud’ Lead to Recurrent, Intensifying Bubbles andCrises”, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law)

Black’s definition of “control fraud” comes very close to describing what really took place during the subprime mortgage frenzy. The investment banks and other financial institutions bulked up on garbage loans and complex securities backed by dodgy mortgages so they could increase leverage and rake off large bonuses for themselves. Clearly, they knew the underlying collateral was junk, just as they knew that eventually the market would crash and millions of people would suffer.

But, while it’s true that Greenspan and Wall Street knew how the bubble-game was played; they had no intention of blowing up the whole system. They simply wanted to inflate the bubble, make their profits, and get out before the inevitable crash.  But, then something went wrong. When Lehman collapsed, the entire financial system suffered a major heart attack. All of the so-called “experts” models turned out to be wrong.

Here’s what happened: Before to the meltdown, the depository “regulated” banks got their funding through the repo market by exchanging collateral (mainly mortgage-backed securities) for short-term loans with the so-called “shadow banks” (investment banks, hedge funds, insurers) But after Lehman defaulted, the funding stream was severely impaired because the prices on mortgage-backed securities kept falling. When the bank-funding system went on the fritz,  stocks went into a nosedive sending panicky investors fleeing for the exits. As unbelievable as it sounds, no one saw this coming.

The reason that no one anticipated a run on the shadow banking system is because the basic architecture of the financial markets has changed dramatically in the last decade due to deregulation. The fundamental structure is different and the traditional stopgaps have been removed. That’s why no one knew what to do during the panic. The general assumption was that there would be a one-to-one relationship between defaulting subprime mortgages and defaulting mortgage-backed securities (MBS). That turned out to be a grave miscalculation. The subprimes were only failing at roughly 8 percent rate when the whole secondary market collapsed. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill explained it best using a clever analogy. He said, “It’s like you have 8 bottles of water and just one of them has arsenic in it. It becomes impossible to sell any of the other bottles because no one knows which one contains the poison.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The market for structured debt crashed, stocks began to plummet, and the Fed had to step in to save the system. Unfortunately, that same deeply-flawed system is being rebuilt brick by brick without any substantive changes.. The Fed and Treasury support this effort, because–as agents of the banks–they are willing to sacrifice their own credibility to defend the primary profit-generating instruments of the industry leaders. (Goldman, JPM, etc) That means that Bernanke and Geithner will go to the mat to oppose any additional regulation on derivatives, securitization and off-balance sheet operations, the same lethal devices that triggered the financial crisis.

So, there was no conspiracy to blow up the financial system, but there is an implicit understanding that the Fed will serve the interests of Wall Street by facilitating asset bubbles through “accommodative” monetary policy and by opposing regulation. It’s just “business as usual”, but it’s far more damaging than any conspiracy, because it ensures that the economy will continue to stagnate, that inequality will continue to grow, and that the gigantic upward transfer of wealth will continue without pause.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached atfergiewhitney@msn.com

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, fdic, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, foreclosure fraud, geithner, hank paulson, S.E.C., securitizationComments (0)

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud: THE NEW YORK TIMES

U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud: THE NEW YORK TIMES


U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud

Brendan McDermid/Reuters The new Goldman Sachs global headquarters in Manhattan.
By LOUISE STORY and GRETCHEN MORGENSON “GOTTA LOVE THESE TWO FOR THEIR EXCELLENT WORK”
Published: April 16, 2010

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers.

The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment.

The instrument in the S.E.C. case, called Abacus 2007-AC1, was one of 25 deals that Goldman created so the bank and select clients could bet against the housing market. Those deals, which were the subject of an article in The New York Times in December, initially protected Goldman from losses when the mortgage market disintegrated and later yielded profits for the bank.

As the Abacus deals plunged in value, Goldman and certain hedge funds made money on their negative bets, while the Goldman clients who bought the $10.9 billion in investments lost billions of dollars.

According to the complaint, Goldman created Abacus 2007-AC1 in February 2007, at the request of John A. Paulson, a prominent hedge fund manager who earned an estimated $3.7 billion in 2007 by correctly wagering that the housing bubble would burst.

Goldman let Mr. Paulson select mortgage bonds that he wanted to bet against — the ones he believed were most likely to lose value — and packaged those bonds into Abacus 2007-AC1, according to the S.E.C. complaint. Goldman then sold the Abacus deal to investors like foreign banks, pension funds, insurance companies and other hedge funds.

But the deck was stacked against the Abacus investors, the complaint contends, because the investment was filled with bonds chosen by Mr. Paulson as likely to default. Goldman told investors in Abacus marketing materials reviewed by The Times that the bonds would be chosen by an independent manager.

“The product was new and complex, but the deception and conflicts are old and simple,” Robert Khuzami, the director of the S.E.C.’s division of enforcement, said in a statement. “Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party.”

Mr. Paulson is not being named in the lawsuit. In the half-hour after the suit was announced, Goldman Sachs’s stock fell by more than 10 percent.

In recent months, Goldman has repeatedly defended its actions in the mortgage market, including its own bets against it. In a letter published last week in Goldman’s annual report, the bank rebutted criticism that it had created, and sold to its clients, mortgage-linked securities that it had little confidence in.

“We certainly did not know the future of the residential housing market in the first half of 2007 anymore than we can predict the future of markets today,” Goldman wrote. “We also did not know whether the value of the instruments we sold would increase or decrease.”

The letter continued: “Although Goldman Sachs held various positions in residential mortgage-related products in 2007, our short positions were not a ‘bet against our clients.’ ” Instead, the trades were used to hedge other trading positions, the bank said.

In a statement provided in December to The Times as it prepared the article on the Abacus deals, Goldman said that it had sold the instruments to sophisticated investors and that these securities “were popular with many investors prior to the financial crisis because they gave investors the ability to work with banks to design tailored securities which met their particular criteria, whether it be ratings, leverage or other aspects of the transaction.”

Goldman was one of many Wall Street firms that created complex mortgage securities — known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations — as the housing wave was cresting. At the time, traders like Mr. Paulson, as well as those within Goldman, were looking for ways to short the overheated market.

Such investments consisted of insurance-like policies written on mortgage bonds. If the mortgage market held up and those bonds did well, investors who bought Abacus notes would have made money from the insurance premiums paid by investors like Mr. Paulson, who were negative on housing and had bought insurance on mortgage bonds. Instead, defaults spread and the bonds plunged, generating billion of dollars in losses for Abacus investors and billions in profits for Mr. Paulson.

For months, S.E.C. officials have been examining mortgage bundles like Abacus that were created across Wall Street. The commission has been interviewing people who structured Goldman mortgage deals about Abacus and other, similar instruments. The S.E.C. advised Goldman that it was likely to face a civil suit in the matter, sending the bank what is known as a Wells notice.

Mr. Tourre was one of Goldman’s top workers running the Abacus deal, peddling the investment to investors across Europe. Raised in France, Mr. Tourre moved to the United States in 2000 to earn his master’s in operations at Stanford. The next year, he began working at Goldman, according to his profile in LinkedIn.

He rose to prominence working on the Abacus deals under a trader named Jonathan M. Egol. Now a managing director at Goldman, Mr. Egol is not being named in the S.E.C. suit.

Goldman structured the Abacus deals with a sharp eye on the credit ratings assigned to the mortgage bonds associated with the instrument, the S.E.C. said. In the Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint, Mr. Paulson pinpointed those mortgage bonds that he believed carried higher ratings than the underlying loans deserved. Goldman placed insurance on those bonds — called credit-default swaps — inside Abacus, allowing Mr. Paulson to short them while clients on the other side of the trade wagered that they would not fail.

But when Goldman sold shares in Abacus to investors, the bank and Mr. Tourre only disclosed the ratings of those bonds and did not disclose that Mr. Paulson was on other side, betting those ratings were wrong.

Mr. Tourre at one point complained to an investor who was buying shares in Abacus that he was having trouble persuading Moody’s to give the deal the rating he desired, according to the investor’s notes, which were provided to The Times by a colleague who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to release them.

In seven of Goldman’s Abacus deals, the bank went to the American International Group for insurance on the bonds. Those deals have led to billions of dollars in losses at A.I.G., which was the subject of an $180 billion taxpayer rescue. The Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint was not one of them.

That deal was managed by ACA Management, a part of ACA Capital Holdings, which changed its name in 2008 to Manifold Capital Holdings.

Goldman at first intended for the deal to contain $2 billion of mortgage exposure, according to the deal’s marketing documents, which were given to The Times by an Abacus investor.

On the cover of that flip-book, it says that the mortgage bond portfolio would be “selected by ACA Management.”

In that flip-book, it says that Goldman may have long or short positions in the bonds. It does not mention Mr. Paulson or say that Goldman was in fact short.

The Abacus deals deteriorated rapidly when the housing market hit trouble. For instance, in the Abacus deal in the S.E.C. complaint, 84 percent of the mortgage bonds underlying it were downgraded by rating agencies just five months later, according to a UBS report.

It takes time for such mortgage investments to pay out for investors who short them, like Mr. Paulson. Each deal is structured differently, but generally, the bonds underlying the investment must deteriorate to a certain point before short-sellers get paid. By the end of 2007, Mr. Paulson’s credit hedge fund was up 590 percent.

Mr. Paulson’s firm, Paulson & Company, is paid a management fee and 20 percent of the annual profits that its funds generate, according to a Paulson investor document from late 2008 titled “Navigating Through the Crisis.”

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, john paulsonComments (2)

GATH' AROUND…Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges

GATH' AROUND…Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges


Lets not act surprised…GS is going to turn into Butta’ all the wealth created is/was all an illusion…I bet “oil” is next…watch!

This might be the key that opens up Pandora’s Little Big Box! “John Paulson”

APRIL 16, 2010, 11:26 A.M. ET

Stocks Fall, Treasurys, Dollar Rise, On SEC Goldman Charges

By Michael J. Casey Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Stocks fell and Treasurys rose as news of Securities and Exchange Commission charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) sparked a flight out of risky assets.

The SEC said Goldman Sachs failed to disclose to investors vital information about a synthetic collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, based on subprime mortgage-backed securities–in particular the role played by a major hedge fund that had bet against the CDO. Subprime CDOs were at the heart of the recent financial crisis.

In response, investors moved into safe haven assets and out of riskier securities, buying Treasurys and the dollar, while selling stocks and commodities.

“The revival of risk aversion has benefited traditional safe-haven assets, like the dollar and the Japanese yen,” said Omer Esiner, senior market analyst at Travelex Global Business Payments in Washington.

Noting that the complaint is focused on a specific incident, he said the broad flight out of risk appeared to be a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Golmdan stock was down 12.45% to $161.33 on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 86 points at 11057, while the 10-year Treasury note was up 17/32 to yield 3.778%. Gold futures, which have tended to rise with commodities and other risk assets over the past year, were down 1.4%, according the most active June contract.

The euro plummeted to $1.3486 from $1.3577 late Thursday, according to EBS via CQG, while the dollar fell to Y92.11 from Y93.04.

“That word ‘fraud’ is the key. When you throw that word fraud in there, all bets are off then,” said Jay Suskind, senior vice president of Duncan-Williams.

-By Michael Casey; Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2209; michael.j.casey@dowjones.com

 (Bradley Davis and Kristina Peterson contributed to this report.)

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Fed Audit Bitterly Opposed By Treasury

Fed Audit Bitterly Opposed By Treasury


Huffingtonpost.com 3/9/2010

The Treasury Department is vigorously opposed to a House-passed measure that would open the Federal Reserve to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a senior Treasury official said Monday. Instead, the official said, the Treasury prefers a substitute offered by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), and would like to see it enacted as part of the Senate bill.Fed Audit Treasury

The Watt measure, however, while claiming to increase transparency, actually puts new restrictions on the GAO’s ability to perform an audit.

Secretary Tim Geithner, Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan Krueger and Gene Sperling, a counselor to the secretary, held a briefing Monday with new media reporters and financial bloggers during which they discussed the Fed audit and other topics. Under the briefing’s ground rules, the officials could be paraphrased but not quoted, and the paraphrase could not be connected to a specific official.

HuffPost reporter Sam Stein lodged what he called a “formal complaint” against the ground rules. The complaint was noted and the briefing began.

Asked whether he supports the House-passed measure to open the Fed to an audit, which was cosponsored by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), a senior Treasury official said he is intensely opposed to it.

The official said the measure would undermine the independence of monetary policy and could restrict the ability of the Fed to act in times of crisis. He said that the GAO already has audit authority and that the chairman routinely testifies before Congress.

He said he supports full disclosure when it comes to the scale of Fed lending and wouldn’t draw a bright line around auditing certain activities, but wants to make sure it maintained its independence.

The Watt measure, however, while claiming to increase transparency, actually puts new restrictions on the GAO’s ability to perform an audit.

Secretary Tim Geithner, Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan Krueger and Gene Sperling, a counselor to the secretary, held a briefing Monday with new media reporters and financial bloggers during which they discussed the Fed audit and other topics. Under the briefing’s ground rules, the officials could be paraphrased but not quoted, and the paraphrase could not be connected to a specific official.

HuffPost reporter Sam Stein lodged what he called a “formal complaint” against the ground rules. The complaint was noted and the briefing began.

Asked whether he supports the House-passed measure to open the Fed to an audit, which was cosponsored by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), a senior Treasury official said he is intensely opposed to it.

The official said the measure would undermine the independence of monetary policy and could restrict the ability of the Fed to act in times of crisis. He said that the GAO already has audit authority and that the chairman routinely testifies before Congress.

He said he supports full disclosure when it comes to the scale of Fed lending and wouldn’t draw a bright line around auditing certain activities, but wants to make sure it maintained its independence.

A lack of independence, he said, could lead to inflation and otherwise undermine progressive priorities.

He said, however, that he would be supportive of efforts that would help the Fed earn back some of the credibility it has lost over the past few years.

HuffPost asked if central bank liquidity swaps — foreign currency trades worth hundreds of billions of dollars — should be subject to an audit. The official said that the identity of the countries that received dollars was made public as was the amount each got. It worked well and was good policy, he said, and opening it to audit could undermine its future effectiveness.

The purpose of the swaps, he said, was to make sure that foreign central banks had enough dollars to meet their obligations. The effort kept interest rates low, he said.

A member of Congress, told of the unnamed Treasury official’s comment, asked not to be named and said that Geithner, a former Fed president, should recuse himself from Fed audit legislation discussions, given that the audit would cover his own actions during the crisis.

And Rep. Grayson said he finds Treasury’s opposition to the audit troubling. “There is a growing feeling on the part of real Democrats that the president is getting bad advice from people who have sold out to Wall Street,” said Grayson. “And opposing a measure that passed overwhelmingly in the House with bipartisan support at the [Financial Services] Committee level, based up on legislation that now has 317 cosponsors in the House, shows that the president may be getting bad advice.”

The idea that the Fed’s mission would be undermined by an audit, said Grayson, “is a scarecrow erected by people who want to cover up the actions of the Fed for their own purposes, including those who actually have worked at part of the Fed, to prevent accountability at any cost.”

Geithner served as president of the New York Fed during the financial crisis.

“It’s interesting that the Fed regards the simple fact that people find out what it does as somehow being unduly restrictive. We are a government of laws, not of men,” said Grayson.

“It’s certainly no surprise that banking insiders at Treasury don’t want transparency at the Fed,” said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Rep. Paul. “They are wrapped up in the central bank shenanagins too, and do not want their wheelings and dealings out in the open any more than Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke,”

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Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, FED FRAUD, geithner, RON PAULComments (0)

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