Posts filed under “Foreclosures”
“There Were No Convictions of Bankers for Good Reason” is the headline of a post by Mark F. Pomerantz, a lawyer and retired partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in the New York Times’s Room for Debate discussion:
The reason that senior bankers did not face charges, even though investigators interviewed countless witnesses and pored over truckloads of emails and other documents for many years, is that the executives running companies like Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan were not engaged in criminal acts.
At least that is why according to Pomerantz. It should surprise no one that a lawyer who spent much of his career representing financial institutions and their executives wouldn’t see any prosecutable crimes. Fortunately, it is easily refutable, which is our task for today and tomorrow.
Pomerantz’s claim is, along with other like it, what we should expect from corporate management and its hired apologists. But this exercise in cynical spin also does significant damage to respect for the rule of law and undermines respect for legal institutions and the legitimacy of elected officials.
I have been following the absence of legal prosecutions since 2008, and have posted on that subject more than 500 times. But this isn’t the obsession of one lone crank (i.e., me). Many others in banking, law enforcement and government who aren’t on the payroll of banks have reviewed the events of the financial crisis and have reached the same conclusion — that the law was broken repeatedly by bankers.
> My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at how often pro athletes manage to go financially bust. The print version had the headline Congratulations, you were drafted! Prepare to go broke!, while the online version is merely Professional athletes need to learn to keep their finances in good…Read More
One of the great “mysteries” of the post financial crisis era is why obvious criminality has not been prosecuted. We have been told it is more complex than it appears; that the securitization process has made determining exactly who was harmed complicated; that this complexity makes convincing a jury a crapshoot. All of these arguments…Read More
4ClosureFraud Posts Lender Processing Services Mortgage Document Fabrication Price Sheet A bombshell has dropped in mortgage land. We’ve said for some time that document fabrication is widespread in foreclosures. The reason is that the note, which is the borrower IOU, is the critical instrument to establishing the right to foreclose in 45 states (in those…Read More
Objectors’ Siren Song Enchants During Article 77 Proceeding Isaac Gradman Subprime Shakeout, July 29, 2013 We are 20 days into the monumental bench trial over Bank of America’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement of Countrywide MBS claims, and with the proceedings now taking a break until September 9, we have a chance to sit…Read More
MERS: The Center of the Mortgage Scam
A prominent economist said about the 2008 financial crisis:
“At the root of the crisis we find the largest financial swindle in world history”, where “counterfeit” mortgages were “laundered” by the banks.
The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems – MERS – was one of the main ways the swindle was done, and the main way in which counterfeit mortgages were laundered by the banks.
MERS is a shell company with no employees, owned by the giant banks.
MERS threw out centuries of well-established law about how real estate is transferred – and cheated governments out of many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in recording fees.
Matt Taibbi pointed out:
MERS … is essentially an effort at systematically evading taxes … and hiding information from homeowners in ways that enabled the Countrywides of the world to defraud investors and avoid legal consequences for same.
MERS was at least in part dreamed up by Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide.
For those of you wondering why so many localities are broke, here’s one small factor in the revenue drain. Counties typically charge a small fee for mortgage registration, roughly $30. But with MERS, … you don’t need to pay the fee every time there’s an ownership transfer. Multiply that by 67 million mortgages and you’re talking about billions in lost fees for local governments (some estimates place the total at about $200 billion).
Outrageously, MERS actually marketed itself to its customers as a way to save money by avoiding the payment of legally-mandated registration fees. Check out this MERS brochure from 2007. It brags on the face page about its fee-avoiding qualities (“MINIMIZE RISK. SAVE MONEY. REDUCE PAPERWORK”) and inside the brochure, in addition to boasting about helping clients “Foreclose More Quickly,” it talks about how clients save money because MERS “eliminates the need to record assignments in the name of the Trustee.”
All of this adds up to a system that enabled the mortgage industry to avoid keeping any kind of proper paperwork on its frantic, coke-fueled selling and re-selling of mortgage-backed securities during the bubble, and to help the both the Countrywide-style subprime merchants and the big banks like Goldman and Chase pull off the mass sales of crappy loans as AAA-rated securities.
Foreclosures Loom Large in the Region
Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz
FRBNY April 10, 2013
Households in the New York-northern New Jersey region were spared the worst of the housing bust and have generally experienced less financial stressthan average over the past several years. However, as the housing market has begun to recover both regionally and nationally, the region is faring far worse than the nation in one important respect—a growing backlog of foreclosures is resulting in a foreclosure rate that is now well above the national average. In this blog post, we describe this outsized increase in the region’s foreclosure rate and explain why it has occurred. We then discuss why the large build-up in foreclosures could cause a headwind for home-price gains in the region.
While the foreclosure rate has been edging down in the nation recently, the opposite is true in New York and northern New Jersey. The chart below shows the foreclosure rate as measured by the share of all active mortgages in foreclosure in a given month. After rising sharply during the housing bust, the U.S. foreclosure rate plateaued at about 4 percent in 2011, and has since fallen. Unlike the national rate, the foreclosure rate in our region has steadily climbed over the past several years. The rate in northern New Jersey and downstate New York now hovers at around 8 percent, double the national average. Even in upstate New York, where housing conditions have remained relatively stable, the foreclosure rate has recently edged above the national rate. Indeed, according to a recent report, New Jersey and New York now have the second- and third-highest foreclosure rates in the United States, behind only Florida.