US Trustee Sides With Borrowers in Foreclosures With Questionable Assignments, MERS – Yves Smith – As we’ve suggested, a not-well-recognized effect of the widespread publicity on robo-siging abuses and more recently, the widespread failure of securitization industry participants to adhere to their own agreements is more pushback in the courts. It takes a while for new information to trickle into courtroom strategies, but as the abuses get more press, it isn’t just attorneys for borrowers that are taking a new stance, but also some judges and other official watchdogs. An example today comes via the US trustee, which is a Department of Justice overseer of bankruptcy courts, in two cases in Albany, New York. In both, the US trustee has filed responses which are effectively in support of the debtor (the bankrupt borrower) and in opposition to creditors, which in this case are servicers claiming to act on behalf of securitization trusts. The issue? The parties trying to foreclose haven’t presented a document trail that the bankruptcy trustee finds persuasive. Both cases, one with GMAC, the other with BAC as the servicer, both involve a foreclosure mill, the Baum Law Firm, which had been sanctioned and fined for submitting pleadings with documentation defects. As the first pleading, the one with BAC as plaintiff, noted “The state court judge called the Baum Firm’s actions ‘reprehensible.’”
The End of New Deal Liberalism – Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by American capitalism. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of corporate and financial interests. Collectively, the corporate sector has its arms around both political parties, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media. What the capitalist system wants is more—more wealth, more freedom to do whatever it wishes. This has always been its instinct, unless government intervened to stop it. The objective now is to destroy any remaining forms of government interference, except of course for business subsidies and protections. Many elected representatives are implicitly enlisted in the cause.
Florida’s Killer Presentation on Foreclosure Fraud – I’ve mentioned this report from the Florida Attorney General’s office twice now, but I thought I’d highlight it again, because it makes the issues in foreclosure fraud so completely clear. The report consists of 98 slides, laying out the specific activities of mortgage servicers, foreclosure mills and the parent company banks to swindle homeowners and pursue illegal foreclosures with fraudulent documents. It’s a full pictorial history of the past decade in the mortgage industry, complete with actual shots of improper mortgage assignments. They show the same name of a bank officer being written four different ways, clearly forged. They show stamps from notarizations that expired
after before they were used to certify foreclosure documents. I don’t have a copy of the script that goes along with this presentation, but the slides make it very clear. In slide 7, you see the text “The History of Mortgages in America: Banks used to take the original note and mortgage and secure it in a vault.” That simple line shows how radical a change we’ve seen in the past decade, where notes are traded like bubble-gum cards, routinely lost or not conveyed properly at all, and then mocked up and forged after the fact.
In which I eventually dump on Obama for appointing Bill Daley -You all know that Obama’s new Chief of Staff was most recently employed at JP Morgan Chase & Co. where he was, among other things, Head of Corporate Responsibility. If you read JPMC’s latest corporate responsibility report you will learn that the bank’s primary reason for existence is to foster the painting of rainbows and the raising of unicorns. What you will not learn is how this responsible corporation actually conducts its business.Today, my wife received an e-newsletter from an attorney in the Sacramento area who specializes in real estate law. It was essentially a notification to people in the business about a new tactic Chase is using to squeeze blood from its erstwhile mortgage customers. Bear with me as I attempt to explain, I’m not a professional and I hope this isn’t going too far into the weeds.
Chris Whalen on Radio Free Dylan. A 30 minute podcast of Chris Whalen and Dylan Ratigan on Bank of America. How would you like to be the most sued company in all of America? That’s an honor most of us would hope not to achieve, but Bank of America has come in first place in that category. Chris Whalen, co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics, once again joins Dylan to highlight the latest problems with Bank of America. ” There may be no better representation of sick and desperate than the state of affairs right now at Bank of America, who absorbed not only Merrill Lynch in the financial crisis, but Countrywide,” says Dylan.
William Astore, We’re Number One (in Self-Promotion) -Just as the year ended, however, the Education Trust issued a report indicating that nearly a quarter of all applicants to the Armed Forces, despite having a high-school diploma, can’t pass the necessary military entrance exam. This isn’t Rhodes Scholarships we’re talking about, but not having “the reading, mathematics, science, and problem-solving abilities” to become a bona fide private in the U.S. Army. We’re talking the sort of basic that, according to an Education Trust spokesperson, makes it “equally likely that the men and women who don’t pass the test are [also] unprepared for the civilian workforce." Last month, as if to emphasize the seriousness of the problem, Shanghai’s students came in number one in the Program for International Student Assessment, a well-respected test given to 15-year-old students in 65 countries in reading, science, and math skills. U.S. students came in a glorious 17th in reading, 23rd in math, and 31st in science.
ADP’s Strong December Jobs Report: Er, Not So Fast –According to Bloomberg, one report released yesterday more-or-less confirmed that the worst has passed as far as the U.S. economy is concerned: Private-sector payrolls expanded at a very strong pace in December, according to data released Wednesday. Private-sector jobs in the U.S. rose by 297,000 last month, according to a national employment report [NER] published by payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers. The report said the gain "suggests nonfarm private employment grew very strongly in December, at a pace well above what is usually associated with a declining unemployment rate." Er, not so fast. As it happens, the economic advisory firm that helps ADP compile the data served up a few caveats (at its blog) after the NER was released