Where's The Note? Shock and Awe for Big Banks


Michael Collins

Big banks have stopped foreclosures in 23 states due to legal challenges to their ownership of mortgage notes. On Wednesday, JP Morgan upped their total to 41 states in which foreclosure operations had ceased.

Why the halt in foreclosures? It seems that the banks have ignored long established state property and title procedures and may not actually own the title to the homes subject to foreclosure (and others subject to the same procedures).

Calculated Risk quoted a JP Morgan spokesman saying,

"We've identified issues relating to the mortgage foreclosure affidavits and those include signers not having personally reviewed the underlying loan files but instead having relied upon the work of others. … And there are circumstances where affidavits have not been properly notarized" Oct. 13.

Failing to "personally review" loan documents means that asserting that the review took place was perjury. This happened for countless mortgages. Failing to properly notarize mortgage signatures violates state property law. It could also be seen as negligence by investors in the mortgages.

Show me the title! Strategic Defaults and the Homeowners Revenge

By Numerian Posted by Michael Collins

If strategic defaults spread in part because of this new uncertainty over foreclosure and who has the title to the home, the banks and the mortgage backed securities market would be put in a dreadful position. The day in and day out cash flow expected from millions of mortgage principal and interest payments would be impacted far more than it is already, with the banks unable to access their collateral to stanch the bleeding. Insolvencies among the banks and the investors holding mortgage securities would certainly rise. Numerian

Bush's "Hoover Plan"

Last week the financial markets swung wildly back and forth between "We're All Going To Die!" and "Hurray! We're Saved!".
At the center of this drama was the buyout of the insolvent investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. Most of the attention was focused on the fact that JPM bought Bear Stearns for just $2 a share, thus giving current shareholders the shaft.
While this is a worthy characteristic to focus on, I was more interested in the fact that JPM only agreed to this deal after the Federal Reserve offered to shift $30 Billion of Bear Stearns mortgage-backed securities onto its books.

Winter Watch & Dr. Strangelove: Trial Ballooning More Disasters

While the markets rallied and folks cheered the Feds, proclaimed they saved the day, a dissenter emerges in the form of Winter Watch via Dr. Strangelove: Trial Ballooning More Disasters.

Today, the Fed announced a new liquidity plan.

the Fed announced a plan to resuscitate the ailing credit markets by lending $200 billion to battered financial firms in exchange for debt- or mortgage-backed securities. Starting March 27, the central bank is planning to offer weekly auctions, which could exceed $200 billion if there is sufficient demand, the Fed said.

I felt alone in the perception of an enabled ponzi subprime mortgage game continuing unabated, a shell game to push off this greedy disaster onto the taxpayer. Was I wrong? Did I just not understand? After all the market went up the highest 1 day rise in 5 years.

From Winters:

2 housing crisis proposals Democrats should support

Like many people, I loathe the idea of a housing "bailout" for the greedy, the reckless, and the spendthrift. Certainly those bankers and borrowers had no problem "privatising their gains" in the early part of this decade. I see no reason why they should look to the prudent and the thrifty now, especially when so many millions of those prudent and thrifty are those whose own dreams of owning a home of their own at a reasonable price were frozen out by the housing mania.
But out of crisis comes opportunity. In this case, the opportunity for the Democratic party to show average Americans what a Democratic majority would do for them and their financial well-being. The opportunity to earn their trust and their votes for years to come. To show that a party that believes in governance for the average citizen can separate the wolves from the sheep, penalizing the former and acting with basic humanity to the latter.

CountryWide: Rigged Game

Why would Bank of America buy out irresponsible Countrywide?

Well, to avoid paying any taxes by writing off the massive bad loans, that's why.

And the Countrywide CEO? He gets $88M for running a major company into the ground, requiring a buyout, causing millions to lose their homes, setting up greedy, predatory mortgages where no one could pay them off.