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Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 2: What’s a Note, Who’s a Servicer, and Why They Matter

Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 2: What’s a Note, Who’s a Servicer, and Why They Matter

Mike Konczal defines the key players in the foreclosure fraud mess. **This is Part 2 in a series giving a basic explanation of the current foreclosure fraud crisis. You can find Part 1 here.

By Mike Konczal, courtesy of New Deal 2.

What is the note?

The SEIU has a campaign: Where’s the Note? Demand to see your mortgage note. It’s worth checking out. But first, what is this note? And why would its existence be important to struggling homeowners, homeowners in foreclosure, and investors in mortgage backed securities?

There’s going to be a campaign to convince you that having the note correctly filed and produced isn’t that important (see, to start, this WSJ editorial from the weekend). It will argue that this is some sort of useless cover sheet for a TPS form that someone forgot to fill out. That is profoundly incorrect.

Independent of the fraud that was committed on our courts, the current crisis is important because the note is a crucial document for every party to a mortgage. But first, let’s define what a mortgage is. A mortgage consists of two documents, a note and a lien:

mortgage, foreclosures

The note is the IOU; it’s the borrower’s promise to pay. The mortgage, or the lien, is just the enforcement right to take the property if the note goes unpaid. The note is crucial.

Why does this matter? Three reasons, reasons that even the Wall Street Journal op-ed page needs to take into account. The first is that the note is the evidence of the debt. If it isn’t properly in the trust, then there isn’t clear evidence of the debt existing.

And it can’t be a matter of “let’s go find it now!” REMIC law, which governs the securitization, is really specific here.  The securitization can’t get new assets after 90 days without a tax penalty, and it can’t get defaulted assets at all without a major tax penalty. Most of these notes are way past 90 days and will be in a defaulted state.

This is because these parts of the mortgage-backed security were supposed to be passive entities. They are supposed to take in money through mortgage payments on one end and pay it out to bondholders on the other end — hence their exemption from lots…
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Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, 1: The Chains and the Stakes

Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, 1: The Chains and the Stakes

mike-konczal-2-100

By Mike Konczal, courtesy of New Deal 2.0

All you need to know to follow the trail of wrongdoing.

The current wave of foreclosure fraud and the consequences for the economy are difficult to follow. As such, I’m going to write a few posts to simplify what is going on so you can follow stories as they unfold.  This is very 101 level, and will include a reading list of blog posts and articles at each stage to help provide depth.   (Special thanks to Yves Smith for walking me through much of this.)  Let’s make three charts of the chains involved in the process. The first is what is currently going on with foreclosure fraud (click through for a larger image):
foreclosures

As you can see, in judicial review states like Florida the courts require that servicers, or those who administer the bonds that are full of mortgages (securitization, residential mortgage backed securities, RMBS, are all phrases they use), say that they have everything necessary in order to have standing to bring a foreclosure. They need to have the note for a mortgage, which is supposed to be in the trust — part of the mortgage backed securities — that they administer.

What is breaking down here? In Florida, a judicial review state, it was found that one person was notarizing documents far faster than anyone reasonably could have. Someone found forged documents necessary for the foreclosure process, like the note. A separate court system was set up to resolve these foreclosures faster, at the expense of allowing serious challenges to the documents. Here’s Smith on how kangaroo these courts look up close. Here’s WaPo on one individual and the nightmare of trying to challenge an invalid foreclosure. Keep him in mind when you hear about deadbeats and whatnot: the current system is designed to make it difficult for anyone to challenge their case.

Meet the robo-signer who kicked it off here at this WaPo story. I almost feel bad for this patsy; the real battle here is between junior and senior tranche holders, and this doofus could end up in jail in order to keep John Paulson rich. After reading about this guy, I’m asking our elites to take better care of their goons. (Can we get a Financial Patsy Fordism social contract movement going? If…
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So What Did We Do? We Made ‘Em Even Too Biggier To Fail

So What Did We Do? We Made ‘Em Even Too Biggier To Fail

bigCourtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

So how did America solve the problem of the Too Big To Fail Banks?  Simple, we doubled the size of them.  Now they’re too gigantic to fail.

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Here’s Stephen Grocer in the WSJ with this incredible story (emphasis Daddy’s):

Citi, BofA, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo now control $7.7 trillion in assets and $3.2 trillion in deposits as of March 30. To put that in perspective: The $7.7 trillion in assets is almost double the combined assets of the next 46 biggest banksand 37% more in deposits.

More importantly, those four banks control more assets today than they did in December 2007, when Deal Journal first wrote about “too big to fail.” Back then J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, BofA and Wells held $4.95 trillion in assets.

In the brokerage business, we have a term called Concentrated Position, meaning an account with a greater-than-normal percentage of assets in one or two large holdings.  Accounts with concentrated positions are seen to carry more risk (obviously) and are ineligible for margin privileges in some cases.  Essentially, the entire banking system has become one big concentrated position account, in worse shape than it was in before the crash (thanks to mergers and attrition, no doubt, but still).

This is an interesting solution to the systemic risk problem we were all carrying on about over the last few years.  Bravo.

Source:

Would Washington Let JPM, Citi, B of A or Wells Fail?  (WSJ)

Hat Tip Daniel Hicks (NewsAudit)  


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How to compound systemic risk—the Obama plan

Discussion on systemic risk, too big too fail institutions, and regulator capture.  Courtesy of Benign Brodwicz (intro) and Simon Johnson at The Baseline Scenario - Ilene

How to compound systemic risk—the Obama plan

Courtesy of Benign Brodwicz at the Animal Spirits Page

The Obama plan is exactly backwards in its approach to systemic risk.  It will increase systemic risk.

As pointed out by one of the leaders of econophysics, Eugene Stanley (here), one of the prime results in the exploding field of network theory is that densely connected networks are chaotic and unstable compared to sparsely connected networks.

This only makes sense.  If every part of a network affects every other part of a network it becomes very easy for large perturbations to propagate through the network, and rebound, and so on. 

The Obama-Summers-Geithner solution to our problem of systemic risk is evidence of an intellectual obtuseness that is breathtaking.

The Fed created or permitted by neglect of its duties the systemic risk that caused this crash, and the Great Depression before it.  Mish got this right. 

The obvious solution given that systemic risk is a characteristic of the structure of the financial system is to change the structure of the system to reduce systemic risk.  Break up investment banks and commercial banks.  Eliminate financial institutions that are big enough to create systemic risk all by themselves (no more “too big to fail”).  Make it impossible for the system to become densely connected by limiting leverage.  The plan does increase capital requirements but not enough.  And it leaves the trading of CDSs, the densely-linked network of derivatives that largely caused the supposed near melt-down of the system last fall, lightly regulated and less than transparent. 

You can’t leave the TBTF institutions in place, or they will capture the regulators again.  Or perhaps it’s better to say they’re not letting them go at this time.

Glass-Steagall and the other laws that the neocons undid over the past thirty years worked.  They kept the system stable for sixty years.

Let’s bring them back. 

Here is Simon Johnson’s take:

Too Big To Fail, Politically

What is the essence of the problem with our financial system – what brought us into deep crisis, what scared us most in September/October of last year, and what was the


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Phil's Favorites

Where Two Strangers Never Meet: Self-Serving Bias

Where Two Strangers Never Meet: Self-Serving Bias

Courtesy of Tim of The Psy-Fi Blog (originally published Mar. 28, 13)

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two strangers just the same" IF ... Rudyard Kipling Problematic Pronouns   We all probably know someone who believes that their successes are entirely down to their own levels of skill and whose failures are someone else’s fault.  To some extent most of us will meet them in the mirror each morning. This is self-serving bias in action. As Donelson Forsyth explains it: ...

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Chart School

Case Study: IBM Stock Buybacks and Debt Issuance

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

There are a lot variables regarding IBM's debt issuance, maturation, servicing, and rollover that I simply do not have time to fact check. The reason for the IBM case study is not to be wholly accurate, but to place IBM's current stock buyback and debt issuance programs in context with abnormally low Fed fund rates today juxtaposed against a backdrop of higher future interest rates in 2017-2019 and the recent back up in Treasury yields at the short end of the yield curve as the Fed telegraphs a higher Fed funds rate sometime in 2015.

Why do this? Because we want to overlay IBM's stock buyback and Debt Issuance with the NY Fed models assuming "excess high returns" for the US stock market through 2018 and the GMO (G...



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Zero Hedge

Guest Post: Why The West's Financial Warfare Against Russia May Lead To The Real Thing

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Authored by Harold James, originally posted at European Voice,

The revolution in Ukraine and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea have generated a serious security crisis in Europe. But, with Western leaders testing a new kind of financial warfare, the situation could become even more dangerous.

A democratic, stable, and prosperous Ukraine would be a constant irritant – and rebuke – to President Vladimir Putin's autocratic and economically sclerotic Russian Federation. In order to prevent such an outcome, Putin is trying to destabili...



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Insider Scoop

Rovi Announces Sale of MainConcept Businesses

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ROVI U.S. Court Of Appeals Sides With Amazon In Rovi Lawsuit Market Wrap For April 8: Markets Bounce Higher As Earnings Season Begins

Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ: ROVI), a global leader in entertainment discovery, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its DivX and MainConcept businesses. Rovi had previously announced its intent to sell the DivX and MainConcept businesses by the end of the second qua...



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Market Shadows

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

Two guest authors, David Stockman and long-time contributor John Rubino, write about the current state of Abenomics. 

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

By  

This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market...



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Option Review

Wild Ride For Chipotle

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.

Chart – Shares in Chipotle cool by lunchtime

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

...

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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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