Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Real Estate Market Information for the week of June 18-25

There appears to be plenty of real estate people who believe they can succeed, as last week saw more housing numbers go through the roof. Existing Home Sales were up 4.2% in May to a 5.18 million unit annual rate, up 12.9% over a year ago. The median price climbed to $208,000, up 15.4% over a  year ago, while average prices are up 11.2% over last year. The months' supply dipped to 5.1, all due to the faster sales pace, as inventories were up 7,000, increasing four months in a row. And the median time on the market for all homes was 41 days, down from 72 days a year ago.

Housing Starts were up 6.8% in May. Although most of the gain came from multi-family units, single-family starts were also up for the month and are now up 16.3% versus last year. The total number of homes under construction has been up 21 months in a row. Looking at where starts may be a few months out, Building Permits in May dipped a bit overall, but single-family permits were up for the month and are up 24.6% versus last year. Not surprisingly, the NAHB index of home builder confidence went from 44 to 52, its highest level since March 2006 and its biggest monthly gain in over 10 years.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... After you've powered through work for a few hours, give your mind a rest. Go for a walk, have a snack, work out, or just sit quietly. You actually get more done in a day by regularly taking time to clear your head.

>> Review of Last Week

BEN'S BANTER SINKS STOCKS... The major stock indexes fell for the week as investors bailed on equities thanks to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments after the Fed meeting. The written FOMC Statement indicated the Fed would keep buying $85 billion per month worth of mortgage bonds and Treasuries in its quantitative easing program to boost the economy and keep interest rates down. But Bernanke later commented that if positive trends continue, the Fed could reduce bond purchases later this year and stop them completely by mid-2014. Some experts suggested investors overreacted, and it will be a long time before the Fed raises short-term interest rates.

It didn't help that the economic data coming in was positive, indicating things are indeed improving. The Empire State index of manufacturing in the New York region hit a three-month high in June, showing strong expansion after contracting in May. May Existing Home Sales and the NAHB home builders index surprised to the upside, as did the Philadelphia Fed index, which registered solid expansion for manufacturing in that region. But worried Wall Streeters should have noted CPI inflation was just 0.1% for the month and the May unemployment rate of 7.6% is a long way from the Fed's 6.5% target.

The week ended with the Dow down 1.8%, to 14799; the S&P 500 down 2.1%, to 1592; and the Nasdaq down 1.9%, to 3357.

Fears the Fed might taper its bond buying sooner than expected hammered Treasuries and mortgage bonds. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week down 3.04, at $100.12. Yet national average mortgage rates slipped last week, after edging up for over a month, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates are still up a tad from a year ago, but remain at historically attractive levels. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported purchase loan demand down slightly for the week, but up 12% from a year ago,.

DID YOU KNOW?... Although investors worried the Fed might soon tighten monetary policy, during the past four Fed tightening cycles since the 1980s, the economy was growing an average of 3.68%, versus an average growth rate over the last 12 months of 1.8%.

>> This Week’s Forecast

NEW HOME SALES UP, GDP TEPID, INFLATION AND MANUFACTURING OK... Economic data this week should show mild but steady growth, offset by some minor disappointments. New Home Sales are expected to continue their move upward in May, while Pending Home Sales should indicate existing home sales will increase a few months out. The GDP Third Estimate is predicted to show continued economic growth at a modest rate.

Brighter news should come Thursday when Core PCE Prices are forecast to reveal inflation well under control in May. Personal Spending is expected to indicate the beleaguered consumer is staying in the game. The Chicago PMI reading of manufacturing health in the Midwest should dip a little but remain in expansion territory.

>> The Week’s Economic Indicator Calendar

Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates.

Economic Calendar for the Week of June 24 – June 28

 Date Time (ET) Release For Consensus Prior Impact
Tu
Jun 25
08:30 Durable Goods Orders May 3.0% 3.5% Moderate
Tu
Jun 25
10:00 Consumer Confidence Jun 74.9 76.2 Moderate
Tu
Jun 25
10:00 New Home Sales May 460K 454K Moderate
W
Jun 26
08:30 GDP – Third Estimate Q1 2.4% 2.4% Moderate
W
Jun 26
08:30 GDP Deflator – Third Estimate Q1 1.1% 1.1% Moderate
W
Jun 26
10:30 Crude Inventories 6/22 NA 0.313M Moderate
Th
Jun 27
08:30 Initial Unemployment Claims 6/22 345K 354K Moderate
Th
Jun 27
08:30 Continuing Unemployment Claims 6/15 2.958M 2.951M Moderate
Th
Jun 27
08:30 Personal Income May 0.2% 0.0% Moderate
Th
Jun 27
08:30 Personal Spending May 0.4% 0.2% HIGH
Th
Jun 27
08:30 PCE Prices – Core May 0.1% 0.0% HIGH
Th
Jun 27
10:00 Pending Home Sales May 1.5% 0.3% Moderate
F
Jun 28
09:45 Chicago PMI Jun 55.5 58.7 HIGH
F
Jun 28
09:55 U. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment – Final Jun 82.6 82.7 Moderate

>> Federal Reserve Watch   

Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months... Even though there is talk of the Fed tapering its bond buying, economists still don't see the Fed raising the super low Funds Rate until the recovery is strong enough to bring unemployment down to 6.5%. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.
Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%
After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jul 31 0%–0.25%
Sep 18 0%–0.25%
Oct 30 0%–0.25%

Probability of change from current policy:

After FOMC meeting on: Consensus
Jul 31      <1 span="">
Sep 18      <1 span="">
Oct 30      <1 span="">

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bank of America Whistleblowers Allege Rot at the Core of the Mortgage Industrial Complex

Revealing behavior reminiscent of the officious conduct of government clerks in Terry Gilliam's Brazil, in litigation against Bank of America, former employees have filed sworn statements that allege the bank routinely gave borrowers the administrative run-around, and then foreclosed on them without justification. These allegations confirm what advocates and consumers have been saying for years. They also strongly suggest that oversight of such practices has not been forceful enough to reform bank practices, and more--and more aggressive--attention to this conduct is necessary.




From affidavits filed in litigation against the bank, some of the most serious charges include the following:







•Bank employees routinely lied to borrowers about whether their applications for mortgage modifications were complete and removed documents from the borrower's file to provide grounds for rejecting such applications.





•Bank employees would delay consideration of modification applications and then force borrowers to re-apply for a modification because their applications were deemed stale.





•Bank officials offered bounties to front line employees and their supervisors for meeting foreclosure quotas, regardless of the merits of the bank's claims.





•Bank employees routinely used deceptive tactics to steer borrowers away from modifications on favorable terms under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and into agreements with terms that were far more beneficial to the bank.





•The bank lied to the federal government and the public about its loan modification performance.





•The bank would routinely purge backlogged modification applications and reject them without any basis for doing so.





•Employees who challenged these bank practices were fired.



When bank "robo-sign" activities came to light several years ago--that banks were falsifying court records in bids to foreclose on homes--many of the largest banks, including BofA, entered into a multi-billion dollar settlement in which they promised to clean up their act. These new revelations regarding this trail of misconduct strongly suggests that another, more aggressive round of oversight of bank practices may be in order, one that might not let the banks off so easily. What these allegations reveal is that the at least one bank--which until recently was the nation's largest mortgage servicer--appears to be thumbing its nose at the corrective action it agreed to take to remedy shoddy foreclosure practices. Can a bank that gets caught lying, and then potentially lies about whether it's still lying, truly be trusted?



Several states have taken, or signal that they plan to take, aggressive action against banks that appear to be violating the robo-sign agreement. While many of the allegations described above are from former employees and their affidavits fail to state whether they describe actions taken before the nationwide settlement or after, they certainly expose what appears to be a culture of deception within BofA, one that placed profits ahead of not just people, but the law. Such allegations of fraudulent conduct demand exacting review of BofA's performance under the nationwide settlement, and inquiry into whether other banks bound by its terms are flouting their responsibilities as well. Many of the nation's largest banks avoided civil and even criminal charges by entering into a nationwide settlement through which they agreed to reform their foreclosure practices. If this is what reformed behavior looks like, the Justice Department and the state attorneys general who negotiated the agreement may need to go back to the drawing board in their efforts to police foreclosure abuse.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bank of America’s Foreclosure Frenzy

In one corner, we have five former Bank of America Corp. employees who told a federal court they were instructed to mislead customers on the verge of losing their homes and stall their applications for loan modifications.
In another corner, we have Bank of America, which says nothing could be further from the truth. Who’s right? If anything, the bank’s strident denials make me more inclined to believe the workers’ claims. “These allegations are absurd, patently false and contrary to Bank of America’s long-standing policy only to foreclose as a last resort when other available options to help keep people in their home have been exhausted,” Jumana Bauwens, a Bank of America spokeswoman, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail this week.
Perhaps some of the allegations may be wrong. But to say all of them are obviously false? You have to wonder. A lot of the former employees’ claims make sense.
We have known for years that the U.S. Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program failed miserably at its stated goal of helping struggling homeowners. In part, that’sbecause companies and divisions of major banks that service mortgage loans often can makemore money from foreclosures than from loan modifications.
It didn’t bother the banking industry’s “robo-signers” that they risked committing perjury when they signed false affidavits filed in courthouses across the country to speed foreclosures along. Now, Bank of America would have us believe that all of these former employees were making things up under penalty of perjury when they came forward and told their stories.

Loan Modifications

The former employees’ statements were filed with a federal court in Boston as part of alawsuit against Bank of America by homeowners who say they were improperly denied permanent loan modifications. Bank of America says it will respond to the statements in greater detail in a court filing.
The workers gave horrific accounts about Bank of America’s compliance with the Home Affordable Modification Program. One consistent theme was that they said they were told to deceive borrowers about the status of their applications.
“My colleagues and I were instructed to inform homeowners that modification documents were not received on time, not received at all, or that documents were missing, even when, in fact, all documents were received in full and on time,” said Theresa Terrelonge of Grand Prairie,Texas, who worked at Bank of America from 2009 to 2010 as a loan-servicing representative. She said workers “were awarded incentives such as $25 in cash, or as a restaurant gift card” based on “how many applications for loan modifications they could decline.”
Simone Gordon of Orange, New Jersey, who left Bank of America in 2012, gave a similar account. “Employees were rewarded by meeting a quota of placing a specific number of accounts into foreclosure, including accounts in which the borrower fulfilled a HAMP trial period,” Gordon said. “For example, a collector who placed ten or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus.” Other rewards for placing accounts intoforeclosure included gift cards to Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.
“We were regularly drilled that it was our job to maximize fees for the bank by fostering and extending delay of the HAMP modification process by any means we could -- this included by lying to customers,” Gordon said.
William Wilson, a Bank of America underwriter and manager in CharlotteNorth Carolina, from 2010 to 2012, described what he said was called a “blitz.” About twice a month, he said, Bank of America would order case managers and underwriters to clean out the backlog of HAMP applications by rejecting any file in which the documents were more than 60 days old. Employees were instructed to “enter a reason that would justify declining the modification to the Treasury Department,” Wilson said.

A Blitz

“Justifications commonly included claiming that the homeowner had failed to return requested documents or had failed to make payments,” he said. “In reality these justifications were untrue. I personally reviewed hundreds of files in which the computer systems showed that the homeowner had fulfilled a trial period plan and was entitled to a permanent loan modification,” but was nevertheless declined during a blitz.
“On many occasions, homeowners who did not receive the permanent modification that they were entitled to ultimately lost their homes to foreclosure,” he said.
After Bloomberg wrote last week about the former employees’ statements, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, sent a letter to Christy Romero, the special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, asking that her office investigate. Yet it’s hard to get one’s hopes up about the government’s desire to get at the truth.
There already has been a $25 billion nationwide whitewash of a settlement between regulators and big banks over improper foreclosure practices, along with billion-dollar payments under a different settlement to consultants who were hired to review those practices. Nobody was prosecuted, much less wrist-slapped.
This week, the court-appointed monitor overseeing compliance with the terms of the national mortgage settlement said he found “more work needs to be done” by big mortgage servicers to improve their treatment of customers. But neither he nor the regulators have ever reported anything as dubious as the conduct described in the former Bank of America employees’ court declarations. Perhaps they just missed a bunch of stuff.
If there was a good reason to believe that the government’s priority is to investigate big banks rather than protect them, maybe Bank of America’s blanket denial would seem more credible.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Home for sale in Lowell Oregon walk to lake only $95000



3 bedroom 2 bath 1550 sq ft  with a large lot shop, tool shed. Incredible views and only 5  minutes to the lake on foot.  Only $95000

250 4th st Lowell Oregon

Home for sale Junction city Oregon only $36000



1550 sf 3 bed 2 bath  Only $36000
Immaculate home in private community located in the country just outside Junction City proper. Full laundry room. Large private fenced back yard with concrete slab. Great area for BBQ, enjoying the outdoors. Community has a small lake, Park with picnic tables, modern play ground, tennis / basket ball court. RV & Boat storage.

New HomNew Home Owners: 7 DIY Projects You Can Do Over the Weekende Owners: 7 DIY Projects You Can Do Over the Weekend

As a new homeowner, you've got lots to do. Besides moving in, fixing up and making the place your own, you still have a life to lead and work to do. We understand you're busy and want to help. Whether you have an hour or all weekend, you can start (and finish) at least one of these easy home improvement projects without hiring a contractor and taking out renovation loans:

Set Up a Home Recycling Center

Recycling at home can be as easy as organizing recyclable materials in their own containers. Set up bins to collect plastic, glass, steel cans, aluminum and paper/cardboard. Place labels on buckets, boxes or crates. These make excellent containers and are easy to carry when they get full.

Build a Compost Bin

Using a compost bin gets rid of kitchen waste and turns it into a usable fertilizer that is beneficial for gardens, flower beds and house plants. A recycled washing machine tub makes an excellent composter. With the hole at the top just the right size for stirring, the holes along the sides are good for airflow.

Upgrade to Save

Making your home more energy efficient doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive. If your current appliances aren't due for replacement, make the switch with something more simple. Swap out old blinds for energy-efficient roman shadesor change light bulbs to CFLs. Compact fluorescent lamps use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, according to EnergyStar.com.

Make General Home Repairs

Fixing leaky faucets, broken fixtures or squeaky doors is part of owning a home. Unscrew the faucet ring and place teflon tape on the threads. This will allow for a tighter seal and prevent leaks and drips. Oiling a squeaky door hinge or tightening a faucet valve are small things that can be repaired without the aid of a hired hand. WD-40 has become known as a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to home fix ups. It can remove crayon marks from walls and eliminate squeaks and noises from almost any type of fixture or hinge.

Clean Ducts and Vents

Cleaning your home's ductwork and making sure all vents are free of dust and debris can greatly improve the indoor air quality of your new home. The heating and cooling systems both use the ductwork to force air throughout the home. This can stir up dust that accumulates in the duct work. A shop vac or heavy duty vacuum can be used to suction dust and debris out of vents. Use a long hose attachment to reach deep into the duct work itself.

Add Landscaping

The right type of landscaping can increase the value of a home. A yard that is properly cared for makes a home stand out within a neighborhood. Trimming weeds and mowing the grass can also help prevent rodents from entering the home. Plant specific flowers to attract butterflies and other types of insects that are beneficial to the environment. Flower carpets are located in most stores' garden centers. Cut them to size and lay them in pre-determined areas.

Clean and Maintain Gutters

Prevent water from standing around the home's foundation or leaking into the basement and crawl space by cleaning and maintaining gutters. A Gutter Cleaner Wand, available at SmartHome.com for about $17, attaches to any standard garden hose and blasts away debris. Using a heavy-duty hose attachment, this wand reaches high above your head to get those hard-to-reach spots along your roof. By keeping those areas dry, you can prevent black mold from getting out of hand.

Ex-Bank of America mortgage workers were 'told to lie'

Former Bank of America employees say in court documents that the bank routinely lies to customers about their mortgages, and denies their requests for modifications without even looking at the paperwork.
In sworn affidavits, four former employees, for example, describe policies in place at the bank that they say are designed to subvert the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), 2009 government-sponsored initiative that was designed to keep distressed homeowners above water during the depths of the housing crisis.
The affidavits are part of multiple court cases against the bank brought by homeowners who say they were unfairly foreclosed upon. One case is underway in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, before Judge Rya W. Zobel. A movement is underway to unite the cases under a single class-action lawsuit.
The former workers allege there's a bank-wide policy that encourages mortgage officers to delay and avoid that process as much as possible, to foreclose on customers who shouldn’t have been, and to generally lie and mislead.
According to one affidavit, a mortgage processor who put 10 or more houses into foreclosure in any given month was eligible for a $500 cash bonus, or gift cards at a major retailer.
The sworn affidavits were made public recently on the website of ProPublica, an independent, non-profit news service that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
The employees say the bank also went out of its way to mislead, stall and delay paperwork so that customers would be denied changes to their mortgages, and forced into arrangements that were more profitable to the bank than HAMP arrangements were.
“We were told to lie to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it had requested, and that it had not received trial payments [when in fact it had],” said Simone Gordon, a senior collector of loss mitigation at the bank for five years until early 2012.
Another ex-worker, Theresa Terrelonge, agreed that subverting HAMP to the bank’s benefit was an overarching goal for the bank.
"Based on what I observed, Bank of America was trying to prevent as many homeowners as possible from obtaining permanent HAMP loan modifications while leading the public and the government to believe that it was making efforts to comply with HAMP," she said.

Worker alleges needless delays

"It was well known among managers and many employees that the overriding goal was to extend as few HAMP loan modifications to homeowners as possible."
She also said that Bank of America “collectors” who failed to meet their quotas were fired for not putting enough customers into foreclosure. “Several of my colleagues were terminated on that basis,” she said.
Another former employee, William Wilson, said the bank would routinely delay filing appropriate paperwork after receiving it, in order to have certain penalties kick in. After waiting 60 days, the bank would automatically reject them all.
“During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time for no reason other than that the documents were more than 60 days old,” Wilson said.
“Once an applicant was finally rejected after a long delay, the bank would offer them an alternative. Bank of America would charge a higher interest rate, ranging up to as compared to the two per cent if the loan had been modified under HAMP.”
Wilson alleges he was fired in August 2012 for refusing to go along with the scheme any longer.

Lawyers painting 'false picture,' bank says

The employees allege the bank would routinely file false paperwork to government suggesting it had far more HAMP-backed loans on its books than was the reality.
“It was well known among Bank of America employees that the numbers Bank of America was reporting to the government and to the public were simply not true,” Steven Cupples said. Cupples worked at the bank until June 2012. He previously worked at Countrywide, the lender at the centre of America’s subprime mortgage crisis that was subsequently taken over by Bank of America
For its part, the bank denies the allegations.
“We continue to demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure and, at best, these attorneys are painting a false picture of the bank's practices and the dedication of our employees," a spokesman for the bank told Reuters news agency, adding the declarations were "rife with factual inaccuracies.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

BANK OF AMERICA Fraud exposed

Bank of America (hereafter BOA) is the largest criminal enterprise on earth. Every day, BOA defrauds hundreds of thousands of its customers along with innocent borrowers who have loans that are either originated or serviced through BOA or its predecessor, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
Despite having been fined several billion dollars by various state and federal agencies continuously over the last 4 years, BOA continues to defraud the public and abuse the court system against innocent victims that are unable to fight back. Although BOA was forced to pay billions in fines, those dollars have not trickled down to the victims who have lost their homes, had their credit destroyed, lost their jobs, lost their retirement, and lost their ability to live the American dream.
One must ask, how and why does BOA continue to defraud people when they ultimately get caught and get fined? The answer is actually quite simple.
As to how does BOA continue to defraud people, the simple fact is that BOA is trusted with peoples lives, income, retirement, homes and money because they are a bank. Along with that trust comes the ability to abuse and take advantage of that trust. When that happens, BOA knows there will ultimately be a fine, but it also knows that the profit and benefit from its fraud will always be larger than the fine. And they know they will never be criminally prosecuted. So, on a daily basis, BOA uses fraud as a common practice to make income. (Too big to fail? Too big to prosecute?)
As to why does BOA continue to defraud people, that answer is also sadly simple. It has to continue to use fraud as a daily business principle because it has committed so much fraud in the past, that it must continue to use fraud to cover up the past fraud. It is that unending cycle of deception your parents warned you about when you told your first lie…”if you tell a little lie now, your lies will get bigger and bigger to cover up the previous lies, until you lose the meaning of truth.
That is where Bank of America is right now. It has committed so much fraud in the past that it can no longer operate without keeping secrets, breaking laws, and taking what is not theirs to take.
Because the fraud committed by Bank of America is so extensive, complex, and sophisticated, it would be impossible to outline even a small percentage of the fraud that takes place on a daily basis in this single writing. We can however, expose one small segment of BOA’s fraud that effects 3.5 million homeowners and involves approximately 10B in home loans. If you are one of those 3.5 million borrowers/homeowners, you should continue to read all of this.
Bank of America, through its predecessor, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., originated 3.5 million loans between 2003 and 2007 that were neither funded nor owned by CHL or BOA. These loans were derived from credit lines established by the Federal Reserve to Countrywide, which were public funds. Thus, Countrywide was entrusted with approximately 10B in tax payer funds for which it was allowed to make home mortgages to the very tax payers who supplied the money being used. Yet banks are NOT allowed to loan credit.
Once those loans were funded, Countrywide was then supposed to bundle and transfer those loans as securities to Wall Street Investment Firms as securitized investments, mostly held by trusts involving billions of dollars of American mortgages. Once that was done, the money paid by the Investment Firms then should have been paid back to the Federal Reserve so that the tax payers money was returned. But Countywide never transferred those loans, and they don’t own them.
This was a fairly simple and straight forward process that allowed Countrywide to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for loan and related fees by using tax payer money to originate loans that it could not otherwise make because it didn’t have sufficient resources.
That window period of 4 years mentioned earlier, 2003 to 2007 was a very important time for Countrywide. It was at that time that CHL determined it was going to dominate the mortgage business and outpace its competitors by creating a service portfolio in excess of 10 trillion dollars and capture over 40% of the home mortgage business.
Not only did Countrywide lack the funds to make that many loans, but it lacked the cash flow to pay the expenses required on a daily basis to process that many loans. So, it did 2 things, first, it went into partnership with Bank of America and immediately received a 4B credit line, and second, it initiated an aggressive loan servicing program immersed in fraud, which increased its daily cash flow by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The 4B credit line was public knowledge, so it does not need further discussion at this time. In conjunction with the 4B credit line to Countrywide, Bank of America had also become very involved in Countrywide’s home lending activity.
The fraudulent servicing program initiated at that time by Countrywide immediately impacted hundreds of thousands of borrowers whose loans were serviced by Countrywide. In fact, it was this fraudulent servicing program concocted by Countrywide that started the foreclosure nightmare that ultimately resulted in the mortgage meltdown.
Here is how Countrywide’s fraudulent servicing program worked, and what it did for Countrywide.
During the aforementioned window period, 2003 to 2007, Countrywide was servicing approximately 20 million loans. Countrywide was entrusted with administering and servicing those loans to protect both the borrowers and the investors who had ultimately funded those loans. While the investors were additionally protected by insurance policies against negligence or loss caused by Countrywide, the borrowers were the sacrificial lambs that Countrywide focused on.
Each borrower trusted Countrywide to accurately charge and pay out funds for property taxes, insurance and other legitimate expenses connected to their loans. Each borrower, in addition to making their principal and interest payment, paid additional sums within their monthly payment to cover these other expenses. It is often called an impound account.
Typically, Countrywide, as the loan servicer, would determine the annual amount necessary to pay a borrowers property taxes and insurance, divide those amounts by 12, then add that 1/12th amount to the borrowers monthly payment of principal and interest. As long as the loan servicer is competent, honest and trustworthy this arrangement benefits the borrower.
But Countrywide turned this borrower-beneficial service into one of the most fraudulent and prolific money makers of all times, which continued for 4 years.
Countrywide began fraudulently charging for expenses that were never incurred, inflating the monthly amounts it was charging borrowers for their impound accounts. Where a borrowers monthly contribution for property taxes may have been $50, Countrywide began charging $100. When the borrower questioned the increase, Countrywide threatened to foreclose. If the threat of foreclosure didn’t work, Countrywide would then threaten to ruin the borrowers credit by reporting late mortgage payments.
This process was repeated on borrowers insurance premiums and other impound expenses. Where the monthly premium may have been $25, Countrywide began charging $50. This example would be indicative of a modest mid-west home valued at $80,000. The stakes were much higher on more expensive homes located in California, Florida, New York, etc.
In many cases, the borrowers just accepted the increase in monthly payments under the belief that their taxes, insurance, or both, had actually increased. With these borrowers, Countrywide had an unobstructed path to hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent profits.
Other borrowers who were on a tighter budget and could not afford the increase, resisted and opposed the inflated charges by demanding an accounting and refusing to pay. Countrywide’s response was to threaten foreclosure if the amounts were not paid. This threat usually worked and vastly reduced the number of borrowers who refused to pay, and left just a small percentage of borrowers who either could not pay, or refused to pay the fraudulent charges. For those unfortunate borrowers with enough backbone to stand up to Countrywide, the result more often than not was that Countrywide filed foreclosure suits against them, ruined their credit by falsely reporting the borrowers had defaulted on their payments, and ultimately steam rolled those borrowers into poverty-riddled-oblivion through an uninterested and uncaring court system.
Initially, and for the first couple of years, the courts were basically non-existent when it came to recognizing and enforcing a borrowers rights. Not only were these borrowers being victimized by Countrywide’s enormous fraud, but they were being victimized a second time by disinterested courts who failed and refused protect these borrowers or otherwise enforce the laws and regulations that were in place to prevent such egregious corporate fraud.
Finally in 2008 and 2009 the Bankruptcy Courts began recognizing the fraud orchestrated by Countrywide (now Bank of America) which started to turn the tides on the tidal wave of fraud then being continued by BOA. As stated earlier, BOA continues to commit fraud everyday to cover up the fraud of yesterday. Since 2008, BOA has been fined billions of dollars for fraud and has been ordered to cease and desist from dozens of fraudulent business practices.
Once the Bankruptcy Courts began dissecting BOA’s loan servicing procedures, it quickly learned that there many frauds on many levels, which resulted in thousands of claims made by BOA in bankruptcy proceedings being denied. BOA was then forced to either come clean, or devise more sophisticated frauds. Unfortunately, they chose the latter. Soon BOA began the process of robo signing loan and foreclosure documents which allowed their fraudulent claims and foreclosures to proceed.
Again, this more sophisticated fraud, which involved outsourced foreclosure companies working at the direction of BOA was discovered and exposed by the Bankruptcy Courts and some very diligent attorneys. As the Bankruptcy rulings began to permeate the public domain, state courts began to recognize their duty to protect the public from this prolific predator.
Soon state court rulings against Bank of America and Countrywide began to hit the news stands which provided much needed relief for those lucky borrowers who had their cases heard by courts that actually protected their rights. For some of those monumental rulings, New York, Washington State, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio became leaders in the fight to protect borrowers from the leaner, meaner BOA fraud.
For anyone with more than a mild interest and access to Google, you can search out the hundreds of cases against Bank of America and Countrywide in the various state and federal courts that have resulted in landmark cases against BOA and protected the rights of borrowers.
With Bank of America now under significant judicial and public scrutiny, and the effect of the manycease and desist orders currently in effect against it, once again it had the opportunity to either come clean, or to continue to defraud the public and the courts with its scandalous business practices.(Source Footnote)
And once again, BOA has chosen the latter where it continues to defraud millions of borrowers and homeowners by fraudulent loan servicing and foreclosure practices.
To insulate itself from the present scrutiny it is under and the effect of the cease and desist orders now against it, BOA has brought in banking conspirators to assist it with perpetuating its elaborate frauds on borrowers.
Three of those known conspirators are Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank, and U.S. Bank, NT. Each of these banks have also been heavily fined for fraudulent practices and are actively participating in defrauding the public and the courts by participating in the fraudulent transfers of loans that do not belong to Bank of America. They make it appear that such a loan was sold by Bank of America to one of the conspirators, then that conspirator completes a foreclosure on a borrower who has been completely victimized by the process. In every case, the borrower is kept in the dark as to the true owner of his loan, which is not any of these conspirators.
An additional conspirator, Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) is actively participating in this enormous fraud by acting as the party to cause the loan transfer. The inability of MERS to transfer anything of value is well settled by many state and federal courts, but the Kansas Supreme Court was the first to get it right. (See Kansas Supreme Court, Landmark National Bank, MERS, et al)
As stated earlier in this article, this writer has identified a very extensive and sophisticated fraud that was formed and perfected by Bank of America that is effecting 3.5 million borrowers. And as also previously mentioned, this fraud involves co-conspirators Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank and U.S. Bank NT. In fact, Bank of New York Mellon and BOA use the same California address as the now defunct Countrywide.
The plan started out in 2003 under Countrywide direction in anticipation of dominating the home mortgage industry. As every state has strict guidelines for mortgage lending, and requires state licencing, Countrywide sought to circumvent individual state licensing laws and corporation taxes by using a name and entity that would stay under the radar. This was one of the earliest frauds connected to this scheme and was devised to avoid taxes and licencing.
The plan began to unfold when Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. began registering the trade name Americas Wholesale Lender with the Secretary of State in each state it sought to do business. Accordingly, each respective secretary of state would show “Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. dba Americas Wholesale Lender, under the foreign corporation registration section.
The plan quickly materialized because most, if not all states, were lax in their corporate law enforcement. The name slid under the radar just as expected. Countrywide began making thousands of loans in every state under the name of Americas Wholesale Lender and successfully avoided licencing requirements and paying taxes on profits that were actually realized by Countrywide.
Countrywide encountered a major snag when observant county recorders in several states refused to record security documents (mortgages and trust deeds) that were held by a trade name or dba, ie: Americas Wholesale Lender. Trade names have no legal capacity, therefore they cannot own property, file lawsuits, or hold recorded security interests.
For a full discussion see Pagano v. Americas Wholesale Lender, 87 Conn. App. 474.
Countrywide quickly addressed the problem by committing yet another fraud, which listed the lender on their mortgages and deeds of trust as follows: “Lender is Americas Wholesale Lender, a Corporation organized and existing under the laws of New York”.
After making this minor, albeit fraudulent and scandalous change in language, Countrywide resubmitted its mortgages to the previously unwilling county clerks who accepted them without reservation because the mortgage holder was now shown to be a corporation. No one noticed that no such corporation was in existence. But that was to come.
Although Countrywide had dodged that bullet, the reality was that their fraud would be discovered at some point in the future, however they believed that the savings in corporation tax, licensing fees and recording fees would outweigh the future potential cost. They also believed that the courts would consider their fraud just a clerical error, which for many unfortunate borrowers, became true.
By 2005, many of the loans made in the name of “Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation began to default. Adding to that problem, Countrywide was bilking its borrowers
with its loan servicing fraud by inflating impound charges which increased the default ratio. Because home prices were at an all-time high in 2005 and 2006, Countrywide gladly foreclosed on any property it could because it created more profit than a current loan would. Countrywide, through its self-owned companies Land Safe Title and CT Services was now a leading foreclosure entity
By late 2006, Countrywide was beginning to have some difficulty in foreclosing on the loans that were made in the name of the non-existent corporation, Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation. The only address listed for this corporation was a P.O. Box in Plano, Texas.
Borrowers and attorneys alike smelled a rat, but they were confused as to how, and who to file suit against, related to a New York entity that didn’t appear to exist and operated only from aP.O. Box in Texas. And while this confusion persisted, Countrywide continued with their foreclosures like a speeding train on a downhill run. Nobody could stop them because it was impossible to determine who the lender was.
Finally by late 2007, Countrywide imploded due to their extensive frauds committed in the loan origination and loan servicing areas. With Bank of America standing in the shadows, it quietly stepped into the shoes of Countrywide and continued to run the business as usual. By this time the frauds were so extensive that Bank of America made the decision to continue to use fraud as their means to achieve their goals.
By this time the foreclosure rate began to soar as the value of homes began to plummet. By 2008, Countrywide was a dirty word and Bank of America was now fully in the foreclosure business. Confusion and speculation was rampant, but determined attorneys were diligent in seeking answers to questions related to lenders, loan documents, procedures in the lending areas, loan servicing, loan transfers and a variety of secrets being kept by Bank of America involving Countrywide loans made in the name of a non-existent corporation..
It was during this time that the secret was discovered… there were 3.5 million loans made in the name of Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation, (still no such corporation was in existence) and such loans were funded with taxpayer money, they were never sold to securitized trusts as required by their pooling agreement, they were being controlled by Bank of America, Bank of America was collecting payments on those loans, and Bank of America was foreclosing on those loans despite the fact that BOA did not own or fund those loans.
In an effort to stop Bank of America’s extensive fraud against innocent borrowers, concerned and responsible individuals formed the New York Corporation named America’s Wholesale Lender, Inc. a New York Corporation. (Hereafter AWLI)
Once that was done, the matter was brought to the attention to the United States District Court that Bank of America was foreclosing on loans it didn’t own and loans that were made in the name of a corporation that BOA held no interest in. The U.S. District Court dismissed the matter as irrelevant and allowed BOA to continue with its fraud. This shocking revelation can be confirmed by review of the case that was filed against Bank of America. (Currently under seal)
One immediate result of the newly formed Americas Wholesale Lender, Inc. a New York Corporation was that disgruntled borrowers now had a name, address and entity to file suit against. Based upon court records, it is estimated that over 500 suits were filed against AWLI in the first 6 months. At least another 500 suits were filed in the following 6 months. Additionally,Bankruptcy trustees were serving adversary proceedings on AWLI seeking to void mortgages held in the name of AWLI. In all, more than 2000 lawsuits were filed against AWLI related to the fraudulent loans originated by Countrywide.
Because the individuals who incorporated AWLI were sensitive to the plight of the borrowers, and they were aware of the extensive frauds being committed by BOA, the officers and directors of AWLI decided to take a non-confrontational approach with borrowers who simply sought to cancel their loans made to AWLI. If those suits did not seek monetary damages against AWLI, and simply sought to cancel the mortgage and remove the lien from their property, then AWLI decided not respond to the lawsuit and allow a default judgment to be entered in the borrowers favor. Likewise, when an adversary proceeding was filed against AWLI in a Bankruptcy Court, and the relief sought was to cancel the mortgage, again AWLI simply failed to respond which allowed the Bankruptcy Court to enter a default judgment in favor of the debtor.
Based upon court records in 22 states involving lawsuits against AWLI that went to default judgment, including bankruptcy cases, it appears that borrowers were able to cancel approximately 18.5 million dollars worth of the fraudulent loans created by Countrywide with taxpayers money. It is safe to say that Bank of America will never be able to defraud these borrowers again, nor will it be able to take their homes away.
Currently, the more sophisticated foreclosure fraud designed by BOA which includes Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank, and U.S. Bank NT is in full operation. Despite a second offer made as late as May 2012 by AWLI corporate counsel to BOA counsel to purchase AWLI and stop the fraudulent foreclosures, BOA once again refused the offer in favor of continuing their enormous fraud. Here is how the fraud is being conducted by BOA on the 3.5 million loans that BOA did not pay a single dime for. Remember these loans were not funded by Countrywide or BOA.
As the loan servicer, BOA makes its own determination that the loan is in default. It notifies the borrower that it will begin foreclosure proceedings. Because of the foreclosure fraud committed during the last 4 years by certain lenders in all 50 states, most states have enacted requirements that the foreclosing lender produce documents attached to the foreclosure documents that prove they are actually the lender.
In the case of these 3.5 million loans, the lender stated on the mortgage or deed of trust is America’s Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation. Because BOA is not affiliated with AWLI, and because AWLI has attempted to stop BOA from committing this fraud in its name, BOA devised a fraudulent scheme where it has MERS execute an assignment that appears to be on behalf of AWLI, which assigns the loan to either Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank, or U.S. Bank NT. Once that fraudulent assignment is recorded, that conspirator bank then attaches it to the foreclosure proceedings to defraud that court into believing it is the true owner of the loan. If a borrower is unable to afford an attorney to represent him in court, he loses his home, which is what BOA counts on.
When diligent attorneys become aware of this fraud, they are usually required to hire a forensic mortgage examiner to expose the fraudulent assignment falsely made in the name of Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation to the conspirator bank. In every case where this fraud is exposed before the foreclosure is completed, the fraudulent assignment is declared void. In a landmark case decided in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in re Eaton, is was stated that “Bank of America cannot foreclose without committing fraud” (see Amicus Brief of Marie McDonnell)
In every case where this fraud was committed to complete a foreclosure, that foreclosure is subject to being voided through appropriate legal action. Even if a borrower has lost his home to foreclosure, has been removed from that home, and now resides somewhere else, if he can afford an attorney, that attorney can most likely expose the fraud, which would make the defrauding banks and MERS liable for severe damages, including treble damages for wrongful or fraudulent foreclosure.
The Attorney General for the State of New York has recovered over 400M from Bank of America stemming from these fraudulent foreclosures. Likewise, he has whacked Bank of New York Mellon and Deutsche Bank for their involvement in this fraudulent scheme.
Under the lending laws of most states, the 3.5 million loans made in the name of Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York corporation, between 2003 and 2007 are not enforceable. The reason behind that is that in each state, a home mortgage lender must have a license to make home loans. There was no license made in the name of Americas Wholesale Lender, Inc. Also, during this time, no such corporation was in existence, therefore no valid loan could be made in the name of a non-existent lender. In all states, if a corporation is not registered with that state, it has no legal capacity to conduct business. That law applies here. Another flaw was that the Mortgage or Deed of Trust named AWLI as the lender, but in some cases the Note named an entirely different party. In those cases, neither the Note or Mortgage was enforceable.
Additionally, neither BOA or Countrywide ever funded any of the 3.5 million loans made in the name of Americas Wholesale Lender, a New York Corporation. In every case, those loans have now been fully repaid by the TARP bailout and the various insurance companies who insured the securitized trusts where the loans were to have been pooled and transferred, but no transfer was ever made. In every case on these 3.5 million loans where an assignment of that loan was made to Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank, or U.S. Bank, NT, any such assignment, in addition to being fraudulent, and made without consideration, was made after the expiration date of the pooling agreement and was made strictly as a litigation tool to cause the appearance of a proper foreclosure. It should also be noted that any such assignment will show to be made immediately prior to foreclosure notices being sent to the borrower, but usually years after the expiration date of the pooling agreement. The enforcement and collection of these loans by BOA means they are being paid twice, and of course, at tax payer’s expense.
As Bank of America escalates this loan and foreclosure fraud against unknowing homeowners, it is putting equal effort in keeping a lid on this enormous fraud. Exposure on a wide scale will not only prevent BOA from continuing to perpetuate this fraud, but it will alert homeowners connected to these 3.5 million loans of their rights to void these loans, to stop fraudulent foreclosures, and provide the ability of already victimized homeowners to seek damages against BOA, Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank and U.S. Bank, NT. It may even be possible to recover all payments made to Bank of America on these fraudulent loans.
As a result of its effort to expose this fraud, AWLI was named in a lawsuit filed against it by Bank of America for trademark infringement. Although BOA is falsely using the name of AWLI to commit fraud, BOA alleges that AWLI is the one who is using Countrywide’s trade name.
Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to align themselves with Countrywide, other thanBankofAmerica.
Hopefully this article will find its way to the 3.5 million homeowners who are paying on void loans, and will allow many other foreclosed homeowners to be made whole. In the very same court that the Countrywide trademark case is being heard, there was a case filed by the U.S. Attorney General against Bank of America and Countrywide which resulted in a consent order and a 335M fine.
Despite that court’s knowledge of Bank of America’s fraud, it has nontheless restrained AWLI from informing the public of this enormous fraud, it has restrained AWLI from informing other courts when B of A and its conspirators file a fraudulent foreclosure, which has effectively allowed B of A to continue this fraud with the apparent blessing of the U.S. Distict Court, Central District of California. The effect is that Bank of America now has an unobstructed path to fraudulently collect billions of dollars from victimized homeowners while it systematically inflicts additional strain on the housing market and our economy, under the protection of the U.S. Court.
If, after reading this, you feel as outraged as you do helpless, there are at least 2 small things you can do. You can get online and send emails to Bank of America to let them you know of their fraud, and insist that they stop. The second thing you can do is send emails to the U.S. District Court, Central District of California and demand that it stop allowing Bank of America to commit this foreclosure fraud.
You can find some of the fines and penalties levied against BOA on the following page.