Katherine Porter’s Dogged Work Helps Get Servicing Standards Implemented in California

By: Wednesday October 3, 2012 8:55 am

Today is the first day that the servicing standards for the foreclosure fraud settlement go into effect.

 

Another Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Scam: Banks Trying to Get Credit for Already Discharged Debt

By: Sunday September 30, 2012 12:55 pm

Though I’m not sure anyone pays attention to them anymore, the President delivered his weekly address this weekend, and it was all about how Congress has to help “responsible” homeowners (because the irresponsible ones deserve nothing, after all they fleeced those responsible banks to get the loan). In the address, President Obama contrasted his approach with a Congress that won’t expand refinancing for underwater borrowers, by saying that his Administration “teamed up with state attorneys general to investigate the terrible way many homeowners were treated, and secured a settlement from the nation’s biggest banks – banks that were bailed out with taxpayer dollars – to help families stay in their homes.”

So what about that? We know from early reports that the bulk of the consumer relief in the first three months of the foreclosure fraud settlement went to short sales, which involve families forced into SELLING their homes, not staying in them. The bulk of these short sales, which amount to a bank waiving the right to seek money from a homeowner who sells a home for less than they owe on their mortgage, occurred in states whose laws bar banks from going after those homeowners anyway.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Update: Checks to Victims, Servicing Standards, Ongoing Lawsuits

By: Friday September 28, 2012 6:00 am

A number of states have announced that they are sending out claim forms to foreclosure victims who are eligible for a one-time cash payment under the foreclosure fraud settlement. $1.5 billion has been earmarked for roughly 750,000 homeowners (depending on takeup) who were foreclosed upon between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, by one of the Big Five servicers in the settlement (Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and GMAC/Ally). The plan is to pay out the claims in mid-2013.

If this works and they get the target of 750,000 responses, then the payout will amount to $2,000 “sorry your home was stolen” checks.

Principal Reduction Tax Time Bomb Generates More Discussion

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:55 pm

About a month ago, I wrote in Salon about a potential time-bomb embedded in the efforts to increase debt relief for mortgages, the expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Finally, some mainstream sources have gotten around to reporting on this, in basically the same way and with even many of the same principals quoted. Jim Puzzanghera writes at the LA Times:

Criminal Prosecutions Not Happening From New Financial Fraud Task Force

By: Monday September 10, 2012 8:37 am

I don’t need a source to tell me that there will be no criminal charges arising from the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities working group, the task force set up to “hold accountable” those financial institutions who crashed the economy through misdeeds in the securitization process. Take only this piece of evidence: all of the subpoenas so far issued by the RMBS working group have been civil in nature, not criminal. That’s about all the evidence I need.

The Democratic Platform’s Dishonest Nonsense on Housing

By: Tuesday September 4, 2012 9:20 am

I gave a qualified decent review to the Democratic Party platform on the deficit and social insurance programs. I cannot come close to doing the same on housing. In fact, the platform plank on this issue is so disingenuous, it makes Paul Ryan’s convention speech look scrupulously honest. I have to go through this 285-word section line by line.

How the Suspension of the Rule of Law Makes for a Worse Economy

By: Saturday September 1, 2012 7:52 am

The Justice Department ended its investigation into the final two cases of suspected CIA torture, both of which resulted in deaths of the detainees (two of the over 100 detainees who have died in US custody). Glenn Greenwald writes eloquently and comprehensively on that as the final immunity given to the crimes committed during the Bush Administration.

And of course, this isn’t the only area. In addition to veritable immunity for those who committed torture in America’s name, we’ve seen veritable immunity for those in the financial sector who committed crimes that led to the crash of our economy.

Media Falling for Short Sale Scam in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

By: Thursday August 30, 2012 9:32 am

A couple other outlets have picked up on my research of the first report from the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, showing that banks have, to this point, paid off practically all of their “punishment” through short sales that they were already pursuing. Yves Smith provides additional context to this point, looking back at the short sale market and finding that it had already outpaced foreclosures late last year.

The Short Sale Scam: Most Going to Non-Recourse States that Bar Deficiency Judgments

By: Wednesday August 29, 2012 12:40 pm

The more I look at this foreclosure fraud settlement report, and the reliance on short sales for the allegedly positive results, the angrier I get. Banks are taking settlement credit for forgiving balances in cases of short sales, but they’re doing that in states where a deficiency judgement would have been illegal.

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