It’s rare that I’ll put forward an optimistic post about a mid-level federal agency hire. But that’s what I’m about to do. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just hired the man who knows more about MERS – and their deficiencies – than perhaps anyone in the country. University of Utah Law Professor Christopher Peterson will join the bureau.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday March 14, 2012 6:00 pm|
While Eric Schneiderman’s MERS lawsuit mostly crashed and burned, another suit against the electronic registry, filed just yesterday, appears to have more determination behind it. Jeff Thigpen, the register of deeds for Guilford County, North Carolina, sued MERS, the document processing company Lender Processing Services and several banks and loan servicers, using as evidence the contents of his register of deeds’ office.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday March 14, 2012 7:00 am|
A suit by Eric Schneiderman against MERS and three banks who used MERS was supposed to be carved out the larger settlement. It was unclear how you could allege the banks’ deceptive use of MERS led to the creation of false documents, and still release the banks on foreclosure fraud claims. You can’t. Schneiderman just settled the MERS suit with the three banks and two others, for a measly $25 million. And the Delaware and Massachusetts suits against MERS were folded into it as well.
|By: masaccio Sunday March 4, 2012 10:30 am|
Please keep sending me those e-mails, but don’t get hurt feelings if I don’t respond. And good luck with that re-election thing.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday February 29, 2012 9:00 am|
It’s embarrassing that the most information we’ve yet received about the foreclosure fraud settlement comes from an annual report to stockholders by Wells Fargo. In other words, we had to wait for the banks to tell us what was in the settlement. Here are some of the details . . .
|By: David Dayen Monday February 20, 2012 8:00 am|
More reactions from last week’s revelation from San Francisco Recorder-Assessor Phil Ting, that an overwhelming percentage of foreclosure documents he reviewed were found to be at least partially flawed. The two members of Congress who represent San Francisco want Attorney General Eric Holder to convene an investigation. That consists of Jackie Speier and the Minority Leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
|By: David Dayen Friday February 17, 2012 11:00 am|
In the aftermath of the foreclosure fraud settlement, and as we look ahead to the working group on securities fraud co-chaired by Eric Schneiderman, one of the best people to look to for answers on how this whole thing could have gone – how it could still go – is William K. Black. The author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, and a central figure in exposing fraud among both financial executives and members of Congress during the S&L scandal, Black has been relentless on exposing the lax nature of regulation and prosecution during the past decade and more. His latest scoffed at the new task force on securitization fraud.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 16, 2012 7:51 am|
Yesterday, the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder, Phil Ting, released the results of a cursory review of foreclosure documents, finding widespread irregularities in the vast majority of them. The documents included foreclosures from 2011, after the point at which the banks allegedly “fixed” their foreclosure document problems.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 6:31 pm|
So here’s one lagging mystery about the foreclosure fraud settlement: what becomes of Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley’s lawsuit against five banks over deceptive practices and illegal foreclosures? Now we know.
|By: David Dayen Thursday February 9, 2012 5:30 am|
This settlement arises from multiple abuses found in the servicing of loans and the foreclosure process over the past several years. At the height of the housing bubble, banks sliced and diced mortgages and traded them with little regard for the rules following land recording or securitization to such a sloppy extent that they lost track of the true owner on potentially millions of homes.
To cover up for this massive failure, banks and their servicing units have been found to have routinely forged, back-dated and fabricated documents at county recorder offices and state courts across the country. Furthermore, they employed “robo-signers,” who signed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of documents and affidavits without any knowledge of the underlying mortgages. In addition, investigations uncovered massive servicing abuses, including illegal fees charged to borrowers, putting borrowers into foreclosure at the same time as they were working out loan modifications, failing to honor previous settlements where promises were made on modifications, and countless other errors that maximized servicer profits and gouged homeowners.
There are also cases of wrongful foreclosures where homeowners have been turned out of their homes without just cause, and servicer-driven foreclosures, where servicers illegally added late fees and applied payments inaccurately, pushing the homeowner into foreclosure. This is but a smattering of the examples of foreclosure fraud and servicer abuse found in a series of interlocking investigations, court depositions, reviews of documents in registers of deeds offices, and homeowner testimonials.