Storm-Washing: The New Bank Ploy to Milk Foreclosure Relief PR In Storm-Wrecked Areas

By: Tuesday November 6, 2012 7:25 am

Ever since Superstorm Sandy, we’ve seen the phenomenon of storm-washing from our finance sector. That’s when banks decide to capitalize on the storm and generate some good PR by offering extended relief to homeowners in the storm’s path.

 

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.

Bank Accountability Advocates Show Up at Geithner’s House

By: Monday May 21, 2012 7:15 am

The protests at the NATO summit in Chicago weren’t the only ones over the weekend. A group of about 1,000 bank accountability advocates drove to the front of Timothy Geithner’s house in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday, and tried to get an impromptu meeting with the Treasury Secretary. There are more actions planned with other regulators.

Donovan Acknowledges Banks Gaming HARP 2.0 to Increase Profits

By: Sunday May 13, 2012 7:00 pm

The design of HARP 2.0 has artificially profited banks at the expense of homeowners. The banks, in a very strange and apparently coordinated manner, have unilaterally decided that they will only perform HARP refis for underwater borrowers on the loans they already service. This eliminates competition for those loans. And the immediate effect of that is higher costs for underwater borrowers, who are trapped and cannot get a refi with anyone but their old servicer. So the servicers raise the interest rates they offer on the refi. In some documented cases, the closing costs, which are almost entirely profit for the bank, are higher than the savings on the refinance.

Dayen’s Roundup from April 10, 2012

By: Wednesday April 11, 2012 6:15 am

Dayen’s news roundup from April 10, 2012, with stories on lawless banking, Trayvon Martin, gun control, JP Morgan, Shaun Donovan, Harold Koh, ALEC, marriage equality, extradition, Ozzie Guillen, Sheldon Adelson, David Cameron and much more.

HUD Secretary Donovan Faces Questions on C-SPAN

By: Sunday April 8, 2012 12:00 pm

I read a rough transcript of this C-SPAN interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and there isn’t a whole lot there that’s all that different from the PR pronouncements he’s made in the past. So this won’t be extensive. I just have a few comments…

Whistleblower Alleges BofA Defrauded Homeowners Using HAMP

By: Thursday March 8, 2012 6:40 am

Fresh off his Daily Show appearance, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that Bank of America will provide additional assistance to homeowners under the as-yet undisclosed foreclosure fraud settlement. BofA will write down to market value, according to Donovan, over 200,000 loans that correspond to certain criteria: if the homeowners are underwater, delinquent by more than 60 days, and saddled with payments that are over a quarter of income, then they must be offered the mod. These are slightly better terms, we are told, than the rest of the settlement (other banks aren’t required to offer mods to everyone who fits the criteria, and they can write down to within 120% of loan-to-value, not market value).

Brookings Estimate: Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Could Only Help Half as Many Borrowers as Promised

By: Friday March 2, 2012 1:30 pm

One thing that I’ve been pointing out is that the best estimate by HUD and other federal and state boosters of the foreclosure fraud settlement is that it will help 1 million underwater borrowers get principal reductions. That represents a little less than 10% of the total underwater borrowers in the country. The latest data on negative equity from CoreLogic shows 11.1 million borrowers underwater at the end of 2011, which represents a whopping 22.8% of all residential properties with a mortgage. By the way, that’s up from 10.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2011.

So even under HUD’s own terms, the settlement won’t put much of a dent in negative equity. But what if HUD’s estimates are too high? What if only half as many borrowers as HUD claims will see relief?

Sham OCC Reviews Found To Be a Sham

By: Saturday February 25, 2012 11:00 am

I mentioned earlier today that Shaun Donovan tried to sell the weak $2,000 pittance provided to foreclosure victims in the recent servicing settlement by saying that the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) reviews still offer the opportunity for individuals who were wrongly foreclosed upon to reap restitution. I scoffed at this because those OCC reviews are widely seen as ineffectual and designed to whitewash the problem, with the banks self-reporting their own reviews through “independent consultants” they hire and pay.

As it turns out, Martin Andelman, with excellent timing, got an insider at Wells Fargo to expose just what a sham these foreclosure reviews are.

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