Recent Items

Wells Fargo Outed as Member of Robo Signer Club

Posted on by

There’s nothing like a bank being shown to be a liar.

I was told yesterday that Wells Fargo has been making the rounds among policy types in DC this week to tell its story that (of course) the foreclosure crisis is overblown. Moreover, Wells reportedly said that it was not like the other major servicers, that it ran a tight shop and hadn’t engaged in the bad practices of other firms, particularly the use of improper affidavits, aka robo signers.

This was a particularly stupid claim to make, since there are depositions which attest to the Wells’ use of robo signers. And in an interesting bit of synchronicity, the Financial Times got hold of one and made it the subject of its lead article today.

The FT story confirms the account we got, that Wells has been maintaining that it didn’t have serious procedural lapses. Hhm, does that mean its legal department is so out to lunch as to not be aware of the damaging deposition, and/or to have failed to do adequate internal checks once the robo signer issue came to the fore? Or more likely, does Wells operate in parallel universe in which the submission of improper affidavits (and more serious lapses that they are probably designed to cure), which is a fraud on the court, is no big deal?

Note also that Wells’ robo signer reports to have signed up to 500 documents a day. This level is coming to look like an industry norm.

From the Financial Times:

The US mortgage foreclosure crisis deepened as it emerged that Wells Fargo may have used practices that prompted rivals to halt home repossessions, and JPMorgan Chase said banks might be fined over the issue.

Bank of America, JPMorgan and GMAC have halted foreclosures after learning that “robo signers” had rubber-stamped thousands of mortgage documents without checking their accuracy…..

Legal documents obtained by the Financial Times suggest that Wells Fargo, the second-largest US mortgage servicer, also used a “robo signer”.

Unlike its rivals, Wells Fargo has not halted foreclosures. The San Francisco-based bank said on Tuesday it was reviewing some pending cases, but it has maintained that it has checks and balances designed to prevent serious procedural lapses.

In a sworn deposition on March 9 seen by the FT, Xee Moua, identified in court documents as a vice-president of loan documentation for Wells, said she signed as many as 500 foreclosure-related papers a day on behalf of the bank.

Ms Moua, who was deposed as part of a foreclosure lawsuit in Palm Beach County, Florida, said that the only information she verified was whether her name and title appeared correctly, according to the document.

Asked whether she checked the accuracy of the principal and interest that Wells claimed the borrower owed – a crucial step in banks’ legal actions to repossess homes – Ms Moua said: “I do not.”

Ms Moua nevertheless signed affidavits that said she had “personal knowledge of the facts regarding the sums of money which are due and owing to Wells Fargo”. The affidavits were used by the bank in foreclosure proceedings.

Print Friendly
Twitter14DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook25LinkedIn0Google+0bufferEmail

81 comments

  1. Ricky Dee

    An email sent to Gonzalo Lira and published in his site (gonzalolira.blogspot.com/2010/10/second-leg-down-of-americas-death.html):

    “A bankruptcy attorney wrote me the following:

    Love your blog and follow it regularly. I was unable to post a comment on your site, so I’m writing you directly. The point you made about a break in title is not entirely accurate. A break in title, generally, simply renders the title still properly in the name of the last proper transferee. The real issue with all of this is the use of MERS as a straw man beneficiary. MERS was created as the functional equivalent of a “John Doe” for purposes of registering the beneficial holder of notes with state property records. This would allow the banks, et al. to shift around the notes amongst the members of MERS without having to re-register the note everytime it was sliced, diced, transferred.

    As set forth in landmark cases like Landmark v. Kesler from the Supreme Court of Kansas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmark_National_Bank_v._Kesler), it is the splitting or bifurcation of the promissory note or mortgage note and mortgage or deed of trust creates an immediate and fatal flaw in title. Thus, your point and prediction are well taken – the powder keg is the potential reclassification of secured (mortgage) debt on one’s home to general unsecured debt, which can be wiped out through bankruptcy.

    Thus, a real risk is that if people can show their home loans are unsecured, you could see massive personal bankruptcy filings to wipe out that debt.

    If you’re interested, you should check out the line of bankruptcy court cases that are adopting this reasoning.

    I’m a commercial bankruptcy attorney in NYC, so I follow this topic with great interest. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on it in future posts. “

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say, and the link you provided is dead. And in any event, the Tanta post would about doing a particular type of affidavit correctly. The Financial Times story is referring to improper affidavits; some may have been lost note affidavits, but they are likely to include other types. The Tanta data point is irrelevant to what we are discussing.

      Jeffrey Stephan of GMAC said in a deposition (which is sworn testimony) that he signed up to 10,000 documents a month, which were mainly affidavits. You can read the full deposition here:

      http://4closurefraud.org/2010/03/22/full-deposition-of-jeffrey-stephan-gmacs-assignment-affidavit-slave-10000-documents-a-month/

      Judy Faber supervised a document team at GMAC, again the testimony refers to thousands of documents a month:

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/09/improper-gmac-affidavits-leading-to-charges-of-document-fabrication-to-change-title.html

      The Financial Times, which had access to the deposition, says the Wells employee signed up to 500 documents a day.

  2. Troubled Loner

    Ricky, no problem, new rules can be created that say that unsecured debt can no longer be erased through bankruptcy. See how easy that is? Problem solved!

    1. Psychoanalystus

      Absolutely! Bankruptcy should only be available to corporations in need of restructuring their employees’ pension plans. So yes, unsecured debt, or any personal dbt at all, should no longer be erased or restructured in bankruptcy court.

      The deadbeats should be made to pay in blood, sweat, and tears. Better yet, we need to bring back debtor’s prison. We need to round up all these subprime losers who deluded themselves into believing they too deserve to own a home, and book them into chaingangs all over this great nation. I say we need to strip them of their civil liberties and sell them into slavery to friendly Southern states. Come to think of it, I could use a little help around the house, so set me up with a few $50 a head slaves.

      I am looking forward to reader comments.

      Psychoanalystus

  3. SA

    Oh now DC will have to do something sweep these problems away — Wells is Warren Buffett’s second largest holding — just as Warren managed to gut any real reform of the RAs that would hurt his holding of Moodys. Warren is a national treasure, as the politicians in his pocket will attest.

  4. Neil D

    Forgive me for skipping past all the gleeful banktser bashing, but what’s the end game? Do the pure and innocent homeowners get to stay in their McMansions rent free because the entire securitization mechanism is hopelessly messed up? Does the FED simply buy up all remaining MBS and fund a massive home mortgage refinance with printed money?

    With the American people poised to hand over control of the House of Representatives to the Tea Party, I hope you aren’t counting on the Obama administration to do anything about our current problem. No problem, you say, the entire government is corrupt anyway. Fair enough, but its not like there is anyone around with the ability to change things. We’re in this war with the government we have and we’re about to render it completely incapable of action. Oh joy.

    Everyone acts as if we put the CEOs of GS, B0fA, JPMChase, Wells, etc in jail and took their TBTF banks over all the problems would be solved. That’s nonsense. Millions of people created this problem with their greed and stupidity. Those of us who refrained from participating in the recent mania are left holding the bag. Renters and people who actually own their homes free and clear are stuck bailing out the greedy lenders and pure and innocent borrowers. Personally, I’m disgusted with all of you.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your comment is warped and a misassignment of blame.

      I’m here telling the public that this problem is a cancer on our legal system, the biggest asset class in the world, and ultimately our society. You don’t like the message, but you don’t substantively disagree with it (except you blame millions, when the fault is the result of a much smaller cohort in the securitization industry, I’d guesstimate mere tens of thousands, which is two full orders of magnitude lower).

      So you shoot the messenger. And you carry on like that’s a productive reaction. You can’t treat a problem until you have a diagnosis.

      And contrary to your bitching, I have mapped out in previous posts general paths down which this problem might go and which seem the least detrimental. But none are pretty. You seem to want a fairy tale outcome. Time to grow up.

      If you don’t like what you read here, go elsewhere. No one is forcing you to read this blog.

      1. Ron

        but what’s the end game? That is a good question and from what point of view, the defaulting homeowners?, Banks? MBS investors? current homeowners not in default? future homebuyers? More is unraveling with this situation then legal technical issues and the possible outcomes seem to be heading for the suspense file!

    2. brazza

      Neil please take care of your upset stomach appropriately. The point is a potential collusion between government and mortgage services companies in the cover-up of forgery and fraud to harm home-owners. Are you suggesting we should sweep this under the carpet, or … flush it down with your waste?

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        The point is a potential collusion between government and mortgage services companies in the cover-up of forgery and fraud to harm home-owners. Are you suggesting we should sweep this under the carpet, or … flush it down with your waste?

        Well phrased.

      2. Neil D

        No I am not. Please, by all means do whatever is necessary to establish clear title to each and every home with a mortgage. If crimes were committed, prosecute the criminals. If homes were foreclosed improperly, compensate the victims. There you go.

    3. Skippy

      Neil I have some spare mental steel wool you can have…you have been lied too since the day your were born, by the very people you loved as they were lied too, by theirs and so on…

      From God Emperors, Feudal Lords, Kings & Queens and yes even your Presidents but, the real problem has aways been currency and who controls it and for what reasons…yours or theirs.

      Skippy…I think nap time is over mate…wakey wakey or were you to busy enjoying your life style thingy…dream time thingy maybe…they want you to go back to sleep..sleep…forget…sleep.

    4. attempter

      Those of us who refrained from participating in the recent mania are left holding the bag. Renters and people who actually own their homes free and clear are stuck bailing out the greedy lenders and pure and innocent borrowers. Personally, I’m disgusted with all of you.

      Assuming every word you say is not a lie, then what’s really disgusting would be the way you, a victim who still apparently has something left (which the banksters are still trying to steal from you), choose to side with the thugs against the victims who are far worse off than you, who have lost far more.

      And as far as your excoriating the greed of others among the non-rich, I think I see what’s going on here. Since you’re so sure about it, then you can only be talking about yourself. You must have had some personal plan to sell high and rot out a parasitic retirement, and now it’s in ruins.

      So rather than blame the con men who snookered you into the ponzi in the first place, or the gangsters who intentionally crashed the whole ponzi (and that’s all you are by your own testimony, a sucker in a ponzi scheme), you blame other suckers.

      Now that’s what I call disgusting. But all too typical of the failure to take personal responsibility.

      BTW, if you get your way and the banksters get away with all this, they’ll be coming back to finish the job with the likes of you who still have something left to steal. Have fun with that.

        1. attempter

          It’s war. To participate at all one has to take a side. You’ve done nothing but side with the banks every step of the way, because you’d rather be a slave who has just a little more than the other slaves than be free but economically equal.

          (That’s actually redundant, though most people still aren’t conscious of this truth. Rough equality of material condition is a prerequisite for freedom. The global history, and certainly American history, of the last 40 years of the destruction of freedom and democracy has been a case study proving that.)

    5. DownSouth

      Neil D said: “Do the pure and innocent homeowners get to stay in their McMansions rent free because the entire securitization mechanism is hopelessly messed up?”

      Here, let me fix that for you:

      Do the pure and innocent banksters get to stay in their $40 million dollar mansions, continue to jet around in their Gulfstreams and buy $100 million dollar artworks, all because the entire securitization mechanism is hopelessly messed up?

      1. Kirk Spencer

        There are two camps. One says it is better that 100 innocents wrongfully suffer than a single guilty escape justice. The other says it is better one guilty escapes justice than 100 innocents wrongfully suffer.

        Neil appears to be in the former. I am in the latter.

        1. Neil D

          Not true. Borrowers who are in default should be foreclosed upon or receive a modification. If a bank or servicer does not have legal standing to foreclose, then something must be worked out. The lack of clear title does not, in my opionion, relieve the borrower of his responsiblity to pay the debt.

          1. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty - Foe of Tyranny

            Um, if they don’t have standing to foreclose then, um… Wait!! Really, I can do it.

            OK. I got it. I’m ready now.

            If they don’t have standing to foreclose then there is no foreclosure.

            If they have no standing to foreclose they also have no right to payments.

            I’d say that works it out.

            Me thinks Neil D you may to bone up on your understanding of the UCC.

          2. attempter

            Even if for the sake of argument I agreed that this responsibility to pay existed in the abstract, to whom exactly could it ever be owed?

            Not to banks, and not to an illegitimate government (once in awhile I see the idea that they should be paying the government as owner of these banks; but government-as-bankster is still nothing but a worthless illegitimate parasite who can never rightfully claim ownership of land).

            So to whom?

      2. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA

        hey Down South:
        Do the pure and innocent banksters get to stay in their $40 million dollar mansions, continue to jet around in their Gulfstreams and buy $100 million dollar artworks, all because the entire securitization mechanism is hopelessly messed up?

        If you think for one second that I’m going to give up my mansion, Gulfstream and art collection, think again. I’ve got a 26 year old debutant trophy wife and gifted narcissistic children in private schools that I need to jet around the the globe so they can spend some quality family time with me on my 190′ yacht.

        You are heartless, however, I am willing to give up a few of my polo ponies, they are kind of old and if you poor people are hungry, you could grind them up. They would make excellent cheese burgers. Yummmm!

        Cheers,

        Econolicious

    6. AndyC

      Neil

      When the highly leveraged positions these entities are gambling on NOW (due to the fact that they were bailed and given more money to gamble with) blow up down the road, we will all wish that they did indeed throw these guys in jail TODAY

      There has to be consequences or they will not behave and if the price is a few Joe Deadbeats get to keep their houses, so be it.

      1. Scott

        Neil–are you a law and order guy? Does it bother you that someone would sign thousands of affidavits stating under penalty of perjury under the state law of _________ that the foregoing facts are true and correct, when they are a complete lie? If not, when is someone supposed to tell the truth?

      2. Neil D

        I have no problem throwing every employee of every bank, real estate agency, real estate law firm, appraisal company, Fannie, Freddie, loan servicing firm, etc in jail. Hmmm – that’s a lot of people.

      3. ZADOOFKA FLORIDA

        ANDY C:

        Rewards are for the rich, consequences are for the poor. And history is written by the rich conquerors. Keep up!

    7. Give Sympathize Control

      “Millions of people created this problem with their greed and stupidity. Those of us who refrained from participating in the recent mania are left holding the bag. Renters and people who actually own their homes free and clear are stuck bailing out the greedy lenders and pure and innocent borrowers.”

      While I agree with you that a not insignificant portion of the borrowers were greedy if not outright fraudulent, the best way to catch them is to catch the lender side first. As Skippy recently said, take out the big guns first and then it’s easy to take out the smaller guns. Catch the banks in their fraud first, and then it will be at least possible to see which borrowers (not just defaulters) have been victims of fraud and which have been guilty of fraudulent activity themselves.

      Also, if allowing the lender side to forge whatever documents they need in order to foreclose is your idea of an acceptable solution (i.e., one that minimizes the pain to those who didn’t participate in the scam), think again. There would be nothing to stop them from forging whatever documents they need in order to “prove” they have a claim to any property in the US. Homes owned free and clear, homes in which the mortgagee has always been current, all would be under threat.

      1. Neil D

        We will never prosecute every case of mortgage fraud. It’s only worth pursuing organized fraud rings. I have no objection to going after the thousands of bank employees who participated in the fraud.

    8. Psychoanalystus

      What happened? Let me guess: you didn’t time the market right. You thought your ATM house would keep increasing in value. You got greedy, and didn’t sell in time. Now, your ARM mortgage is about to double, your unemployment is running out, and your Beemer was repossesed last night. Man, that’s rough.

      But hey, I’m all for noble causes, so I’m willing to offer you free psychotherapy, to at least make you feel better. Just tell me if you want to have the sessions at my California beachhouse, or at my beachhouse in Greece. But I need to make one disclosure: I timed the market really well… no complaints here…

      Cheers,
      Psychoanalystus

      1. Neil D

        I am a renter and have been for most of my adult life. As a psychologist, you should understand mania.

        1. ohmyheck

          Sorry to read about your mania, Neil D, that’s a tough one.

          But I guess you just found out the hard way that one must be very careful about what one posts on this blog.

          For me, it’s best that I just shut up and read. I find it is very worth my effort. Good luck to you.

        2. Psychoanalystus

          Do you mean, you are bipolar? Or, manic-depressive, as it used to be called? There are meds that help when mania is really bad. Milder versions can often be controlled with psychotherapy and a very regimented lifestyle (mainly a well-defined sleep schedule and an elimination of difficult relationships).

          I would be careful about going overboard with the medication, though, especially in the US, where that criminal and corrupt pharmaceutical industry is literally murdering tens of thousands of men, women, and children every year in the name of profits.

          Hope that helps.

          Psychoanalystus

        3. EmilianoZ

          Many great artists were manic depressive. Really I don’t understand this modern urge to cure everything.

  5. attempter

    One of the unsolvable contradictions of this is how the banks’ drive to foreclose contradicts their longer-term interest in propping up housing prices.

    It’s seemed to me that from each bank’s point of view, in a perfect world it would continue foreclosing on its own debtors while the others refrain.

    Sure enough, it looks like Wells is trying to get away with this by concealing its own robosigning practices as long as possible while its competitors have to at least slow down. (It wouldn’t surprise me if the already-caught banks are ratting out the others by now.)

    But of course this can’t work. This news is bound to quickly come out now anywhere it’s true, and it’s hard to see how any banks will be able to maintain their voluntary foreclosure suspension status if a competitor who got caught doing the same thing continues with the same practice in broad daylight.

    So if Wells still refuses to suspend, would the others have to revoke their quasi-suspensions? By that I mean announce something like, “We concluded our review, and found that our practices are fundamentally sound. So we’re lifting the suspension and resuming normal business.”

    1. Doug Terpstra

      And thus, “no honor among thieves” proves the fatal flaw in the reign of social Darwinism.

      1. attempter

        John Robb at Global Guerrillas has often made the point that the only truly universal trait which can be the common currency of globalization is aggressive, sociopathic greed. This anti-value was always its implicit basis, in spite of all the lies of the criminal propagandists. What actual human value could ever hold up under the onslaught of rich psychopathic barbarians who face no barriers to their Hun rampages anywhere they choose to go looting and destroying?

  6. AndyC

    “Or more likely, does Wells operate in parallel universe in which the submission of improper affidavits (and more serious lapses that they are probably designed to cure), which is a fraud on the court, is no big deal?”

    Yes they do, its not a parallel universe however, they operate from an island called Banksterville situated just 30 miles off the coast of Squanderville.

    :)

    1. DownSouth

      The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur. In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them that things in general were going rather wrong…

      But, the comfort was, that all the company at the grand hotel of Monseigneur were perfectly dressed. If the Day of Judgment had only been ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would have been eternally correct. Such frizzling and powdering and sticking up of hair, such delicate complexions artificially preserved and mended, such gallant swords to look at, and such delicate honour to the sense of smell, would surely keep anything going, for ever and ever. The exquisite gentlemen of the finest breeding wore little pendent trinkets that chinked as they languidly moved; these golden fetters rang like precious little bells; and what with that ringing, and with the rustle of silk and brocade and fine linen, there was a flutter in the air that fanned Saint Antoine and his devouring hunger far away.
      –Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

  7. AndyC

    “In a sworn deposition on March 9 seen by the FT, Xee Moua, identified in court documents as a vice-president of loan documentation for Wells, said she signed as many as 500 foreclosure-related papers a day on behalf of the bank.”

    Former hairdresser no doubt, hairdressers can apparently sign documents at a lightning pace, I suspect this is due to muscle memory acquired by using scissors to cut hair for a lengthy period of time.

  8. craazyman

    Unbelievable.

    I have said this before — but thank you to Yves Smith for being enough of an American Patriot (no sentimentality intended, but there seem to be so few out there, especially in postions of power) to follow and publish on this complicated unfolding story.

    So if one of us lies to the court, we get thrown in the slammer for perjury or obstruction of justice.

    But if a bank lies to the court and throws a person out of their house on to the street, then the bank calls it a “procedural issue” that’s really no big deal.

    Where were bank top management in all this? What do these fools get paid to do? To loot? Do they have any idea what their companies are doing? or Are they too busy going to meetings and playing golf and getting profiled in magazine articles about what geniuses they are to really have a clue?

    I have tried to follow the details of all this but frankly I get overwhelmed with legal jargon and process confusion — and I have to work for a living so I can’t read journalism and blogs all day long.

    If there’s an “innocent” explanation that doesn’t imply criminal perjury and obstruction of justice on an institutionalized basis, I’d love to know what it is.

  9. Sufferin' Succotash

    It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….
    F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

    1. Debra

      Good job, Sufferin’ Succotash. I don’t know if you intended that comment as a REPLY to the previous comment, but it replies quite well, I think.
      For years, the U.S. has been a country where anything even resembling social MIXITY is a pipe dream.
      That means that… people don’t know each other, they have no idea how… the other half lives (from both sides, you know) and these days they have precious little imagination for how the other half lives either.
      And it works both ways.
      The people working in the banks, at all levels are not little carbon copies of Adolf Hitler.
      They come home at night and.. KISS their children and tuck them into bed too.
      Over here from the foreign, off the soil perspective it looks like… Americans still get an enormous kick out of playing cops and robbers.
      And that the society is reduced to two polarities : the cops, and the robbers. No room for anybody else. Maybe, victims…
      That sure doesn’t open up much chance for DIVERSITY, there.
      Maybe that’s part of the problem, too ?

      1. Sufferin' Succotash

        I really intended the Fitzgerald quote to complement DownSouth’s passage from A Tale of Two Cities, my point being that we hardly have to go back to ancien regime France to find instances of obscenely-wealthy, short-sighted and destructive behavior–there are better examples much closer to home.
        BTW, I don’t see people who work for banks as being carbon copies of Hitler. They’re far more likely to resemble Fitzgerald’s Tom Buchanan–people who run over and kill other people and never fully realize what they’re doing.

  10. Scott

    If I file a breach of contract action in small claims court and file an affidavit under penalty of perjury that a written contract exists between me and another party, I darn well better be able to produce that written contract. And if I did this 1,000 times in the same court, yet could not produce written contracts when asked, my housing needs would be taken care of for years to come in the big house. Finally, raising the defense that the other guy really owned me the money, so no harm no foul, would not cut it with the small claims judge.

    Perjury is a very serious crime and allowing the banksters to argue around legal requirements applicable to the rest of us got us in the cesspool we now live in. If this mess does not land some high level financial executives in jail for perjury, than we have really lost our moral compass–if one still exists. Civil suits will not due–criminal prosecutions are the only way to salvage this mess.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      From Yves’ FT quote, “…JPMorgan Chase said banks might be fined over the issue.” So there you have it, the banks fear the usual two lashes with a wet noodle. Oh no, don’t throw us into that briar patch!

      As with war crimes and the jailing of Lyndie England for Abu Ghraib, the only likely criminal charges will be brought against the robo-signers like Ms. Moua. Top brass always enjoys plausible deniability.

  11. marcum

    This is just anecdotal. I tried 3 times unsuccessfully to obtain a modification with Wells Fargo. A community organization assisted on the last attempt. My case-worker said the WF folks were always the most uncooperative and least responsive. Funny how my personal experience meshes nicely with WF as the last big player to admit any internal problems.

  12. anonymous (for now)

    Without going into detail, I believe there are also ‘problems’ in Wells Fargo’s short sale department… including the solicitation of bribes by at least some Wells short-sale ‘negotiators’ and real estate agents in order to secure ‘favorable’ prices and terms for potential ‘investors’…

    I believe this will be found to be an area deserving scrutiny.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Wow, what an intriguing comment.
      I watched this housing mess from a completely different angle for about 12 years (off and on), and it took me until about 2006 to realize that it was never about the houses, it was always about the mortgages.

      It took me reading Nomi Prins’ “It Takes A Pillage”, plus Yves’ “Econned” to realize that the reason for the mortgages was the securitizationCasino (see also: Abacus, Magnetar).

      In that context, your comment makes all kinds of sense.

      People in the home construction, commercial construction, finance, and related industries were all in a position to game the system, which appears to have been engineered for this fiasco.

  13. Marcum

    I guess “Neil D” is the punching-bag in this thread. Unfortunately many people share his view and as this all plays out in the media, that narrative will get some traction. I’ve seen it personally as my condo association starts dealing with an increasing number of short-sales and foreclosures in our building, several members seem to share his warped view. There is a sense that “lazy” people are benefiting from the mess (via the 400+ average days people get to stay in their homes during the process). What always baffles me though is that as we watched our home values drop almost 50% in the last 2-3 years the “Neil D’s” don’t see any injustice in THAT. Underwater mortgages are HIGHLY correlated with defaults. Perhaps there is just something in human nature that looks for the easy scapegoat without looking at the big picture. But this mess does have the potential to turn people against each other as I’ve seen in my little building.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      As you say, Neil’s view is quite widespread because public consciousness is not focused by sufficiently widespread pain…yet. Referring to the Tea Party, Matt Taibbi writes,

      “It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever, after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board.”

      1. Neil D

        By the way – I am a liberal and would sooner die than vote for a Republican. In one sense, I am outraged that the promise of the Obama administration is being wasted on having to clean up the messes left by the… by others.

        Hence my anger at… others.

        If Americans are addicted to debt and the evil bankers are the drug dealers why is a tough love intervention so offensive to you?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          I’m guessing you must have a ‘special’ stake in Obama’s political fortunes. Sadly, by having tripled down on all of Bush’s agenda—the same advisors, bailouts, wars, detention, rendition, SHAFTA, dereg, oil drilling, etc.—he now wholly owns this mess.

          But no, I’m not offended at all, just perplexed. I find your worldview strange, and, because it is so common, disturbing. Although I suspect you are mostly ‘playing’ Lucifer’s mouthpiece, it is troubling that the regressive kiss-up/kick-down attitude you exhibit, lumping victims of a sophisticated con in with the perps, is so widespread.

          IMO, that’s a direct result of the greed-is-good social Darwinist gospel that has been hammered into the ill-educated American mind for a generation now by predatory propagandists including economists, think tanks, media, politicos, and Churchian preachers, who use fear, loathing and division as psycho-social control for their own twisted ends. The resulting classism, racism, homophobia, religious bigotry, and xenophobia has served our military-financial complex quite well, but not society or humanity as a whole.

          It’s time for a new paradigm, but you pretend to be stuck.

          (BTW, we’ve also been renters since 2005, and no debt, so we don’t really have a dog in the race, but I still empathize with families being thrown under bridges by financial terrorists.)

        2. attempter

          Why am I not surprised that your chosen metaphor is moralizing the fascist Drug War? Obama, of course, is that kind of fascist too along with every other kind. (It’s funny that you think saying “I won’t vote Republican ever!” gives you credibility. Isn’t that only being halfway to the starting point? And since you’re implicitly saying you’ll still support the Democratic gangsters, that would be confirmation that you’re a pro-bank activist.)

          However, if I cared at all about the Drug War, I’d reserve my moral outrage for the cartels and the government which has a collaborative arrangement with them, not for the street junkie.

          So your own metaphor only further confirms what we’re saying. Why don’t you stop mainlining the Democrat koolaid and stop being a junkie yourself? Get off the toxic “American Dream” juice. Most of all stop smoking the crematoria fumes which induce you to attack the weak rather than the strong who are the enemies of us all.

  14. superdave

    Of course Wells Fargo is involved in the robo-signing fraud business. In fact,a certain Herman John Kennerty [or just John Kennerty] is mentioned all over the internet, and was recently singled out on another website as the robo-signer with the highest number of different titles connected to his mortgage assignment signatures for MERS. He works out of the Ft. Mill S. Carolina offices of Wells and/or America’s Servicing Co. I trust that as this crisis continues, more people will understand the problem with bifurcation as described by Mr. Dees, and understand this affects everyone in the MERS universe,not just those in foreclosure, and that even a cramdown modification does not address the underlying problem

  15. Lisa

    Wells Fargo is DEFINITELY fast-tracking foreclosures! My dad missed 3 payments after paying for 12 years, and they sent him a notice there would be an auction in 30 days!!!!!

    They refused to take any money from him. All summer he tried to pay them, and all summer they said “this is out of our hands” and they would tell him their lawyer was handling the case now. Wells Fargo deleted his account last week (!! even his mortgage which was in good standing, which he never missed a single payment on) and a few days ago they offered him $3000 to voluntarily vacate by October 27th (the same amount of money he was 3 months late on), $1500 to vacate by Nov. 15th and after that, if he does not leave, they will begin eviction procedures.

    here’s the whole story:

    My dad has been living in a house in a New Hampshire for 12 years, he has 2 loans (a mortgage and home equity) and has never been in default until this spring 2010 when he got behind on 3 payments (3 months).

    He then received a letter that there would be an auction in 30 days on August 10th.
    He tried numerous times to get the Well-Fargo to work with him, including offers of payment, and was refused.

    He spent every single day on the phone for 2 months trying to get loan modification, and nothing. He asked for a 30-day extension.

    One day before the auction, and still no word on loan modification or extension, he called the lawyer who said the decision was being waited on by Freddie Mac. My dad called Wells-Fargo who said “Freddie Mac has nothing to do with this”. He called the lawyer back and said “I just got off the phone with Wells-Fargo and they said Freddie Mac has nothing to do with this” and the lawyer called back within 30 minutes and said “You have a 30-day extension”

    A little curious, don’t you think?

    The auctioneer showed up 30 days later – with 3 people interested in the house. The loan that was being foreclosed on was $80,000 (that he was 3 months late on). The second loan which he is current and in good-standing on is $120,000. The house is worth about $300,000 (although the realtor said in today’s market, he could get $150,000).

    So 3 buyers show up, and as the auction was underway, Wells-Fargo showed up and bought back the mortgage.

    We only heard about this because one of the other people attending the auction came to our door to tell us what just happened.

    She said “You’re not going to believe what just happened, your bank your showed up and bought back the loan”

    Since then, we have not heard one single word ever from Wells-Fargo, nor the lawyer, nor the auctioneer.

    If not for that woman who came to our door, we would still be wondering what happened at the auction.

    My dad is still current on his second loan – which in another twist – he was told by a customer representative at Wells-Fargo home equity that their loan was first position, even though my dad thought it was second position. So, there’s something shady going on there.

    Well, he got word from a realtor handling the account of an offer of $3000 to voluntarily vacate by October 27, 2010. They have offered him $3000 re-locating fees (the exact amount he was 3 months late on!!! they won’t work with him to get his loan up to date, but they offer that amount to move out of the house???)

    My dad just called Wells-Fargo to find out about his current loan – the $120,000 – and was told by a phone recording that the account has been closed. ???????????? He no longer exists at Wells-Fargo!!! He never got a letter, no phone call, nothing.

    We have no idea what to do in this situation. Wells-Fargo refused to take money, and now my dad doesn’t even have an account with them.

    3 months late, and he’s being kicked out of a house he’s been paying for 12 years on the mortgage and 5 years on the equity mortgage.

    If they can offer $3000 for relocation fees, how come they can’t work with him?

    Something very shady is going on here.

    1. Fractal

      I was going to reply to the crybaby “Neil D,” but your father’s personal struggle against the criminals from Wells Fargo gives me another chance to agree with what Neil D asked:

      “Everyone acts as if we put the CEOs of GS, B0fA, JPMChase, Wells, etc in jail and took their TBTF banks over all the problems would be solved.”

      I’m good with that. Fine by me. Good start. Step One– put all these brutal mobsters in jail and take back the homes they stole. Step Two– take all of THEIR homes, since they won’t be needing them while in govt custody, and give them to the new homeless Americans victimized by the foreclosure fraud machines.

    2. ZADOOFKA FLORIDA

      TBTF stole all the money out unfunded “trusts” on the way into the housing bubble and paid themselves huge salaries and bonuses. Now they are stealing peoples equity and their homes. TBTF? No, too big to jail.

  16. Neil D

    I can’t imagine why Ms. Smith wants me to stop reading and commenting. Look at all the wonderful feedback I get on my comments. It makes for lively conversation.

    I don’t have time to respond right now to each accusation, but I do appreciate your spirited defense of the poor underwater homeowner. I feel bad for them. Really, I do. I wish our society hadn’t decided that residential real estate was the only measure of self worth in America. I wish our single-minded (pathological?) pursuit of profit hadn’t turned basic shelter into an investment vehicle. But somebody did it. Who did that?

    My mother and father bought their home in 1958 for about $25000. They paid it off long ago and its probably worth $150000 today. They never, to my knowledge, obtained a second mortgage or home equity loan. It never would have occurred to them to do it. Why is it that our generation decided it was OK to extract home equity? Why did we turn residential real estate into a stock you could buy on margin and sell for a profit in a couple of years? Why did we believe that nonsense put out by financial advisers and that nice man down at the bank?

    When, oh when, did we suspend disbelief and start thinking that TV commercials for free money were real? Are we really all that stupid?

    Of course the bankers are evil and should follow the rule of law and due process and all that other wonderful stuff we hold so dear. I am not so venal as to think the bankers should get away with anything, but I can’t stop bad people from exploiting the weak. I can tell the weak where their own actions open themselves up to exploitation. If telling someone they were stupid for buying a house with no money down is a “frothy” real estate market is offensive to you all, then so be it. I would much rather you hate me than buy another house.

    You can’t cheat an honest man.

    1. ohmyheck

      Yes, in your parents day.

      In the past 30-40years, unfortunately, cost of living rose, as it will, but WAGES STAYED FLAT. Instead of having wages to cover costs, TPTB gave us debt to cover costs.

      It is that simple, and has, was and always will be- wrong.

  17. Neil D

    Where did we go wrong? From an NPR story a couple of years ago.

    “The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s; it now stands at 2,349 square feet. Whether it’s a McMansion in a wealthy neighborhood, or a bigger, cheaper house in the exurbs, the move toward ever large homes has been accelerating for years.

    Consider: Back in the 1950s and ’60s, people thought it was normal for a family to have one bathroom, or for two or three growing boys to share a bedroom. Well-off people summered in tiny beach cottages on Cape Cod or off the coast of California. Now, many of those cottages have been replaced with bigger houses. Six-room apartments in cities like New York or Chicago have been combined, because upper-middle-class people now think a six-room apartment is too small. Is it wealth? Is it greed? Or are there more subtle things going on?”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283

  18. Robert Dudek

    “You can’t cheat an honest man.”

    You can if he is stupid enough.

    American society at large is responsible for this mess, but that doesn’t mean that everyone shares equal guilt. On the contrary, there are those who are completely innocent as well as others who deserve the lion-share of blame (i,e, banksters). Then there are all those people in the middle, who, while not blameless, are essentially patsies.

  19. Fractal

    You said “Of course the bankers are evil and should follow the rule of law and due process and all that other wonderful stuff we hold so dear. I am not so venal as to think the bankers should get away with anything, but I can’t stop bad people from exploiting the weak.”

    Yes, You Can!

    Call your state Attorney General’s office and tell them you think “the bankers are evil and should follow the rule of law.” Call your Senators & Member of Congress, tell them the same thing, demand they hold hearings on foreclosure fraud in the lame duck session. Call your local Rush Limbaugh radio station and tell them the same thing. Then we’ll tolerate your other insults.

    Meanwhile, to your question “I wish our single-minded (pathological?) pursuit of profit hadn’t turned basic shelter into an investment vehicle. But somebody did it. Who did that?” the answer is: the money-center commercial banks and investment banks that created CDOs containing RMBS. Read up a little. E.g., Michael Lewis, “The Big Short;” William Cohan, “House of Cards.” former Lehman Bros. trader, “Collosal Failure of Common Sense.”

  20. Steve

    This is a facetious Boo Hoo for everyone in the USA who felt “forced” to borrow from mortgage lenders to buy their homes. The drivel I am reading on this site suggests that all banks are crooked,and that they all prey on the poor citizens of this country.

    From my perspective, too many people borrowed too much money to buy houses they could not afford, because they thought they could enrich themselves with the appreciation in the values of their homes which they could flip or resell in the future for a much higher price. Well, guess what Virgina, unfortunately there is no Santa Claus who will protect us from making bad bets on real estate or the stock market, and losing money as a result. It is also very easy and convenient to scapegoat the banks for losses we incur, but come on folks, take some responsibility for your bad decisions. My home is worth less than what is was two years ago, but I am not crying or trying to find someone to blame. It is the market conditions and the result of many years of atificial escalation in home values that caused this. I am an adult and recognize that the world is not fair, and that I need to continue to pay my mortgage if I want to keep my home. It is really very simple.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      “Well, guess what Virgina, unfortunately there is no Santa Claus who will protect us from making bad bets on real estate or the stock market.”

      Well said. It’s TFB if you’re TBTF. What don’t y’all understand about free markets? Buy your own damn legislator or notary stamp; write your own finreg bills. Sheesh.

  21. goodrich4bk

    First off, no debtor is going to “profit” from requiring banks to follow the law. Second, enforcing the law in these cases means banks and borrowers each get the benefit of the deal they voluntarily made. If the banks follow the law, borrowers get a little time to move out; if not, they get more time at the bank’s expense. Why do some of you think this has anything to do with whether borrowers “deserve” to benefit from the bank’s fraud/negligence? If a girl is raped, do you deny her medical care until you can be certain she is not promiscuous? Do you ask yourself “hey, if she’s really promiscuous, how was she at all damaged?” Do you also believe that it’s not a crime to break the legs of a paralyzed man? To punch out a blind man’s eye? Really, what are you guys smoking?

  22. goodrich4bk

    Neil D, you and I agree that those who played the market — banks and borrowers alike — should live with the market results. I’m against TARP, against QE1, QE2 and QEn, and against all of the Fed’s indirect efforts to artificially inflate housing. If our government does anything at all in this mess it should be making sure that savers are rewarded and borrowers/creditors live with the consequences of their market mistakes. Instead, it is doing the exact opposite.

    That said, there is absolutely nothing libertarian or conservative about looking the other way as banks or borrowers attempt to improve their position through unlawful and fraudulent conduct. To do so is to betray the very foundation of a free society —the rule of law.

    1. Neil D

      And I have never intentionally suggested that we should look the other way. People are mistaking my general distaste for the whole affair as looking the other way. Quite the opposite, I think the entire real estate “industry” and every one attached to it should be tried for treason! But that includes millions of people so my fantasy is not going to be fulfilled.

  23. Darby Shaw

    After we are all done choking on the bones and blood of the wicked (banksters and the like), perhaps we should all self reflect on our collective culpability for this mess as well.

    Last night I recruited family members to the cause of justice and rule of law. We created an email and address list of all 50 AG’s, downloaded more addys for congressmen and senators. Had my brother start writing form letters and emails. Had my nephew start creating a facebook page to raise awareness. Whats next? Who knows? PAC? Blogging, posting, screaming outside at the top of my lungs.

    I was just as guilty as anyone as I am former sub-prime mortgage broker. i was ignorant, selfish and weak, trying to fill the giant black pit in my soul with profit and money. And for what? The irony of losing my home and net worth was nothing compared to picking myself up from the ground, learning to be a decent human being, to get involved, to learn from my mistakes, to be a good and honorable man, to seek salvation through the eyes of my son. Most of all, I learned to care, and in the last few days, I’ve learned to hope as well.

    There is something going on, something bigger than all of us, but everyone who has the time to post here has the time to do something about this. Scream for the truth, demand justice, and fight for equality.

    I made a small differance yesterday. And Im going to make another small differance today. And I am continue untill i make a big one. Its not enough to pontificate the merits of the law, this is a call to for action.

    As I pay for my sins of greed and lust, the more I see others not as deadbeats, losers, bums, nor do I look at people as greedy “banksters”, or pigs deserving of death. I see them all now as human beings, as Americans, as people, no matter how deeply flawed. When this is all over how do we reconcile this nation? With more hate? Even more anger? Why dont we just stone them while we are at it?

    No, there are more core issues at work here than profit, justice, greed and rule of law.

    So rather than anger and hate toward those who would destroy our nation, I think it may be wiser to band together with those who are ready to rebuild it.

    If you all want someone to blame, blame me. I fed into this just as so many others. But I know if I am capable of becoming a good man from the ashes of a monster, than anyone is.

    In no way am I defending or apologizing for this criminal and heinous behavior of the “banksters”, nor am I minimizing the pain and validity of those suffering (and there are so, so many). I’m simply sharing with anyone who cares that I believe that its not enough to point fingers.

    Go out and something about it.

      1. Skippy

        Neil, Neil, Neil….are we done piss farting around having our little tanty yet, because your tirades against your fellow inmates (now inclusive after being called out, of the real miscreants) is deflective and energy dissipating rubbish.

        Get real old boy, both you the *virtuous* savers and the *compliant* aka drinkers of bankster brand kool aid…are screwed at this point in time. Every moment you spend flailing around shakes the cross hairs off the big targets, they are finding_cover_difficult to find these days…eh. So don’t be foolish and give them time to find some whilst you pronounce your dissatisfaction at the smaller game, unless that is your agenda…you do seem to have a bad case of *priority disorder* and at a manic level IMO.

        That said, it is easier to strike at those closest to your proximity rather than the ones behind gated safety and armed patrols…eh…never the less a task /opportunity is at hand, would you miss it, just to extract your pound of flesh, just to satisfy your indignation’s immediacy (not unlike those you decry…I want a house, belong to the American dream, be a real person) NOW!

        Your arguments to date have been superfluous over the easy fixes…why…do you think like kid dynamite, that its always the stupid marks fault IDK…

        —–

        Craazyman whilst_it is_difficult to achieve both a 10 bagger and ascension at the same time, it would seem counter productive to mock an others confession, in recognition of poor choices made drinking the banksters kool aid ie wealth = ascension. As in my case (ex murder under the portent of military service…cough brown people reduction squad) I live every day in regret, hoping that my wife, kids and 4 legged friends tutelage will reduce my debt to humanity.

        Skippy…defective as always…

    1. craazyman

      I am completely innocent and have no role whatsoever in these problems that you describe.

      However, this presents you with a remarkable opportunity for spiritual freedom.

      For three easy payments, to me, an innocent man, of $199 US dollars you can relieve your soul of the guilt and misery that you have accumulated over a lifetime of greed.

      That’s right! For less than $600, redemption can be yours. Right Now! Don’t wait another minute! Our operators are standing by. Call 1-800-FRE-EDOM. That’s 1-800-FRE-EDOM.

      Imagine the relief when the black cloud of self-loathing lifts its burden from your tired shoulders! And all for less than one night at the Strip Club!

      Don’t wait. Call 1-800-FRE-EDOM today, and set yourself free!

      All major credit cards accepted.

      1. Darby Shaw

        Craazyman,

        Fortunately, the “black cloud of self-loathing” has already been lifted. Unfortunately, my general disdain for assholes has not….

        But hey man, if you got a good laugh in, I still made a small difference today.

        1. craazyman

          all in good spirit Darby. I have my own past I have to content with, equally as weighty, although in a different way. I poke fun at myself and at the human condition that we all share. No insult intended.

          1. Darby Shaw

            Craazyman,

            Well I guess there are at least two honest men on this thread ; )

            Thanks for the last reply and the understanding. Im just mad as hell about all of this and I can barely contain it.
            I was a little testy after my emotional outburst, but now I’ve had a good laugh too, and at the end of the day sometimes thats all you can do.

  24. Chris Pasco

    This is getting interesting:

    I found this page on Facebook that is calling for a national moratorium on mortgage payments. Haha this group is calling for a mortgage payment freeze as a way to stand up to the banks. Their calling it a de facto homeowner union for everyone to band together to stop paying a way to gain leverage with banks.

    thoughts? what if this goes viral?

    here is the link:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mortgage-Payment-Freeze/159046070785400

    1. craazyman

      That’s pretty good.

      Two-bit mortgage con grifters, Marxist Revolutionaries and Soccer Moms up to their suburban-hair-salon-perms in McMansion Debt all bedfellows in a common cause.

      ha ha ha hahaha hahah ahahahahah!!!

      We must be nearing the apocalypse. I noticed the Magonians were floating over New York City yesterday in their cloud ship. They’re always a riot. ha ha hahahahahah. I guess they want a first-hand look at the chaos, just for a good laugh.

      1. Bill bailey

        Craazyman,

        What a wonderfully well thought out observation! I wonder if Agobard shares your views….

  25. Fraud Guy

    I keep remembering that these banks had Risk Management people who helped them weigh the costs of compliance against the risk of loss, lawsuits, and criminal penalties, and they then decided to break the law, repeatedly.

    1. Risk Management sucks.
    2. They chose this path, let’s help them along.

Comments are closed.