For readers of Naked Capitalism and any of the foreclosure-related blogs, this 60 Minutes report covers familiar ground. However, the fact that the story is coming now shows that even with bank efforts to pretend that there is nothing to see here, in fact the problems are widespread and difficult to solve. This segment, as highlighted in the text advanced release last Friday, includes a discussion of DocX and the practice of using “surrogate signers“, which are temps signing….in the name of robosigners! Having robosigners relying on corporate authorizations wasn’t low cost enough, apparently. Rather than take the time and effort to have more robosigners authorized (which is already not kosher, as we know, since the robosigners were attesting to have personal knowledge when they clearly didn’t), they went beyond providing bogus affidavits to having workers engage in forgery.
It also showed the work of NACA, but didn’t provide the most crisp description of the NACA process and how it addresses servicer bottlenecks (see here for more details). But it does feature Lynn Szymoniak and the procedures of the now-shuttered DocX, the infamous document fabricating subsidiary of LPS.
So consider this an interesting view of the state of play. The MSM is willing to cover practices that banks have been forced to admit they engage in and they claim to be cleaning up. This is helpful in terms of public outrage, as in validating the charges made on specialist blogs for blogs for more than two years, but is still far from the hot button issues now, such as servicer-driven fraud or chain of title problems.
One aspect that is distressing is that per her remarks in this clip, Sheila Bair does not appear to understand or worse, understands but is not willing to admit the seriousness of the chain of title issues. Often, the banks botched the transfer process in such a fundamental manner that retroactive fixes are not possible. This isn’t a matter of “if the banks spend enough time, they can prove the trust they are acting for owns the note” as Bair contends. It’s that in many cases the note didn’t get to the trust as stipulated, and the trust doesn’t have the ability under New York law, which governs virtually all of these trusts, to accept it now. A party earlier in the securitization chain is typically the owner, but no one wants that party to foreclose, since it would confirm the failure to handle the assignment of the note properly.