Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Two major lenders at the center of the foreclosure crisis took steps Monday to put the mess behind them by restarting home seizures that were frozen by documentation concerns.
Weitz – no surprise there. As we’ve said – they’d “investigate” and find no problems.
Bank of America Corp. reopened more than 100,000 foreclosure actions, declaring that it had found no significant problems in its procedures for seizing homes. GMAC Mortgage, a lender and loan servicer, said that it also is pushing ahead with an unspecified number of foreclosures that came under intense pressure.
Bank of America prepared to restart 102,000 pending foreclosure actions where court approval is required, applying new signatures to documents in 23 states.
Monday's moves are part of a growing counterattack by lenders scrambling to stem a financial and political threat over allegations that certain employees signed hundreds of documents a day without carefully reviewing their contents when foreclosing on homes.
Weitz- signatures are not the issue here. The problem is the MERS issue, and the fraud issues.
Bank of America, the nation's largest bank in assets, which imposed on Oct. 8 a nationwide moratorium on the sale of foreclosed homes, said it has begun preparing new affidavits for pending foreclosures in 23 states where a judge's approval is required. The paperwork will be submitted to courts by next Monday, and foreclosure sales will resume in those states starting in November, according to the bank. "This is an important first step in debunking speculation that the mortgage market is severely flawed," said Bank of America spokesman James Mahoney. More details will be disclosed when the company reports quarterly results Tuesday.
Weitz – haha. Thanks James…if you say so!!
Citigroup Inc. Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said the bank has found no reason to halt foreclosures, calling its internal procedures "sound." "We have not identified any system issues," he said Monday.
Weitz – how about the fraud you committed when you sold these loans to fannie and freddie (ie. Taxpayers) and assured they met quality standards?
Restarting the nation's foreclosure machine puts the lenders on a collision course with state attorneys general, who announced last week a nationwide investigation of foreclosure practices. Some state officials have been pushing for a wider halt to foreclosure sales, but Bank of America's moves show determination by at least some lenders to get back to business while the investigation proceeds.
A Bank of America spokesman said the bank has found "no cases" thus far of foreclosures that should not have "gone through." Last week, James Dimon, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chairman and chief executive, said that no one has been "evicted out of a home who shouldn't have been."
Weitz – for the most part, this is probably true – but they are hiding the ball for the larger issues of fraud in the origination and securitization processes.
Some attorneys general said they have little confidence that problems with foreclosures have been fixed. "We've been in discussions with some of the major servicers, and as part of that they've assured us that they are fixing this problem, but we're not just going to take their word for it," said Patrick Madigan, a spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
Weitz – I commend the AGs, but I’d like to see less talk and more action on the real issues.
It will be hard for lenders to declare the foreclosure crisis over and get back to business as usual. Bondholders are escalating efforts to recover losses on soured mortgage-bond deals containing loans with flawed paperwork. (Weitz – DING DING!!!....the context is wrong in this article... The fraud existed in the origination and securitization process)....but this is the BIG ENCHILADA!!..if the bond holders sue and force the banks to take back these fraudulent loans, it will cripple many of the banks Meanwhile, federal banking regulators are assigning additional employees to an ongoing review of large mortgage-servicing operations, according to people familiar with the situation. Officials want to make sure that documentation procedures are being followed and companies are meeting all legal foreclosure requirements.
Bank stocks surged Monday as investors reassessed last week's outlook for the cost of the foreclosure mess. Citigroup shares jumped 23 cents, or 5.8%, to $4.18 a share in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 4 p.m., on better-than-expected earnings. Bank of America rose 36 cents, or 3%, to $12.34, while J.P. Morgan was up $1.05, or 2.8%, to $38.20.
Weitz – I’m no financial analyst, but I’d highly recommend taking profits if you own the stock of these institutions. They are, for the most part, black boxes…no one outside of these companies truly knows their financial situation because of the legalized accounting fraud I often refer to.
Bank of America is the only major U.S. bank that announced a halt to all foreclosure sales while it reviewed documents for errors. Bank officials say they're readying new affidavits for 102,000 pending foreclosure actions.
A company spokesman said the largest investors in mortgages serviced by Bank of America have signed off on the new timetable. The bank will continue delaying foreclosure sales in the 27 states where court approval isn't required until a review is completed "on a state by state basis." The bank expects delays on fewer than 30,000 foreclosure sales nationwide.
GMAC, a unit of Ally Financial Inc., declined to comment on the number of foreclosures it has reviewed so far, but said they included loans with affidavits signed by employee Jeffrey Stephan. His testimony in a deposition that he signed 10,000 foreclosure affidavits a month without reviewing the underlying documentation led GMAC to halt evictions in 23 states last month while it scrutinized its procedures.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who last week filed a lawsuit against GMAC alleging hundreds of counts of fraud related to foreclosure documents, said he is suspicious of efforts to replace paperwork. "Substituting new evidence in [cases] where there's been fraud won't help prevent the court from sanctioning them for the fraud that has already been committed," he said. "It doesn't unring the bell."
Weitz – if the banks committed fraud, the penalties should be severe, but it does not prevent an eventual foreclosure. The real issues are not falsifying documents. I’m sure they exist, but they are rare (especially in non-judicial foreclosure states like Washington).
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at 5:37 PM