Monday, October 11, 2010

Who Has The Title?

Someone threw a book at Obama during a rally to raise morale among Democrats. Does any one know what the title of the book is?

Which brings us to another question about titles. This time the titles in question are the documents that prove ownership. It seems that with the slicing and dicing of mortgages clear title is rather unclear.

Evidently when people are in a hurry they make mistakes.

Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.

The move adds the nation's largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.
Didn't read the paperwork? I thought it was Congress' job to avoid reading the paperwork. In theory banks are supposed to be held to a higher standard.

One cause of the problem is that banks relied on one company to do all the work and they weren't up to the job. Kind of like the Democrats in Congress.
Some of the nation's largest mortgage companies used a single document processor who said he signed off on foreclosures without having read the paperwork - an admission that may open the door for homeowners across the country to challenge foreclosure proceedings.

The legal predicament compelled Ally Financial, the nation's fourth-largest home lender, to halt evictions of homeowners in 23 states this week. Now it appears hundreds of other companies, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may also be affected because they use Ally to service their loans.

As head of Ally's foreclosure document processing team, 41-year-old Jeffrey Stephan was required to review cases to make sure the proceedings were legally justified and the information was accurate. He was also required to sign the documents in the presence of a notary.

In a sworn deposition, he testified that he did neither.

The reason may be the sheer volume of the documents he had to hand-sign: 10,000 a month. Stephan had been at that job for five years.
Let me see. that would be 10,000 times 60. Or about 600,000 mortgages. See? Unlike the Democrats in Government I can do numbahs.

Well this may be a case where Obama did the right thing.
President Obama stepped into a growing political furor over the nation's troubled foreclosure system Thursday by vetoing a little-known bill that critics say would have made it easier to evict homeowners who missed their payments.

The decision to block the measure, which Congress passed without debate, came as members of the president's own party have urged the administration and federal regulators to more actively address the crisis over flawed foreclosures.

Meanwhile, attorneys general from about 40 states vowed to band together to investigate reports of fraudulent documents and of banks seizing property without having clear ownership of the mortgages.

At least 10 states - with Iowa and Delaware being the latest - are seeking to expand a voluntary freeze on foreclosures by some of the nation's largest mortgage lenders to include more companies and more regions. And calls have increased for a nationwide moratorium - a move that could deal a blow to the earnings of big banks and grind to a halt the sale of millions of properties in foreclosure.

In the middle of a heated election season, a growing number of politicians have been eager to weigh in on the matter - and are taking pains to rebuke the financial institutions at the core of the controversy.
Evidently the reason for the veto is that there are more home owner voters than banker voters.

And the central problem? Bankers created new "security" instruments while bypassing the safeguards meant to prevent fraud in the real estate market. Then they sliced and diced the mortgages. You could buy the income from the interest on the mortgage. Or you could buy the income stream from the repayment of capital. And probably other things I'm not even aware of (I'm an engineer - not a banker). And the income streams from many mortgages were bundled together and sold as "securities". And every time the securities changed hands the title got cloudier. And at this point it is not exactly clear who owns what.

And that is causing problems for title insurance companies.
Sales of foreclosed properties, already stalled by mounting evidence of widespread flawed documentation practices by lenders and attorneys, may hit another roadblock: New buyers might not be able to get the title insurance required for a mortgage.

New House Title, owned by a large Tampa foreclosure law firm under state investigation, this week denied coverage for a 2009 Deerfield Beach condo foreclosure that its own attorneys had handled, citing potentially defective court filings.

The New York Times last week also claimed Old Republic National Title, the fourth largest title insurer in the country, had sent a memo to its agents in some states saying the company would not cover homes foreclosed on by JPMorgan Chase until "objectionable issues have been resolved." Earlier, the company had taken the same stand on homes foreclosed by GMAC Mortgage, now owned by Ally Bank.
All I can say is that if I designed airplanes they way these bankers handled their obligations, no one would dare step foot on an aircraft.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

No comments: