big banks

Do You Know Who Owns Your Congressional Representative?

Bloomberg has yet another stunning revelation that Tea Party Congressional members are being funded heavily by the Banksters.

Tea Party favorites such as Stephen Fincher of Tennessee were swept into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks.

Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues.

Harry's Law Takes On Bank Bail Outs, Channels OWS

This evening's episode of Harry's Law literally takes on the banks and uses the show, as a Populist soapbox. The plot contrasts how a homeless, foreclosed on, single mother, turned bank robber, gets 20 years, yet if one is incorporated and has lobbyists, then one gets $7.7 trillion in Federal Reserve loans. The episode is below.


Happy Bank Transfer Day!

Happy Bank Transfer Day!

bank transfer day
Otherwise known as - you're charging me 22% credit card interest when I have a FICO score above 750 and no missed payments? Seriously?

Today has been declared bank transfer day. A nationwide consumer call to action to pull money from Too Big To Fail, derivative ridden, foreclosure fraud laden, fee crazed, bail out happy, offshore outsourcing our jobs, banks.

Credit Unions are rejoicing and celebrating the event. From a Credit Union National Association, press release:

At least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions in the past four weeks

This represents $4.5 billion in deposit transfers to credit unions. The online banks and smaller banks probably have similar amounts in transfers.

The Federal Reserve statistics on money stocks show fed up customers have a long way to go to make a serious dent on commercial banks. Savings deposits at commercial banks are about $5 trillion whereas credit unions, thrifts are about a trillion. Checking accounts and the like are a little more even, with about $237 billion at commercial banks and $177 billion at credit unions, savings and loans. Growing the credit unions, smaller financial institutions that actually give the consumer a good deal, loan, invest in the real U.S. economy and hire Americans ....well, let's just say ya gotta start somewhere.

Beyond ForeclosureGate - It Gets Uglier

Michael Collins

The ForeclosureGate scandal poses a threat to Wall Street, the big banks, and the political establishment. If the public ever gets a complete picture of the personal, financial, and legal assault on citizens at their most vulnerable, the outrage will be endless. (Image)

Foreclosure practices lift the veil on a broader set of interlocking efforts to exploit those hardest hit by the endless economic hard times, citizens who become financially desperate due medical conditions. A 2007 study found that medical expenses or income losses related to medical crises among bankruptcy filers or family members triggered 62% of bankruptcies. There is no underground conspiracy. The facts are in plain sight.

MERS Leaves the Field

By Numerian
How the banks could inflict such damage on the country’s home title and mortgage registry system would take another investigation by Congress to determine – assuming Congress was interested.
The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems company (known as MERS), which has been at the center of legal problems affecting the securitization of home mortgages and foreclosures, has given up one of its principal corporate objectives. It is now instructing its members to cease foreclosing on residential properties in the name of MERS, and to begin immediately to register all assignments of mortgages with local county recorders of deeds. (Image)

The whole purpose of MERS when it was established in 1996 was to by-pass the county recording process, and the billions of dollars of fees that banks and mortgage companies would have had to pay to comply with state and local real estate laws. MERS operated on a legal assumption that it could have its cake and eat it too, by acting as an agent for its member banks in their real estate transactions, but also acting if necessary as a principal in its own name when it came to assigning mortgages and foreclosing on properties.

Deadbeats Bush and Gingrich Say "States Better Off Bankrupt"

Michael Collins


Not if a state owes you money!

Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich just published an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times arguing that states would be wise to consider filing bankruptcy to relieve their financial troubles.  They cite three states, California, Illinois and New York, while failing to mention the angry elephant in the living room with similar problems, Texas.

Texas faces a $25 billion shortfall for a $95 billion two-year budget.  That equals California's 18-month deficit inherited by the recently inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown.

"So why haven't we heard more about Texas, one of the most important economy's in America? Well, it's because it doesn't fit the script. It's a pro-business, lean-spending, no-union state. You can't fit it into a nice storyline, so it's ignored," said Business Insider

Texas is a major inconvenience to Bush and Gingrich. They lay the financial problems at the door of unions and state employee pensions:

"The lucrative pay and benefits packages [read pensions] that government employee unions have received from obliging politicians over the years are perhaps the most significant hurdles for many states trying to restore fiscal health."  Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich, January 27

Apocalypse When? Decline and Fall (Maybe) January 17, 2011

Michael Collins

For at least ten years the large US banks have been selling a product – the residential home mortgage – with a fatal legal flaw that renders it uncollateralized. Numerian

boston may benot
Apocalypse When? Round Up of Massachusetts Supreme Court Decision on ForeclosureGate, US Bank N.A. v Ibanez - Around 1995, the big bank lenders established their own rules for handling the various steps of issuing a mortgage. They knew well the contract laws of the states in which they operated. But they had bigger plans. They wanted to bundle up thousands of mortgages and sell them as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). To do that, they needed an electronic system (MERS) that could bundle mortgages and sell them repeatedly to investors here and overseas. Never mind that state law required specific documentation at every step, including documentation to prove a specific owner of the property. When banks resold the MBS product, as it were, they were interested in churn and more money, not tagging a specific mortgage with the latest MBS owner.

Oops! The big banks screwed up big time. Bankruptcy courts at the state and federal level are used to adherence to contract law and court rulings. Most people in foreclosure struggle to pay for representation if they go to court. Many settle out of court. But the Show Me the Note movement, in and out of court, has a powerful ally - the Ibanez decision.

Where's The Note? Shock and Awe for Big Banks


Michael Collins

Big banks have stopped foreclosures in 23 states due to legal challenges to their ownership of mortgage notes. On Wednesday, JP Morgan upped their total to 41 states in which foreclosure operations had ceased.

Why the halt in foreclosures? It seems that the banks have ignored long established state property and title procedures and may not actually own the title to the homes subject to foreclosure (and others subject to the same procedures).

Calculated Risk quoted a JP Morgan spokesman saying,

"We've identified issues relating to the mortgage foreclosure affidavits and those include signers not having personally reviewed the underlying loan files but instead having relied upon the work of others. … And there are circumstances where affidavits have not been properly notarized" Oct. 13.

Failing to "personally review" loan documents means that asserting that the review took place was perjury. This happened for countless mortgages. Failing to properly notarize mortgage signatures violates state property law. It could also be seen as negligence by investors in the mortgages.

ForclosureGate and Real Estate Armageddon

Michael Collins

I wrote the story below in response to an outrageous trick Congress just tried to play on the public. As many of you know, the Senate passed 0/congress/bills/111/hr3808/text">HR 3808 The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010 unanimously on September 27. The bill was a carefully crafted, stealth "silver bullet" for the big banks to deal with their increasing legal problems with foreclosures. President Obama exercised a "pocket veto," which means he let it die after Congress adjourned. (Image)

While my story focused on the process and contempt shown to citizens by Congress in that process, I became aware of a much broader issue. We may well be on the verge of a real estate value meltdown as a result of very bad behavior, illegal in many cases, by the big banks combined with the legitimate push back of mortgage holders.

If banks can't foreclose and people can do a strategic default and walk away (0r live free in their residence), what will happen to real estate values?

The larger question emerged in reviewing bank bad behavior.

If there are fundamental flaws in many, maybe most mortgage, flaws of a serious legal nature, what if a strategic default movement spreads beyond just those facing foreclosure? That's where Armageddon comes in