Monday, December 31, 2012

Attorneys General National Mortgage Settlement, Independent Foreclosure Review a Failure to Victims

By Carlos Marroquin
December 31, 2012

Remember the 50 State Attorney General Mortgage Fraud Settlement?  Well, as we all know it did nothing for the victims.  Here in California, the hardest hit State received a record $18 Billion settlement.  We are still asking, "Where is the money for the victims?".  Homeowners who lost their homes are receiving letters with a $840.00 offer.  NOT KIDDING! This is an insult to the victims who lost their homes.

In April 2011, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency moved forward with the so called "Independent Foreclosure Review", a process of reviewing thousands of foreclosure cases for errors and to compensate victims for the fraud committed by their banks.  Sounds good so far, right?  The program has been a bucket of questions about the process fairness, transparency and integrity. 

We are now learning that banks may be pulling out of the Review. The OCC, Federal Reserve and banks are talking about a possible $10 Billion settlement. 

We know that the National A.G. $26 Billion settlement and now the Independent Foreclosure Review are a big failure and cover up for the banks.  Tens of investigations have been conducted by different groups, both Government and public and they all come with the same results, major fraud by the banks.  Just one example, in San Francisco California, the County Assessor examined files of properties subject to foreclosures sales from 2008 to 2011.  In the report,  it appeared that 84%  of the files had violations of the law and fully two thirds had at least four violations or irregularities.

If the OCC and the Federal Reserve decides to settle with the banks, it will go down as another cover up and slap in the wrist for those who committed the "Crime of the Century".  The IFR is another fraudulent scam to try to make the American people think that the overseers of the banks are doing something about the fraud.  IT IS NOTHING BUT A JOKE!  Once again, the banks are controlling the Gov. and their Agencies.

 “We think if the reviews were done right, the payouts would have been significantly higher than they appear to be under this settlement,” said Alys Cohen, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “The regulators will have abdicated their responsibility if the banks end up getting off the hook easily and cheaply.”

Homeowners  (the victims) will  continue to wait and hope that someone out there has the ....... to stand up to the banksters and stop the financial terrorism against our families.  "Like victims of violent crimes, we will not have closure until the criminals are brought to justice".

Related links:

Flawed From the Start, Independent Foreclosure Review, Another Failure for Victimized Homeowners

By Ben Hallman,
Huffington Post

The surprising decision by regulators to scrap a massive and expensive foreclosure review program in favor of a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks -- reported by The New York Times Sunday night -- came after a year of mounting concerns about the independence and effectiveness of the controversial program.

The program, known as the Independent Foreclosure Review, was supposed to give homeowners who believe that their bank made a mistake in handling their foreclosure an opportunity for a neutral third party to review the claim. It's not clear what factors led banking regulators to abandon the program in favor of a settlement, but the final straw may have been a pending report by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, which was investigating the review program.

Rep. Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat, told The Huffington Post that the report, which has not been released, was "critical" and that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which administers the review, was aware of its findings. Miller said that that one problem the GAO was likely to highlight was an "unacceptably high" error rate of 11 percent in a sampling of bank loan files.

The sample files were chosen at random by the banks from their broader pool of foreclosed homeowners, who had not necessarily applied for relief. The data suggests that of the 4 million families who lost their homes to foreclosure since the housing crash, more than 400,000 had some bank-caused problem in their loan file. It also suggests that many thousands of those who could have applied for relief didn't -- because they weren't aware of the review, or weren't aware that their bank had made a mistake. Some of these mistakes pushed homeowners into foreclosure who otherwise could have afforded to keep their homes.

Miller said the news that a settlement to replace the review was in the works caught him by surprise, and stressed that he had no way of knowing whether the impending GAO report had triggered the decision.

It's not clear what will happen to the 250,000 homeowners who have already applied to the Independent Foreclosure Review for relief. The Times, citing people familiar with the negotiations, said that a deal between the banks and banking regulators, led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, could be reached by the end of the week. It wasn't clear how that money would be distributed or how many current and former homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure -- or who were hit with an unnecessary fee -- might qualify.

Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the OCC, which administers the program, declined to comment on the Times' story. Hubbard told HuffPost, "The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is committed to ensuring the Independent Foreclosure Review proceeds efficiently and to ensuring harmed borrowers are compensated as quickly as possible."

Since the housing market crashed in 2007, thousands of foreclosed homeowners have complained that their mortgage company made a mistake in the management of their home loan, such as foreclosing on someone making payments on a loan modification plan. The Independent Foreclosure Review emerged from a legal agreement in April 2011 between 14 mortgage companies and bank regulators over these abusive "servicing" practices. It was supposed to give homeowners an opportunity to have an unbiased third party review their foreclosure and determine whether they might qualify for a cash payout of up to $125,000.

The initial response was tepid, at best. Homeowners and advocates complained that the application forms were confusing and that information about what type of compensation they might get was missing. Some told HuffPost that they were so disillusioned by the federal government's anemic response to widely reported bank errors that they weren't going to bother to apply.

In one instance, Daniel Casper, an Illinois wedding videographer, applied to the program in January after years of combat with Bank of America over his home loan. As The Huffington Post reported in October, he was initially rejected, because, according to the bank, his mortgage was not in the foreclosure process during the eligible review period. Promontory Financial Group, which Bank of America hired to review his loan, apparently did not double check Bank of America's analysis against the extensive documentation that Chase submitted. That documentation clearly showed that his loan was eligible for review.

In recent months ProPublica, an investigative nonprofit, has issued a series of damning articles about the Independent Foreclosure Review. The most recent found that supposedly independent third-party reviewers looking over Bank of America loan files were given the "correct" answers in advance by the bank. These reviewers could override the answers, but they weren't starting from a blank slate.

Banks, if they did not find a "compensable error," did not have to pay anything, giving them a strong incentive to find no flaws with their own work.

"It was flawed from the start," Miller said of the review program. "There was an inherent conflict of interest by just about everyone involved."

Occupy Fights Foreclosures Denounces the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Handling of Independent Foreclosure Review Program

Occupy Fights Foreclosures demands the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency extend its application deadline for independent foreclosure review

December 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES - The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has failed those who have been financially devastated due to wrongful foreclosures by mortgage lenders and servicers.  The Independent Foreclosure Review process announced in April, 2011 grew out of an OCC enforcement action against the abusive mortgage lending and foreclosure practices of the 14 largest banks and servicers. In order to be considered for financial compensation following the loss of their home, applicants were to complete a report with details about how the bank handled their foreclosure process.

With the December 31st deadline looming, Occupy Fights Foreclosures argues the OCC did not properly notify the public and advertise the program. Many homeowners had no idea that the review process was available to them even though these homeowners were desperately working with government agencies, law firms, and community advocacy groups to recover some of their losses. Why hadn’t the OCC properly publicized the program to reach people who had lost their homes?

The review process is also inherently discriminatory. The applicant must print out the form from an internet website, which makes access to the review impossible for those who lack the resources for computer access.

Given the OCC’s mishandling of the Independent Foreclosure Review program, Occupy Fights Foreclosures requests that the application deadline be extended and that the OCC address the other problems of access explained above.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bank of America Breaks Holiday Promise, Occupy Help Single Mom Return to Home for The Holidays, Vows to Fight Back

Occupy LA Activists, Occupy Fights Foreclosures help Single Mom Return to Foreclosed Home for the Holidays and Promise to Fight Wrongful Foreclosure and Eviction by Bank of America.

December 25, 2012

Los Angeles -  Bank of America did not specify dates on which it will halt foreclosures, but spokesman Rick Simon said in an email, "it is the bank's policy to avoid foreclosure sales or displacement of homeowners or tenants during and around the Christmas holiday."

On December 23rd, members of Occupy Fights Foreclosures and community supporters moved Soledad Corona along with her daughter back into their foreclosed home. "In early October I reached out to Bank of America regarding the Corona's case and have been given the round-around by Bank of America officials", says Carlos Marroquin, a homeowner activist from Occupy Fights Foreclosures, " I called Bank of America immediately after the eviction and for five days I could not get a respond from the bank. They kept

mis-placing my Letter of Authorization to speak to the bank on behalf of Ms. Corona. On Friday, December 21st, I received I call from John Boyd on behalf of the CEO's office telling me that they promise that they would be in touch with me by the end of business on the same day and that never happen. They totally disregarded the Corona family emergency and had no intentions to give me any answers as to why they broke their promise."

Soledad, a single mother of thirteen years, moved into the Los Angeles neighborhood of Lincoln heights in 2008. In the year 2009, Bank of America granted her a loan modification. After faithfully making her payments, Bank of America reneged their loan modification agreement, withheld her money for a month, and notified her that her home was being foreclosed on. For a month the family was in need of food, and extra money to pay for basic survival needs. After repeatedly speaking with the bank, trying to convince them to let the family continue to make their home payments, The Corona family is now facing eviction.

Bank of America continues to notify the public that they will not evict or foreclose on families during the holidays, but the Corona family is just one of many families that is currently being subjected to Bank of America's fraudulent banking practices.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fraudulent "Indepedent" Foreclosure Review

Foreclosure Crisis

Banks and Government Fail Homeowners
Foreclosure CrisisBanks and the government have fallen short in helping homeowners in danger of foreclosure.
Latest Stories in this ProjectExec Who Allegedly Enabled Fraud Runs Chase’s Effort to Compensate Foreclosure VictimsRead the Documents Treasury Has Been Keeping SecretSecret Documents Show Weak Oversight of Key Foreclosure ProgramWhy Florida is Sitting on $300 Million Meant to Help HomeownersWhere Are the Foreclosure Deal Millions Going in Your State?Full Coverage

Cheat Sheet: BofA Supplied Default Answers for ‘Independent’ Foreclosure Claims Reviewers

The Independent Foreclosure Review, the government's main effort to compensate homeowners for harm by banks, is supposed to be independent from the banks. But in Bank of America's case, it wasn't. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Paul Keil,

The Independent Foreclosure Review is the government's main effort to compensate homeowners for harm they suffered at the hands of banks — and, as its name indicates, it's supposed to be independent.

But until recently, that was hardly the case with Bank of America. Supposedly independent, third-party reviewers would sit at a computer, analyzing each homeowner's case by going through hundreds of questions, such as whether the bank had properly reviewed a homeowner for a modification or had charged bogus fees. But the reviewers weren't starting from a blank slate. Bank of America employees had already supplied the answers, which the reviewers would have to override if they did not agree.

No evidence has emerged that Bank of America pressured reviewers to accept its answers, and the bank did not supply answers for the final questions: whether the bank should pay compensation and, if so, how much. But those ultimate determinations depended on responses to the preceding questions, and for reviewers the path of least effort was to accept the bank's answers.

This practice only ended a month after ProPublica published a story showing that Bank of America was doing much of the work itself [1]. When that story was published, ProPublica hadn't yet learned that the answers the bank supplied showed up on the reviewers' computer screens as defaults, and Bank of America strenuously denied that it had compromised the integrity of the review. Since November, the reviewers now begin their analysis without the bank's answers.

Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm confirmed the change: "Steps were taken" so that the independent reviewer, Promontory Financial Group, "could not view answers supplied by the Bank of America Claim Researcher."

Frahm maintained, however, that the change didn't mean the reviews completed under the prior system were tainted. Promontory's employees have always had the ability to "override any answer supplied by the Bank of America Claim Researcher," he said.

Advocates for homeowners aren't convinced. "It's hard to imagine" that Promontory's reviewers weren't influenced by having the bank's answers right in front of them, said Alys Cohen of the National Consumer Law Center. "As a result it seems obvious that the earlier reviews should be re-reviewed."

Potential Conflict of Interest

The Independent Foreclosure Review is the government's largest program to compensate victims of the banks' foreclosure abuses. 4.4 million homeowners are eligible, but homeowners must submit a claim to ensure they're covered by the review [2]. As of the end of November, only 315,000 homeowners had done so, according to regulators, a low response rate [3] of about seven percent.

Victims could receive up to $125,000 in cash compensation or, if possible, get their home back [4]. The review is overseen by the nation's bank regulators, who were spurred to action in 2011 by the robo-signing scandal [5].

The review has been dogged by criticism since the outset, partly because of how it works. Banks hire and pay consultants to be the independent, third-party reviewers. Bank regulators must approve them, which the regulators say ensures the independence of the review [6]. But critics argue [7] that the consulting firms have other contracts with the banks and so have a conflict of interest: If the consultants anger the banks, they may lose future business.

For its "independent consultant," Bank of America hired Promontory. Promontory is also conducting the review for Wells Fargo, which has the second largest number of loans eligible for review (about 933,000 [8]) after Bank of America (1.3 million [9]) of all the banks.

"A Technical Change"

As ProPublica reported in October, all four of the country's largest banks planned to participate heavily in evaluating whether homeowners were harmed [10], according to their contracts with the consultants. Of course, homeowners claiming their bank abused them were never told the same bank would be integrally involved in the review.

In October, ProPublica uncovered internal [11] Bank of America memos [12] and emails indicating that, while Promontory made the ultimate decision as to a homeowner's compensation, the bank was doing much of the review work itself [1].

When ProPublica first presented this evidence to Promontory, Bank of America, and the bank's primary regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, all three initially denied that Promontory was using analysis performed by the bank's own employees.

Now, even as Promontory and Bank of America confirmed they had changed their system to make the bank's analysis invisible to Promontory's reviewers, both companies insisted that the independence of the reviews had never been compromised.

"Promontory resources have always reviewed the files, performed all tests, and reached independent conclusions, without input or influence from Bank of America," said Promontory spokeswoman Debra Cope. "A technical change was made in November with respect to the visibility of information uploaded by Bank of America file preparers.... Although these responses were previously visible to Promontory reviewers, they never had any bearing on Promontory's independent testing processes."

OCC spokesman Bryan Hubbard said the OCC has a policy of not commenting on specific institutions, but added, "as we have stressed before, the OCC expects the independent consultants to exercise their independence in reviewing and evaluating each file. Our examiners are ensuring that occurs."

The NCLC's Cohen said the core problem with the Independent Foreclosure Review is that it is largely being handled in secret.

"At the end of the day, if the regulators and servicers want to put this behind them, they need the public to believe this is legitimate. Without transparency, you can't have real accountability."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yes, Banks Are Paying “Penalties” in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement With Other People’s Money | FDL News Desk

Yes, Banks Are Paying “Penalties” in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement With Other People’s Money | FDL News Desk

DocX Founder Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Fraud -

DocX Founder Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Fraud -

How Big Banks Are Gaming The Foreclosure Fraud Settlement | ThinkProgress

How Big Banks Are Gaming The Foreclosure Fraud Settlement | ThinkProgress

Occupy LA Defends the Lucero Family from Fraudulent Foreclosure - YouTube

Occupy LA Defends the Lucero Family from Fraudulent Foreclosure - YouTube

(94) Occupy Calcap, The Mozilo Family, Foreclosure Mill

Occupy Fights Foreclosures pictures of action at Mozilo residence and business....

(94) Occupy Calcap, The Mozillo Family, Foreclosure Mill

UBS Libor Pact Said to Include Charges Against Bankers - Bloomberg

UBS Libor Pact Said to Include Charges Against Bankers - Bloomberg

Mozilo Unbowed Says Countrywide Was "World Class Company"

By Hugh Son & Edvart Pattersson

Countrywide Financial Corp. co- founder Angelo Mozilo said under oath last year that he had “no regrets” about how he ran the mortgage firm and that he only agreed to a record $67.5 million regulatory settlement in 2010 to protect his children.

Mozilo, who led the lender blamed by lawmakers and regulators for contributing to the housing collapse, spoke in a June 2011 deposition as part of a lawsuit between his firm, which was bought by Bank of America Corp. (BAC), and MBIA Inc. (MBI), according to documents filed this week in New York. MBIA, once the biggest bond insurer, claims Countrywide committed fraud by securitizing loans that were riskier than promised.

Enlarge image
Angelo Mozilo Unbowed Says Countrywide Was ‘World-Class Company’ Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News
Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo sought to defend his company’s role in the mortgage mess even before the U.S. housing market showed signs of recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble.

Countrywide Financial Corp. co-founder Angelo Mozilo sought to defend his company’s role in the mortgage mess even before the U.S. housing market showed signs of recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble. Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News
.The crisis was “not caused by an act of Countrywide,” said Mozilo, 73, according to a transcript of the deposition. “This is all about an unprecedented, cataclysmic situation, unprecedented in the history of this country. Values in this country dropped by 50 percent.”

Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, has spent more than $40 billion to clean up mortgages inherited from the 2008 Countrywide purchase. Congressional investigators released e-mails from Mozilo, the Countrywide chief executive officer, showing that as early as 2004 he was concerned about the decline in quality of mortgages the lender was originating.

Mozilo was responding to questions from an MBIA attorney who asked if he regretted how Calabasas, California-based Countrywide was run after “all the foreclosures and ruined lives and lawsuits.” Mozilo called the lawyer’s question “nonsensical and insulting.”

Mortgage Mess
“I have no regrets about how Countrywide was run,” Mozilo said. “We were a world-class company in every respect.”

Mozilo sought to defend his company’s role in the mortgage mess even before the U.S. housing market showed signs of recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble. Had he known that unemployment would surge and housing prices would collapse during the financial crisis, Mozilo said he would’ve attempted to sell his company years earlier than he did.

The firm only made loans that it was confident would be repaid, Mozilo said. Countrywide was the third-largest subprime lender in 2006, with about $40.6 billion in the mortgages, compared with $44.6 billion in 2005, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance.

“We never made a loan knowingly -- and it would be stupid to do so -- that we knew the borrower could not pay. Never,” Mozilo said. “All our loans had that one standard from 1968 to the end of my reign at Countrywide.”

‘Dire’ Warnings
While publicly reassuring investors about the quality of his loans, Mozilo issued “dire” internal warnings and engaged in insider trading accelerating stock sales to reap about $140 million, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a 2009 lawsuit. In one e-mail, he described a “particularly profitable subprime product as ‘toxic.’”

He also wrote that Countrywide was “flying blind” and had “no way” to determine the risks of some adjustable-rate mortgages, the SEC said.

In 2010, Mozilo agreed to a $67.5 million settlement to resolve SEC claims that he misled investors, without admitting or denying the allegations. The Justice Department ended a criminal investigation of Mozilo without bringing charges, a person familiar with the investigation said in February 2011.

He paid the $22.5 million fine included in the SEC deal to protect his nine grandchildren and five children from the effects of his notoriety, Mozilo said.

‘Really Proud’
“It had nothing to do with anything that I did at Countrywide or anything I did in my personal life,” Mozilo said. Relatives “were being harassed in school. My name was in the paper every day nationally and internationally, accusing me of things that were absolutely untrue. I could not have my family go through it anymore, and that’s why I settled.”

Mozilo “remains really proud of his company and this institution he built,” said his attorney, David Siegel. “It would be unfair to say he doesn’t feel a great deal of empathy for the honest, hard-working Americans who suffered in the financial crisis.”

Information in the public record contradicts Mozilo’s contention that Countrywide never knowingly made a bad loan, said Joel Bernstein, the lead lawyer for plaintiffs in a shareholder lawsuit that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America settled for $600 million.

“A lot of people would find a different solution for their grandchildren being pestered than agreeing to a $67 million settlement,” Bernstein said.

‘Friends’ Program
If he were in Mozilo’s position, Bernstein said, he would have found a different school for them.

In the 2011 deposition, Mozilo also denied that there was a program called “Friends of Angelo” to reward high-profile customers, including elected officials, with below-market rates for home loans. Instead, he said that he gave people including taxi drivers, stewardesses, and gardeners his business card.

“Almost everybody I come in contact with, that was my job, was to originate loans,” Mozilo said. “That’s who I was. That’s why I started the company.”

Kevin Callahan, a spokesman for the SEC, declined to comment, as did Kevin Brown, an MBIA spokesman. Lawrence Grayson, a Bank of America spokesman, didn’t respond to a telephone call seeking comment.

Posted by
Carlos Marroquin
Occupy Fights Foreclosures

Pictures of Occupy Fights Foreclosures Action against the Mozilo Family, Pasadena