Friday, February 15, 2013

Obama Administration Asks Banks to Regulate Their Own Foreclosure Abuses

By Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Having bungled the so-called independent review of foreclosure mistakes, the Obama administration has now decided that the best way to help homeowners is to have the banks—which were responsible for the foreclosure errors—examine the case files and decide how best to fix the situation.

In January, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) shut down the foreclosure review by independent consultants—which had already cost about $2 billion— after it was revealed that the banks had selected said consultants. The process also proved to be taking too long to resolve homeowner grievances, so the administration decided to reach a $3.6 billion settlement with the banks.

But before the money can be distributed to individuals wronged during the foreclosure crisis, more than four million cases need to be reviewed. Instead of federal regulators doing the work, they are trusting the financial institutions, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, to do it properly this time.

Housing advocates, not surprisingly, are worried the banks will shortchange homeowners while they scrutinize their earlier mistakes. “The whole process has been a slap in the face to homeowners and a slap on the wrist to banks,” Isaac Simon Hodes, an organizer with Massachusetts-based Lynn United for Change, told The New York Times. “The latest development shows how there has been no accountability.”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Occupy Fights Foreclosures Speaks Out on State of The Union and the Republican Response, a Failure to American Families by Both Parties on the Ongoing Foreclosure Disaster

State of the Union by President Obama to the joint session of the United States Congress and the Republican response to the State of the Union address

Obama stated in his State of the Union address: “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities,you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.” Yet millions of American families are suffering from the inequitable injustice of predatory loans and fraudulent foreclosures that is still not being addressed.

Los Angeles - February 13, 2013 - As expected, in the State of the Union address by President Obama and the Republican response by Senator Rubio, both parties failed to address the American people on the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
As a candidate before his first term, President Obama said, "If we don't act swiftly on the foreclosure crisis there will be chaos." Years after this crisis, IT IS STILL CHAOS! Very little has been done to help homeowners. And millions of victims have lost their homes while millions more are facing foreclosure this year. But President Obama has said very little. As a matter of fact the little he did say was a "white-washed" version of the real housing crisis: "Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before."
Yet, after multiple investigations by many agencies on the housing/foreclosure fiasco and with all the evidence of major fraud and abuses by Wall Street, we still have the same response by the government: "Banks too big to fail--Bankers too big to go to jail." In fact, the same banks that committed financial terrorism against millions of American families have received protection by prosecutors, courts, regulators and both political parties. After years into this crisis and with millions of victims, there is still not one banker that has gone to jail for the "crime of the century."
It is time to recognize the crimes foisted upon American families. As our president talks about making it safer for our children, by implementing gun control, there are many more children suffering through the trauma of watching their family lose their home to fraudulent foreclosures.
While President Obama found the courage to stand up to the gun lobby with his new proposals to curtail gun violence, there has been no sigh that his administration is willing to buck the equally entrenched bank lobby or to defend its even more numerous victims, says OFF's Carlos Marroquin.
"I have been victimized by both guns and banks," says Columbine High massacre survivor Richard Castaldo, who took 8 bullets in the 1999 high school shootout and now faces foreclosure on the Hollywood condo he was buying with the help of settlement proceeds. "It might sound like apples and oranges," Castaldo adds, "and it'll be great if we can keep guns out of the hands of a maniac. But I have to say there's also serious victims of guys wielding foreclosure papers -- and we also need to get them under control. Fact is, that can be life-threatening too. I've met 90-some-year-old ladies facing being thrown out on the street. You can't say their lives aren't at risk, And usually," Richard adds, "they are just as innocent as the random victims of gun nuts."
Senator Rubio, who gave the Republican response, also continued to bury his head in the sand with regard to the housing issue. The Republican Party has been opposed to doing anything about the crisis--especially in regard to implementing regulations. Their party leaders have said that we should let the market fix itself. Florida, Senator Rubio’s home state, has been one hardest hit in the U.S. and will continue to suffer while he fights against regulations for the criminals, leading us to believe that he, like many politicians, has ceased to work for the people he represents. "And the truth is every problem can’t be solved by government. Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians", said Senator Rubio.
We at Occupy Fights Foreclosures will continue to stand for the American homeowners and we will continue to seek justice for families in danger of losing their homes, until we are recognized and heard. “While President Obama found the courage to stand up to the gun lobby with his new proposals to curtail gun violence, there has been no evidence that his administration is willing to buck the equally entrenched bank lobby or to defend its even more numerous victims,” says OFF's Carlos Marroquin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Foreclosure Settlements, Senator Warren Thinks the Public Has a Right To Know What They Found

By David Dayen

To help settle a probe into illegal mortgage practices, servicers were ordered to review all foreclosures between 2009 and 2010. The senator from Massachusetts thinks the public has a right to know what they found.

Since the start of the new Congress, liberal Democrats have anxiously awaited senior Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren’s initial moves. Celebrity entrants into the Senate—from Hillary Clinton to Al Franken—have tended to take a modest approach, immersing themselves in committee work and issues of local importance, building relationships with their colleagues, and operating as a “workhorse, not a show horse.” By contrast, Warren said during the campaign that she wanted to use her new position as a platform for her ideas. And one of her first actions suggests she will spend her time as Senator much the way she did as chair of the TARP oversight panel and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: shedding light on the harm caused by unscrupulous financial interests. (Editor's note: Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, is a member of the Prospect's governing board).

Last Thursday, Warren teamed with the Democratic ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, to launch an investigation into the Independent Foreclosure Reviews. Almost two years ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve ordered the reviews to help settle a probe into illegal mortgage practices that shortchanged homeowners and, in some cases, improperly kicked people out of their homes. Under the order, 14 of the biggest mortgage servicers had to give all borrowers who received a foreclosure notice in 2009 and 2010 the opportunity to have a neutral third party look at their files to see if the servicer had made errors. Borrowers would then be entitled to compensation for the mistakes. Of the 3.8 million eligible borrowers, around 500,000 submitted requests for review.

But the independent reviews turned out to be neither independent nor reviews. As whistleblowers have pointed out, the banks handpicked and paid the salaries of the reviewers, third-party consultants who have increasingly become a substitute for government bank examiners. The data from the borrower files, as well as the guidelines for review, all came from the banks, and in many cases the banks made the determinations of harm themselves, leaving the reviewers to merely check their work. Managers overseeing the consultants overlooked entire categories of borrower harm, even obvious ones like servicers rejecting loan-modification payments from a borrower with a signed agreement, or tallying up impermissible fees. The managers also steered the ground-level reviewers, most of whom were temporary employees with little or no expertise in mortgages or foreclosures, away from reporting significant mistakes. Banks could even appeal whatever errors did get through (borrowers, of course, could not). Meanwhile, the complex rules for scrutinizing the documents extended the time it took to examine each loan file, which was good news for the consultants who raked in well over $1 billion at last count.

The new OCC leadership, which inherited this debacle, put a stop to the reviews and instead said it would compensate homeowners with a cash settlement. The 3.8 million foreclosure victims from 2009 and 2010 would split $3.3 billion, which amounts to less than $1,000 per foreclosure. No effort would be made to use the data gained from the reviews in parceling out the funds; an as-yet-unknown process, determined largely by the servicers, will dole out a fixed amount to borrowers whose loans fit certain general characteristics. Another $5.2 billion would go toward reducing loan balances for borrowers still in their homes. OCC head Thomas Curry claimed that the review process became too costly, diverting money from homeowners to the consulting firms, and that the new settlement would provide the best way to get the most compensation in the hands of foreclosure victims quickly.

Warren’s belief in the power of transparency—which in this case means releasing public data whose collection the government mandated—to improve public policy has been a driving force even before she reached the Senate.
Enter Senator Warren. She and Representative Cummings have asked OCC and the Federal Reserve for all performance reviews the two agencies conducted during the program before nixing it; the amount of money the banks paid their third-party reviewers; and the total number of reviews, along with the percentages of those in which errors were found. “Public confidence in the banking system has been badly undermined by a widespread concern that large financial institutions are not held fully to account when they break the rules—and that consumers are not sufficiently compensated,” Warren and Cummings wrote in their letter to the OCC and the Fed last week. “It is critical that the OCC and the Federal Reserve disclose additional information about the scope of the harms found to establish confidence in the sufficiency and integrity of the settlement.” Warren’s belief in the power of transparency—which in this case means releasing public data whose collection the government mandated—to improve public policy has been a driving force even before she reached the Senate. For example, the CFPB Consumer Response Center—an initiative Warren championed when standing up the agency—makes available data from the organization’s complaint hotline about consumer-credit abuses and is an integral part of the supervision process.

While the information in the Independent Foreclosure Reviews may be flawed, it’s critical to know what was gathered. Too often in post-financial-crisis settlements with Wall Street banks, regulators settle on a remedy without determining or taking into account the level of harm. What’s more, without an accounting of the mortgage-servicer industry’s previous practices, it will be nearly impossible to fix the broken mortgage-servicer industry.

A thorough investigation of the entire failed review process would uncover much about the current system of bank regulation. It would expose the growing use of consultants; show the need for more funding so that regulators instead of consultants can conduct independent reviews; and highlight the need for additional standards and rules against the mortgage servicers, tailored to exactly what abuse they heaped on borrowers through 2009 and 2010. It could also put some much-needed focus on OCC, historically a light-touch bank regulator which has been embarrassed by this mess, to the extent that it’s overhauled its senior leadership. Right now the investigation is in its early stages—Warren is still getting her transition to the Senate in order. But there’s a lot under the surface, particularly the startling information from the whistleblowers, waiting to be uncovered. Combined with a forthcoming Government Accountability Office report on the reviews, which revealed a significant number of errors, policymakers and foreclosure victims could finally get the investigation of this industry that they deserve.

The request for the review data has let regulators and banks know that Warren will not be a silent, go-along-to-get-along Senator. There’s a certain value in just having a threat of congressional oversight, particularly from a high-profile figure who can stir public opinion. Cummings has worked on the foreclosure crisis for years, and House Financial Services Committee ranking Democrat Maxine Waters, who sent her own letter to OCC seeking more information, yesterday asked Republican chair Jeb Hensarling for hearings on the matter. But Warren, by virtue of her large following, can raise attention to the issue, which fits with a key principle of her nascent political career: whether government will bother to stand up when the middle class gets ripped off.

Posted by Carlos Marroquin

Carlos the mailman: Congressional Inquiry Into Foreclosure Review Is T...

Carlos the mailman: Congressional Inquiry Into Foreclosure Review Is T...: By Roy Hoppenheim So now some key members of Congress want a thorough review of the Independent Foreclosure Review process? ...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lender Processing to pay $121M over foreclosures - CBS News

Lender Processing to pay $121M over foreclosures - CBS News

Senate's Warren Seeks Regulator Records on Foreclosure Deal - Bloomberg

By Jesse Hamilton

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings want bank regulators to produce documents to show what led them to reach settlements this month with 13 mortgage servicers for faulty foreclosures.

“It is critical that the OCC and the Federal Reserve disclose additional information about the scope of the harms found to establish confidence in the sufficiency and integrity of the settlement,” the lawmakers, both Democrats, wrote in a letter dated today to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Warren and Cummings asked the regulators to turn over documents outlining how borrowers were harmed by foreclosure missteps of 2009 and 2010, as well as demographic details on the borrowers, who will get compensation from more than $9 billion in settlements with servicers including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) They are also asking for information on the performance and pay of independent consultants hired by the firms under a 2011 accord replaced by this month’s settlement.

Warren was elected in November to the Massachusetts seat once held by the late Edward M. Kennedy after setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a former special adviser to President Barack Obama.

Cummings has served in the House since 1996 and is the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Maryland lawmaker, who criticized the agreement before it was announced, said it could allow “banks to skirt what they owe and sweep past abuses under the rug.”

Warren and Cummings asked that the documents be delivered by Feb. 22. Eric Kollig, a Fed spokesman, and Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, both declined to comment on the correspondence.

Waters Letter
Representative Maxine Waters of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, sent a similar letter to the OCC and Fed that said “many questions remain” about the regulators’ settlement ending the case-by- case review of foreclosure missteps. She requested that documents about the review process be made public and that an independent monitor be appointed for the new settlement.

The bulk of the settlement with 13 of the largest mortgage servicers will go toward mortgage assistance for current borrowers, and the remainder will provide direct cash to borrowers foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010, with as much as $125,000 paid to those hurt the worst.

Among firms ordered in 2011 to have their foreclosures reviewed, three haven’t yet settled with regulators: Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY), IndyMac Bancorp’s successor OneWest Bank FSB and EverBank Financial Corp. (EVER)

Posted by Carlos Marroquin

Monday, January 21, 2013

Single Mom Twice Wrongfully Evicted, Announcement of Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against Bank of America and Other Major Banks, Violating "Holiday Moratorium"

Single Mom Twice Wrongfully Evicted
Announcement of federal class action lawsuit filed against Bank of America and other major banks for wrongfully foreclosing/evicting on families during "Holiday Moratorium" on foreclosures

Los Angeles - B of A's lackeys, the L.A.P.D., wrongfully evicted the Corona family Friday, Jan 18th at around noon. Soledad's teenaged daughter, Victoria, was the only one home at the time and they told her she had to leave immediately. This is the SECOND time the Corona family has been evicted during the so-called "Holiday Moratorium" on foreclosures and evictions announced by major banks. The LAPD claimed they were "trespassing" in their own home. One officer allegedly said there was an arrest warrant for Soledad Corona, although they denied this later that evening.

Soly was in Orange when Victoria called in a panic, saying the L.A.P.D. was at the door to evict them. Soly immediately contacted her lawyer, Lenore Albert, who immediately called the courts and said she needed to file an injunction to stop this unlawful eviction. The courts agreed, but could not move quickly enough to prevent the L.A.P.D.'s illegal eviction action, which was intentionally carried out by B of A late on a Friday, knowing the system would move too slowly to prevent their illegal harassment of the Corona family.

Atty. Albert did manage to file a court action to be heard at the earliest possible time, which would be Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 8:30 a.m., because Monday was a holiday.

"Every holiday season since 2009, Bank of America has told the public through the press that they would not foreclose by selling homes or evicting families during the holidays. And every year, Bank of America has foreclosed on thousands of families by selling homes and evicting families during the holidays," said Albert.

"Bank of America's foreclosure practices continue to hurt families. We are now seen a trend in which banks are involving police departments in evictions and foreclosures, utilizing city resources that should go to fighting crime," says homeowner advocate Carlos MarroquĂ­n.

Henry Cisneros: The nation understimated impact of foreclosure crisis

By Susana Baumann

A former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros believes the banking sector has not done all they could in the foreclosure crisis

The debate over the real estate bubble and the consequential foreclosure wave that swept the nation has been reinstated as regulators announced an $8.5 billion bank settlement with 10 major banks led by regulators of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Adducing that the review process was too costly—an estimated $1.5 billion has been paid to consultants and third party reviewers—and it was taking too much time—the review has been ongoing for over a year. Regulators decided to stop the investigation and spread $3.3 billion among 3.8 million homeowners. The balance will help with loan modification programs to homeowners still underwater or struggling with payments.

“It is unfortunate that this settlement is about abuses that occurred in the recovery process but it is not part of the long term solution. It was a necessary step but not a great contribution to solve the problem of foreclosures,” Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, told VOXXI.

Cisneros believes the entire nation underestimated the impact of the foreclosure crisis in the overall economic recovery process not only zapping consumer confidence but also leaving homeowners threatened by foreclosures hanging from the banking and financial sector.

The crisis kept prices low in the real estate market, dragging sales and preventing new home builders from competing with those low prices. “The foreclosure was right at the front of the economic recovery and contributed greatly to the slowness and the flatness of the recovery,” Cisneros said. “Although in the last year and a half the Administration has really stepped up and launched a number of different programs, I believe the banking sector has not done all they could.”

Cisneros, like many borrowers’ advocate, sustains that banks could have done more with principal adjustment options, extensions and other approaches in refinancing mortgage loans to help those homeowners who wanted to stay in their homes but just needed some help.

“The process seems to have followed a pattern in which banks were not held accountable enough throughout this whole crisis. The Administration—from Secretary Geithner down—probably felt the turndown was so severe that they couldn’t put the banks over the cliff, but I know some people would disagree with this reason,” Cisneros stated.

Henry Cisneros’ career and impact on Latino community
As former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development—office he held between 1993 and 1997— Henry Cisneros considers that the focus should have been on the housing dimension of the crisis and not on the stimulus. “The core was the housing aspect of the crisis since the onset,” he affirmed.

During his time in office at the federal level—and throughout his life—Cisneros has been known for his tireless battle for fair housing policies and economic improvement for low-income Americans. He extended access to home loans and penalized an increasing number of lenders who discriminated against ethnic or minority borrowers by easing the process to file fair lending complaints.

Cisneros held this office during the first Clinton Administration. He had cross paths with the Clintons at the time he was Mayor of San Antonio and Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas.

“Clinton had invited me to speak at several events regarding public health clinics and strategies when he started to refine his national public health thinking, and we got to know each other,” Cisneros said.

From 1981 to 1989, Cisneros was elected for four terms as the second Hispanic Mayor of San Antonio. His time in office was dedicated to enhance the economics of the city, from reducing poverty to increasing wages and economic momentum.

Being that San Antonio is a largely Latino populated city—55 percent of its inhabitants are of Hispanic origin—Henry Cisneros campaigned among his community extensively, but once he became Mayor he had to make a practical decision. “I had to decide how much time I gave to a national Latino agenda and how much attention to being a good Mayor for all citizens in San Antonio, traditional Texans, African-Americans, Asians and Latinos equally,” he said.

His accomplishments really turned around the—at the time—tenth largest U.S. city, bringing federal and private funding to achieve economic development, revitalize downtown areas, build a 65000-seat stadium and attract companies and technology to create jobs and train skilled human resources.

San Antonio, now the seventh largest city in America, employs one of every six workers in the health care and bioscience industries, an effort Cisneros launched as Mayor. He also sought global investments mainly from Mexico and Japan to develop manufacturing and technology ventures, and extended infrastructure to integrate poor surrounding areas.

During his time, the city attracted two major players from the entertainment industry: the SeaWorld San Antonio, a 250-acre marine mammal park, aquarium and theme park; and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the famous theme park owned by Six Flags. Both projects increased tourism traffic and enhanced the hospitality industry.

But maybe his main accomplishment was to create collaborative efforts to resolve old racial and ethnic tension in the community.

“I grew up in a city that suffered from many years of discrimination and economic disparity and there was great unfairness in the city. I also grew up at the time the Civil Rights movement was sweeping the country. Dr. King, Julian Bond, Barbara Jordan, Andrew Young and other leaders were my heroes. While I was not at the forefront of the Latinos Civil Rights, I thought we could use institutions of government, business and the city to improve the agenda of voting rights, civil rights and economic opportunities for all,” he said.

“I’m glad to say that San Antonio is a very different place today, works have continued and it is a very progressive city. I’m happy to see it being led by Major Julian Castro,” Cisneros affirmed

Read more:

Posted by Carlos Marroquin

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Rules Aimed To Protect Homeowners From Foreclosure

By Les Christie

Federal officials issued new rules for mortgage servicers Thursday aimed at protecting homeowners facing foreclosure. But consumer groups say the rules don't do enough to help prevent borrowers from unnecessarily losing their homes.
Since the housing crisis began, many mortgage servicers -- which collect payments for the owner of the loan and handle things like loan modifications and foreclosures -- have been ill equipped to handle the flood of delinquent loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said.

"In too many cases, it has led to unnecessary foreclosures," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. "Our rules ensure fair treatment for all borrowers and establish strong protections for those struggling to save their homes."

Among the new rules are restrictions that prohibit servicers from foreclosing on borrowers who are seeking loan modifications and rules that require them to explore all alternatives to foreclosure. There are also guidelines for issuing clear, straightforward mortgage statements.

Yet, consumer advocates say the new rules don't go far enough.

"While the establishment of industry-wide standards is important, the failure to require meaningful loan modification protections is a retreat from current safeguards under the soon-to-expire HAMP loan modification program," the consumer rights organization said.

Requiring servicers to lower rates on loans or postpone payments would help prevent qualified borrowers from being unnecessarily foreclosed on, the organization said.

Still, the rules, which take effect in January 2014, address many of the problems borrowers face. Here's a rundown of the new requirements:

Restrictions on foreclosure proceedings while borrower seeks a mortgage modification: Referred to as "dual-tracking," servicers will no longer be able to start foreclosure proceedings on borrowers while they are actively seeking a loan modification or other alternative to foreclosure. To give borrowers time to apply for a modification, servicers cannot file the first foreclosure notice until the borrower falls at least 120 days behind on payments.

No foreclosure sales until alternatives are considered: If a borrower applies for a loan modification at least 37 days before their foreclosure auction is scheduled, the servicer must consider and respond to the request. They also must give the borrower enough time to accept an alternative to foreclosure before proceeding with the sale.

While the 37-day rule provides additional protections to borrowers in judicial foreclosure states, where courts review foreclosure cases, it does little to help those who live in non-judicial states, said Alys Cohen, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. Many homeowners in non-judicial states, like California and Arizona, won't know the sale date until it's too late since sales in these states are often scheduled with less than 37 days' notice.

"[T]he rules give servicers an opportunity to manipulate the system," said Cohen.

Consumer advocates also say the rules do not allow for appeals of a loan modification review when they are submitted within 90 days of a foreclosure sale. "If the data is wrong, the borrower is just out of luck," said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.

Consider all foreclosure alternatives: After a borrower has missed two consecutive payments, the servicer must send a written notice with examples of alternatives to foreclosure the borrower can pursue.

In addition, servicers must consider all available foreclosure alternatives as opposed to the ones that are just financially favorable to the servicer. These options may range from deferred payments to loan modifications.

Provide direct access to help: Servicers will be required to provide borrowers with easy access to employees who are dedicated and empowered to help them.

Publish clear mortgage statements: Servicers will have to break down mortgage payments by principal, interest, fees, and escrow (to pay property taxes and insurance premiums) and include the amount and due date of the next payment, recent transactions and alerts about fees.

Offer early warnings on rate hikes: For most adjustable-rate mortgages, servicers must notify borrowers about upcoming interest rate changes that will affect their payments. If the new payment is unaffordable, servicers must provide information about alternatives and counseling.

Avoid overpriced "force-placed" insurance: Mortgage borrowers are nearly always required to insure their homes but if they don't have coverage, their servicers can buy insurance for them and charge the premiums to the borrower. This "force-placed" insurance can be very expensive and the CFPB would require servicers to give advance notice and pricing information before putting clients into this coverage. If servicers buy the insurance but receive evidence that it was not needed, they must terminate it within 15 days and refund the premiums.

Credit payments and correct errors quickly: Servicers must credit a consumer's account on the date a payment arrives. They will also have 7 business days to respond to written requests from borrowers to pay off the balances of their mortgages.

Also, within 30 days, servicers must conduct an investigation and either correct an error or dispute it.

Maintain accurate, accessible documents and information: Servicers must store borrowers' information in a way that allows it to be easily accessible. They must also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that they can provide timely and accurate information to borrowers, investors, and in any foreclosure proceeding, the courts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Occupy Fights Foreclosures Denounces Federal Reserve/Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Settlement Deal with Banks

Letting the banks "win" via federal level settlement soundly underestimates
the power and resolve of the American people

LOS ANGELES, JAN 9, 2013— Occupy Fights Foreclosures (OFF), subcommittee of Occupy LA, denounces the settlement deal announced by the OCC and Federal Reserve with 14 banks whose fraudulent foreclosures "had ridden roughshod over borrowers and the rule of law" according to Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times. The clear misapplication of justice that allowed the banks this seeming win soundly underestimates the power and resolve of the American people to see true justice is served. Occupy Fights Foreclosures joins the voices of millions of homeowners in saying this corruption and injustice cannot and will not stand.

Insiders have called the so called independent foreclosure review a "sham of a project." Banks insisted that no TV, radio, or print media be used to explain the program and its availability to former homeowners, now displaced from the homes where direct mail about the program was sent. Banks deliberately kept homeowners in the dark about their rights to the foreclosure review mandated by the courts. Only 11% of eligible homeowners had come forward as of the Dec. 31 deadline and homeowners have seen paltry compensation for losing their house via illegal means.

The independent contractors doing these foreclosure reviews were working under the banks, not the other way around. Findings were "quality controlled" by the banks who had violated the laws. A claims reviewer known as Luxtexente described in detail on Naked Capitalism that reviewers routinely found a dozen or more violations of foreclosure laws in a single file, not to mention "incompetence, immorality and poor judgment." Banks also routinely simply erased violations as the list of harm on borrowers grew. According to insider Luxtexente, "Issues of law were removed." Missed foreclosure timelines, missing documents, misapplied funds, multiple modifications … the list of violations was vast, but banks told reviewers to "ignore them."

This criminal behavior by the banks violates the very essence of trust the American people should have in our banking institutions. That the OCC and Federal Reserve would devalue and dishonor the American people by such a settlement makes a mockery of our monetary institutions. The harm caused to millions of American families is tantamount to a bank-made tsunami. Without just compensation for the rampant law-breaking of these financial institutions, there is a clear breach of faith in the American system. The OCC and the Federal Reserve's actions to sweep under the rug via a settlement the vast crimes without direct compensation to the victims underestimate the power and resolve of the American people. The unjust must be made just.

"Any victim of any crime doesn't have peace until they know the perpetrators of that crime have been brought to justice," says Carlos Marroquin, OFF activist. "There's no closure until you know the criminal has been brought to justice, you can see that with any kind of crime. We will not have closure until we see real justice for the homeowners who have had their homes stolen by criminal institutions."