Archive | August, 2010

Taxpayers Bailout the Banks Nobody Bailsout the taxpayer!

22 Aug

Pain on Main Street

As lawmakers continue paying out the 17 trillion it will ultimately cost taxpayers to bailout the banks and lenders on Wall Street, the foreclosure machine grinds on and the mortgage crisis at the heart of the problem continues to worsen.

Every day, people show up looking for help at the modest offices of United Communities Against Poverty, a housing counseling agency in Prince George’s County, Md., in suburban Washington. Homes are going into foreclosure at one of the fastest rates in the nation here, and to chief counselor Caprice Coppedge, it’s hardly surprising that the bailout bill doesn’t have much in it to help them.

“I’m not shocked,” she said. “Each one of these so-called rescues hasn’t done much to help homeowners. There has to be a little bit more of a solid plan. I don’t understand why they [Congress and the Treasury Dept.] are not getting a clear understanding of what’s going on on the ground level — with homeowners.”

When it comes to the bailout, homeowners understand one thing for sure: They aren’t too big to fail. A long-sought measure that might help some of them — changing federal law to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages — faces tough odds, with the lending industry strongly opposed to it.

Even if gets approved, some borrowers can’t afford bankruptcy attorneys or don’t want to file. Still, housing groups estimate the change would keep some 600,000 families in their homes, which is why they have been pushing the idea.

To help even more, Senate Democrats want the government to modify as many of the loans it buys as possible. But just because the government owns all those bad mortgages doesn’t mean it can do a massive restructuring to make them more affordable.

In taking on toxic loans, the government faces a huge Humpty-Dumpty problem — mortgage-backed securities were sliced into pieces and sold that way to investors around the globe. Spending all that taxpayer money to buy those securities still won’t ensure the government can own or control them all, so it can’t redo loans on a large scale. Even $700 billion won’t be enough to put all the pieces back together again, said Adam Levitin, a Georgetown University law professor and expert on the credit industry.

The small percentage of loan modifications that might get done will be “random and arbitrary,” and not based on the merit’s of a homeowner’s case, he said. Not to mention that second mortgage holders regularly refuse to do loan modifications, and many subprime homeowners took out two mortgages.

Given all this, the bailout ends up rewarding the most egregious of the subprime lenders — the ones who made the most abusive and predatory loans and who disproportionately targeted minority borrowers — since they’ll be the ones with the most toxic securities to buy. Banks that didn’t do as much subprime lending won’t need to sell off as many loans, and they won’t get as much government money, Levitin said.

And don’t count on banks being subject to tighter regulation in return for their bailout, he added. It’s possible that banks and lenders in a few years might use the same taxpayer dollars that rescued them to stave off regulatory reform of the financial markets, the ultimate irony of the bailout effort.

The banks seem to be escaping the consequences of their past lending behavior.

“It’s pretty insidious,” Levitin said. “We’re bailing out banks that got us into this mess because of years of abusive and predatory loans. And there’s no price to pay. I find that deeply troubling.”

No where is it more troubling than places like Prince George’s County, the nation’s wealthiest black suburb, which has been hard hit by subprime loans and foreclosures. Credit scores here rank at or above the national average, but the community has more than its share of subprime loans, with almost twice as many homeowners holding high-cost mortgages as the national average.

That pattern holds true elsewhere. In majority black and Latino communities nationwide, nearly half of all mortgages made in 2006 were subprime loans. All during the housing boom, racial differences became more pronounced as income increased — so middle-to-high income black and Latino borrowers were more likely than non-minority borrowers with modest incomes to have subprime mortgages.

Iris Pulliam, 51, a social worker in the District of Columbia public schools, refinanced her Prince George’s County home with a 9.5 percent Countywide loan three years ago. She tried to do some research before refinancing and refused the adjustable rate mortgage the lender first offered.

Looking back, Pulliam said she wasn’t aware she could have had a real estate attorney with her at the closing, and didn’t comprehend all the additional fees included in the loan before she signed. Still, she kept up the payments until her husband died almost two years ago, leaving her with just one income to pay the mortgage and take care of her 15-year-old son.

Pulliam began falling behind on her mortgage, and tried working out a loan modification with Countrywide. But the lender agreed only to a repayment plan that would increase her monthly payments.

She stood in a long line in the July heat to try to get a loan restructuring through the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, a housing advocacy group. But Countrywide still hasn’t approved it. A Countrywide representative called her recently to discuss her case, but she called back again and again and couldn’t get through to anyone.

At this point, Pulliam has taken on a part-time job in addition to her full-time position and has dipped into most of her retirement savings to keep up with the mortgage. Her day starts at 5 a.m., and she gets home around 8 p.m. She’s thinking of trying to refinance again, if possible. One thing she’s well aware of: The bailout plan isn’t going to do a thing for her.

“It’s not taking the average homeowner into consideration, to me,” she said. “I feel that they’re putting all this money out for all these big money industries, investment companies and firms, and they should do something more for the average homeowner, to try to make sure we keep our homes.

“I think the scales are tipped toward the mortgager who has billions of dollars. For the little person, we might as well be off the scales.”

Modifying bankruptcy laws won’t help her, Pulliam said. She wouldn’t be able to afford a bankruptcy attorney. Congress could make a difference by forcing subprime lenders in future to be “upfront and above board,” she said. She’s not convinced that will happen.

To Coppedge, the housing counselor, part of the problem is that people need the sort of help neither Congress nor the Treasury Dept. is talking about. Coppedge, a former mortgage banker, is well aware that keeping credit flowing will help people in the long run to buy homes or take out loans — in that sense, she sees the need for a bailout.

But the people who come to her could use help too, like emergency assistance to cover even a month or two of mortgage payments to stay in their homes. For along with subprime loans, Coppedge noted, higher gas and food prices are cutting into the ability of the elderly and other homeowners on fixed incomes to pay their mortgages.

“I see a lot of clients who are not your typical five or six months behind on their mortgage,” Coppedge said. “I see some individuals, especially the elderly and the handicapped, who were preyed upon and asked to refinance their mortgages to make repairs or whatever the case may be. And these people just need one or two months of mortgage assistance to catch up, and catch their breath, and be able to get back on track.”

As part of the bailout, Democrats in the House and Senate want government agencies like the Federal Housing Admin. to expand their lending programs and help more homeowners, building on an effort included in the mortgage rescue bill. Under that program, the FHA will provide $300 billion in guarantees for lower-rate mortgages refinanced by lenders willing to accept a loss on the loans.

The program, which begins Oct. 1, is voluntary, and no one seems sure how well it will work. Coppedge noted that most of her clients either don’t have enough income or owe so much more on their mortgages than their homes are worth that they usually don’t qualify for FHA or other government programs.

On Capitol Hill, some lawmakers and economists are questioning whether the bailout plan will do enough to ease the credit crunch and to hold off a recession. But to groups like the Center for Responsible Lending, they are asking the wrong questions. Unless any bailout also deals with the problems of people facing foreclosures, it can’t fix the economy.

“The bailout will not solve our economic problems because it will do virtually nothing to stop the foreclosure epidemic,” the center said in a statement. “Continuing foreclosures will drag down the economy even further.”

John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which represents housing advocacy groups, called it “unconscionable” for Congress to approve a plan that never addresses the underlying problem behind the crisis. His group met with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday to complain that the government should first help homeowners facing foreclosure, before shoring up Wall Street.Its the classic case privatizing the profits of Bear Sterns and The Gang of Five and Socializing Losses.And you think it’s an accident, some “natural order of things? That’s what the super wealthy want us to think. And profit-driven establishment, celebrity media to plays along, because it’s a good deal for them. Ain’t it grand? I’m gonna be like that some day, so we better not tax them…. that would be spreading the wealth…. in the wrong direction.

Pulliam says the bailout for Wall Street mostly means that she’s on her own to save her home. Does anyone in power understand what she’s going through?

“The CEO of Countrywide wouldn’t know,” Pulliam said. “Or the vice president of Countrywide; or the Bank of America. They’re all out buying up other banks while the consumers have trouble keeping their houses.”
Pulliam grew up in a house with a white picket fence, and she wants that same sense of the benefits of homeownership for her son. She’s thinking about taking in a roommate to help pay the mortgage. Her sister is also facing foreclosure, and they’re considering sharing a household to solve both of their difficulties.
“I’ll do everything possible that’s legal and above board to keep my home,” Pulliam said. “That’s what I want for my son — a stable neighborhood environment.”

Like other troubled borrowers dealing with a crisis that seems far removed from the political posturing on Capitol Hill, Pulliam seems willing to pay whatever price it takes to keep it.

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Nearly 50 percent leave Obama mortgage-aid program

21 Aug

Nearly 50 percent leave Obama mortgage-aid program
Obama mortgage-aid effort is struggling to stem the rising number of foreclosures in US
ap

FILE – In this file photo taken July 21, 2010, a “bank owned” sign is seen on a home that is listed as a foreclosure on a HUD website, in Hawthorne, Calif. Nearly half of the homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, file)
Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer, On Friday August 20, 2010, 10:18 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.

The program is intended to help those at risk of foreclosure by lowering their monthly mortgage payments. Friday’s report from the Treasury Department suggests the $75 billion government effort is failing to slow the tide of foreclosures in the United States, economists say.

More than 2.3 million homes have been repossessed by lenders since the recession began in December 2007, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. Economists expect the number of foreclosures to grow well into next year.

“The government program as currently structured is petering out. It is taking in fewer homeowners, more are dropping out and fewer people are ending up in permanent modifications,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Besides forcing people from their homes, foreclosures and distressed home sales have pushed down on home values and crippled the broader housing industry. They have made it difficult for homebuilders to compete with the depressed prices and discouraged potential sellers from putting their homes on the market.

Approximately 630,000 people who had tried to get their monthly mortgage payments lowered through the government program have been cut loose through July, according to the Treasury report. That’s about 48 percent of the those who had enrolled since March 2009. And it is up from more than 40 percent through June.

Another 421,804, or roughly 32 percent of those who started the program, have received permanent loan modifications and are making their payments on time.

RealtyTrac reported that the number of U.S. homes lost to foreclosure surged in July to 92,858 properties, up 9 percent from June. The pace of repossessions has been increasing and the nation is now on track to having more than 1 million homes lost to foreclosure by the end of the year. That would eclipse the more than 900,000 homes repossessed in 2009, the firm says.

Lenders have historically taken over about 100,000 homes a year, according to RealtyTrac.

Zandi said the government effort will likely end up helping only about 500,000 homeowners lower their monthly payments on a permanent basis. That’s a small percentage of the number of people who have already lost their homes to foreclosure or distressed sales like short sales — when lenders let homeowners sell for less than they owe on their mortgages.

Zandi predicts another 1.5 million foreclosures or short sales in 2011.

“We still have a lot more foreclosures to come and further home price declines,” Zandi said. He said home prices, which have already fallen 30 percent since the peak of the housing boom, would drop by another 5 percent by next spring.

Many borrowers have complained that the government program is a bureaucratic nightmare. They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did not send back the necessary paperwork.

The banking industry said borrowers weren’t sending back their paperwork. They also have accused the Obama administration of initially pressuring them to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.

Obama officials dispute that they pressured banks. They have defended the program, saying lenders are making more significant cuts to borrowers’ monthly payments than before the program was launched. And some of the largest mortgage companies in the program have offered alternative programs to those who fell out.

Homeowners who qualify can receive an interest rate as low as 2 percent for five years and a longer repayment period. Those who have successfully navigated the program to reach permanent modifications have seen their monthly payments cut on average by about $500.

Homeowners first receive temporary modifications and those are supposed to become permanent after borrowers make three payments on time and complete all the required paperwork. That includes proof of income and a letter explaining the reason for their troubles. But in practice, the process has taken far longer.

The more than 100 participating mortgage companies get taxpayer incentives to reduce payments. As of mid-June only $490 million had been spent out of a potential $75 billion the government has made available to help stem the wave of foreclosures.

AP Real Estate Writer Alan Zibel in Washington and Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Plan of engagement: what to do “let them foreclose” or “Do something about it” what to do

20 Aug

UPDATE: This is THE OUTLINE of a plan that is current in its evolution but by no means complete or the last word. It replaces the entry I made in February of this year. The assumption here is that even without taking mortgage foreclosure cases into consideration, the percentage of cases that actually go to trial is between 5%-15% depending upon how you categorize “cases.” On the other hand, if you are not prepared for trial and counting on settlement, your opposition will generally know it and have the upper hand in negotiating a settlement. They are going to play for keeps. You should too. Don’t assume that the note in front of you is the actual original. Close inspection often reveals it is a color copy.

And for heaven sake don’t stand there with your mouth hanging open when someone says you are looking for a free house. You are looking for justice. You had your purse snatched in this transaction, you know there is an obligation, but you also know that they didn’t perfect the security interest (not your fault) and they received multiple payments from multiple parties on these securitized loans. You want a FULL accounting of all such transactions to determine what balance is due after insurance payments, who is subrogated or substituted on claims, and an opportunity to negotiate a settlement or modification with someone who actually has advanced money on THIS transaction and can show it to be so.

WORD OF CAUTION: IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN PROCESS, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ACT WITHIN THE TIMES SET FORTH BY STATE LAW, FEDERAL LAW, OR THE LAWS OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. FAILURE TO DO SO LEAVES YOU IN AN UPHILL BATTLE TO REVERSE ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN. ON THE OTHER HAND ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN “FIX” THE POSITION OF YOUR OPPOSITION, SINCE THEY CAN NO LONGER ASSERT CHANGES IN CREDITOR, LENDER OR TRUSTEE. THUS IT MIGHT BE EASIER, ACCORDING TO SOME SUCCESSFUL LITIGATORS OUT THERE, TO WAIT UNTIL THE SALE HAS OCCURRED AND THEN ATTACK IT AS A FRAUDULENT SALE, THAN TO TRY TO STOP IT WITH A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ETC.

CONSIDER BANKRUPTCY, ESPECIALLY CHAPTER 13, WHERE THERE ARE MORE REMEDIES THAN YOU MIGHT THINK IF YOU FILL OUT YOUR SCHEDULES PROPERLY. WE ARE SEEING BETTER RESULTS IN SOME BANKRUPTCY COURTS THAN FEDERAL OR STATE CIVIL COURT PROCEEDINGS.

1. Get your act together, stop fighting amongst the members of your household and make a decision as to what you want to do — fight or flight?
2. GET SOME HELP NO MATTER WHAT YOU DECIDE. GET THE LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH, GET A SECURITIZATION SEARCH, AND GET A LAWYER LICENSED IN THE COUNTY WHERE YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED AND MAKE SURE HE/SHE IS NOT STUCK ON THE PROPOSITION THAT YOU SHOULD LOSE.
3. If you choose flight, then by all means try the short-sale or jingle mail strategies that have been discussed on this blog. Do not try to make money on the short-sale, since nobody is going to give it to you. You can make a few dollars by riding out the time in foreclosure without making payments (and hopefully saving the money you would have paid) and by negotiating as high a price (a few thousand dollars) as you can in a deal known as “cash for keys.” Even for this, you should employ the services of a local licensed attorney — at least for consultation. There are several short-sale options that have evolved. Google Edge Simonson or Prime financial. I’ve been working on a short-sale-leaseback option that seems to be picking up steam.
4. STRATEGIC DEFAULTS RISING: More and more people of all walks of life including those that have some considerable wealth, are walking away from these properties that were the subject of transactions in which the presumed value of the property was preposterous. This is an option that scare the hair off the pretender lenders because it pouts the power in your hands. They in turn are trying to scare the public with threats of deficiency judgments etc and collections. It is doubtful that many or indeed any deficiency judgments would be awarded, even if they were allowed. But in many cases, particularly in non-judicial states, deficiency judgments are NOT allowed. A version of the strategic default that many people like is to stay as long as possible without paying and then walk. If you are smart about it, you raise your own capital by socking away the payments you would have made.
5. If the decision is fight — then the second decision to make is to answer the question “fight for what?” If you want to buy time, there are many strategies that can be employed, which basically are the same strategies as those used if you are fighting for real. And you might be surprised by the result. Some people get a year or two or even more without payments. You are going to take a FICO hit anyway so why not put some cash in your pocket while you hold back payments.
6. AVOID crazy deals where you give your property or share your property with a stranger. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible.
7. AVOID mortgage modification firms. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible. My opinion is that if they don’t pursue an aggressive litigation strategy the statistical probability of you accomplishing anything by going to them is near zero.
8. In all cases, if at all possible:

(a) Get all your information together along with a short executive summary of your “journal” (even if you create the journal now). That means all closing documents, any information you have on title, recording in the county recorder’s office, the names of all parties who were “at” closing (that means not just the actual people who were there, but he names of companies that were represented or mentioned at closing). Also, include in the file any notices of default(NOD) or notice of Trustee sale (NOTS) or summons from a court.

(b) Get a MORTGAGE ANALYSIS of the loan transaction itself. THIS INVOLVES THREE PARTS — (1) LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH AND CHAIN OF TITLE, EXAMINATION OF THE DOCUMENTS, SIGNATURES, AND DATES OF DOCUMENTS PURPORTING TO BE REAL, (2) SECURITIZATION SEARCH THAT CHASES THE MONEY TRAIL AND WILL PROBABLY LEAD YOU TO SOME IMPORTANT ISSUES LIKE THE VERY EXISTENCE OF THE “TRUST” ASSERTING IT HAS THE RIGHT TO FORECLOSE AS WELL AS MONETARY ISSUES SUCH AS APPLICATION OR ALLOCATION OF PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY THE INVESTOR WHO ADVANCED THE FUNDS FOR THE LOAN AND (3) COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS THAT IS USABLE BY AN ATTORNEY IN COURT SUCH THAT HE/SHE CAN ARGUE THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF FACT ENTITLING YOU TO PURSUE DISCOVERY. IF YOU WIN THAT POINT YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION. BUT NOBODY IS GOING TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU.

(c) Who is your creditor? The TILA Audit alone does nothing without taking further steps. The Trustee’s “Take-down” report should be demanded in non-judicial states and if the house is in foreclosure, your written objection should be sent to the Trustee.

(d) If someone tells you they are “pretty sure” or can “definitely” stop your foreclosure or promises a favorable outcome, and asks for money up front, then run like hell. This is a scam. IF THEY TELL YOU THEY WILL DO WHAT THEY CAN, AND THEY GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY WILL BE DOING FOR YOU THEN LISTEN AND GET REFERENCES.

(e) Only a Court order stops foreclosure or a Trustee Sale. No letter of any form or substance will stop it unless the other side is intimidated into stopping the action, which sometimes happens when they know their paperwork is “out of order.”

(f) Get a Forensic Mortgage Analysis Report OR AN EXPERT DECLARATION that summarizes in a few pages the potential issues that you should be investigating AND WHICH LENDS SUPPORT TOY OUR DENIAL OF THE DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO CLAIM A DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO FORECLOSE.

(g) Get an Expert Declaration that uses the forensic report and the expert opinions of specific experts (like appraisers, title analysts) and which identifies the probable chain of securitization and the money trail. You’ll be surprised when you find out there were two yield spread premiums not disclosed to you and that they can total as much or more than the “loan” itself. GET EXPERT OPINION ON PROBABLE DAMAGES INCLUDING RETURN OF UNDISCLOSED FEES, INTEREST, ETC. (SEE LAWYER’S WORKBOOK FROM GARFIELD CONTINUUM).

(h) Send the Forensic Report and expert declaration to the known parties, with an instruction to forward it to all other parties known to them in the securitization chain. Include a Qualified Written Request(QWR) AND a Debt Validation Letter(DVL) (which is really a debt verification letter). Don’t be surprised if your pretender lenders will come back and tell you your QWR is defective or improper in some way, but that’s OK, you have followed statutory procedure and they didn’t. With the help of an attorney and with consultation with your experts decide on what resolution you will demand — damages, rescission, etc.

(i) Don’t believe a word about modification. Practically none of them go through. They are leading you into default so they can collect more service fees, and get money out of you that you think is stopping the foreclosure.

(j) Don’t believe a word that any pretender lender or representative says or represents, even if they are a lawyer, particularly verbal communications that they refuse to confirm in writing. Challenge everything.
(k) Don’t accept any document as authentic. Many documents are being fabricated or forged, including affidavits. This is why you need a lawyer and an expert and a Forensic mortgage analysis — to determine what documents and parties are suspect and what you should be asking for in discovery and in the QWR and DVL.

(l) YOUR FIRST STRATEGY IS TO RAISE NOT PROVE ISSUES OF FACT. BY PRODUCING A FORENSIC REPORT AND EXPERT DECLARATION, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR LAWYER NEEDS TO ACQUIRE EXPERTISE IN SECURITIZED LOANS. YOU ONLY NEED TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF FACT BY SHOWING THE COURT THAT YOU HAVE EXPERTS WHO SAY THE PRETENDER LENDERS/TRUSTEES ETC. ARE NOT CREDITORS AND NOT AUTHORIZED AGENTS WORKING FOR THE CREDITORS. THEY SAY THEY ARE IN FACT THE CREDITORS OR HAVE SOME AUTHORITY GRANTED BY AN ALLEGED CREDITOR. IT IS NOT FOR THE COURT TO ACCEPT ONE VIEW OR THE OTHER, BUT RATHER TO ALLOW DISCOVERY AND AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON THE ISSUE OF STANDING (SEE MANY RECENT CASES REPORTED SINCE FEBRUARY ON THIS BLOG).

(m) Be very aggressive on discovery. They will argue that even if they are not the creditor and even if they refuse to disclose the identity of the creditor, they are still entitled to disclose because they are the holder of the note and/or mortgage. Your argument will probably be that they still have a duty to disclose the identity of the creditor and the source of the their authority to represent the creditor, along with proof that the creditor has received notice of these proceedings.

A Homeowners’ Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes be Foreclosure-Proof?

20 Aug

62 MILLION HOMES ARE LEGALLY FORECLOSURE -PROOF

Posted 7 hours ago by Neil Garfield on Livinglies’s Weblog

EDITOR’S NOTE: YES IT MEANS WHAT IT SAYS — WHICH IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR THREE YEARS. BUT JUST BECAUSE SOME JUDGES REALIZE THAT THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT LEGAL INTERPRETATION DOESN’T MEAN ALL OF THEM WILL ABIDE BY THAT. QUITE THE REVERSE. MOST JUDGES REFUSE TO ACCEPT AND CAN’T WRAP THEIR BRAINS AROUND THE FACT THAT THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY THAT SET THE LEGAL STANDARDS FOR PERFECTING A SECURITY INTEREST IN RESIDENTIAL HOME MORTGAGES COULD HAVE SCREWED UP LIKE THIS.

THE ANSWER OF COURSE IS THAT THEY DIDN’T — WALL STREET DID IT. I KNOW FOR A FACT AND HAVE SEEN THE INTERNAL MEMORANDUM WRITTEN IN 2003-2006 THAT LAWYERS WHO WERE PREPARING THE SECURITIZATION DOCUMENTS KNEW AND INFORMED THEIR CLIENTS THAT THIS COULD NOT WORK.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET A FREE HOUSE. BUT IT DOES MEAN THAT AT THE MOMENT ANY HOUSE IN WHICH MERS WAS INVOLVED DOES NOT HAVE A PERFECTED SECURITY INTEREST AS AN ENCUMBRANCE. AND THAT MEANS THAT ANY FORECLOSURE BASED UPON DOCUMENTS OR PRESUMPTIONS REGARDING MERS ARE VOID. AND THAT MEANS THAT IF YOU FALL INTO THIS CLASS OF PEOPLE — AND MOST PEOPLE DO — IT IS POSSIBLE AND EVEN PROBABLE THAT YOU COULD BE AWARDED QUIET TITLE ON A HOME THAT WAS FORECLOSED AND SOLD EVEN YEARS AGO.

BUT BEWARE: JUST BECAUSE THEY SCREWED UP THE PAPERWORK AND THEY DON’T HAVE THE REMEDY OF FORECLOSURE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE DOESN’T MEAN THAT NOBODY LENT YOU MONEY NOR DOES IT MEAN THAT YOU DON’T OWE ANY MONEY NOR DOES IT MEAN THAT THEY COULD NOT CREATE AN EQUITABLE LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY THAT COULD AMOUNT TO A MORTGAGE THAT COULD BE FORECLOSED. BUT THAT IS STRICTLY A JUDICIAL PROCESS EVEN IN SO-CALLED NON-JUDICIAL STATES.

WE ARE NOW CLOSING IN ON THE REALITY. THE INEVITABLE OUTCOME IS PRINCIPAL REDUCTION WHETHER THE BANKS LIKE IT OR NOT. EVEN IF THEIR LIEN WAS PERFECTED AND ENFORCEABLE THEY STILL CANNOT GET ANY MORE MONEY THAN THE HOUSE IS WORTH. WITHOUT THE ENCUMBRANCE, THEY ARE FORCED TO NEGOTIATE A WHOLE NEW PATH WITH ONLY THE PARTIES THAT ARE NOW LEFT HOLDING THE BAG ON THE LOSS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ORIGINAL LOAN ON YOUR PROPERTY, AFTER ADJUSTMENTS FOR PAYMENTS RECEIVED BUT NOT RECORDED OR ALLOCATED.

IN ORDER TO HOLD THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE ORIGINAL SECURITIZATION SCHEME AND INSIST ON PROOF OF WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE INITIAL SECURITIZATION PLAN WAS PUT IN PLACE. REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT A FIXED EVENT. THIS IS SINGLE TRANSACTION BETWEEN THE BORROWER AND AN ONGOING PROCESSION OF SUCCESSORS EACH OF WHOM HAS QUESTIONABLE RIGHTS TO THE NOTE, MORTGAGE OR EVEN THE OBLIGATION SINCE THEY WERE ONLY ASSIGNED A RECEIVABLE FROM A PARTY WHO WAS NEITHER THE BORROWER NOR THE ORIGINATING LENDER.

A Homeowners’ Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes be Foreclosure-Proof?

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Ellen Brown
Web of Debt
August 20, 2010

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere “nominee”—an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff’s legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

California Precedent

The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:

Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no interest it could transfer to Citibank. Since MERS did not own the underlying note, it could not transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to another. Any attempt to transfer the beneficial interest of a trust deed without ownership of the underlying note is void under California law.

In support, the judge cited In Re Vargas (California Bankruptcy Court); Landmark v. Kesler (Kansas Supreme Court); LaSalle Bank v. Lamy (a New York case); and In Re Foreclosure Cases (the “Boyko” decision from Ohio Federal Court). (For more on these earlier cases, see here, here and here.) The court concluded:

Since the claimant, Citibank, has not established that it is the owner of the promissory note secured by the trust deed, Citibank is unable to assert a claim for payment in this case.

The broad impact the case could have on California foreclosures is suggested by attorney Jeff Barnes, who writes:

This opinion . . . serves as a legal basis to challenge any foreclosure in California based on a MERS assignment; to seek to void any MERS assignment of the Deed of Trust or the note to a third party for purposes of foreclosure; and should be sufficient for a borrower to not only obtain a TRO [temporary restraining order] against a Trustee’s Sale, but also a Preliminary Injunction barring any sale pending any litigation filed by the borrower challenging a foreclosure based on a MERS assignment.

While not binding on courts in other jurisdictions, the ruling could serve as persuasive precedent there as well, because the court cited non-bankruptcy cases related to the lack of authority of MERS, and because the opinion is consistent with prior rulings in Idaho and Nevada Bankruptcy courts on the same issue.

What Could This Mean for Homeowners?

Earlier cases focused on the inability of MERS to produce a promissory note or assignment establishing that it was entitled to relief, but most courts have considered this a mere procedural defect and continue to look the other way on MERS’ technical lack of standing to sue. The more recent cases, however, are looking at something more serious. If MERS is not the title holder of properties held in its name, the chain of title has been broken, and no one may have standing to sue. In MERS v. Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, MERS insisted that it had no actionable interest in title, and the court agreed.

An August 2010 article in Mother Jones titled “Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons” exposes a widespread practice of “foreclosure mills” in backdating assignments after foreclosures have been filed. Not only is this perjury, a prosecutable offense, but if MERS was never the title holder, there is nothing to assign. The defaulting homeowners could wind up with free and clear title.

In Jacksonville, Florida, legal aid attorney April Charney has been using the missing-note argument ever since she first identified that weakness in the lenders’ case in 2004. Five years later, she says, some of the homeowners she’s helped are still in their homes. According to a Huffington Post article titled “‘Produce the Note’ Movement Helps Stall Foreclosures”:

Because of the missing ownership documentation, Charney is now starting to file quiet title actions, hoping to get her homeowner clients full title to their homes (a quiet title action ‘quiets’ all other claims). Charney says she’s helped thousands of homeowners delay or prevent foreclosure, and trained thousands of lawyers across the country on how to protect homeowners and battle in court.

Criminal Charges?


Other suits go beyond merely challenging title to alleging criminal activity. On July 26, 2010, a class action was filed in Florida seeking relief against MERS and an associated legal firm for racketeering and mail fraud. It alleges that the defendants used “the artifice of MERS to sabotage the judicial process to the detriment of borrowers;” that “to perpetuate the scheme, MERS was and is used in a way so that the average consumer, or even legal professional, can never determine who or what was or is ultimately receiving the benefits of any mortgage payments;” that the scheme depended on “the MERS artifice and the ability to generate any necessary ‘assignment’ which flowed from it;” and that “by engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, specifically ‘mail or wire fraud,’ the Defendants . . . participated in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate commerce.”

Local governments deprived of filing fees may also be getting into the act, at least through representatives suing on their behalf. Qui tam actions allow for a private party or “whistle blower” to bring suit on behalf of the government for a past or present fraud on it. In State of California ex rel. Barrett R. Bates, filed May 10, 2010, the plaintiff qui tam sued on behalf of a long list of local governments in California against MERS and a number of lenders, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, for “wrongfully bypass[ing] the counties’ recording requirements; divest[ing] the borrowers of the right to know who owned the promissory note . . .; and record[ing] false documents to initiate and pursue non-judicial foreclosures, and to otherwise decrease or avoid payment of fees to the Counties and the Cities where the real estate is located.” The complaint notes that “MERS claims to have ‘saved’ at least $2.4 billion dollars in recording costs,” meaning it has helped avoid billions of dollars in fees otherwise accruing to local governments. The plaintiff sues for treble damages for all recording fees not paid during the past ten years, and for civil penalties of between $5,000 and $10,000 for each unpaid or underpaid recording fee and each false document recorded during that period, potentially a hefty sum. Similar suits have been filed by the same plaintiff qui tam in Nevada and Tennessee.

By Their Own Sword: MERS’ Role in the Financial Crisis

MERS is, according to its website, “an innovative process that simplifies the way mortgage ownership and servicing rights are originated, sold and tracked. Created by the real estate finance industry, MERS eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans.” Or as Karl Denninger puts it, “MERS’ own website claims that it exists for the purpose of circumventing assignments and documenting ownership!”

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MERS was developed in the early 1990s by a number of financial entities, including Bank of America, Countrywide, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, allegedly to allow consumers to pay less for mortgage loans. That did not actually happen, but what MERS did allow was the securitization and shuffling around of mortgages behind a veil of anonymity. The result was not only to cheat local governments out of their recording fees but to defeat the purpose of the recording laws, which was to guarantee purchasers clean title. Worse, MERS facilitated an explosion of predatory lending in which lenders could not be held to account because they could not be identified, either by the preyed-upon borrowers or by the investors seduced into buying bundles of worthless mortgages. As alleged in a Nevada class action called Lopez vs. Executive Trustee Services, et al.:

Before MERS, it would not have been possible for mortgages with no market value . . . to be sold at a profit or collateralized and sold as mortgage-backed securities. Before MERS, it would not have been possible for the Defendant banks and AIG to conceal from government regulators the extent of risk of financial losses those entities faced from the predatory origination of residential loans and the fraudulent re-sale and securitization of those otherwise non-marketable loans. Before MERS, the actual beneficiary of every Deed of Trust on every parcel in the United States and the State of Nevada could be readily ascertained by merely reviewing the public records at the local recorder’s office where documents reflecting any ownership interest in real property are kept….

After MERS, . . . the servicing rights were transferred after the origination of the loan to an entity so large that communication with the servicer became difficult if not impossible …. The servicer was interested in only one thing – making a profit from the foreclosure of the borrower’s residence – so that the entire predatory cycle of fraudulent origination, resale, and securitization of yet another predatory loan could occur again. This is the legacy of MERS, and the entire scheme was predicated upon the fraudulent designation of MERS as the ‘beneficiary’ under millions of deeds of trust in Nevada and other states.

Axing the Bankers’ Money Tree

If courts overwhelmed with foreclosures decide to take up the cause, the result could be millions of struggling homeowners with the banks off their backs, and millions of homes no longer on the books of some too-big-to-fail banks. Without those assets, the banks could again be looking at bankruptcy. As was pointed out in a San Francisco Chronicle article by attorney Sean Olender following the October 2007 Boyko [pdf] decision:

The ticking time bomb in the U.S. banking system is not resetting subprime mortgage rates. The real problem is the contractual ability of investors in mortgage bonds to require banks to buy back the loans at face value if there was fraud in the origination process.

. . . The loans at issue dwarf the capital available at the largest U.S. banks combined, and investor lawsuits would raise stunning liability sufficient to cause even the largest U.S. banks to fail . . . .

Nationalization of these giant banks might be the next logical step—a step that some commentators said should have been taken in the first place. When the banking system of Sweden collapsed following a housing bubble in the 1990s, nationalization of the banks worked out very well for that country.

The Swedish banks were largely privatized again when they got back on their feet, but it might be a good idea to keep some banks as publicly-owned entities, on the model of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. For most of the 20th century it served as a “people’s bank,” making low interest loans to consumers and businesses through branches all over the country.

With the strengthened position of Wall Street following the 2008 bailout and the tepid 2010 banking reform bill, the U.S. is far from nationalizing its mega-banks now. But a committed homeowner movement to tear off the predatory mask called MERS could yet turn the tide. While courts are not likely to let 62 million homeowners off scot free, the defect in title created by MERS could give them significant new leverage at the bargaining table.

Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors – Shell Game Continues

16 Aug

Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors – Shell Game Continues
Posted on August 16, 2010 by Neil Garfield

EDITOR’S NOTE: The shell game continues. While the media picks up stories about “settlements” giving rise to the presumption that Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America and the rest of the securitization players committed various violations of statutes, duties, rules and regulations, the main point gets lost. Where is this money going and WHY? What is the tacit or express admission in paying that money and what effect does it have on the average homeowner sitting with a loan whose obligation is being paid in these settlements?
Think about it. If Bank of America, which now owns Countrywide, is paying “fractions” to investors who purchased mortgage bonds then who is it that owns the underlying mortgages and loans? Did Bank of America pay the investors do it under a reservation of rights (subrogation) to enforce the underlying loans? If not, then why are they foreclosing? All evidence is to the contrary. There is no subrogation under these purchases, insurance, credit default swaps or any other contract — not that I ever saw and not that my sources in the industry tell me was ever even contemplated much less executed. The same holds true for all those bonds the Federal Reserve is holding.

If Bank of America is paying “fractions” to investors who purchased mortgage bonds, why was it a fraction? Is it because the value of the bond was much lower than the price paid by the investor? Is it just a convenient settlement? Or is it because the investors have also received funds from other sources?

This is what I am referring to when I address “factual constipation.” How are these payments being allocated? Did the owners of the bonds actually have any definable interest in the underlying mortgage loans? If they did, why are these payments not being allocated to the obligations or payments due under those underlying mortgage loans? If they didn’t, why did they get paid anything? How will we ever know without getting a full accounting from all the parties that claim some stake or ownership interest or receivable interest in me is underlying mortgage loans?

It is black letter law as well as common law dating back centuries that nobody can collect the same debt more than once. If they do collect more than once there is a clear right of action by the borrower to collect the excess payment through a lawsuit for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and other causes of action. Here we have an intentional act designed to collect the same debt multiple times. In my opinion this does not merely indicate the presence of an action for fraud, it clearly shows an interstate pattern of racketeering that at one time in our history had the Department of Justice and the FBI busy putting people in jail.

Only in America where the news has turned into an entertainment blitz used by those with the most power and the most money to get their message across, even if it is a total lie. Somehow many if not most people have the impression that the borrowers and the securitized mortgages executed between 2001 and 2009 are not entitled to the relief that any other debtor is entitled to receive––that is the obligation has been reduced for any reason, the borrowers should get credit and if any party receives money in excess of the net amount due after credits, the creditor becomes the debtor owing money to the former borrower.

The bullet point that is being used to distort the perception of our citizens and policymakers is that these borrowers should not get a “free house.” Without getting a full accounting from all parties that advanced funds to and from the original investors who purchased mortgage bonds or collateralized debt obligations and related hedge products, there is no way of knowing the amount of the credit which is due to the borrower. Yes, it is possible that the amount received by the various intermediaries in the securitization chain exceeded the original obligation due from the borrower.

In that case, the borrower owes nothing to the originating lender or the successors to that lender. But if there is still a class of investor or institution that can prove a loss resulting from the nonpayment of the obligation by the borrower (as opposed to non-payment from other parties in the securitization chain) then the law allows that party to recover the loss from those that caused it. That probably includes the borrower, which means that we are not seeking a free house, we are seeking a truthful accounting.

BUT the fact that this obligation theoretically exists does not mean and never did mean under any legal decision in existence that the obligation should be paid to anybody who claims it. By all substantive and procedural law, the obligation is payable to one who proves the obligation and to one who proves it is owed to them and nobody else.
Yet in the view of many judges the challenge by the borrower is viewed as a delay tactic or an attempt to use technical deficiencies to a gain a free house on a lawn that the borrower sought but could not pay. No doubt this is true in some cases. But in nearly all the cases, armies of salespeople using names like “loan expert” pounded on doors and rang the phones of people who had no thought of borrowing money on homes, in many cases, that were debt-free and had been in the family for generations. Now many of those homes are bank owned property.
The simple question that needs to be posed to anyone who looks at the borrower as anything other than a victim is which is more likely? Did the owners of 20 million homes enter into a conspiracy to defraud the financial system, half society and our taxpayers? Did these people have the sophistication, education, knowledge, experience or training to pull off such a caper? Or is it more likely that the Wall Street titans stepped over the line and instead of increasing liquidity for the benefit of consumers and small businesses, used their position to deplete the resources of unsuspecting citizens, pension funds, financial institutions and governmental units from the top federal levels down to the smallest local geographical areas?

Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors

By ALAN ZIBEL (AP) – Aug 3, 2010

WASHINGTON — Former shareholders of fallen mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp. are in line to recoup a fraction of their investments now that a Los Angeles judge has approved a settlement worth more than $600 million settlement.

The payoff doesn’t come close to compensating for the money lost by investors. But it could prompt more lenders to settle legal disputes at the center of the housing bust.

Bank of America, which bought Countrywide two years ago, agreed to pay $600 million to end a class-action case filed against the company. KPMG, Countrywide’s accounting firm, will pay $24 million.

Several New York pension funds who served as lead plaintiffs alleged that Countrywide hid how risky its business had become during the housing market’s boom years. Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide was once the nation’s largest mortgage lender.

The agreement stands to return about 40 cents per share of Countrywide’s common stock, before legal fees and expenses. Consider that the stock peaked at $45 a share in February 2007, before the financial crisis. So an investor who held 100 shares could bank on receiving $40 for an investment that was once worth $4,500.

Shareholders did receive 0.1822 shares of Bank of America’s stock for each share of Countrywide they owned when Bank of America acquired Countrywide. That worked out to about one share for every 5.5 shares of Countrywide stock. Shares of Bank of America closed at $14.34 on Tuesday. So that same 100 shares of Countrywide would be worth about $261 today in Bank of America stock.

Add the $40 from the settlement and those shares are now worth little more than $300.

Lawyers for the pension funds are requesting $56 million, or 4 cents per share, for fees and other costs.

Investors “will be compensated for a significant portion of the legal damages that they suffered as a result of what we believe was a violation of the securities laws,” said Joel Bernstein, a lawyer for the pension funds. “They won’t be compensated for every penny of that.”

Bank of America has been trying to put Countrywide’s legal problems behind it. In June, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company agreed to pay $108 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s charges that Countrywide collected outsized fees from about 200,000 borrowers facing foreclosure.

It reached a settlement Monday primarily to keep legal fees from escalating, a bank spokeswoman said.

“Countrywide denies all allegations of wrongdoing and any liability under the federal securities laws,” said Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. “We agreed to the settlement to avoid the additional expense and uncertainty associated with continued litigation.”

Plaintiffs attorneys have pursed lawsuits against numerous lenders and investment banks in the wake of the housing market’s devastating downturn, and the Countrywide settlement could encourage even more such cases, said Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at The Corporate Library, an independent corporate governance research firm.

“There are a lot of suits out there waiting to get launched,” Hodgson said. “I think this is the opening of the floodgates.”

Former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, former President David Sambol, former CFO Eric Sieracki and former board members were named in the litigation but are not contributing to the settlement.

But it does not end their legal problems. More than a year ago the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against Mozilo and the two other former executives. Mozilo, the most high-profile individual to face charges from the government in the aftermath of the financial crisis, has denied any wrongdoing.

For Countrywide, “This is only a chapter and not the end of the book,” said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.

Filed under: CASES, CDO, CORRUPTION, GTC | Honor, HERS, Investor, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Servicer, bubble, education, evidence, expert witness, foreclosure, foreclosure mill, foreign relations, investment banking, trustee | Tagged: KPMG, countrywide, Bank of America, ALAN ZIBEL, AP, New York pension funds, Joel Bernstein | 3 Comments »

Consumer Law E-mail Groups

14 Aug

NCLC
NATIONAL CONSUMER
LAW CENTER’
Advancing Fairness in the Marketplace for All

Why Join an E-Mail Group?
• They are free; all you need is an e-mail address
• Get instant answers to your questions from experts around the country
• Hear the latest developments, practice ideas, and litigation issues
• Obtain copies of pleadings and other useful documents
• Get into the nitty-gritty of the actual practice of consumer law
• Join a community of like-minded attorneys focused on the same subject area
NCLC and NACA sponsor a number of email groups for those representing consumer interests. These groups are not open to those who represent the industry that is the topic of the group or other adverse parties.
NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER E-MAIL GROUPS
1. Autofraud (Contact: Jon Sheldon) To join: owner-autofraud@lists.nclc.org
This is one of the oldest and most active consumer law e-mail groups with over 350 members, and much email traffic each day. The group focuses on many different issues related to motor vehicles, from financing to sales practices to lemons to repossessions. Like all NCLC e-mail groups, you can perform key-word searches in the archives for past e-mails.
2. Manufactured Homes (Contact: Odette Williamson)
To join: manufacturedhomes-request@lists.nclc.org and CC: owilliamson@nclc.org
If manufactured home cases ever come to your office, this is the e-mail group for you, covering issues of financing, defects, sales, and parks.
3. Student Loans (Contact: Deanne Loonin)
To join: studentloan-request@lists.nclc.org
(dloonin@nclc.org if experiencing technical problems)
This is NCLC’s first group, dating back over 10 years. The discussion covers student loan collections, offsets, vocational schools, and related topics.
4. FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act (Contact: Chi Chi Wu)
To join: cwu@nclc.org
A large group of experts exchanging ideas about credit reporting issues.
5. E-payments (Contact: Lauren Saunders) To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
This is the e-mail group for anyone concerned with the electronic payment of food stamps and other state benefits.
6. UtilityNetwork – Massachusetts (Contact: Charlie Harak)
To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
Covers issues of utility terminations, energy affordability, payment sources for utility bills, and low-income utility programs FOR MASSACHUSETTS ONLY.
7. EnergyNetwork – National (Contact: Charlie Harak, Olivia Wein, or John Howat)
To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
Covers issues of utility terminations, energy affordability, telephones, and low-income utility programs. Keep current on policy and programmatic issues.
8. Bankruptcy (Contact: John Rao) To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
This group is for legal services attorneys and pro bono coordinators and covers many issues relating to representation of low-income consumers in bankruptcy.
9. DC Updates (Contact: Lauren Saunders). To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
Provides updates on legislative and administrative developments in Washington, including agency comment opportunities and critical moments for legislative input. Open to NACA members and nonprofit consumer advocates (including non-attorneys).
10. California (Contact: Lauren Saunders). To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
Provides a forum for sharing of information on consumer law activities in California. Open to nonprofit attorneys and to NACA members willing to partner with or mentor nonprofit attorneys.
11. Carchange- Auto Ownership, Finance, and Policy (Contact John Van Alst)
To join: http://lists.nclc.org/subscribe
A new group for advocates seeking to improve the ability of low-income families to get, keep, and use a reliable, affordable car. Includes topics of car finance, sales, and ownership as well as anyone working on broader issues that affect access to transportation for low-income workers and their families (e.g., insurance, driver’s licenses, maintenance, etc.).
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMER ADVOCATES E-MAIL GROUPS Tlie lists operated by NACA require NACA membership for admission to those lists.
12. Mortgage (Contact: Jeff Dillman) To apply for admission: jdillman@thehousingcenter.org
This NACA group has over 600 members and covers all aspects of protecting a homeowner against foreclosure, from predatory lending to servicer abuses.
13. Class Action (Contact: Steve Gardner) To apply for admission: sgardner@cspinetorg
The place to be if your office handles class actions, if you are interested in co-counseling with other NACA offices experienced in class cases, or if you just want to learn more about the class action remedy.
14. Stop Binding Mandatory Arbitration Campaign (Contact: Cora Ganzglass)
To join: cora@naca.net
This NACA list is to help build awareness and support for state and federal legislation that fights back against binding mandatory arbitration clauses.
15. Statewide Listserves (Contact: Chris Wojcik) To join: chris@naca.net
NACA Statewide listserves exist for NACA members in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, DC, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington state, and Wisconsin. The listserves provide support, share documents and information, call attention to recent developments, and facilitate group action to protect and promote consumer rights.
16. Military Statewide Listserves (Contact: Chris Wojcik) To join: chris@naca.net A special Military NACA list for military attorneys in any state.
17. Doing Well by Doing Good list (Contact: Chris Wojcik) To join: chris@naca.net A listserve open to all NACA members.

CLASS ACTION VIDEO

4 Aug

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRGr9sGlIpg&feature=player_embedded

Southern California (909)890-9192 in Northern California(925)957-9797

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