Monday, July 22, 2013

Lies of the Banks Coming Back to Haunt Them

by Neil Garfield
Now that Federal Reserve is nearly done buying the worthless mortgage bonds, the banks have shown that they are in fact making money hand over fist and the government is feeling less fearful about toppling the financial system with financial regulation.
Based upon my interview with a highly placed well-informed source who prefers to remain anonymous, it appears as though the playing field and the goal posts have been moved.
The starting point is the sale of worthless mortgage bonds to investors under false pretenses. It isn’t just that the underwriting standards that were to be applied to the mortgages were not followed; the problem is really that the money from the investors was never deposited into an account that was legally or even apparently owned by the investors or the asset pool shares that they thought they were buying.
The banks were claiming the investment shares (mortgage-backed securities) to be their own despite the clear money trail and paper trail showing that at no time were the investors informed that they were lending their money or their right to the mortgage loans to the banks and their co-venturers.
Then the banks claimed losses on those investment shares and collected from insurance, credit default swaps, other hedge products, and the taxpayers.
Then the banks claimed insolvency that threatened the entire financial system despite having received money from investors, part of which was never invested in anything related to mortgages or mortgage bonds. The threat of insolvency and the threat to the entire financial system was taken seriously by people in government that should have known better and perhaps did know better.
Then it was decided that the Federal Reserve would cure the insolvency issue by purchasing the worthless mortgage bonds at full value. They purchased it from the banks who it no time actually owned close bonds nor did the banks own any of the loans that supposedly “backed” the mortgage-backed bonds.
Then it was revealed that the banks were making a lot of money while the rest of the economy went into a nosedive. Any economist who is questioned on this subject will respond that it is very unlikely for intermediaries who act as conduits for transactions to make money when economic activity is on the decline.
If they are reporting profits it is from fictitious transactions. In this case fictitious transactions are “trading profits.” In reality the banks are feeding part of their ill-gotten gains back into the bank, and claiming it as profits. When the chips were down and the banks had to show that they were strong enough to exist at their mega size, they came up with the capital without any problem.
Now that they came up with the capital and the profits, they have demonstrated that the extra restrictions that regulators want to put on the banks will neither damage the bank’s profitability nor threaten the financial system.
But the Banks know that their ability to come up with money all stems from the fact that they lied to everyone and stole trillions of dollars and that it did not come from ordinary banking activities. SO they are currently in a bed they made for themselves: they don’t want the restrictions to be too restrictive because it might have a negative effect on their legal earnings, but they have proven the opposite with their illegal earnings --- which is precisely what the regulators were waiting for.
Hence the banks are stuck with whatever regulations are put on banks --- especially those who claim ownership over transactions in which they acted only as intermediaries --- or they must say that the regulations would be harmful because the truth is they didn’t really make the money that they reported as net income.
This doesn’t come as news to the Federal Reserve who knows that it is purchasing worthless bonds. But the Federal Reserve cannot say that the bonds are worthless because it would then be seen as quantitative easing which is inflationary. The whole reason the money supply was expanded so much without inflation going wild is that the Federal Reserve was merely “buying bonds” and not just giving out money. But the bonds were completely worthless. So the truth is that the Federal Reserve was and still is giving out money in quantitative easing.
This chain of events served to undercut the middle class portion of the economy completely, denuding them of jobs, houses and even prospects, creating blighted neighborhoods, declining tax revenues for municipalities and this bankruptcies like the City of Detroit. If the law was applied as it is applied to everyone except the big banks, then they would be charged with mortgage fraud, securities fraud (because the exemption does not apply if you don't follow the rules of issuance of a mortgage bond) and compensatory damages would be due to the following people with percentages of the total money advanced for each $1 of mortgage:
  1. Investors: 125%
  2. Insurers: 85%
  3. Credit default swaps: 400%
  4. Miscellaneous hedge products: 25%
  5. Borrowers: 15% (100% of the payments and down payment)
  6. Taxpayers: 5%
  7. Federal reserve: 100%
Thus the situation was likened by my source to an old joke about lawyers, the punch line of which is that the dog screws everyone in the room and runs away with the steak.But the real problem is that by participating in this deceptive scheme, the Federal Reserve, put the burden of the loss on homeowners whose mortgages were paid in whole or in part by the financial sector including the Federal Reserve.
It isn’t just that the ownership of the loan has become completely convoluted; the real issue is money, to wit: the credit transaction with borrower has been long since extinguished by these devices used by the banks and the Federal Reserve, and vehicles like the Maiden Lane entities.
The amount of money owed on those mortgages is in reality far less than the the amount demanded by the banks --- which means that modification is possible for nearly every loan, whether delinquent or not, because the principal has already been reduced by payment. THIS IS WHY I SAY FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL BEFORE YOU FOLLOW THE PAPER TRAIL. THE PAPER TRAIL IS ONLY RELEVANT IF IT MATCHES THE MONEY TRAIL. OTHERWISE IT IS IRRELEVANT.
In the marketplace where loans are being refinanced and where mortgages are being foreclosed, these facts are carefully kept out of the mainstream conversation. But more and more judges are starting to ask questions because the behavior of the banks is just not consistent with a creditor who wants their money.
They seem to want the foreclosure judgment or sale but they are not so interested in the property. AND THAT is because the foreclosure puts the seal of approval from the state on a bunch of lies that were proffered to the courts and to the recording offices. It is the foreclosure judgment and sale that starts the clock ticking on wrongful foreclosures. Once time has run out on those actions, the banks are home free and the Federal Reserve, the unwitting or witting accomplice goes on their merry way while more than ten million families lose their homes, jobs and prospects.
If the Courts start finding that the mortgages are invalid, that their enforcement is defective or impossible, and that the debt is in doubt because there is no proof of the account receivable and the loss must belong to SOMEBODY, the current plan collapses. As I stated in 2007 based upon my own direct knowledge and the knowledge of industry sources who were active in the bundling, selling and trading activity associated with mortgage loans, the entire crisis would have been averted if the banks were held to account because the accounts due from the borrowers had been reduced without their knowing it just as the account due to the investors had been reduced without them knowing it.
This brings us back to what seems like a quaint solution now. I said we should forget blame and just let bring everyone to the table and share the losses and risks. People get to stay in their homes, the investors get a return on their investment, the banks earn fees, and companies like AIG won't be in danger of toppling. But then, the catastrophic shift in wealth inequality would also never have happened. And the super rich would have been revealed, if they were bankers, as common thieves with keys to the vault.

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