Daily Archives: November 24, 2012

Thousands of underwater mortgages in N.Y. get adjustments

More than 7,000 New York homeowners have had underwater mortgages adjusted since state attorneys general, including New York’s Eric Schneiderman, and several major U.S. banks announced a deal last spring in which the banks agreed to provide relief to homeowners affected by the mortgage crisis, a report issued Monday by settlement monitor Joseph Smith Jr. found.

The five banks agreeing to the deal—Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc.—among them write 60 percent of U.S. home mortgages. The settlement calls for the banks to pay out $25 billion nationally with $17 billion going directly to homeowners.

The Nov. 19 report is a preliminary update based on figures the banks submitted. Smith’s staffers will work to double check the banks’ numbers before a more formal report is turned in to a U.S. District Court in the second quarter 2013, Smith said.

“No credit will be awarded to a servicer until I, as monitor, am satisfied that the servicer has met its obligations,” he promised.

Read on.

Memphis Community Hit Hard by Foreclosures, Crime

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) — Memphis resident Rebecca Black and attorney Webb Brewer of Brewer & Barlow talk about the impact of the U.S. mortgage crisis on one Memphis neighborhood. (Source: Bloomberg)

Here is the video: http://bloom.bg/WgkuQq


Wall Street Kept Winning on Mortgages Upending Homeowners

Rebecca Black abandoned her dream house on Hazelwood Road in MemphisTennessee, in 2010, a year after the recession ended.

As the U.S. economy grew, Black’s world shrank. Today she rents an apartment about the size of her old living room and works for the same $12 an hour she’s earned for years.

If Thomas F. Marano takes a late lunch, he makes more money in a single morning than Black does all year. Marano once led the team at Bear Stearns Cos. that bought Black’s mortgage in 2005 and thousands of other subprime loans to sell to investors.

During the 2000s housing boom, they both won — Black got a home and Marano made millions.

In the aftermath of the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression, only one of them kept winning. The biggest lenders are doing better than ever while those with the least, many of them black borrowers, are struggling the most. One dividing line for this widening gap is the dotted one where millions of home buyers signed their names to loans they couldn’t repay. With the dream of home ownership snatched away, they and their communities may never be the same.

“It’s completely not fair,” says Tomeka R. Hart, president ofMemphis Urban League Inc. and a Shelby County school board member. “It speaks to a kind of injustice where people at the top are winning out against people at the bottom.”

Read on.

Banks favor short sales over debt forgiveness


Florida homeowners have received more than $3 billion in mortgage relief and benefits from the nation’s five largest banks since a landmark settlement was signed in March to atone for foreclosure-related offenses.

But the majority of the banks’ debt forgiveness has come in the form of short sales, a gesture that homeowner advocates say doesn’t match the goal of the agreement, which was to keep borrowers in their homes.

More than $2.2 billion, or 63 percent of Florida’s total take so far from the settlement, has been in deficiency waivers for short sales, according to quarterly progress reports submitted this week to settlement monitor Joseph Smith.

A short sale is when a lender agrees to take less for a home than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. Banks can still pursue borrowers for that unpaid debt, unless they waive that right in the deal.

Read on.


Locks changed at wrong home being called a mistake

A Phoenix homeowner says Fannie Mae foreclosed on the wrong home. view full article.

“They told me that they had drilled into the wrong unit. They drilled into 205 instead of 250 and laughed and thought it was funny,” he recalled.

Up to € 800 million euros could insolvency administrator receive for the settlement of German Lehman subsidiary

From German newspaper translated in English:

Hamburg – The amount seems huge. Up to 800 billion euros, could Michael Frege, the insolvency of Lehman’s German subsidiary, received. The settlement of the bankrupt bank by the lawyers of the law firm CMS Hasche Sigle would thus more than 20 times as much as the previous record holder: 2010 got the Karstadt administrator about 32 million euros.

Sahra Wagenknecht, deputy parliamentary leader of the Left Party holds, the sum to be absurd. “800 million euros fee for the processing of scrap bank. An employee, an SME or a retiree can only shake his head about it,” she told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Their conclusion: “We need a tax of 75 percent for millionaires.”

The U.S. insolvency of Lehman criticized the prospect of fee amount. “We are very concerned about the level of fees 600 to 800 million euros,” said U.S. Attorney Daniel Ehrmann. They would negotiate another solution.

Yet for all the understandable outrage in the face of a fee in the hundreds of millions worth taking a look at the facts. Firstly, it is striking that here just U.S. hedge funds are trying to whip up outrage over the fee . They have bought up large-scale requirements for the insolvent bank and are now trying to push the manager’s remuneration. If the fees are lower, there is more choice for investors, is the calculus.

A representative of the hedge fund told the Reuters news agency, insolvency Frege could “get no bonus, especially since he has like some bad decisions by having assets sold below market value.” More than 250 million euros had not grant him.


Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans’ e-mail privacy. Thenlaw enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law, CNET has learned.

Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns, according to three individuals who have been negotiating with Leahy’s staff over the changes. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

More here…

Bank cases illustrate rise in wage-and-hour lawsuits

Two Charlotte bankers have sued their employers claiming they were required to work overtime hours without pay to meet quotas, joining a rising tide of litigation over wages in the aftermath of the recession.

In one case, a former loan processor said Wells Fargo imposed a mandatory quota on her and her coworkers, forcing them to regularly work overtime without pay to meet the demand.

In the other, a former SunTrust Bank financial services representative claims she had to stay late at work to meet mandatory sales quotas and spend one night a week calling customers to hawk more services.

The two cases illustrate the wave of “wage-and-hour” lawsuits filed in the past five years as large companies have downsized. Financial services companies have been one of the primary targets. A record 7,064 wage-and-hour suits were filed in 12 months ending March 31, according to the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP. The number spiked in 2007, and then rose steadily between 2008 and this year.

Read on.

Organized Gangs Offer Homeless Empty Foreclosed Apartments in Exchange for Cash

When Esther Sanz found out that she was about to be evicted from her apartment she approached the social organization Platform for those Affected by Mortgages (PAH). She also went to see her parish priest in the San Cristóbal neighborhhod of Villaverde, a district in Madrid. That was when two people came up to Sanz and offered her an alternative: “Give us 600 euros and we’ll open an apartment for you today.” It wasn’t the first time the offer had been made. In Villaverde, empty properties don’t last a day.

The wave of evictions sweeping across the capital in the past few years has hit San Cristóbal particularly hard. In this working class neighborhood an underground real estate agency is flourishing. Among 6,000 properties in one area, residents say about 500 are what has become known as pisos patada — literally, flats with the doors kicked in. Their owners, the banks, do nothing with them after an eviction and in many cases don’t even pay community fees. The number of people waiting to take advantage of this is growing.

Esther Sanz complains bitterly about “organized mafias that know in advance when people are going to be evicted and try to grab families that are already sunk in misery.” She says that these organizations also keep an eye out for flats that are empty seasonally. This is the case of Juan, a Dominican who went to Almería for a few months and returned to find his locks had been changed. There was a family living in his flat. He made a police complaint two years ago and recovered his property just last month. “This is the problem,” says María del Prado, president of the San Cristóbal residents association since 1991. “They are quick to get rid of people who can’t meet their mortgage payments but then the process to remove squatters takes two years or more. And the social conflict remains in the neighborhood.”

Rest here…