Links: Ratigan’s No Way to Live, HuffPo Mortgage Meetup, Crime Shouldn’t Pay.

Four things:

1. Dylan Ratigan and Huffington Post are running a week of content called No Way to Live, and it is all about the current foreclosure crisis. Discussions about servicer fraud, HAMP, unnecessary foreclosures; interviews with people ranging from Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), to those who have been abused by the system, some of the Huffington Post writers, and many others. There’s also a lot of new reporting specifically about the crisis. I recommend checking it out.

2. February 8th, Huffington Post is organizing a mortgage meetup across the country. Talking to people going through foreclosure or servicer problems and seeing both the shame as well as the lack of knowledge (and thus power) they have, it’s obvious that they would benefit greatly from talking with others in the same boat. I usually tell people to talk to their churches – so many debt help groups are funded and run by credit card companies, churches are usually the only place you can trust. This is another space for people to be able to gather and talk about what they are going through. The exhaustion, isolation and powerlessness is part of their strategy – spread the word to those in need.

3.   Shahien Narisipour and Arthur Delaney, write about a couple losing their home as part of the Administration’s HAMP program. Some readers may be skeptical that servicer screw-ups can have a widespread impact, so let’s look at the Michigan couple highlighted in Huffington Post as a case study. Yves Smith walks through the numbers. The issue of servicer driving a homeowner into foreclosure by aggressively driving up frees and misappropriating payments to juke ratios is a far more serious problem than the country currently discuss. Smith: “Nevertheless, Diane Thompson, Counsel for the National Consumer Law Center said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last November that in 50% of the cases she handled, the foreclosure was the result of a servicer driven default. I’ve had attorneys who’ve handled hundreds of cases put the percentage even higher.” A sample case is given at the link.

4. National People’s Action, PICO National Network and many others are organizing a petition drive and a Call Your Attorney’s General day today, February 3rd, through this Crime Shouldn’t Pay webpage. I’m still amazed at how there’s been no subpoenas, no criminal charges, no Enron-styled investigations.  If you are amazed too, you should call your AG.

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5 Responses to Links: Ratigan’s No Way to Live, HuffPo Mortgage Meetup, Crime Shouldn’t Pay.

  1. Sue says:

    “churches are usually the only place you can trust”

    Well now I don’t know why you’d think that, we have been reading on the “public internets” about church-related mtg fraud since at least 2006. Such as:

    “February 2, 2010

    Master Builders for Christ and Vision Builders Christian Center, along with three of its principals, have been charged in a 21-count indictment in Delaware, on charges of running a massive mortgage rescue scam. ”

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/02/de_mortgage_scam.html &
    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/020210_Delaware_Mortgage_Fraud

    I’m not even going to get on to minority-on-minority mtg fraud rings with “pastors” helping tend their flock, which was reported in Washington DC 2006-2007 in the WaPo ISTR.

    Or this one:
    ‘Pastor Commits Mortgage Fraud to Found Church’
    http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/mortgage/pastor-charged-with-falsifying-loan-documents-pittsburghlivecom/

    Cruel world out there.

    • Sandyc954 says:

      Yes, that’s true. I have found it very hard to trust in “churches”. I hardly ever go to one, although most have some kind of alms to their congregation. In all honesty, it’s one thing to trust in the lord, another to trust in people. But we have to trust to a certain point or become hermits.
      There are many frauds by people claiming to be “godly”, but that’s not the case in these mortgages and banks. There is nothing godly, it’s FOR PROFIT. There is a very hard lesson here. Businesses are out to make money. Making money has become a religion to some folks. They will defend business, but not those that signed the loans that were OFFERED to them. The business should know how to identify and contract a good deal, but their greed and Wall Street were complicit in the fraud.
      I tried to get a mortgage years ago but I had no down payment. I was turned away and told to save up a down payment. Where did the line get moved? When they scammed the selling of “bad/high risk” loans, KNOWING the bubble would pop when rates adjusted. They thought, we’ll just repo the property. Well, now the truth comes out. They need to pay for THEIR mistakes, not get away with this!
      There was a quote by G.W. Bush to signal to people the coming flood. “People can buy a house, and it doesn’t have to be a crummy house” (may not be exact, but close).

  2. Mike says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t see that February 2nd story to linked to before now. What a messed up world.

  3. K. Williams says:

    ““Nevertheless, Diane Thompson, Counsel for the National Consumer Law Center said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last November that in 50% of the cases she handled, the foreclosure was the result of a servicer driven default. I’ve had attorneys who’ve handled hundreds of cases put the percentage even higher.””

    I never know what we’re supposed to do with this statistic. Obviously, people who feel they’ve been forced into foreclosure by unfair servicer treatment will be far more likely to seek out legal assistance than people who haven’t, so it would be shocking if many of the cases this woman was working on didn’t involve alleged servicer misbehavior. But that tells us nothing about what percentage of all foreclosures involve servicer malfeasance. Obviously, having even one person lose their home because of a servicer-driven foreclosure is terrible. But Smith, et.al., seem to be arguing that servicer-driven foreclosures are common, even though the evidence they cite doesn’t demonstrate that one way or the other.

  4. ZeroInMyOnes says:

    Well, remember why you gave the advice. You stated that most debt ‘relief’ entities are backed by credit card companies and therefore are not really places for people with debt problems to get help. Warning people off those outlets is still good advice.

    Churches, synagogues, or other places of worship and solace…..Most of these are good places filled with good people. (Most people everywhere are good….Otherwise our world would cease to function even so well as it does.) But I interpreted your advice to mean ‘talk to people in your congregation’, not necesarily to just your reverend, rabbi or whatever. And I still think that is good advice too.

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