Securitization Issues — Throughout the trials and tribulations of pouring over thousands of documents, the same issue keeps popping up in my head. Why are attorneys claiming to rely ONLY on the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (the “PSA”) to establish REMIC failure and nothing else?
How many cases have you read in the last two years that there was strict reliance on the use of the PSA to win a foreclosure case?
I have read of very few instances that go into extreme detail in an attempt to educate a judge (unless you’re in one of the “sand states”, which got hit the hardest and well before the rest of the nation caught on), who really didn’t major in securities law (unless you happen to be “seated” somewhere in the Southern District of New York), all the while opposing counsel is objecting to entering the PSA into evidence at trial. At the end of the day, who has the note with the right to enforce it seems to be the bottom line. This issue has also come under severe scrutiny, because when MERS and securitization are involved, it means the promissory note you signed is now an electronic memory and does not consist of what the bank’s attorneys claim is “the original note”. (I will save the forensic discussion of promissory notes for another argument and another article!)
Perhaps it’s because some well-meaning individuals out there in the legal world told the attorneys that the crux of their argument was in the PSA.
I say, “No, it’s not just the PSA! You’re only eating half the enchilada!”
I am writing this piece (not for my own self-gratification) for the sake of those who have gotten past Securitization 101. I know most of the blog readers understand what a PSA is and what it contains. They subscribed to this blog in the past because there was something worthwhile posted on here, so the assumption is … the PSA to the readers of this blog is at least within their sphere of knowledge. This may be a little “deep” for those of you reading this post for the first time.
In my travails, I have discovered that the “blind eye” seems to include such terms as “Cut-off Date” and “Closing Date”, when referencing the PSA, yet these terms are not found in the PSA. They are merely referenced. To find these two dates, what must one do? Go to the front of the bloody 424(b)(5) Prospectus and find it within the first few pages of the document’s definitions.
I am not being paid by SECINFO.COM to tell you that it is much easier to search for REMIC information on this website than many of you have experienced on SEC.GOV. I only use SEC.GOV to order complete certified copies of the 424(b)(5) Prospectus, because I want to eat and digest the whole enchilada. Why? Because I’m hungry for the truth, that’s why. I want the truth, the WHOLE truth and nothing BUT the truth (the WHOLE truth). That means, if I have to peruse a bloody 400+ page prospectus that defines the parameters of how a REMIC behaves, I’m going to get this knowledge in my craw, because it’s going to come in real handy and some point and this is an RMBS Trust we’re talking about, it’s somebody’s house that is affected by what’s in this bloody document!
If man’s thought processes anything like electricity, it’s following the path of least resistance. There are “securitization gurus” out there in the hinterland that I tip my hat to because they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty in reading and understanding the entire “enchilada” (the sales pitch), and you know who you are, but they keep pointing to Section 2.01 (or its relative counterpart in some other types of PSA’s) and not referencing (and including as evidence) the WHOLE truth.
I say, the judge needs to “get smart” in order to play the game. But … most won’t.
I’ve also heard that judges in America really don’t give a shit about you and whether you lose your home. You didn’t make your payments so you deserve to, whether someone else made them for you or not. Judges just want to clear their court dockets as quickly as possible to convince the populace and hierarchy that keeps putting them on the bench that they are efficient in their duties and that their political careers and pensions are priority #1 (and go play golf and vacation with their families).
If you wonder what others are saying about judges across America, just dial up The Robing Room and see for yourself!
It seems like the foreclosure defense community just wants to “cut to the chase” to inform the judge that the “path of least resistance” is out there. All of us lazy folk don’t have time to read the whole enchilada. (“Your Honor, we know you have a full docket today, so out of professional legal courtesy, we’re not going to waste your time … because after all, we’re ‘officers of the court’ and we have a duty to represent the concerns of the court first, the public second and our clients … in last place! We have a business model to run, Your Honor, and we can’t do that wasting time in court, when we can make money playing the delay game. Oh, wait! That’s part of Your Honor’s game too! Drag the proceeding out as long as possible so the homeowner runs out of money, gives up and walks away, right? Either way, the banks win!”)
The foregoing thought process sounds like many a pissed-off homeowner that has lost faith in America. You know what? I don’t blame you. I’ve lost faith in America too. I’ve learned that you cannot depend on the charity of others in your quest to survive. However, we live in a society that condones and promotes such behaviors (it’s called socialism) and the multiculturalized American society gobbles it up like a hot enchilada. But … they eat it so fast they don’t take the time to digest it and it passes through their systems like “shit through a goose” (to quote Gen. George Patton). Yet these same pissed off homeowners are quick to criticize anyone else that’s trying to do the right thing, as if we’re all destined to be miserable in life.
This is the chief concern when I don’t see the entire 424(b)(5) Prospectus (in certified form) being offered as evidence at trial. One can always “tab” the document with miniature, self-adhesive type notes or make reference to those sections of the document in their written arguments so the judge will see it. Bankruptcy judges have to deal with this all the time, because they’re concerned about debt, not chain of title.
So the question then becomes: Does securitization actually have anything to do with chain of title? Do you know the answer?
It’s just that Wall Street’s idea of “pure intellectual masturbation” hasn’t permeated into the crevices of America’s primary educational system. Kids in school today don’t even learn “Checkbook 101”. Nope! They just want their allowance so they can go out and blow it on junk. Wait a minute! That sounds kind of like Wall Street in 2008 when everyone in the securitization game was being compensated into the millions so they could go out and party in blow, booze and hookers, doesn’t it? Now, I suppose some of you out there are also picturing Dante’s Inferno, right? Especially the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circles.
When it comes to securitization, you simply CANNOT cut corners. If you’ll notice, the entire 424(b)(5) Prospectus document, in whatever form, has some commonalities:
- It was signed under penalty of perjury under the Sarbanes-Oxley (“SOX”) Act.
- Virtually ALL of the REMICs have Cut-off and Closing Dates.
- The chain of title to the subject property (under attack) probably contains an Assignment of Mortgage or Assignment of Deed of Trust that makes reference to a REMIC by name (if it’s written correctly, some aren’t). This is where the REMIC shows up in the chain of title and becomes a “party” in the “adverse claimants to title” category.
- Most if not all of the time, the Assignment in question (also suspect to this very day) was drafted by the employees of the mortgage loan servicer you’re trying to deal with, using MERS or some other “made up” interest so the servicer can “hide behind the scenes”.
- All prospectuses make reference (somewhere in the document) of who the “players” in the securitization game are, generally they’re right up front. These are offered to investors right up front, prior to investing, which also promoted the caveats (there were no guarantees), when the creators of the REMICs knew exactly what they were doing in running the reader around in circles (the “pure intellectual masturbation”) until they’re so confused they don’t know which end of the document is “up”.
- All make reference to who collects the money to support the distribution payments to the investors at the other end of the REMIC who claimed to be harmed when the REMIC drags you into court or announces it’s selling your home on the courthouse steps.
- In some way, shape or form, most if not all prospectuses contain a Pooling and Servicing Agreement of some sort, which explain HOW mortgage loans are supposed to be conveyed into the trust pool and when.
The problem is, none of the banks ever followed their own rules. The servicers of the mortgage loans began paying your mortgage loans for you when you hit your financial “tipping point” and couldn’t make them any longer (or wouldn’t because you found out the truth). When the borrower stops making payments, the servicer starts making the payments for the borrower. This is mandated by the Prospectus, but again, how convenient THAT was left out of the legal equation brought before the Court. We couldn’t have the judge thinking some rich uncle was making our mortgage payments now, could we?
UPDATE: A NEW TWIST OF THE TALE!
Some REMICs have a third party involved. That third party is called the Credit Risk Manager. It’s generally an outside company that is paid a fractional portion of the REMIC’s gain to monitor the activities of the mortgage loan servicer. This would mean that this entity has documentation (that it gets on a regular basis, IF it’s doing its job properly) being supplied to it by the servicer and the Trustee (if certain aspects of the REMIC’s operations are applicable) for evaluation to make sure that the servicer is doing its job correctly in compliance with the REMIC’s own governing regulations.
To insist that the Credit Risk Manager may be in breach of his fiduciary duties to the REMIC would depend on three (3) things:
(1) The Credit Risk Manager (if one is shown, not all REMICs have them) was not compliant in keeping track of the servicer and its records;
(2) The Credit Risk Manager failed to report the failure of servicer compliance to the Trustee; and
(3) The Credit Risk Manager was getting a paycheck for doing nothing.
This is another classic example of REMIC failure!
OCWEN FESSES UP!
The judges just want to give your homes to the bank. They really don’t have time for details. Right?
Again, I post the following for your consideration: Ocwen’s Letter to 6 Government Agencies
The foregoing transmission is 9 pages long. I would suggest, as part of your digestion process of “the whole enchilada”, you focus on the parts of the Prospectus that talk about payments being made to investors to keep the REMIC going. What happened in 2008 was pure “overload” on Wall Street’s financial system. When you read this Ocwen transmission, you will probably be infuriated, because this affects NOT JUST OCWEN, but EVERY mortgage loan servicer out there!
Read the 9 pages again! The servicers are the parties doing the foreclosures in the name of the lender. The problem is, you don’t have a written agreement with the servicer. You have a written agreement with the Lender. If the lender’s out of business, the servicer is still collecting mortgage payments and is still paying the REMIC’s investors. When you stop making the mortgage payments, along with your taxes and insurance payments, the servicer makes them for you!
In the case of a GSE, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae or Sallie Mae (WHAT? Student loans are securitized too?), they too manage REMICs and are knee deep in securitization failure just like the rest of the published REMICs contained within the SEC’s databases. If there is default insurance involved anywhere in the securitization process, someone got made whole (or at least the payments kept coming in to pay investors), so who is “harmed”?
THE SECURITIZATION CHAIN
The way that the OCC Asset Securitization Handbook contemplated the path of cash flows through the securitization chain started at the top, with the Borrower. Even U. S. Bank, N.A. admits the Borrower is a party to the Securitization Chain in its 4-page brochure, here: US Bank Brochure – Role of the Corporate Trustee
So then, why do bank attorneys in court keep downplaying that the Borrower has nothing to do with the Assignment of Mortgage, when the Borrower clearly is AT THE TOP OF THE CHAIN? (taken from p. 8, virtually right up front, just like the Cut-off and Closing Dates are located in a Prospectus).
The “Originator” and “Servicer” work in tandem with (but independent of) each other to make the loans and then collect the payments so the investors who “buy into” the securitization scheme get paid (on the distribution date, generally the 25th of every month). The “Rating Agency” issues ratings for the bonds the investors would be able to buy (this is shown in the Prospectus, NOT in the PSA). How much more evidence do you need that the Borrower’s payments to the chain have everything to do with compliance of the entire Prospectus, even when the Borrower DOESN’T MAKE THE PAYMENTS!
For the purposes of this discussion, we move within the path of the securitization chain to discuss WHO makes your payments when you can’t.
The following item was taken from the front end of the Prospectus (NOT in the PSA, which I why I say ya’ll spend so much time focusing on the PSA, you miss the good shit**):
So, if you think I’m making this stuff up, think again. This paragraph (taken out of the front end of a Free Writing Prospectus in conjunction with the REMIC paperwork offered on SECINFO.com, which I subscribe to) explains the same thing that the 9-page letter Ocwen wrote about who makes the payments when the Borrower doesn’t. So, these are the “baker’s dozen” questions I leave you with:
- Is your written contract (the Security Instrument) with the mortgage loan servicer or with the lender?
- Does it say anything in your Mortgage or Deed of Trust that the Servicers may change during the life of your loan?
- Did anyone tell the mortgage loan servicer to make your payments for you when you couldn’t?
- Did the mortgage loan servicer handling your loan tell you that it was making your payments for you when you couldn’t?
- Did the foreclosure mill law firm mention in the foreclosure complaint that the servicer made the payments for you?
- When you asked the servicer (in discovery or through a QWR) for a payment history, did the servicer disclose ALL the payments made (including the payments the servicer made)?
- Did the servicer’s law firm misrepresent the character and status of the debt as being in “default” when it really wasn’t? [FDCPA § 807(2)(A)]
- As the result of Question #7, has the servicer been wrongfully trashing your credit reports? (FUTURE CREDIT DAMAGE, actual harm under Spokeo v. Robins)
- As the result of Question #7, did the foreclosure mill law firm attempt to collect payments from you that you believe were already paid by the servicer?
- As the result of Question #7, did the foreclosure mill law firm allege that the REMIC was the Plaintiff when the servicer had been paying the REMIC’s investors all along?
- If the servicer had been making the payments all along, was the REMIC and its investors actually harmed?
- In deed of trust states, are you non-judicial foreclosure victims now kicking yourself because you didn’t realize this information was in the Prospectus … and you could have truly fought this?
- If you retained an attorney to fight your foreclosure, why didn’t your foreclosure defense lawyer pick up on this? (Remember, the path of electricity?)
Therefore, it would stand to reason that if everyone stopped making their mortgage payments on known securitization chains, the mortgage loan servicers now in existence would go broke overnight making everyone’s payments, as there isn’t enough money in their coffers to support doing that. All of the RMBS’s on Wall Street would go under on the distribution date following the borrowers’ loan payment stoppage.
See how easy it would be to collapse part of the U.S. economy?
We’re not talking about the TBTF institutions that started all this garbage, we’re talking about the loan servicers that are the real parties filing foreclosure complaints trying to collect their “servicer advances” before the REMIC itself, which has been getting paid all along, gets any residual payments. It’s the servicers that are lying to the courts in an attempt to reimburse their coffers for all the money they’ve stolen from everyone’s escrow accounts to keep securitization afloat!
Eventually however, the investors would get stung.
Ignorance is bliss.
For now, I rest my case.
**The information shown above came from SEC filings on behalf of the Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities I Trust 2006-AC1.