Monday, October 18, 2010

This Is What Brian and Ilsa Said To Their Bank: “Show Me The Note, Motherfucker!”

Note to new readers and kind fans: My outrage at the Mortgage Mess made me swear quite a bit in my last post about this issue—a lot of people thought it detracted from my arguments. 
Therefore, like a junkie easing off the horse, I’m going to set goals for myself: Not more than half a dozen swear words in this post—deal? The one in the title counts as the first. GL  
So the week before last, I wrote about Brian and Ilsa, a retired couple in their mid-to-late sixties, living in a house in the Southwest that had—unremarkably—gone underwater.
©2010 by the crazy/brilliant WilliamBanzai7.
Used with permission. (Not me swearing—

blame the middle finger on Billy-B7.)
They had tried to refinance their home mortgage, under the auspices of the HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program. HAMP was part of the Financial Stability Act of 2009—the famed “Stimulus Package”. 
Under this program, the principal of Brian and Ilsa’s mortgage loan would remain the same—they would not be getting a free ride. (Some readers mistakenly thought that they would. See note at bottom.
But though the principal of their mortgage loan would remain the same, the period of their mortgage would be extended—and the loan itself would be refinanced with a lowered mortgage rate of 2.75%, from the 6.25% of the original mortgage. 
Therefore, their monthly payments would go down roughly 40%—a significant amount for them, especially after their retirement savings had taken a big hit following the Global Financial Crisis. 
What had been dreadful about Brian and Ilsa’s case was that, though they qualified for HAMP—and indeed, HAMP had contacted them, at least initially—they were given the bureaucratic runaround for several months, before they were finally allowed into the program. 

And then, three months after their mortgage had been lowered, with no warning, they were told that they in fact did not qualify—even though the program fit them like a glove.
Indeed, the program had been tailored for people exactly like them: Retirees, who had suffered unforseen medical expenses on top of having their house go underwater. People who weren’t looking for a handout, but just to refinance so as to take advantage of the now-lower interest rates, and thereby lower their monthly payments. 
But now, the bank was saying that they didn’t qualify. Out of the blue, no explanation, no appeal, nothing: They simply no longer qualified. To add insult to injury, they were also told that not only did they owe the difference in mortgage payments—they also now owed a penalty fee, for “incomplete payment”. 
Brian and Ilsa tried complaining about the unfairness of the situation, but once again, they were given the runaround. 
Then, they and I both discovered that a lot of the people who were initially said to qualify for HAMP in fact did not qualify—they were added to the program so that banks and servicers could collect Federal government bonuses, then bumped off the program once their three-month “trial mod” was over. 
It didn’t matter if they qualified or not—it was all just some sort of sick game with these people, done so that they could get some of that Federal government bonus money. The proof of this was the undisputed testimony of a whistleblower—whose testimony was of course ignored by the mainstream media. 
After all this heartbreak and frustration—and fear—Brian and Ilsa had reached the end of their tether: Ilsa had said, essentially, Fuckit, and was urging her husband Brian for them to strategically default. Brian was wavering, though he was as equally outraged as his wife. 
The point of my piece was, If and when solid upstanding middle-class people such as Brian and Ilsa ever do throw in the towel and let out a collective Fuckit, then it’s curtains for the American Republic: You cannot have a viable society where the backbone of the country thinks that following the rules and the law is for suckers and chumps. 
With the facts of their story in hand, I went off and wrote up my piece, posted it—and watched as it garnered 50,000 hits in a matter of days—over 70,000 hits as of today, eleven days later—and it’s still going strong. 
I’m a pretty good writer—but I’m not that good of a writer: Clearly, my piece touched a nerve. Touched a nerve? More like gouged it out, put electrodes to it, then went all Abu Ghraib on it—that’s how vehement some of the reactions to my piece were. 
Life goes on. Between when I last spoke to Brian and Ilsa, and when the reactions to my post started rolling in, Brian and Ilsa’s story continued, of course—
—and it took quite the amazing turn over the last couple of weeks. 
“And we have you to thank,” Ilsa told me. 
“Oh?” I said. 
“Yes indeed,” said Brian—and then he explained: 
While interviewing them, I had also been working on my “The Second Leg Down of America’s Death Spiral” post—the one where I swore up a storm. 
In that piece, I discussed the mechanics of the Mortgage Mess, and how a seemingly trivial issue—chain-of-title—could well clog up the system and bring a collapse in the mortgage market. 
I had explained how the banks, in their urge to securitize, had been sloppy with the mortgage notes. I explained how, potentially, this could mean that homeowners with mortgages might well be able to get out of their debt, since no one could now show who legally owned the note. Not just people in foreclosures—everyone with a mortgage that had been improperly handled. 
While interviewing Brian and Ilsa, I had talked about these issues to them, at some length. Whenever they needed to take a break from telling me their own story—which as you can imagine got them wound up to high heaven with frustration and worry—I would stop and tell them about the Mortgage Mess, and what I was finding out about it: The crooked law firms manufacturing documents, the shyster banks who owned—outright—Congress. The whole sordid mess.
Also, talking to Brian and Ilsa about the ins and outs of the Mortgage Mess was my way of wrapping my head around the complicated issues at hand, and making sense of it before I wrote about it. 
I thought that Brian and Ilsa were only half-listening to me, out of politeness, whenever I rambled on about MBS’s and chain-of-title and MERS and all the rest of it—but they paid me a lot more attention than I realized, at the time. 
(Note to self—consider adding another aphorism: Always assume people are listening to you more closely than you realize, even if they seem to be distracted.)
Underwater Homeowners
A desperate person with a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing—as Wells Fargo, Brian and Ilsa’s bank, soon found out. 
Last Monday, October 4, after I had finished interviewing them and was busy writing my original post on the pair, Brian mulled over what I had told him about chain-of-title and the Mortgage Mess—I can just see him, head lowered, looking up: The epitome of the Kubrick Stare. 
Brian dashed off an e-mail to his bank that night—a quick post, where he explicitly said, “I want to see the loan note where it says I owe you money, or else I’m contacting my lawyer and halting payment on my mortgage.”
The very next day, someone from Wells Fargo called them. 
Not a machine, not a customer service rep in India—an actual, honest-to-God, alive-and-kicking bank executive. 
She apologized profusely about the HAMP screw up—said that Brian and Ilsa qualified, they qualified, they qualified!, and that she would be the one to “straighten out their situation”. 
Brian and Ilsa couldn’t talk that Tuesday, when the bank executive called. And for various reasons, they couldn’t talk Wednesday either—they finally talked to the bank executive on Thursday . . . 
. . . and during those three days, it was the executive who chased them: Two e-mails to their AOL account, two phone calls on their answering machine. 
On Thursday, when they spoke, the bank executive was sweetness and light—she told them that Ilsa and Brian qualified for HAMP, that they would get refinanced, that they would not have to pay the difference in mortgage of the last three months—“Your lower mortgage rate is locked in!
And as to the $84 penalty fee, which had driven Brian in particular up the wall: It was waived.
Ilsa told me, “It was the nicest conversation we’ve ever had with a bank executive.”
The executive promised to have the papers drawn up, ready to be signed before November 1. 
That’s right: November first. After dicking them around for months on end, Wells Fargo all of a sudden went from turtle-speed to light-speed—to warp-speed—boom!—just like that. They didn’t even engage thrusters, Captain—it was warp drive the instant Brian e-mailed that threat. 
Threat?, you say. What threat was that?
The threat Brian laid down, in the e-mail he sent Monday night: 
Show me the note, motherfucker!
That threat. 
As I discussed in some detail in my “Second Leg Down” piece, the process of creating Mortgage Backed Securities inherently created ambiguity as to the note holder. This ambiguity in and of itself was not the problem—the problem was, along the way, the chain of title of the note was broken in a lot of mortgages. Thousands of them—maybe even millions. 
At the same time, there was massive fraud by so-called “foreclosure mills”—bottom-feeding law firms hired by the banks to carry out the judicial process necessary for foreclosure and eviction. According to credible reporting (as I have mentioned, Yves Smith at naked capitalism has been all over this), the foreclosure mills were not only falsifying signatures, but they were outright fabricating documents—in short, committing massive perjury. 
So between these two issues—broken chain-of-title, and systematic document forgery by the foreclosure mills—all of a sudden, the banks have a massive problem on their hands: Legally, their ownership of the note can be challenged—and if the blatant illegalities of the foreclosure mills touched the particular note, then its foreclosure could be in question. 
All of a sudden, massive numbers of foreclosures and mortgages could be called into question. 
So when Brian e-mailed and asked about the note of his mortgage loan? That was like a cattle prod to the crotch—that woke up Wells Fargo. 
There was a reason the bank executive called them back the very next day, and warp-speeded their HAMP refinance: Brian and Ilsa’s note is probably either lost, or it’s been irretrievably besmirched by the broken chain-of-title mess, or the foreclosure mills mess, or perhaps both. 
By refinancing, a new note is generated on Brian and Ilsa’s mortgage loan: Pristine and copacetic. They have to sign this new note in order to get the refinance. It doesn’t matter how the loan is refinanced—under HAMP auspices, or by any other means—once the homeowners sign on the line which is dotted, all of Wells Fargo’s troubles with that particular loan vanish—
—but they have to get people like Brian and Ilsa to sign: No tickee, no laundry. 
I explained this issue to Brian and Ilsa, and furthermore told them that, insofar as their relationship with the bank is concerned, they’re in the driver’s seat: 
If they wanted to? They could insist on seeing the note, hire lawyers, and take this to court—where Wells Fargo would lose. 
The bank would lose because, once Well Fargo fails to produce their note, or the note’s chain-of-title is shown to be irremediably broken, the judge would be left with no choice but to declare that Wells Fargo has no standing to foreclose and evict Brian and Ilsa from their home. If Wells Fargo can’t produce a valid note, who are they to claim Brian and Ilsa owe them money?
This is how Brian and Ilsa—and the millions of other homeowners with mortgages, not just people being foreclosed upon—could wind up with their house scot-free, while the banks—and the Mortgage Backed Security holders—would be left eating the losses. 
(Very important note: In my previous post, I skipped these specific legal steps, concerning how exactly homeowners could potentially wind up walking away from their mortgage loans, yet keeping their houses. Most important of all, I failed to explain how a broken chain-of-title nullifies a bank’s standing in court to bring about foreclosure and eviction proceedings. This failure of mine happened because I was so into the material that I didn’t realize that ordinary readers might not see or know the specific steps that would lead to a homeowner giving the shaft to their bank. I hope I have clarified the issue with the above explanation. Please accept my apology, and excuse my mistake.)
“If you play your cards right,” I told Brian and Ilsa over the phone, “you could get your house for free.”
Like I said in my first post about them: Brian and Ilsa are salt-of-the-earth people. 
“But we took out a mortgage—we owe that money,” said Brian. Ilsa said, “All we want is what we were offered: A lower monthly mortgage payment.” Then Brian added, “We don’t want to take advantage of anybody—that would be wrong.”
Wells Fargo is lucky—how many other people are going to act as decently as Brian and Ilsa? 
Actually, that’s the wrong question: Which of the banks, or the bank executives, deserve to be treated so decently?
I can’t think of a one. 
Note on comments
In the discussion section of my first post on Brian and Ilsa’s situation, there were a disproportionate number of anonymous comments trashing the couple I described, calling them, in effect, dead-beats and free-loaders. 
I’ve come to suspect that many of these anonymous comments trashing Brian and Ilsa were written by trolls working for public relations firms and other shills of the banks. This has been happening on a lot of other blogs that have been discussing (and inevitably criticizing) the banks for their behavior. 
An old girlfriend who works in public relations has told me that it’s an open secret in the business that a couple of the big PR firms in fact have in-house task forces doing internet and blogosphere damage control for the banks—and getting huge retainers for their troubles. But she had no proof, so this is basically hearsay—albeit informed hearsay. 
Because they are essentially on the Federal government dole, the Too Big To Fail banks ought to be subject to scrutiny and oversight, as regards any attempt to manipulate public perception by way of public relations firms. 
I would call for the TBTF banks to be audited, to see that they are in fact not spending public monies in order to manipulate public perception—but really, at this stage, what’s the point? 
Note on swearing:
See? Only four swear words in the whole post! A new record! As to my use of the word “hell”, that’s not a swear word—that’s where we’re all going, if this Mortgage Mess isn’t straightened out. 


  1. trust is what separates us from failing cultures. it is the lubrication that allows progress.

    government is the sand that binds the gears, that in the end confers on people the right to do what they know is wrong.

  2. I fail to understand why people have a hard time with homeowners like Brian and Ilsa gaining free title due to banks' malfeasance. THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG! THE BANKS DID!!! The banks were responsible for following the law and they didn't. Not only didn't they, they WILLFULLY broke the law, with the use of shenanigans like MERS. This wasn't even negligence. It was outright fraud. If Brian and Ilsa choose to take advantage of a situation not of their making, more power to them. The banks have consistently dealt in bad faith FROM THE START.

  3. When all the fish are dying a slow death in a contaminated lake, it is not the fishes' fault. It is the fault of the party that contaminated the lake.

    We are all swimming in a contaminated lake. As long as we remain in it - a money system backed by nothing of value, and the Fed, a private central bank - we will all be subjected to varying degrees of poisoning. The PR firms hired by the banks and the Fed to convince us to just keep swimming and pretend that the water is pristine and clear may be making a pretty penny, but their efforts will fail.

    The excrement is too thick, and the internet is too instantaneous.

    And you are a very, very good writer.

  4. The younger generations of mortgagees has a morality more like the banks than like Brian and Ilsa- they'll take the free house because they can, regardless of whether it's right or wrong, because money is more important to them than doing the right thing. Serves the banks right for helping to create this moral mess with their Gordon Gecko mindset.

    And as far as PR trolls go, they're very real and they're everywhere. It was especially bad during the BP/Transocean oil spill, where it seemed like every blog on the net had a few comments downplaying the size of the disaster and mocking anyone who claimed the problem was bigger than it appeared. I'm sure the fact that basically all of England's pensions depended on BP's share prices had nothing to do with any of that, though.

  5. Scooter,

    The reason some people (including me) have a hard time with homeowners getting a house scott free, is that some of us didn't use our houses like ATM machines. We didn't overpay, we didn't pull equity out and spend it on luxury autos, fancy vacations, etc. - we paid off our mortgages and actually saved money in the bank. And now the banks are paying us .4% interest on our savings, while the Fed gets ready to engage in the next round of QE, further eroding the value of the USD. You want anger? There are a lot of us middle class suckers out here who lived within their means and we're tired of bailing out our fellow citizens and the Big Banks who apparently did not have the self-control and discipline to do the same. And frankly, I'm tired of hearing excuses from both sides.

  6. Gonzalo, Do you know of any references where the cost breaking a mortgage out of a bond is calculated? When a loan is bundled into a bond, the cost of removing it will depend on the difference between the interest rate on the bond and the loan. So the bank may be paying off the principle on the loan by buying it back but this may still leave the bondholders short. So how can Brian and Ilsa be sure that they are free from any claims by the current note holder.

  7. Has anyone started this process in reality or is this simply a lovely story about "decent people"?

  8. Any chance of Brian sharing this magic email address that actually got a human response from Wells?

  9. Note that a judge will not let them off the hook for the mortgage. It will not happen. That is an absurd outcome, and the courts avoid those.

    WF could get their hand slapped, but the judge will still recognize that Brian and Ilsa owe somebody money, that WF is who they owe the money to, and all this despite the documentation being a mess. He has to pass a judgment that meets basic principles of fairness, and in this case it's fair that they owe someone money and fair that WF gets some money.

    The actual result they achieved, of a refi at a better rate, is what they would have received in court anyway.

    This is still good, as it means all homeowners get a free refi. Maybe some of them can get a lower principal; all of them can achieve a lower interest rate.

    If everyone gets a free refi, and lowered principal, that fixes the whole chain of title program country-wide and also fixes the whole mark-to-market mess (as everything will then get pegged back to market). And I think the banks are willing to bite the bullet and take the losses just to clear everything up.

    If this mess gets fixed, it'll be done by handing out free refis for all. But you will NOT see free homes for all: this would be an absurd result that violates basic principles of fairness that underlie the justice system.

  10. Anonymous: To be sure. So, you're better than them. If anyone enabled these people to abuse the system, once again, IT WAS THE BANKS. No one who is acting in good faith would extend zero-down loans, or Option-ARMs or the like. The banks need to be screwed, and VERY badly. Focus on that. It's very unlikely these non-bank people who did milk the system will, generally being stupid, short-sighted and greedy, will get theirs. Make sure, though, that the banks get theirs. Shut them down, jail the criminals, and let new, untainted banks and bankers take their place.

  11. By the way, as someone pointed out...the debt still exists. It was not wiped out. The problem, and it is a big one for the banks, is that the debt was separated from the property. So, these people won't necessarily get away with anything. But the banks will get the ass-whipping they so deserve.

  12. Your friends definitely need to get an attorney involved. If the chain of title on their original mortgage is broken and Wells Fargo is not the legal holder of the mortgage then Wells Fargo may not the legal authority to file a Satisfaction of Mortgage when the mortgage is paid in full.

    Your friends may pay off Wells Fargo in full only to find that Wells Fargo cannot legally extinguish the mortgage. In such case title insurance will not be available and they will never be able to convey clear title to their home. It is essentially unsellable.

    They should not pay another dime on their mortgage until Wells Fargo can demonstrate to the satisfaction of their attorney that there is a binding chain of title for the mortgage from the originator to Wells Fargo.

    This is a complete cluster****. In the best of all worlds they could live there indefinitely without making any payments, then abandon the property. Tell them to keep current on property taxes.

  13. Not so fast on the "free" house part.

    From Barry:

    Courts have long had the authority to apply principles of equity, as opposed to common or statutory law, to cases brought before it.

    Included in this means is preventing outcomes that unjustly enrich wrongdoers, or other similar bad outcomes. With the foreclosure fraud cases, we have two actors that are not blameless here: The homeowner, who is in default, and the banks/securitizers, that failed to do the document creation and title management correctly.

    Judges in civil cases do not want to see an absurd outcome. Rewarding either the homeowner (free house!) or the lenders (No penalty for massive screw ups!) would offend those principles of equity and fairness.

    What might be a “just” outcome in these cases? An example of a possible fix in a full blown litigation might be for the court to order the mortgage modified to the current equity value of the home, so that it a) punishes the lenders who failed to do their proper legal work on the documents, but b) does not give a home to a defaulted homeowner for free. The odds would be that the homeowner still gets foreclosed on, but does not owe additional monies to the bank. Since these are very often uncollectible judgments anyway, the court’s judgment can mete out justice fairly, not give anyone an undeserved windfall, yet move the cases forward. That is but one “just” solution, and I am confident that most courts have the sophistication to fashion an appropriate remedy.

  14. Deeply respect your writing, but agree with those who say that off-color words detract from the professionalism of the piece. You'd want people to reference your work, presumably--respectfully request you type all the swear words you want in the first draft, then find and delete before publication.

  15. Fucking stick it to 'em Gonsalo! And the newspapers, big media companies wonder why their revenues are plummeting. Which one of them has the fucking balls to publish this?

  16. Gonzalo - I wrote also a text on my blog at the topic, based on and linked to your blog. Article has +15k entries in 4 days. In fact I write this post mainly to bank trolls. I wonder do they have polish- speaking employees :)

  17. PS - what attracted me to your writing was your very use of the word FUCK. Fuck the rest of them.. It shows passion.

  18. This may be a bit off topic but, regarding the banks, what is this claptrap about "Too big to fail"? If you have a company that is insolvent the banks phone you up and tell you they own you. In this case the banks are insolvent. One the government, ie. you the taxpayers, gives them a loan all equity is wiped out and all debt is subordinated to the last loan. In effect, if this was a manufacturing company or a corner store, the bank would immediately wipe out the shareholders and for the existing debtholder's (bondholder's) the bank would fabricate enormous phony "liquidation expenses" as "costs to the bank" in order to override them. In the end, the bank would sell off the assets and pocket every nickel because of these phony expenses.

    Instead, the taxpayor's goverment has bought the assets from the banks and left both the shareholder's and bondholder's in control.

    Why, in god's name, do Americans accept this? The American people should rise up and stop this transfer of wealth from the them to the bank shareholders and bondholders. Believe me, the banks wouldn't be so nice if they were in the same position as the goverment. I know because a major Canadian bank tried to close us the same way in Canada. Only the threat of political flack stopped them...for now.

  19. I think Brian and Ilsa are on the correct path on demanding to see the note. In fact, I would imagine that they NEED to see that Wells Fargo owns the original mortgage note.

    If they keep making the payments on the house, but Wells Fargo is not the legal authority to remove the lien on the house, I would imagine that the lien will remain (by whoever holds the note) even as the debt is seemingly paid off.

    A reminder what a lien is: A lien is a creditor's claim against a property. The claim may or may not be valid. As soon as the debt is paid the lien is removed. Paying off the debt and removing the lien are two separate actions. Once you pay off the debt a separate action removes the lien.

    I would imagine that if Wells Fargo can't legally end the lien on the house, there would be problems down the road on selling/transferring the property forward.

  20. Regarding swear words and language, my opinion is that you should not change or dilute the way you write just because some people may become offended.

    There are a gazillion cookbook-style blogs about financial markets detailing the facts, so what distinguishes your blog from the others is your personal style of writing.

    If you start thinking about what swear words not to use and the amount of "foul" language, you will damage the message and your personal writing style.

    Just let it flow as it comes, you should not tinker with a writing style that has been proven to be a winner over the past four months.

  21. I am a mortgage underwriter, and have never worked for a TBTF bank. I have, however, been paperless for over five years. So are many of the other lenders. So, chances are, the note is available. Certain counties also have the deeds and notes online, so they can be printed off. Which, by the way, is completely irrelevant. The judge will ask, "Who have you been paying?" They will say, "Well, before we stopped paying, we were paying Wells Fargo." Thereby creating their own chain, and admitting Wells owns the mortgage. They will not, and should not, get away with not paying. The couple in your article are doing the right thing. The ones that go the other way will eventually pay the price.

  22. Gonzalo,

    How do you know that your blog wasn't the cattle prod up Wells Fargo's posterior? An email asking for proof of ownership is not likely to get an executive's attention so quickly, but very bad PR as detailed in your blog would. You could prevent anonymous comments. If people have something to say, they can set up an account on That would cut down on the anonymous flamers and trolls. At least you haven't been DDoSed like NakedCapitalism yet. You should have your friends go to this link and check their note themselves:

    After all, they can't trust their bank, can they? Not after what's been done to them.


  23. Let me make sure I got this straight. The bank jerked you around, lied to you, ignored you, and tried to take advantage of you. Now that they realize they are wrong they have contacted you 3 times in 2 days because they know without you resigning they may loose several thousand dollars.

    **TELL THE BANK TO GO FUCK THEMSELVES** tell them that you repeatedly tried to do the right thing and they were hard asses so now they lose. You did everything right and they tried to rob you.

    Brian & Ilsa I am pleading with you to **DO THE RIGHT THING**> DONT GIVE THOSE SCUMBAGS ANY MORE MONEY SO THEY CAN KEEP ROBBING HONEST AMERICANS. You can spread the money around your community as a way keeping your word. Spend a few thousand on the local orphans for christmas, throw a home coming party for a returning veteran, wipe your ass with $100 bills ANYTHING would be a better use of the money than giving it to those blood sucking scumbags to blow it on coke and beach houses.

    Gonzalo make sure your friends get a very good lawyer before signing anything. It is needed to make sure the bank isnt trying to steal their mney and then tell them they were not the mortgage holder anyway and that they still owe some one else the mortgage.

  24. In the commercial real estate development world, it is considered to be a wise business decision to walk away from a property that is no longer generating the income necessary to cover the payments.

    There is an exchange of conversation, keys, and a deed between the banker and the developer. Sometimes lunch and alcohol are involved. Both banker and developer shake hands and chalk it up to bad market timing. I have personally participated in these transactions.

    No foreclosure takes place, thereby keeping the developer's credit squeaky clean. This allows the banker to lend to him or her later when the market turns.

    But when Joe and Jane Public can longer pay, they are portrayed as deadbeats and their credit is ruined.

    In the words of Mr. Krabs of SpongeBob -

    "The way I see it there are 3 possibilities - 1. You put the dime in me pants.
    2. You put the dime in me pants. Or
    3. You put the dime in me pants!"

  25. Brian and Ilsa are wise people trying to protect themselves in a rotten world.

    Yet, focusing on notes, banks and bailouts misses the point.
    These are only trees hiding a forest, which has been contaminated by rampant corruption, because the systems supposed to protect the ideals of democracy have failed, completely failed.

    The legal system is corrupted to the bone, or should I say, to the top: to the Supreme Court.

    It is amazing how little attention was paid to a recent decision from this court, to consider corporations as persons, and allow them to make electoral campaign donations without, or very little, restrictions.

    There, within this bunch of old farts, lies the root of all evil.

    Because, once the Supreme Court is controlled by big business, no wonder that lower courts don't hesitate to evict people without even giving a look at the documents provided by the parties, even more so when one the parties is a member of the TBTF.

    Thus, the core issue is not about citizens feeling that they may be freed of paying their debts, thanks to the foreclosure-gate mess.

    The core issue is the other side of the equation. It is the systems, which have totally lost balance, after being tempered with by corruption.

    What happened to the balance of Justice?

    What happened to the PEOPLE's representatives?

    And what happened to the Constitution and Democracy ?

  26. There is one other step missing in the story that has taken me a couple of years to accept.

    Brian and Ilsa's "mortgage" was "paid" the minute they signed the note. By them. The only credit extended was theirs. The "money" was created by the FED and dumped into the bank or the mortgage entity's account. And the banking/mortgage cabal wants the Brians and Ilses of the country to not only pay what has already been paid, but add interest to boot.

    The mess is so putrid right thinking people should all stop paying. For good.

  27. Well
    I'm pretty sure that lawyers have some “solutions” about that and the Congress will agree.
    About the moral hazard involved, they are right they have to pay their share. The problem is they don’t owe ‘it to the bank, they owe ‘it to the mortgage owner. I think that prior to their payment the bank must solve that note issue. If you pay the bank you just became morally involved in the scam. What do you think they’ll do with their liabilities? They are also underwater, are they going to pay their debts or their bonuses? They will go bankrupt or get a bailout. Ilsa and Brian will pay again. And suppose that someone else comes with the note, what will they do? Leave the house? Pay it twice? If they want to be correct they must ask the bank to correct the error made by the bank. Otherwise they’ll screw someone else.

    is this on the up and up?

  29. Wells Fargo in all likelihood does not "own" that note but is merely "servicing" that note. These mortgages are bundled into packages that are sold to pension funds and the like.

    The pretense that Wells Fargo can legally clear said note because the couple was sending the checks to Wells Fargo is false. If you pay your rent to the wrong person in good faith it doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to pay the property owner.

    Wells Fargo jumped when the buyers put forth a demand to show title because as soon as judgment is made that shows Wells Fargo has broken chains of title it is done in the banking business. One case and they're gone; just one.

  30. Three years ago or so, my wife and I bought our first home having great credit and putting the usual 20% down. While we are not underwater, our home is now worth 30k to 40k less because of all this mess. I had a sense of trouble ahead, but my wife still wanted to buy and foolishly I agreed. It has hit her particularly hard.

    Since we are well above sub-prime, I'm wondering what happened to our note and its chain of title. I'm thinking that maybe this chain has only one or two links, and is being kept in a box labeled "suckers", guarded by dirtbags with shotguns.

  31. Based on the idea that I could pay off the wrong mortgage (so to speak), would something like the following be a good approach?

    To Whom It May Concern,

    In light of the recent circumstances surrounding foreclosure irregularities, chain of title irregularities and so on, I am writing to request that Wells Fargo produce evidence in writing that it is the legal holder of the mortgage for the property located at (ADDRESS) and that the chain of title is in tact.

    Further (and primarily), I need to see evidence that Wells Fargo has the legal authority to file a Satisfaction of Mortgage when the mortgage is paid in full and will be able to convey clear title to the property at that time.

    Please provide this information prior to 11/01/2010 which is the scheduled due date for my next payment.

    Thank you.


  32. Doug - I think your message is perfect, personally. I'm not a lawyer, but I think I'll use it myself. I'm committed to staying in my house (making my payments on time), but I would hate to see that at the end of 30 years of payment the banks can't give me my deed.

  33. My belief is that if it should ever get to court, the judge would rule in favor of the Bank. The banks
    and the government are functionally identical; the corruption extends into the judiciary, and it would be "engineered" by the bank's lawyers that "their guy" hear the case.
    They have too much to lose, precedent-wise, for it to go otherwise.
    I do like Doug's letter though, and may use it myself!

  34. Those of you who are offended by bad language can go fuck your selves!!!!!

    How can you be so offended by ink on a page (or pixels on an LCD) when there is so much injustice being perpetrated by the scumbags who run this country?


  35. watchdogwash hit the nail right on the head. When you sign the note at closing and it goes to the bank it is instant money for the bank. They send it to your "Treasury Account" and get PAID IN FULL. They then make you pay them for 30 years with interest. PAID IN FULL AGAIN. And of course they turn the whole thing into derivatives and and make money again. PAID IN FULL A THIRD TIME. Don't any of you feel bad for any bank. They are stealing from you and have been for years and years. That's the way the system is set up. The public loses their homes and the banksters get rich.

  36. If they (the banks or any other big assed corp. or goberment bureaucracy) can screw you later, they will. And they won't feel bad about it either.

    Cross your T's, dot your i's and make them put up or shut up.

    Bank error, collect $200 and pass Go.

  37. I'm a lawyer whose practice has concentrated in this very area for some years. Brian and Ilse are treating their bank fairly, and it's only unfortunate banks have to be roughed up to treat their customers as well. The only thing I would add is that they require, as a term of signing the new note and mortgage agreement, a hold harmless agreement from the refinancing bank, so that if any other bank shows up one day with their ORIGINAL note, they won't be held responsible for it.

  38. (DOT) html

    the banks didn't have these problems until the Democrats got involved

  39. I believe that, as well as refinancing with Wells Fargo, Brian and Ilsa should insist that the bank agree to indemnify them against any and all claims and associated costs that might in future be raised against them by other parties in relation to their original mortgage - with "novation", so that the bank agrees to step in and intercept such actions, claims and costs, not simply agreeing to cover Brian and Ilsa in a way that leaves them on the spot, going through any litigation etc. themselves and getting compensated later.

  40. I must comment about those who claim the "debt is real" and regardless if the note is separated from the so-called "debt" the folks still "owe" the money.

    Banks do not "loan" money. There is not a borrower and there is not a lender. What banks do is monetize the price of the house. They literally create the money out of thin air based on the promissory note.

    Brian and Ilsa like so many other Americans are the victims of a much greater fraud than mere mishandling of mortgage notes.

    Their sense of "responsibility" is misplaced because they believe they actually "borrowed" something when in reality they did not. They also believe that since they "borrowed" someone else actually "loaned" and is therefore out something. This is simply not true.

    Folks really need to learn how banking works!

  41. The banks, the courts, the media, and the government are all one and the same. The courts have one duty. That is, to rule in favor of banks, then government, then big business. The courts are not there to provide justice to commoners.

    It may be possible in a few instances for a commoner to win against the bank because the banks will just shrug over such small stuff and keep on trucking. However, should a large number of commoners apply to the courts, the courts will not allow and then no commoner will win.

  42. Gonzalo,

    As one of the many Anons above pointed out, if the bank can't produce the note, they can't prove anything including conveying clear title to the property.

    So, while the debt still exists and the COC on the title broken it seems to me that there is a leverage point for the homeowner to use in negotiations with either the bank, in the case of a refi, or the court in the case of challenging the COC of the title.

    At the moment the negotiations start there is no clear title on the property. The homeowner wants to be able to sell his property with clear title and the bank wants to get something from the 'loan' that is mismanaged.

    If I were to go through this I would make this point to the bank/judge and negotiate a discount on the principle of the lost note. I'd start by subtracting all interest and fees paid on the mortgage from the principle and then tack on another percentage off due to opportunity cost and time sunk. Then I'd get nasty and halve that number and watch the bank/judge's response.

    It's the only rational solution to the problem.


  43. I read the post and about half of the comments. I am personally assisting a friend in her foreclosure battle against Chase Home Finance. I am not a lawyer, but I know the law (now), and was in the mortgage business for over 10 years. One individual commented on the courts judging equity in a case vs. following the law exactly, in order to be fair to all parties concerned. True. But the problem with this mortgage mess as judges are finding out, is that if you ignore the law regarding chain of tile, inseparability of the note and mortgage, and procedures regarding negotiable instruments, you are in effect going to overturn principles of law and precedent going back 200 years. If you do this, make a ruling not in accordance with the law, to be "fair", then those rulings become precedent and spill over into all areas of commerce. We are not talking about homeowners just skipping out on a justly owed debt here. The individuals who mentioned that they had paid their just debts and were tired of hearing about the banks and homeowners trying to get out of paying what they owe is missing the point. You say you have paid off your mortgage? How do you know that? You have a piece of paper saying so? What if I show up with a Note saying you haven't? Your response would be that I am crazy but that is the point I am making here. The state statutes regarding property transfers and negotiable instruments (which is what a Note and Mortgage are) were developed over many years to protect everyone, prevent fraud, and instill a sense of certainty in the system. That certainty has now been destroyed by the banks because of their greed. The banks did this, not the homeowners. I personally hope all the banks get screwed and the whole system comes crashing down. Because the system sucks and we need to start over.

  44. It's no wonder we have a nanny state. Citizens are not held accountable for their actions. It makes no difference the paper work is messed up, you borrow money you pay it back. You are responsible for your actions, it is up to you to understand the terms. If you don't pay it back you're no better than a thief. Your hatred for the system you created by living beyond your means is a total cop out.

  45. to all those people arguing for the responsibility of the homeowner I would suggest that they consider that its only business. There is no point in being moral when conducting business as the banks and other companies have no moral code they use, if you have ever dealt with lawyers you will understand the lack of morality and the banks can't point to any kind of integrity on their part so I say let them burn. I already sent my letter of note request to BofA - we will see what happens.

    If some of you are right and the courts will find in favor of the bank then at least I can take a mortgage holiday for a while.

  46. My question to the bank would be "Where did the money come from that funded my loan?" That's what I can not understand.....why no one talks about where the funds come from! The funds are created out of thin air! When you pay it back over 30 years.....the loan plus all the interest goes back into the banksters pockets! Just think you give them 30 years of your hard work to pay the banksters back something they did not work a second for! The banksters have made Americans debt slaves!

  47. there are really only about 4 people responsible for this mess. President Carter for signing the Community Resource Act into law, Pres Clinton for giving the CSR 'teeth', Sen Chris Dodd, and Rep Barney Frank for pushing legislation forcing banks to lend to people who couldn't possibly pay off the mortgages. For example, allowing food-stamps to be counted as income for purposes of getting a loan.
    The banks and mortgage brokers did eventually contribute. Indeed Mortgage Firms were created by fly-by-nights to take advantage of the situation. Chris and Barney stepped in again in the early years of the decade passing legislation allowing Fannie and Freddie to buy ever more mortgages from the banks freeing the banks up to lend even more money, thus causing the 'bubble' to expand exponentially.
    In 2006, here in California, you could get a 110% loan on a piece of crap house [that shoulda cost $70k but was priced at $300k - which meant that the bank would lend $330k - you got the house for 'nuthin' down and 30k in your pocket to buy that SUV you wanted.]
    People and Banks took advantage of this situation. Everyone believed that it would never end!!! Everyone's gotta live somewhere! The price of houses just keeps going up! You were considered a sucker if you didn't refinance your house and get some cash out.
    So yeah, the Banks are to blame and should get screwed. But so are Barney and Chris [and their compatriots like Maxine Waters, as well as the Clinton cronies like Raines and Jamie who are still working for Fannie and Freddie.

    The worst that's going to happen to them is that they will get turned out of office. They will have to enjoy the billions of $$$ they extracted from the system as regular citizens.

    The folks just get screwed. Interest rates of zero point four percent on your savings? what's with that? Real inflation, when you figure in food and energy [which the Govt no longer does] is running at six percent, so you're losing 5.6% on every dollar you have in Well's Fargo or Bank of America every year!
    And it'll get worse. Soon. This mortgage crisis is just the beginning.

  48. There was once a time when people realized that when a big institution failed, it was an opportunity for the little guy to buy it up at pennies on the dollar and have his shot at success and la dolce vita. TBTF is another way of saying that we now have a class system where some deserve to do well and others deserve nothing but have an obligation to serve. And this note debacle is just another manifestation of this- I have to pay and you, mr banker have a right to live off my labor. Regardless of what the law used to say. But the law will tax me and my kids and my grandkids into penury to pay for their bailouts
    Our society is now irretrievably broken and what comes next will be horrifying.

  49. "If Wells Fargo can’t produce a valid note, who are they to claim Brian and Ilsa owe them money?"

    And if that's the case, then why aren't Brian and Ilsa suing the shit out of Wells Fargo to get back every penny that they've paid on a non-existent note? (By the way, I've known a lot of people who've had accounts with Wells Fargo, and every one of them hated Wells Fargo. Why they had/have accounts with them, I don't know. In one instance, they mailed credit cards to a friend of mine's divorced husband, WITH HER ACCOUNT NUMBER ON THEM, and never asked the husband for proof that he had access to the account. I'm not shitting you. She only found out about it when he started cleaning out her account.)

  50. It is clear the stench of moral decay is present in some of these arguments. The cliché that two wrongs to not make a right is certainly applicable here. No one can absolve the individual of his moral obligation to repay a loan or to void the contract. Even in the case of fraud he would still have the obligation to return the money. Fraud, he, rather than the lender likely committed. He did not ask the bankers how did they acquire the money they were about to lend are about to lend me. He made no argument regarding the ethics or morality of the banks or institutions at the time of the loan. Such an argument after the fact is totally disingenuous.

    As it regards the Federal Reserve who was in part responsible by creating easy money to facilitate the lending, that is a separate issue. As it regards the laws that allowed the fraud, that as well is a separate issue. Neither of these issues could exist without the sanction and complicity of the citizens. Neither should the Federal government have the right to bail out either the bankers/lender or the borrowers. Next, credit card debt? car loans?

  51. I like how you added that note at the bottom, effectively labelling anyone who criticizes you/them as a PR person for the bank.. just pointing that out :)

  52. You said regarding strategic default: "You cannot have a viable society where the backbone of the country thinks that following the rules and the law is for suckers and chumps."

    A mortgage is a contract to either pay the loan or give up the property. Doing either counts as "following the rules." Corporations engage in strategic defaults in the normal course of business, and nobody blinks an eye. Even the banks do it.

    It's allowed, it's fine, it's just not so good for the banks when homeowners do it. But the banks have a lot of advantages over the rest of us, like having billions of dollars. So I think I won't feel sorry for them.

    Otherwise, great article!

  53. If you think people are upset now, wait until they have worked, done the right thing and paid off their mortgage over 20 or 30 years and then cannot get a clean title to thier home, discover that they still owe, and find that they have to pay some lawyer to sort it all out.

  54. I'm an attorney currently defending (pro bono) a homeowner in a foreclosure action filed by Wells Fargo. WF originally issued the loan, so there is no question about ownership of the note, but they screwed up by failing to get the wife's signature. The husband died and WF asked the wife to sign an assumption agreement and pay an assumption fee. I wrote to WF, telling them the widow should not be required to pay a fee to fix their mistake. They ignored me. In the meantime, the widow got behind on her payments. She tried to talk to a WF rep about getting caught up, but was told that WF would not talk to her until she signs the assumption papers. Then she gets a "verification of default" letter from a law firm that is a foreclosure mill. It states that she will have 30 days to request a reinstatement figure. But if you call the number on the letter, you get a recording that does not permit you to leave a message.

    I wrote a letter requesting the reinstatement figure, but never received a reply. Before the 30 days had run, they filed the foreclosure action.

    In the meantime, the widow is in contact with two different WF reps. One tells her WF can talk to her about getting caught up as soon as she assumed the loan, while the other rep tells her WF will not process the assumption form until she gets caught up on the loan.

    Now the law firm has sent an application for the widow to take part in HAMP.

    So it goes . . .

  55. >>This is how Brian and Ilsa—and the millions of other homeowners with mortgages, not just people being foreclosed upon—could wind up with their house scot-free, while the banks—and the Mortgage Backed Security holders—would be left eating the losses.>>

    I think you'd better check this statement out further. A broken chain of title doesn't get the maker of the note off the hook. The debt reverts to the most recent "holder in due course" which would either be the bank or finance company that originated the note or a bona fide transferee. In fact, if Brian and Ilsa were to obtain a mortgage from Wells Fargo and were to to execute a note securing the mortgage, they could find themselves on the hook for two notes, the more recent one to Wells Fargo, the original note to their original bank or a bona fide transferee which, presumably, isn't Wells Fargo.

    The courts never have "no choice." Judges can find ways to repair broken notes or, if they choose, judges can disregard or refuse to enforce the law. And fraud is extremely difficult to prove even when the courts aren't in bed with the banks. I work in this business. I see it happening.

  56. Technicalities are generally the break points in many legal cases. Don't think for a second you won't end up in jail over a technicality. The banks deserve to be treated the same as any individual would in a court of law, whether it's a technicality or not.
    Just one point to make re: all the comments on the "deadbeats", none of this could exist without the Federal Reserve Bank/Treasury Dept constant meddling in the economy, thereby leaving individuals unable to accurately determine what/when to save. And to hold them 100% responsible when their perceptions have been convoluted by FRB/Treasury machinations is ludicris.
    GL, I love your style don't change a thing. And a big thank you for shedding light upon a despicable practice banks have been using on the mostly unknowledgable mortgagees. Many friends of mine are contacting their lawyers to see where they stand. Shared the series on FB. Regards, BRO43.

  57. I am sorry that this couple is not going to get their home scot-free, because the banks for all of the rotten and corrupt things they have accomplished deserve all of this.
    People are just fed up with the corrup politicians, banks and lawyers who have encouraged all of this mess; Let us just let them go down(the banks), they deserve it!

  58. It seems like not many people here pay attention to what is being said: the bank doesn't lend money nor does it create it, you, the borrower, do when you sign the paperwork. I read from a few that Brian and Ilsa should be fair and pay for what they borrowed/received. If they do, they are paying a bank for funds that they themselves have created not the bank. What's fair about that and in addition, the bank asks them to pay interest. Brian and Ilsa didn't create this system, they are just using it.
    To bring a little balance, the money that is being created out of thin air is not kept by the bank but is paid to the previous owners of the property. It is my understanding that when mortgage payments are made, the principal is returned back into thin air but the interest stays with the bank. So, it is 30, or 35 or whatever many years of ever increasing payments (interest)going to the bank for having spent 20 minutes with you to help you create the funds, out of thin air as the only possibility that exists. And this is only allowed because only financial institutions are allowed to created this fake money on your behalf.
    Someone also said that the bank gets paid again when it sells the note. What does the buyer of the note get for that? Do they receive part or all of the interest paid to the originating bank?
    I am also of the understanding that when the bank (in reality, the borrower) creates the money, it increases its lending power by 9, 10 or whatever fractional rules are in effect.
    For those who think that no one should get something for nothing, well, that's what banks get all the time when they use you to create money and get paid for it.

  59. Let me get the straight The Federal Reserve creates the money out of thin air then funds Fannie and Freddie. Then Fannie and Freddie fund the lenders. Then the lenders loan you funds that was created out of nothing! Now you work 30 years to pay the lenders back plus interest for funds they got for nothing! Sounds like a scam to me! American's are fools!!!

  60. It is just amazing how many believe thay are entitled to the unearned because they perceive someone or some entity has the abilty to give it to them. The jist here seems to be the millions of people who borrow money are somehow entitled not to pay it back because those lending the money are corrupt.

    And then there are the lawyers, the only ones who seem to profit from the complexity they as politicians created---all of it with the sanction of the general public---until of course the deck chairs on the sinking ship can no longer be moved on the deck because they are floating. The stench of moral and ethical decay is wrose than road kill in the hot Florida sun. Free homes for everyone---oh you say you paid for yours---sucker. Ninety percent of the response is from people bereft of ethics---the excuse for lawyers? They graduate from law school that way.

  61. Gee, do you think this blog had anything to do with all of the hub-bub now going on with the government stepping in to have a look at all of the mis-handled foreclosures????
    Good Job!!!

  62. Ok Now I know why theres so many Anonymous folks.

    I'm a Banker Small bank West Coast. Were a Mutual Savings Bank. We did none of the BAD things to anyone. However swimming in the dirty lake has made us dirty as well and cost our owners Millions of dollars. People who have done no wrong and are trying to pay their bill need help! I do loan Modification and we even forgive debit to help those who have been faithful in paying their bills!
    However there are many who built homes and spent money and never made payment who have forced us to foreclose. We need to stabilize the Lake clean it and then move forward or we just keep stirring the poop!
    I hope these folks get a fair deal and stay in their home.
    My Son got laid off and applied for HAMP you no longer qualify if your on unemployment. He was still making payments!
    He is now back to work at 1/3 reduction in pay and starting the whole application over again never easy and very stressful.
    Pray for our country and its people we need it more than ever!
    Greed kill's Government greed kills faster!!

  63. "if they choose, judges can disregard or refuse to enforce the law."

    And that's what's wrong with the system, there's no rule of law.

    There's only arbitrary rule of men.

  64. It is truly pathetic to see Anonymous posters, too gutless to leave their name, playing the standard victim role and attempting to elevate themselves by swearing on the name of these people who were smart enough not to pay back a fraudulent mortgage. They clearly haven't realized that by being too gutless to provide a name, the few knuckleheads who might buy their shameful posturing, won't even be able to give them proper credit for their phony integrity.

    In the end they are right to withhold their name, because they absolutely are the idiots they appear to be.

    It has been less than 2 years since the passage of the TARP. Which is clearly too long a period for "Anonymous" to remember, especially when his mind is so full of excuses for himself and poison for innocent victims. But since I remember, I will refresh him (them). The TARP used government (read: TAXPAYER!!!) money to rescue banks that wouldn't have been in business long enough to foreclose otherwise. Way was the TARP necessary? Because banks had already SOLD these mortgages in derivatives that then tanked. When you SELL something that means it is PAID for. But since all they sold was a phony bill of goods, the taxpayer had to provide the value that was collected on by banks but never actually there. TARP was subsequently supplemented by programs such as HAMP which used further TAXPAYER money to subsidize repayment of these mortgages to assure the solvency of the ill-advised TARP payments.

    So for all you Anonymous simpletons who are still undoubtedly missing my point, let me distill it down for you.

    Banks issued mortgages. They then bundled the mortgages and sold them as securities such that the banks liability on the mortgage was PAID IN FULL. When this market crashed, the TARP, issued against my paycheck and yours (Anonymous is likely unemployed), paid the bank back for these same mortgages that had been sold and the proceeds lost in risky schemes of their own creation.

    So the fact is this. The American public (and many ill advised investors from here to China) have ALREADY PAID OFF THESE MORTGAGES TWICE. All of us equally own the trillions of dollars of debt created to bail the banks from a problem of their own creation. That Anonymous believes that after huge chunks of our wages are stolen from us to rescue the banks from their own corrupt creations, that we should use what's left to pay the banks back A THIRD TIME, only proves their ignorance. And how stupid and easily manipulated they are by the Obama-press. And what schills they are for anyone who puts on the authority hat, since they are so gutlessly conviction-less.

    NOBODY OWES A PENNY FOR THEIR MORTGAGES AT THIS POINT. Each and every one of us will spend then next 2-3 generations working off debt created specifically and without our choice, to make sure that the banks were paid back for these mortgages before anyone else was considered. If you don't understand this then I will be happy to come to your house with a payment plan for you, since I, and every American, are the ones who hold the note on every mortgage in this country. You can pay me whatever you can afford, and that way you can live up to the phony standards you place on everyone else. How does that sound Anonymous? Can you afford $700 a month? How bout a thousand? You better have it ready by 10Am tomorrow, or else...

  65. Banks are made up of men. So are governments. So are societies. Our banks and government are corrupt because the moral fabric of our society is in tatters.

    This "broken chain of title" issue has very nearly allowed the deadbeats and sore losers to absolve themselves of responsibility for the poor decisions they made in the past decade.

    Nobody needed to tell me an ARM was a crappy deal. I tried to tell others though, tried to tell them that they shouldn't be telling the banks that they made $10k/month when in reality they made $10k/3 months. It doesn't matter, they said. The house will only go up in value and will pay for itself.

    The average American is HORRIBLY ignorant of economics and was taken for a sucker. But that's nobody's fault but his own. He's the one who's allowed the government to educate his children for 100 years now, he's allowed himself to be roped into fighting in untold numbers of countries to enrich corrupt governments and corporate interests, he's stood and taken decades of ruling class shenanigans squarely on the chin, and he just turns the other cheek. At best he can be riled against the banks, but he ignores the real problem.

    The banks won't change until the government changes. Government started this whole thing. Government allowed it to go on. Big business can't get away with this kind of thing without the government being complicit. THAT'S where you should focus your ire.

  66. People out to screw the evil banks would be living in a car if they did not exist. Careful what you wish for.


  68. Wells Fargo created a loan out of thin air.
    loan was not someone else capital.

  69. Aside from hiring a shyster lawyer, I have to agree with [Anon 1507]'s legal point that the mortgage payer deserves 100% certainty from WF that when he repays the loan he will receive a clear title.

  70. Playing by the rules IS a suckers game! I say screw 'em as much as you can, they (obviously) would do it to you (already were doing to Brian and Ilsa)

  71. This is nothing less than a war for the survival of the human race. ALL modern banks and credit unions cooperate in the international banking conspiracy known as "central banking". This is a giant artificial intelligence network consisting primarily of the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bank of International Settlements. Read the vast supply of articles on and that prove this beyond all shadow of a doubt.

    It's not just your right to fight against your bank and claim your house - it's your moral obligation. Good people do not stand by while evil is done.

    This is war and the winner will determine the future of the human race. The facts are clear and the debate is over. You choose what side you're on.

  72. This comment has been removed by the author.

  73. "The Renegade".

    When I chose to forget, my mind was set free
    I unlearnt all the junk that I got from thee
    I squashed my wants, got rid of my needs
    I battled desires and dueled with greeds

    I also stopped doing the mortgage time
    The banks got TARP money, I am keeping my dime
    The books of law I flushed down the drain
    I don't need the shit that these books contain

    It is hard to break from a virtual prison
    It is useless to beg, there is no one to reason
    One needs the courage to oppose the machine
    Its powers – enormous, its forces – unseen.

    But little by little I achieved my goal
    I am totally free, I can't be controlled
    I am sorry to say, but the joke is on you
    So long, suckers, Good buy and adieu

  74. As one experienced in the practice of contract-law, I have to say that this case is steeped in bad faith and fraud on the part of the bank toward not only Brian & Ilsa, but against the federal government as well via pulling these phony-deals in order to scam-qualify for federal credits; likewise, this 2.74% mortgage was an expecation-award for which they could sue in a slam-dunk case.
    However it would be better to know that the bank was defrauding the federal government, by defrauding customers with this bad faith-mortgage refinancings; that bit of knowledge could knock your mortgage down to nothing-- just be sure to get proof of the "dirt," and attach it to the names of the guilty parties. THEN make the threat.
    Then mail the proof to them anonyously, and say that it could disappear, if all of the bank's claim to the house could likewise disappear-- and I'm sure in response, they could very well conveniently "lose" all paper-trail to show that the bank owned any part of the house... thus defaulting it to the title-holders.

    Mortgages-messes are simply inevitable whenever government becomes involved with them in any way, since politicians are going to use those laws in order to "buy votes--" just like with targeted tax-deductions, various inequitable legislation, and other forms of rent-seeking and chicanery.
    With the mortgage-crisis, it was simply a case of politicians in both parties, essentially "leaning" on banks to bribe and coerce them into giving subprime mortgages while the government subsidized the default-risk, thus guaranteeing a collapse when those chickens came home to roost. Essentially, it was "vote for me, get a mortgage house you can't afford--" and then Bush et al acted shocked-- SHOCKED-- when people tried to "flip" houses for profit!
    Also there was the continual use of "people losing their homes--" quite a liberal use of the word "their," when it's actually no different from having any other property repossessed for nonpayment.

    However this is to be expected in a society which believes in "stimulus spending" to help the economy-- can someone remind me when Suzie Orman EVER told people who are in debt and unemployed, to go on a "stimulus-spending spree" with their credit-cards?

    But this Keynesian nonsense is the lifeblood of the federal government-- and the people are too addicted to the federal welfare-mentality to smell the fertilizers.

    This is likewise inevitable, however under an all-powerful government, which is answerable to no other power than itself; it devolves into imperialism and factionalism, with only reality to stop it-- NEVER a pretty end.
    Already the national debt has hit the point of no repayment, the nation's credit is falling, and no one is exactly champing at the bit in order to pay it back.
    I'm reminded of the movie "Goodfellas," re when Paul Cicero "partnered" with the club-owner, selling him "protection" in exchange for a share of the business and profits; Cicero then squeezed both the owner AND the club for all the money he could get out of it, sunk the business irrevocably into debt, and then burned it down and pocketed the insurance-money... and left the owner holding the bag.
    THIS is exactly what the federal government has done to the states-- and under the same threat of deadly force if they refuse, ever since 1861... and the same fate awaits them if they wait until the end.
    Until the people of the individual states realize that the fed has NO legal power over them without their consent, and that it can no longer suppress the truth like it did in the days of the telegraph and printing-press in the 1860's, then we're in for a helluva bad end.
    Otherwise, it's time for states to jump off this sinking Mafia-boat, before they go down with it-- while the fatcats sail off on their golden life-rafts.
    It's about fucking time.

  75. Regarding this comment from one of the many Anon posts >
    Anonymous said...
    If you don't pay it back you're no better than a thief. Your hatred for the system you created by living beyond your means is a total cop out.

    Are you one of the PR trolls hired by the banks to defend the banks. I do not know many people who can afford to pay for a home outright without taking out a mortgage. They aren't living beyond their means they are just using the system the banks created to allow home ownership. Get it..the banks system, the one they have now screwed up as well as all the other screw ups they have imposed on the honest tax paying public.

    FUCK EM...they deserve to lose, the only problem now is the ridiculous catch 22 that means if the banks lose the taxpayer picks up the tab. Unfortunately, everything is now so corrupt that social and economic breakdown is inevitable.

  76. This tells me never to invest in the mortgage market. If I am going to waste money this way, I would rather spend on someone who really needs and can use the help.

  77. Is there a case in any state which says that no money is owed if the note can't be produced?

    In other words, has any judge forgiven a mortgage, just because the note was missing?

  78. They should hold out to see the note. For those who don't know, when your mortgage is paid off you ask the holder to confirm it has been 'satisfied' with a notarized signature. My house was owner financed, and although I paid it off in three years and was never late, the SOB didn't want to bother to pay $5 to a notary, or maybe he had something 'up his sleeve.' Luckily, I was working for a law firm, and had them send a letter. I had my document as fast as they could mail it.


  80. Quite a post from Deuce ranting about all the posts with no name or anonymous and he shoes Deuce as his name. This is so much more honest. Now we can just pick up the phone book and look for Deuce and give him a call. He must be expecting calls since he put his name on the post. Stupidity is free I guess.

  81. That comment @ 9:45PM kicks the ass of all the other comments! He or she is a GENIUS

  82. Bravo!!! Bravo, Mr. Lira! And bravo Brian & Ilsa!!! The "trolls" who were posting comments calling them "deadbeats", etc. are the same ones who used exact same strategy and M.O. on my DEBTORS REVOLT YouTube video which went viral last year. The banks think nothing of screwing over hardworking, honest people. It's time we fight fire with fire!

  83. They definitely need to tell the bank to take a hike and stop paying them until they can produce a note. If they can't produce a note, they need to have a judge remove the lien from their home since no one can legally collect a debt they don't have proof they have the right to. If a bank happened to have an actual mistake that misplaced paperwork, that's fine. This isn't the case. Banks committed fraud and need to be punished for it.

    The banks have been ripping off the American people since the creation of the Federal Reserve, it's about time we got a little recompense. Give the people (and others like them their houses). Screw the banks.

  84. To those who say that Brian and Ilsa should stick it to the bank and refuse to make any more payments, remember that the real losers from that would be the investors who own the mortgage-backed securities.

    Maybe the investors are pension funds or insurance companies, but quite possibly they could be the U.S. taxpayer.

    The bank - and its dirty-rotten-b_d top managers - would only lose more of their already-tattered reputations.

  85. Karen said...

    To those who say that Brian and Ilsa should stick it to the bank and refuse to make any more payments, remember that the real losers from that would be the investors who own the mortgage-backed securities.

    Karen these so called investors loaned nothing! The money Brian & Ilsa got was created from nothing! Do your home work....learn the truth about the banksters an how they work!

  86. Do you people really think Wells Fargo doesn't have a note on the property? I use to work for WF and although I did not agree with somethings, I can assure you with all of there internal audits and external audits that have been done in the last 10 years and this would have been caught. This is why this country is in trouble because news and media blows everything up and people strive on negativity. Find a postive thing to talk about!!!

  87. If the chains are irredeemably broken, the banks are insolvent.

    If the government were to take them over during a bank holiday, it could 'forgive' all the ones 'lost' in the system. That 300,000 dollar mortgage to the bank is now a $ 100,000 debt to the IRS. The banks get treasuries or some other printing-press asset in return while the people at the top get wonderful positions in whatever semi-governmental nightmare ends up running things (socialist face) or the contract to ruin it (capitalist face) .

    Forget about recourse, you owe the money to the IRS. With penalty charges and interest at government rates, the that one-third value payment could be around 1/2 of what people pay today.

    Property prices find their bottom - at about half - because that's what sheeple can afford to pay and still play consumer. Those with good credit can get a new mortgage from the banks to pay off the 1/3 of the outstanding balance they now owe the IRS and lock in a low interest rate. Oh, and pay off those credit cards by rolling them into this new loan. it will still be less than you're paying to the IRS. These new mortgages have none of the problems of the old ones, wall street having "learned it's lessons." Securitization begins anew.

    Since most families pay about a third of their income to their mortgage, half of that - 15 - 17% % more income if freed up for spending. Or wages can drop in real terms by the same amount without the pain being felt very acutely.

    With the mess cleared out of the system it's back to happy motoring. Real estate is "stable" again, the consumer will see a little more cash in his or her pocket and spend it, boosting 'growth.'

    "Trust" is restored to the system. People have money again, which quickly disappears and a new round of debt started to build...

  88. LOL at the 'bankers' and 'lawyers' in this thread who don't know basic grammar...

  89. I like the way you write. Your words flow easily because their honest and pure. As for the foreclosure issue, I have checked on my mortgage and title and am contacting a lawyer tomorrow. Can't have two companies claiming I owe them, not counting those who may be in between the original mortgage lender on the title and B of A who claims they have my note. That's not what my title says nor are there any new assignments according to the Title Company. It is important to protect yourself when someone else is deliberately trying to screw you over. I've never backed down from a fight and I won't start now!

  90. @Harry Lerwill said... " With the mess cleared out of the system it's back to happy motoring. Real estate is "stable" again, the consumer will see a little more cash in his or her pocket and spend it, boosting 'growth.' ".

    Nice try, Harry. If only such a happy scenario could take place.

    The problem is: The moment a bank holiday is declared, the world would lose faith in the US dollar. In the ensuing panic, the dollar would die the same day.


  91. By way of follow up to my original post, I've had the request reviewed by my lawyer who directed me to to find a template for the request stating it to be a "qualified written request" and asking specifically for the Original Deed of Trust and any assignments of the deed of trust. The bank then has 20 days to acknowledge receipt and 60 days to perform.

    If you happen to be a Washington State resident (as I am) then you may get some piece of mind for yourself but likely the whole thing will be an exercise of the postal system more than anything else. As Washington is a non-judicial foreclosure state, the bank isn't required to present the original document to foreclose. Instead the MERS has been ruled as legal proof.
    On the flip side, if the bank has securitized the mortgage, the only claim from a third party would be for a piece of the mortgage, not the title or deed. Those are already in my name and all that is required (in Washington State at least) is for the bank to release the lien that is held for the mortgage. Third parties don't come into play.
    So using the "show me the note" route will not likely get you anywhere in Washington State. YMMV.

  92. Because there were "only" 4 swear words I will be reposting this. This one, and your first article, are brilliant and should be a 'must read' for all.

  93. Actually, I can make the moral case that these home owners should NOT pay the mortgage.

    It is the only way the taxpayer will get their money back. Those banks must fail.

  94. I'm a bit doubtful of this notion that you could pay off a loan for 30 years and then not get clear title. Either the bank is transferring your payments to the true title holder, or it is not. If it is, there is no problem. If it is not, and the true title holder does not take legal action for 30 years, it has surrendered the property to you (although it will take some legal action for that to go through). In effect, you are a squatter in your own home. Seems that way, anyway. I'm not an expert in these matters.

    This whole fiasco brings into question the very notion of property ownership. When you boil it right down, you own what you can defend - on your own, without the state's "help" (since the state is in cahoots with the criminals). It might take some dead repossession agents on the doorsteps of homeowners, or some dead bankers, for this to be straightened out; but eventually it will. People will not make payments for 30 years, and then meekly pack up and move out! After 30 years they have nothing left to lose; might as well go to war and take some bastards with them.

  95. In reply to Anonymous who began his post "Scooter--The reason some people (including me) have a hard time with homeowners getting a house scott free, is that some of us didn't use our houses like ATM machines:"
    We haven't used our house as an ATM machine, either. Ever. We have always been current--actually, 30 days ahead--on our mortgage payments. Always responsible, never borrowing more than we can afford from any source. Etc. And this responsible citizen says:
    They DESERVE all the good things they get!
    When will responsible middle-class people realize that THE MAJORITY OF THESE RICH MOTHERFUCKERS ARE NOT TO BE ADMIRED for their supposed superior financial wisdom, superior work ethic, blah blah blah---THEY GOT IT BY STEALING!!!! Obviously, the banks are at the head of the list of the aforementioned "rich motherfuckers".
    You, too, can become a billionaire--if you don't mind taking what doesn't belong to you, screwing lots of people who've never done you any harm, and pissing on the system that made it possible for you and your corporation to exist in the first place.
    P.S. Just so everyone is straight, Brian and Ilsa are/were the mortgagors, not the mortgagees.

  96. " “If you play your cards right,” I told Brian and Ilsa over the phone, “you could get your house for free.” "

    You call that playing your cards 'right'?
    That's one warped sense of 'right'.

    This 'gimme gimme free shit' mentality is what's got us here, and you are suggesting they perpetuate this mentality?

    Greedy banks, greedy govt and greedy homeowners are what caused this. They all cut corners and now we all are paying for it.

  97. A few obvious points here, people.

    On one hand, the banks and the investors are not evil, just actors on the business stage, and ranting about 'banksters" and how some attribute they supposedly have makes everything their "fault" is not a meaningful argument.

    But calling the buyers deadbeats suffers from the same lack of content.

    The TRUTH is: the buyer and the bank have a contract. The contract contains remedies. It doesn't say anything about moral or ethical duties and banks and businesses break these contracts all the time when they decide they would rather suffer the remedy than suffer the consequences of full performance.

    You pay the money and get the title or you don't pay the money and they get the title.

    The loan is recourse or non-recourse, it says in the contract. If in fact you are in a non-recourse *state*, well, the bank knew that going in and had every opportunity to choose a rate, down payment, and remedy that they would accept for a non-recourse loan. Boo hoo. No tears necessary.

    In fact, the Mortgage Bankers Association defaulted on their own loan! The one with which they bought their fancy new Washington headquarters building! They have refused to comment.

    Now, if you MUST have a feel-good argument, I can give you two that sound great, though I don't think they really have a great deal more content in than the blame-the-banks or the blame-the-buyer ones.

    Here goes one:

    Wall street and the banks got A SERIES of massive federal bailouts. You didn't. I didn't. The buyers didn't. But we paid for it. Yes, you and I, at the point of a federal gun, sent money to wall street and the banks to bail them out. Trillions. A strategic default is the ONLY WAY for you to get a piece of that bailout yourself.

    Here is another feel-good argument:

    When Wall Street has a good year, do they send you or I a check? Uhh, I don't recall getting one. But when they have a bad year, you and I are forced at gunpoint (well, coerced with the threat of pointed guns) to bail them out. Not fair.

    Note that even in my emotional feel-good arguments, NOT EVEN THERE is it wall street's or the bank's "fault". It's really the governments fault for using the power of the state to bail them out. All by themselves, they don't have the power to force money out of you or I.

    Now, there is one evil on this stage. You can attribute evil to the government when they use force that is not in your interest, UNLESS, of course, you voted for that big government in the first place.

  98. I'm glad there was a happy ending for the couple you wrote about. they seem like nice folks to me.

  99. A mortgage is a business transaction whereby the home owner puts up the house he is buying as collateral for a loan. The contract gives the lender the right to take the collateral if the debtor defaults. There is nothing in the paperwork that makes a homeowner more responsible for repayment than a wealthy corporation, Tishman Speyer, for instance who walked away from 110,000 properties in NY with no phony moral approbation. And remember, corporations are individuals!

  100. If the authorities falsified and made up documents to get the loans, then what would keep them from going the same to show chain of title?

  101. it never ceases to amaze how confused most people get. "oh, but we owe the money- there is a mortgage". THE MORTGAGE IS DIFFERENT FROM THE NOTE!!

    nobody "pays a mortgage". the mortgage is a label for the limited right to take the collateral property. mortgages get released not paid.

    the note is the debt, but if i owe money then you owe me a note- how do i know who to pay?

    meanwhile all these monies are issued on the note itself. there is no such thing as borrowing bank money. banks are prohibited by law from lending depositers funds. every financial transaction is an EVEN-X-CHANGE. this for that, quid pro quo. all "loans" just monetize the note. the bank is paid in the act, they got the note that creates the funds, right?

    thats why its irrelevant who owns the note since someone does, they arent complaining, and the currency established on that note continues to exist.

    money is issued. not loaned or borrowed. time for 8th grade!

  102. Let me get this straight, homeowners who rightfully and knowingly have signed a contract and a legal promissory note are now blaming the banks for their unwillingness to pay back the loan. They are scamming banks by saying “show me the note.” You knowingly under your own content signed a promissory note to pay back the loan. Hence that is a legal contract, a PROMISE. Who cares where the note was sold. I don’t care if a pile of dirt owns the note, you have a legal obligation and contract to pay back the note or you should go through foreclosure. You get notice to where you need to send payment to! What a scam, you should not have the right to get a loan! You know you owe money on a loan, yet you try and intentionally deceit the lender by saying “show me the note”. Last time I checked that is fraud: intentional deception made for personal gain!

  103. good job. our government, for decades, has been a modification of Katherane Anne Porter's Ship of Fools ( 60's ) and we've been the passengers with Congress crewing.

    From the early days of "slipping" past the Constitution we've had damage done to the Republic. The advent of fiat money and fractional banking coupled with the abrogation of thinking ( thanks to the Public Fool System ) will eventually embalm our Nation.

  104. It's such an exciting time to be alive: and it's surely just a paper-thin veil of deception that's keeping the whole thing going at this point.
    That deception lets people keep believing that being taken care of by Nanny Government is somehow more peaceful or noble than just growing up and looking after our own affairs. How else could conscionable people criticize the victims?
    The deception makes people hold off until a desperation to survive makes them even think to demand their opponent substantiate his claim. Is the backbone of America really so ...spineless?
    And what a revolution it will be when Brian and Ilsa discover that they created the money by creating the mortgage and they never owed Wells Fargo one cent.
    Exciting times.

  105. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you


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