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The biggest unpunished heist in human history - Max Keiser

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Mortgage Servicing Fraud
occurs post loan origination when mortgage servicers use false statements and book-keeping entries, fabricated assignments, forged signatures and utter counterfeit intangible Notes to take a homeowner's property and equity.
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02/17/24

Thousands of vets fell victim to a bait-and-switch...by the VA? Lawmakers want a fix NPR

Thousands of vets fell victim to a bait-and-switch...by the VA? Lawmakers want a fix
Lawmakers summoned the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs' loan program, John Bell, to Capitol Hill this week and asked him to explain how the VA is going to fix a debacle that's left many vets in danger of losing their homes. His answer: They don't know yet. "We are looking for a solution to be able to help 40,000 borrowers stave off foreclosure," Bell told them. The VA has been scrambling since an NPR investigation revealed that it pulled the plug on a key program while thousands of vets were still in the middle of it – effectively turning a well-meaning pandemic aid effort into a bait-and-switch trap for homeowners. At issue is what's called a COVID mortgage forbearance. Set up by Congress after the pandemic hit to help people who lost income, it gave homeowners with federally backed loans a sanctioned way to skip mortgage payments. The missed payments would get moved to the back of the loan term so when homeowners got back on their feet they could just resume their normal payments. But in October 2022, the VA abruptly ended a crucial part of its forbearance program, stranding tens of thousands of vets who were told they now needed to come up with all the missed payments at once.

02/13/24

Five Wall Street Banks Hold $223 Trillion in Derivatives — 83 Percent of All Derivatives at 4,600 Banks Wall Street On Parade

Five Wall Street Banks Hold $223 Trillion in Derivatives — 83 Percent of All Derivatives at 4,600 Banks
According to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), derivatives played a major role in the financial crash of 2007 to 2010 in the United States, the worst financial crisis in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The FCIC wrote in its final report: “…the existence of millions of derivatives contracts of all types between systemically important financial institutions — unseen and unknown in this unregulated market — added to uncertainty and escalated panic….”
Americans believed that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 would fulfill its promise of reining in concentrated risks like derivatives. It did not. (See our report from 2015: President Has His Facts Seriously Wrong on Financial Reform.)

02/08/24

CFPB Secures $12 Million From Ringleaders of Foreclosure Relief Scam CFPB

CFPB Secures $12 Million From Ringleaders of Foreclosure Relief Scam
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today announced that it resolved an appeal in a long-running enforcement suit against a foreclosure relief scam operation for $12 million in consumer redress and penalties. Consumer First Legal Group, LLC and four attorneys, Thomas G. Macey, Jeffrey J. Aleman, Jason Searns, and Harold E. Stafford, charged millions of dollars in illegal advance fees to financially-distressed homeowners for legal representation the defendants promised but did not provide.

02/08/24

S&P 500 Sets a Record on Wednesday as Banks Continue Tanking Wall Street On Parade

S&P 500 Sets a Record on Wednesday as Banks Continue Tanking
The S&P 500 closed at a record of 4995.06 yesterday while banks – big, medium, and small – continued to see their share prices hammered. And while the media is focusing the public’s attention on the share price collapse of New York Community Bancorp, which as of yesterday’s closing price is down 56 percent year-to-date and had its credit rating downgraded to junk by Moody’s on Tuesday evening, numerous other banks are trading at their lowest levels in two years.

02/07/24

NYCB Downgraded to Junk; Shocking Charts for Citigroup, Barclays and Deutsche Bank Wall Street On Parade

NYCB Downgraded to Junk; Shocking Charts for Citigroup, Barclays and Deutsche Bank
New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) closed out 2023 with a share price of $10.23. At the closing bell yesterday, its share price was $4.20 – a year-to-date decline of 59 percent. More pain is expected today as the credit rating agency, Moody’s, cut the regional bank’s credit rating two notches to junk after the market closed yesterday.

02/07/24

Here Come the HELOCs: Mortgage Balances, Delinquencies, and Foreclosures Wolfstreet

Here Come the HELOCs: Mortgage Balances, Delinquencies, and Foreclosures
Mortgage balances outstanding ticked up by 0.9% in Q4 from Q3, to a record of $12.3 trillion. Year-over-year, the increase was only 2.8%, according to data from the New York Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report. This small increase in mortgage balances is the result of a strange mix: Purchases of existing homes have plunged by one-third, and mortgage origination volume has collapsed, with existing home prices still sky high; but new house sales have held up, as prices have dropped 17%. And homeowners with these infamous 3% mortgages are not selling, and they’re not buying, and so they’re not paying off their 3% mortgages, and they’re not getting bigger new mortgages.

02/01/24

Lawmakers move to help veterans at risk of losing their homes NPR

Lawmakers move to help veterans at risk of losing their homes
The chairmen of the U.S. Senate's Banking and Veterans Affairs committees introduced a bill Thursday to help veterans at risk of losing their homes because of a COVID-assistance program that the VA ended abruptly in 2022. The bill, which they call the "Veterans Housing Stability Act," would let the Department of Veterans Affairs restart the program, which thousands of veterans used to skip mortgage payments when they faced pandemic-related financial problems. "Our veterans earned their home loan guarantee benefit, and they deserve a viable option to get back on track with payments and keep their homes," said Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat and chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. He sponsored the bill along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who heads the Banking Committee.

02/01/24

Lawmakers move to help veterans at risk of losing their homes NPR

Lawmakers move to help veterans at risk of losing their homes
The chairmen of the U.S. Senate's Banking and Veterans Affairs committees introduced a bill Thursday to help veterans at risk of losing their homes because of a COVID-assistance program that the VA ended abruptly in 2022. The bill, which they call the "Veterans Housing Stability Act," would let the Department of Veterans Affairs restart the program, which thousands of veterans used to skip mortgage payments when they faced pandemic-related financial problems. "Our veterans earned their home loan guarantee benefit, and they deserve a viable option to get back on track with payments and keep their homes," said Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat and chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. He sponsored the bill along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who heads the Banking Committee.

02/01/24

Victim of ‘foreclosure rescue scam’ wins $2.75M judgment Mass Lawyers Weekly

Victim of ‘foreclosure rescue scam’ wins $2.75M judgment
Christopher St. Louis seized a lifeline he thought would save his home in Dorchester. Instead, he lost nearly everything he owned. But a $2.75 million judgment entered last month in Suffolk Superior Court will go a long way toward making things right for the former homeowner now forced to live in a Boston apartment. On. Jan. 22, Judge Peter B. Krupp entered final judgment in St. Louis’ lawsuit against Stoughton real estate agents Mitra Ghobadi and Richard Fitzgerald. A jury found Ghobadi liable for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and civil conspiracy. Fitzgerald — who’s Ghobadi’s husband — was found liable for fraud and conspiracy. St. Louis was awarded $1 million in damages against Ghobadi and $500,000 against Fitzgerald. Krupp’s final judgment tacked on an additional $1,249,048 in prejudgment interest and $290 in costs. Nicole M. BluefortSt. Louis has Lynn attorney Nicole M. Bluefort to thank.

01/25/24

The Battle Over Capital at the Mega Banks Must Expand to Breaking Them Up Wall Street On Parade

The Battle Over Capital at the Mega Banks Must Expand to Breaking Them Up
Last Thursday, 12 Democrats in the U.S. Senate sent a deeply insightful letter on a subject most Americans have never discussed around their kitchen table: adequate capital levels at the Wall Street mega banks that came close to bringing down the U.S. financial system in 2008. Before that financial crisis was over – the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s – millions of hardworking Americans had lost their jobs and millions more had their homes taken in foreclosure.
If the U.S. is going to avoid a replay of that crisis, Americans are going to have to start having these critical conversations about the structure of Wall Street mega banks around the kitchen table. Americans are going to have to start engaging in the battle to shape the future of American democracy and more equitable wealth distribution, which requires dramatic reform of the mega banks on Wall Street.

01/25/24

Snapshot: Mortgage Delinquencies Rise, Foreclosures Fall DS News

Snapshot: Mortgage Delinquencies Rise, Foreclosures Fall
The calendar year 2023 ended on a Sunday, which played a part in affecting payment processing, meaning the national delinquency rate hit 3.57%, up 19 basis points from November. This information comes to us through the ICE Mortgage Technology’s First Look at mortgage performance for the month, a month-end mortgage performance statistics report derived from its loan-level database representing the majority of the national mortgage market. According to ICE, delinquencies were up moderately across the board, as inflows and rolls to later stages of delinquency rose, while cures from both early- and late-stage delinquency improved. Serious delinquencies (90+ days past due) rose to 475K, but were still 19% (-108K) below where they were they ended December 2022

01/23/24

Naming Names: Professor Exposes the Banking Cartel that Has Hijacked U.S. Democracy Wall Street On Parade

Naming Names: Professor Exposes the Banking Cartel that Has Hijacked U.S. Democracy
Gerald Epstein is Professor of Economics and a Founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A book he has spent the past decade researching and writing comes out today from the University of California Press: Busting the Bankers’ Club: Finance for the Rest of Us.
Anticipation of this book’s release has caused some sweaty brows in the halls of Congress, on Wall Street, at Big Law, and in the economics community. That’s because Epstein is naming names – the names of the people who have sold out American democracy and the public interest by becoming sycophants for, or actual members of, the Bankers’ Club.

01/19/24

Maine high court ruling corrects foreclosure loophole; critics say it weakens homeowner protections Portland Press Herald

Maine high court ruling corrects foreclosure loophole; critics say it weakens homeowner protections
Previously, if a lender made a mistake when sending a default letter to a borrower, the mortgage was deemed unenforceable, leaving the borrower with a free house.
Maine’s highest court last week turned the state’s foreclosure law upside-down with a decision it says corrects a “draconian” rule that likens courts to casinos by handing out free houses. But foreclosure defense attorneys say the ruling weakens one of the few protections in place for homeowners facing foreclosure and threatens the standing of other precedent-setting cases.

01/19/24

Amid Collapsed Demand for Existing Homes, Prices Drop Further, Supply Highest for any December since 2018, New Listings Come out of the Woodwork Wolf Street

Amid Collapsed Demand for Existing Homes, Prices Drop Further, Supply Highest for any December since 2018, New Listings Come out of the Woodwork
Housing market is frozen, people have gone on buyers’ strike, sellers are hoping that this too shall pass. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. The median price of existing single-family houses, condos, and co-ops in the US whose sales closed in December dropped to $382,600, down by 7.5% from the peak in June 2022, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) today. This puts 2023 on record as the first year since the Housing Bust when the seasonal high in June was below the seasonal high (and all-time high) a year earlier. Given the price surge in the spring 2023, the median price was 4.4% higher than in December a year ago. In another unusual development, prices have dropped every month since June – it’s unusual because seasonally, before the pandemic, there were upticks and flat spots in October through December periods, the little hooks in the chart (circled). There were no such upticks or flat spots in 2022 and 2023, prices fell right through that October-December period (historic data via YCharts):

01/18/24

Zillow Just Released Its Housing Predictions for 2024—and It Changes Everything House Beautiful

Zillow Just Released Its Housing Predictions for 2024—and It Changes Everything
The new year and fresh beginnings go together like a rustic farmhouse and shiplap. (Sure, they can exist on their own, but do they ever really?) If you want to bring that "new year, new you" sentiment to your real-estate portfolio, Zillow thinks you should pack your bags and relocate to Buffalo, New York. The platform just released its list of 10 hottest housing markets for 2024, and the company sidestepped popular metropolises like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago for smaller, less buzzy cities.

01/17/24

Everything that’s Dangerous about U.S. Banks Today in One Highly Readable Book Wall Street On Parade

Everything that’s Dangerous about U.S. Banks Today in One Highly Readable Book
Anat Admati, Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and German economist Martin Hellwig, have performed a public service to all Americans with their newly released, updated and expanded book The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It. It puts the interlocking web of corruption that is mistakenly referred to as the U.S. banking system into a pristinely documented and highly readable book.

01/17/24

Massachusetts sees "staggering" drop in home sales CBS News

Massachusetts sees "staggering" drop in home sales
BOSTON - Home sales were way down in Massachusetts in 2023, according to numbers shared by real estate data provider The Warren Group on Tuesday. There were 40,828 single-family home sales in the state last year, down from 52,639 in 2022. That's a 22.4% drop and the lowest number of sales since 2011.

01/16/24

Predatory lending addressed at Springfield press conference Mass Live

Predatory lending addressed at Springfield press conference
Predatory Lending practices Grace Ross, Coordinator at Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending, speaks during a press conference at ARISE offices in Springfield called to discuss predatory mortgage lending practices. In the backround is Alton King of Longmeadow whose home was foreclosed. (Don Treeger / The Republican)
Gary Yard of West Springfield speaks during a press conference at ARISE offices in Springfield called to discuss predatory mortgage lending practices. Grace Ross, Coordinator at Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending is on the right and in the backround is Alton King of Longmeadow whose home was also foreclosed (Don Treeger / The Republican) 1/16/2024

01/16/24

Americans Are Losing Their Homes Newsweek

Americans Are Losing Their Homes
Foreclosures ticked up last year in what experts said was a housing market correction after years of volatility following the outbreak of COVID-19, according to the real estate data analysis firm ATTOM. Foreclosure filings last year, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, jumped 10 percent compared to 2022 and were up 136 percent from 2021. But they were down nearly 30 percent compared to 2019, the year before COVID disrupted the housing market.

01/16/24

Ginnie Mae Planning New Reverse MBS DS News

Ginnie Mae Planning New Reverse MBS
Ginnie Mae has announced that it is exploring the development of a new securitization product as part of its effort to enhance and expand its existing Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) mortgage-backed securities (HMBS) program. In light of continued liquidity constraints in the reverse mortgage sector, Ginnie Mae is exploring the viability of a new securitization product that would accept HECM loans with balances above 98% of FHA’s Maximum Claim Amount (MCA). This new product will not change the requirements for the existing HMBS program, where HECM loans with balances at or above 98% MCA are required to be bought out of HMBS.

01/16/24

Group asking state’s highest court to end predatory lending practices Western Mass News

Group asking state’s highest court to end predatory lending practices
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - An effort to end predatory lending practices is calling on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to step in. It was an emotional morning Tuesday for members of the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending. Their initiative is to stop the historic rate of foreclosures across the commonwealth and demand the state’s Supreme Judicial Court to outlaw discriminatory practices of lenders and financial institutions. Coordinator Grace Ross told Western Mass News that this a crisis that has been happening for a very long time.

01/09/24

Out Today: A Deep Dive into the Dark Side of Banking and Its Handmaiden, Central Banks Wall Street On Parade

Out Today: A Deep Dive into the Dark Side of Banking and Its Handmaiden, Central Banks
Last September, speaking at a conference sponsored by the nonprofit watchdog, Better Markets, to examine if “too big to fail” banks had materially changed in the fifteen years since the 2008 financial collapse, Anat Admati, Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, offered her assessment of the U.S. banking system: “Corruption has become the system.” Today, Admati’s celebrated 2013 book, The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It, co-authored with German economist Martin Hellwig, is being released in an expanded new edition. It is a must read for every American who is bold enough to remove their media tinted, rose-colored glasses and take a hard look at how the U.S. banking system got into the mess it’s in today.

01/07/24

U.S. Money Supply Hasn't Done This Since the Great Depression, and It Usually Signals a Big Move to Come in Stocks The Motley Fool

U.S. Money Supply Hasn't Done This Since the Great Depression, and It Usually Signals a Big Move to Come in Stocks
KEY POINTS Sizable dips in M2 money supply have occurred only five times in 154 years. The prior four instances were accompanied by deflationary recessions and a steep rise in unemployment. On top of M2 declining, banks are notably tightening their lending standards. Investor perspective changes everything on Wall Street. Motley Fool Issues Rare “All In” Buy Alert For the first time in nine decades, M2 money supply is meaningfully declining. Over multiple decades, Wall Street is a surefire wealth creator. When compared to the annualized returns of housing, gold, oil, and even bonds, the stock market easily has these asset classes beat over long periods. But things get a bit dicey when the lens is narrowed and investors examine the performance of the broader market over a couple of years or a few months. Since this decade began, the ageless Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.07%), benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.18%), and growth-driven Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.09%) have alternated between bear and bull markets in successive years. This volatility has investors wondering what's next for the stock market.

01/04/24

Bill Dudley, Former Kingpin of Darkness at the New York Fed, Now Urges Transparency at the Fed Wall Street On Parade

Bill Dudley, Former Kingpin of Darkness at the New York Fed, Now Urges Transparency at the Fed
William (Bill) Dudley served as President of the New York Fed from 2009 to 2018. (He was previously an executive at Goldman Sachs.) During Dudley’s tenure at the New York Fed, it secretly oversaw the largest and darkest bailout of Wall Street mega banks in global banking history. A Bloomberg News reporter, the late Mark Pittman, battled in court for years to get the details of those bailouts released to the public. Today, the former kingpin of darkness at the New York Fed, Bill Dudley, had the audacity to pen an opinion column for Bloomberg News, urging – wait for it – more transparency at the Fed.

01/02/24

Federal Agency Study Contradicts Fed Chair: Finds Banking System Is Ripe for Another Crisis and Remains “Fragile and Uncertain” Wall Street On Parade

Federal Agency Study Contradicts Fed Chair: Finds Banking System Is Ripe for Another Crisis and Remains “Fragile and Uncertain”
Following the second, third and fourth largest bank failures in U.S. history in the spring of last year, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave his semiannual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee in June. During both appearances, Powell stated the same thing: “The U.S. banking system is sound and resilient.” But according to a report last week from the federal agency whose mandate is to keep federal regulators apprised of the true condition of the U.S. banking system, it is actually ripe for another crisis and its condition is “fragile and uncertain.”

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