Alright Banker-People… That’s Enough. You’re Not Making Sense and You’re Making Me Dizzy
Hey… banker-people… over here… we need to talk. And don’t try to pretend like you’re not reading this because Google Analytics says you are, and they’re not wrong.
First, roll call:
Wells Fargo people… 85 times this month. Bank of America… 73 times this month. JPMorgan Chase… only 74 times this month… I hope I didn’t upset you with my “Inside Chase and the Perfect Foreclosure” article. I’m sure you’ll get over it. Fannie Mae only 38 times this month… did we get our feelings hurt, or are you guys spending all your time searching Monster.com in the hopes of finding a solvent organization? Oh, and look… Kondaur Capital people… 22 times this month? Good for you. You must be newcomers. I don’t remember seeing you hanging around my blog before.
Indymac… 31 times… always nice to see you guys reading me, but isn’t it time to change to “One West”? And Wachovia… 18 times? Not bad, considering you guys are supposed to have been bankrupt for like two years. And FedChex… you’re the guys that put people on a black list when they bounce a check, right? And then they can never get off, and all because some bank held their deposit for 10 days waiting for the carrier pigeon to bring news from the Federal Reserve that the check had cleared.
What do we have here… the Department of Homeland Security? No kidding? On my blog, 15 times this month? Should I be scared? I’ll take waterboarding for $500, Alex. Are you guys planning some sort of extraordinary rendition? Am I going to wake up one morning to find myself tied to a chair, holed up in some Eastern Bloc prison not found in my Fodor’s guide with a German Shepherd sniffing at my testicles? Good plan, fellas… you keep working on that. Or, perhaps I should say… As-Salāmu Alaykum.
There’s the U.S. Army… for 17 times this month. But the Navy… only 16. Oh, too bad. I hate seeing the Navy lose by one. I know why you guys are here… you’re fighting for our country and some banking geek is trying to foreclose on your house. Call me, maybe I can find someone who can help.
And GMAC Mortgage? I was sort of disappointed to see you only made it over 15 times this month. Well, that’s okay… I’m sure you’ve been busy what with so many people signing their names ten million times a month.
My only question is: Where the heck is Citibank? I bank at Citibank, for God’s sake… the least they could do is stalk me. And US Bank… they’re probably just pissed cause I’m late on my mortgage… don’t worry guys… I’ll bring it current tomorrow. I just like it when you call me and ask if I want to apply for a loan modification… LOL… good times!
Okay, so now that we’re all here… you guys either have too many PR firms on retainer, or as an industry, you’re just a complete train wreck… or both… and I’m sure it’s both. You guys really should collectively just STFU… and feel free to ask your teenager to translate that for you if you need help figuring it out.
First of all, good plan! First you tried to have MERS foreclose… but since they never owned anything, were never a party to anything… and in fact have nothing to do with borrowers and their homes, it started to be slightly questionable that the electronic registry with no employees, but more signers that the entire country of Italy has Vespas, so you moved on to the computer generated signature.
Of course, it didn’t take long before a whole bunch of foreclosure defense attorneys compared notes and found the one person was able to sign their name identically like 100 times. Not to mention that when implementing such a strategy, it helps to change up the names. The same VP can’t work for Wachovia in the morning, Citibank at lunchtime, and Wells Fargo later that same afternoon. (Gee, I’ll bet modifying a few more loans is looking like a pretty good alternative now, right banker-people?)
So, what did you guys come up with to fix the problem? The “robo-signer”? Seriously? Tell the truth… did someone’s 13 year-old son come up with this plan? One person sits in an office and signs their name 10,000 times a month, needless to say without taking a moment to read anything being signed. That’s the plan. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Did someone prepare a PowerPoint presentation to sell this idea to senior management? You can’t imagine how much I wish I could have been there to watch this plan get the thumbs up.
And you all decided to go with the same inconceivably stupid idea? What’s going on here? Is this real life, or am I unknowingly being filmed to appear in some sort of Don Knotts revival picture… a remake of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, perhaps? Or maybe it’s a musical, like: “How to Succeed in Banking Without Really Lying.” Is that it?
And yes… I feel like breaking into another show tune… it’s been a while, so just go with it. Here’s the original, performed by Robert Morse. And wouldn’t you know it… alternate lyrics follow.
Now, you may join the Elks, my friend,
And I may join the Shriners;
But those that work in banks these days
We call them “Robo-Signers”.
They sign their names 10,000 times,
Their ethics need alignments;
For under oath they’re swearing,
That the bank lost the assignments.
There is a Brotherhood at Banks,
A malevolent Brotherhood at Banks,
It takes some giant balls,
To defraud justice’s halls,
But that’s the Brotherhood at Banks.
You’re implementing a, dumb plan,
To keep a-takin’ every house, you can.
I hope you’ll one day be,
Held under lock and key,
The great big Brotherhood at Banks.
So, before you start claiming that your dog ate all the mortgages, consider this:
One man may be incompetent,
Ten clowns could be a fluke,
But you guys have so many liars,
It’s enough to make me puke.
You clearly have no leadership,
At the top you’re lacking creed.
The things you have in abundance,
Are avarice and greed.
‘Cause it’s the Brotherhood at Banks,
You broke the world this time, so thanks.
If you got bailed out big,
Then bonused like a pig,
You’re in that Brotherhood at Banks.
You, you blow bubbles,
Us, we got troubles!
The economy is sinking,
While Crystal champagne you’re drinking,
There’s something really stinking,
You, you’d sell Mama;
All I’ve got is Obama!
You own our government, we see.
Break laws and get away, Scott-free.
And billions you’ll still make,
Don’t worry, we’ll eat cake,
While we watch the Brotherhood at Banks!
Okay, now let’s get back to business, no pun intended…
Of course, you guys in the banking world are so delusional that you seem to actually believe that what you’re doing by having someone sign their name 10,000 times to sworn affidavits and the like, is merely fixing a technicality… ooopsie… you forgot to cross a ‘t’. You can’t be serious…
Let’s get something straight here. I don’t know what our government is going to do about what you’ve done, but it’s no technicality, okay? If any other normal non-banker American citizen did what you’ve done, and are still trying to do, we’d be charged with fraud, very likely thrown in jail, after we we’re sued civilly for everything we had. Got it?
You don’t think so? Then tell me what you think would happen if I walked into a courtroom and handed the judge a fraudulent set of documents requesting that he ignore procedures designed to protect property rights in this country, and foreclose on someone’s property, evict them and and give it to me to sell?
Or, how about if I were to go around selling bonds rated triple A, that were actually junk? Or what if I was selling mortgage-backed securities without the mortgage-backed part? Or selling investments to investors while betting they would fail? You think I’d be handed a big fat hundred million dollar bonus check and told to have a safe flight in my helicopter on the way to my mansion in the Hamptons?
You want to know what happens once you turn yourself in for committing fraud on a scale never before contemplated and cost the world tens of billions of dollars. Ask Bernie Madoff. Admittedly, we don’t do a whole lot to catch you before that, but once you come clean, then we lower the boom. (Okay, so maybe that’s not the best example, but my point’s the same, damn it.)
The blog Daily Finance, had an excellent article yesterday about this topic, and since I couldn’t say it any better, here’s what Charles Hugh Smith had to say:
Many commentators have already dismantled the bank/mortgage servicers’ claims that the legal issues are all just trivial technicalities. It’s hardly trivial that documents filed in court are the foundation of our legal system. A signed affidavit is legally equivalent to providing live testimony in court. If an affidavit is untrue, that’s the same as lying in court, which is a crime called perjury.
Yet the current system is filled with “robo-signers” who electronically signed up to 10,000 foreclosure filing a month, making a legal claim of their accuracy. Furthermore, though attorneys are prohibited from making a material misrepresentation to the court, it’s clear that such misrepresentations of fact (such as who actually owns the mortgage) are widespread in foreclosure proceedings.
Next topic… I think I’ve disposed of that one, wouldn’t you say?
Now, on top of everything else you bankers have done, you’re now confusing the heck out of me. You don’t seem to be able to keep your stories straight from one month to the next.
Last month, Treasury Secretary Geithner and numerous other anonymous Treasury Department officials invited a cadre of bloggers to Washington to listen while they espoused some unbelievably heinous drivel about how HAMP was a success because… even though it may have caused some discomfort… and that’s pretty close to quoting verbatim what was said… HAMP slowed down the foreclosures, thus allowing homeowners to remain in their homes a few months longer that would otherwise have been the case, and simultaneously helped the banks take back the homes at a safer and less costly pace.
Never mind the fact that people were lied to and tortured by our nation’s financial institutions and mortgage servicers, something that was obviously condoned by Treasury and presumably by the Obama Administration, the fact is that the Treasury officials said that HAMP was a success because it slowed down foreclosures, if nothing else.
But, now… now that it’s come out that the banks are forging documents, illegally foreclosing, and therefore defrauding homeowners, investors, our government, the IRS, and the taxpayers, to say nothing of the investors around the globe who I have to believe are loading up an entire fleet of 747s with lawyers to come sue the bankers into oblivion yea as we speak… now that that sort of writing is all over the wall… now the bankers are saying we have to ignore our laws protecting property rights in this country, because anything that slows down foreclosures WILL KILL THE ECONOMY?
So, wait… which is it? Geithner says HAMP slowing them down was good, but now that it’s the bank’s criminal behavior that threatens to cause such a the slowdown, it’s going to cause the end of the world as we know it?
My favorite blog of late, Naked Capitalism, which is written largely by the ultra-smart Yves Smith… “Yves here,” posted this from Politico writer Ben Smith, who had written the following in a newsletter that’s read by policy types in D.C.
WALL STREET WARNS WASHINGTON ON MORTGAGES – The financial services industry is growing increasingly concerned as more politicians get behind the idea of a broad moratorium on home foreclosures, which banks and many outside analysts say could be good short-term politics but terrible long-term policy.
One senior Wall Street executive told Morning Money over the weekend: ‘President Obama should be very cautious about aligning himself with Congressional leaders who are playing politics with the foreclosure issue. With foreclosed properties comprising one in every four homes sold in the United States, the spreading moratorium could disrupt real estate deals in progress, slow down the process of clearing the backlog of troubled home loans and [endanger] the economic recovery.’
Alright banker-people… that’s enough. I think I can speak for quite a few Americans… like at least a dozen… when I say that at this point you’d be better off shutting up and stopping the empty threats about “endangering the recovery” that you continually draw like a gun every time something threatens to limit your ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.
To begin with, there is no economic recovery, never has been, so stop kidding yourselves, assuming that’s what you’re doing. There’s no lending, and there won’t be any… outside of the government lending programs, of course… for a long, long time. The next time investors around the world trust our country’s bankers and more over, our regulatory agencies, will be decades from now.
It might be helpful if I remind you that in 1929 the stock market had a bit of a market correction. It crashed, wiping out the fortunes of tens of thousands of investors, large and small. On the blackest of days back in 1929, the NYSE traded 16 million shares. The next time it would do that would be 40 YEARS LATER, in 1969. I think a little Wikipedia is in order:
“The October 1929 crash came during a period of declining real estate values in the United States (which peaked in 1925) near the beginning of a chain of events that led to the Great Depression, a period of economic decline in the industrialized nations.”
Now, why does that sound so damn familiar to me. Nope, can’t place it. Oh well… let’s move on.
Oh no, wait… one more:
“Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.”
Richard Salsman, American Economist & Lecturer
So, stop with the “endangering the recovery” blather, you sound like idiots and liars, and we were just getting used to you just being liars. We can’t handle both at once. Besides, the biggest thing stopping our recovery is you guys that engineered its demise.
Stopping foreclosures while we wait for you bankers to figure out how to fix things, assuming such a thing is possible, because when you guys break the world you do one heck of a job, isn’t going to harm anything.
You can’t sell a HUGE percentage of the homes you’ve been foreclosing on to-date, so what good will it do to hurry up and foreclose on some more? Many times you don’t foreclose on properties because you don’t want to have to pay the property taxes and maintenance anyway. I know several homeowners who haven’t made payments in three years, so shut up, shut up, shut up!
And memo to “senior Wall Street executive” who claims, as quoted above, that our legislators are “playing politics” when they suggest that foreclosures should be stopped until they can proceed in accordance with our country’s laws, saying:
“One senior Wall Street executive told Morning Money over the weekend: ‘President Obama should be very cautious about aligning himself with Congressional leaders who are playing politics with the foreclosure issue.”
You sir, should simply have your ass kicked. And I’d volunteer to do it, but I’m afraid that the Department of Homeland Security will come take me away and I won’t be able to see my daughter graduate from High School. But someone should… kick your ass, I mean.
But, in lieu of that, let me tell you, the bankers, and our nation’s politicians about what’s coming up in just a few weeks: the midterm elections. And that’s when WE THE PEOPLE get our chance to “PLAY POLITICS,” as you so eloquently phrased it.
And I for one simply cannot wait to PLAY. Did you notice those early ballots coming in… in numbers 50% HIGHER THAN IN 2006! Fifty percent higher? Do you think those people are voting for those that voted to bail you out, banker-people? Do you?
No, I can’t wait to play a little politics myself, come early November. Because frankly, I’ve been working far too hard these past two years since I got suckered into that whole line of “hope and change” garbage. So, I could use some playtime.
After all, all work and no play makes Mandelman an angry voter.
Mandelman out, and the incumbents as well.