Sunday, October 16, 2011


I dropped out of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, because I figured that I had done my time trying to "fix" problems with the American business world. My efforts produced a crackdown in the industry (title insurance) but left me in poor health and without any desire to return to work for Corporate America.

These same companies are illegally outsourcing jobs to Asia right now, and their former employees (and my former coworkers and friends) are faced with upside-down mortgages and no jobs adequate to pay the bloated loans. Government agencies refuse to enforce anti-outsourcing jobs on the books. Somebody else needs to fight that battle.

But I woke up this morning from a dream of a family re-taking their own home.

The bank was ready to foreclose. They had vacated the premises on the promise of a token payment for leaving peacefully. The bank would receive full payment via TARP bailout money for the foreclosed note. And the house.

The family just said NO.

They moved back in. They turned on the utilities again. They began to repair the damage from neglect. Up and down the block, one by one, families followed their lead. They stood together. They OCCUPIED their own homes and neighborhoods.

The same people that own these banks and finance companies will only listen to US if we are united as a people. They laugh and make fun of our Occupy movements. They own and control most of our elected officials. They think they've won.

It's time to play hardball. Hit them where it hurts: their pocketbooks!

If you are in an upside-down loan, DO NOT make your next payment. Or any more payments until the bank renegotiates your loan to reduce the balance to 50% of the present "market value". If you are unemployed, the bank must not only renegotiate your loan, but waive payments until you have been restored to a living-wage job.

And if you are lucky enough to still have a bank account, move your money to a local community bank or credit union.

They structured the collapse. They outsourced our jobs and business. They engineered the crisis. They have already received $16 Trillion in bailout money that we know about.

And they want our homes, too. And land. And water. They want it all.

Organize your neighborhoods. Force your US Representatives and Senators to take action. They've driven the getaway car for the guys that have stolen our jobs, economy and natural resources. Now they are fiddling about while the 0.1% steal our homes and continue to do business as usual in the midst of nationwide protests.

Our government could take action. But they must face a nationwide crisis before they will. In the 1930's North Dakota dealt with a similar situation, and it's government responded. If we stand together from shore to shore, ours will too. But we must stand together.


PS. Check out Occupy Your House on Facebook

Friday, March 11, 2011

MERS: Methinks the government has bailed out the wrong people.

On October 13. 2010, Reuters’ Factbox: The role of MERS in foreclosure furor provided a succinct explanation of ongoing problems with MERS. We should have seen the tidal wave coming.

MERS is a consortium comprised of Lenders and Title Insurance Companies who have sought technological solutions to lower costs in labor-intensive industries. The registration system in MERS is intended to replace the burdensome maintenance of paper records by lenders, escrow, title and settlement companies – and the increased labor cost and overhead to process the same.

The idea looked good on paper. But there it ends.

As with the illegal offshore outsourcing of title insurance functions by Big Insurance in California, nobody bothered to consider state laws when cobbling the system together. In most states, foreclosures require a physical paper trail of documents in order to validate a non-judicial foreclosure. Otherwise, the lender must go to court in order to foreclose. Since MERS beneficiaries may not be interested in fronting the cost of a court case to repossess an upside-down piece of real estate, the foreclosure processes are stalled.

And loan modifications are impossible. 

In this upside-down market, borrowers can negotiate with direct lenders to reduce their principal via loan modification – even without incurring additional tax liabilities. The lenders will write off the losses and then get renewed payments at a lower rate. With MERS loans, modifications are nearly impossible – especially when the loans have been repackaged and securitized.

“They didn’t do the deep homework…So as far as anyone can tell their real theory was: ‘If we can get everyone on board, no judge will want to upend something that is reasonable and sensible and would screw up 70 percent of loans.’ ”

But it is not reasonable to throw Americans out on the street because they can no longer pay on loans made during the time of real estate value inflation. But that is the only servicing option available to MERS borrowers, apparently. But without adequate documentation as to the present ownership of the loans to be foreclosed, non-judicial foreclosures can be legally challenged in most states. 

So now state courts are being strong-armed into rubberstamping MERS non-judicial foreclosure actions. Notwithstanding the recent and questionable Appellate Court’s decision in  JOSE GOMES v.  COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., et al.,  non-judicial foreclosures of MERS loans – even in California – are subject to ongoing challenges until the US Supremes finally rule on this matter. 

MERS was not such a good idea after all. The product of a bunch of executive clubhouse fat-boys from the lending and title industries was a bad idea to start with. Now they are crying to us because they did not want to expend the manpower to do their jobs. Wah-wah-wah! Let them dip into their hidden reserves and return to a normal system of mortgage documentation. For most of us, the home is our single biggest investment, and the MERS creators’ efforts to cheap-out on the loan documentation process is a slap in our face.

Finally, the great irony is that a some whose MERS foreclosures have been stalled are the very folks who had been laid off following the implementation of this system. I hope they get their loans modified before they are kicked to the curb.

Methinks the government has bailed out the wrong people.