Top Regulator Says Banks Meant Well; Evidence Suggests Otherwise
When Thomas J. Curry, top regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, wrote an article outlining standards expected of the banking industry, he opened by noting the charitable work done by banks and insisted that CEOS never actually intended to commit foreclosure fraud or break the law. Rather, he says, the management at these firms wasn’t cautious enough. They allowed a corrupt culture to pervade because they weren’t careful.
However, there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest this isn’t factually accurate.
For example, reporters and courts have uncovered numerous internal banking memos and training materials that suggest much of the illegal conduct in which these companies engaged was deliberate. For example, PowerPoint presentations and videos show ways in which these firms taught workers how to bypass local jurisdictions and automate processes.
Our Miami foreclosure defense attorneys know the end result was that not one of these bank CEOs faced jail time. None were held personally accountable. Meanwhile, millions of Americans were left underwater on their homes. Many lost their homes and had to file for bankruptcy. Even those who rebuilt are constantly looking over their shoulder, worried about a deficiency judgment filing. Their credit is decimated.
But, well, if the banks didn’t mean to do it, no harm, no foul.
Interestingly, Curry’s assertion that these institutions did not suffer from some sort of ethical lapse or moral failing is in direct contrast with assertions from those such as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, who was quoted in 2013 as saying there is ample evidence of deep-rooted ethical and cultural failures at most large banks.
In fact, Curry directly contradicted Dudley’s statement regarding CEO directives on robo-signing. Where Curry doubted any CEO or upper management launched an initiative specifically to engage in robo-signing foreclosure paperwork, Dudley asserted this was exactly what happened.
But it’s not just Dudley’s word against Curry’s. Consider the creation of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems). There is ample evidence this company was created by a collusion of bank CEOs specifically for the purpose of bypassing local jurisdiction taxation and filing requirements. The banks then hired what they called “Burger King kids” – low-wage temporary workers – to churn out these foreclosures.
Further, banks were able to buy and sell loans without notifying local jurisdictions or even borrowers. A spin-off of this was “MOM,” an acronym for MERS as Original Mortgagee. This basically meant the loan originator was almost never a matter of public record.
By pretending MERS held the loan, banks were able to conceal changes in ownerships from recorders of deeds and the courts. In essence, they bypassed centuries of property holders’ rights.
MERS still exists, though it has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. It’s won several battles, but it’s also lost some crucial challenges (one example being that of Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds v. MERS in Pennsylvania).
These bankers knew exactly what they were doing, and for the nation’s top regulator to pretend otherwise is deeply concerning. It’s worth considering whether, instead of defending the integrity of bank CEOs, the OCC’s time would be better spent investigating the machinations that allowed this widespread fraud and corruption.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Bruce Jacobs & Associates for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 305-358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.