Good News for Homeowners Cheated by Wells Fargo With Bogus Trial Loan Mods

Yippee! All the homeowners Wells Fargo blatantly cheated with their bait-and-switch trial mortgage modifications finally have a legal leg to stand on.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decision is law in several  western states hard hit by foreclosure, such as California, Arizona and Nevada) said “Wells Fargo was required under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program to offer loan modifications to borrowers who demonstrated their eligibility during a trial period.”(Reuters article)

Nice that some part of the legal system has called out the bank on its the obvious game playing, requiring people to complete a trial modification plan to show ability to pay the lesser loan amount and then making up some fake reason to deny the permanent mod. The banks have raked in millions of dollars with this strategy, never intending to re-structure the loan but still giving people hope and getting them to pay money that was never credited toward their mortgage loans.

Way to call a fraud a fraud, 9th Circuit! And bravo to homeowners Phillip Corvello and Jeffrey and Karen Lucia Phillip Corvello whose lawsuit led to the ruling. From Reuters again:

Both the unsigned majority opinion and a concurring opinion by Circuit Judge John T. Noonan faulted Wells Fargo’s drafting of the trial period plan, saying that to rule in the bank’s favor would render the benefits for borrowers illusory.

“No purpose was served by the document Wells Fargo prepared except the fraudulent purpose of inducing Corvello to make the payments while the bank retained the option of modifying the loan or stiffing him,” Noonan wrote. “‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ is a fraudulent coin toss.”

If you completed a trial mortgage modification and then were denied a permanent mod, you can sue the b@$t@rd$!!

(Oh, and by the way. Guessing Wells Fargo wasn’t the only one gaming the HAMP program in this way. The other big banks seem to have coincidentally jerked mortgage holders around in exactly the same ways.)

Throw the Bum/Comptroller Out

The so-called federal regulators are still aiding and abetting the big fraud-factory banks to hide their shady foreclosure procedures, both past and ongoing. And the lying, cheating and stealing goes on and on.

From the North Dallas Gazette article What we don’t know about foreclosure practices may still hurt us:

“A recent study of the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) process by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) cited significant flaws, including a lack of transparency, in the design and implementation of the process. The IFR process was created in 2011 because several mortgage servicing companies and their affiliates were found to have regularly engaged in questionable, unsafe, and even illegal practices.”

 Yes, in my case Wells Fargo, servicer of my misbegotten mortgage loan, absolutely engaged in questionable, unethical, immoral, unprofessional and what I certainly consider to be illegal practices. And I’m hardly alone. The big banks’ loan mod and foreclosure practices – such as lying to homeowners and playing all kinds of games to manipulate them into the giant sinkhole known as the “foreclosure track” – appear blatantly illegal to any average, common-sense person.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone who could do anything about it considers what the banksters do is illegal. That includes the legion of legislators who get big campaign donations from the financial industry, as well as a whole lot of judges and about all the states’ attorneys general. And, of course, the completely impotent Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is tasked with supervising banks to “ensure that they operate in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with laws requiring fair treatment of their customers and fair access to credit and financial products.”

 Despite the GAO’s conclusions, however, the Fed and the OCC have decided to double down on the secrecy surrounding the process: refusing requests by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for information about the IFR process, and about specific violations of law—including wrongful foreclosures, excessive fees, and fraudulent affidavits filed in court.

So, what next? I don’t think Sen. Warren will back down. In fact, maybe she  should call on President Obama to replace the current Comptroller with someone who isn’t so obviously in bed with the banksters. He has the power to do that, according to the OCC’s own website:

“The OCC was established in 1863 as an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The President, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, appoints the Comptroller to head the agency for a five-year term.”

Maybe the Senate should look out for the American people and retract their consent for the appointment of the incumbent. Maybe the President should take some action that actually helps beleaguered homeowners instead of making speeches that offer hope and help and justice that never actually materializes.

Throw the bum out! That might also put the FDIC back on the side of the consumer, as well, because the Comptroller also heads that agency. (No wonder it’s giving the banks a bye, as well.)