Fannie, Freddie overhaul unlikely, by Vicki Needham, Thehill.com


An overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is unlikely again this year despite recent Republican efforts to move the issue up the agenda.

Congressional Republicans, along with some Democrats — and even GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich — are renewing calls to craft an agreement to reduce the involvement of Fannie and Freddie in the nation’s mortgage market.

But without a broader accord, passage of any legislation this year is slim, housing experts say.

 

Jim Tobin, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Home Builders, concedes that despite a mix of Democratic and Republican proposals, including a push by the Obama administration last year, congressional leaders probably won’t get far this year on a plan for Fannie and Freddie, the government-controlled mortgage giants.

 

Tobin said there are “good ideas out there” and while he expects the House to put some bills on the floor and possibly pass legislation, the Senate is likely to remain in oversight mode without any “broad-based legislation on housing finance.”

“We’re bracing for a year where it’s difficult to break through on important policy issues,” he said this week.

While the issue makes for a good talking point, especially in an presidential election year, congressional efforts are largely being stymied by the housing market’s sluggish recovery, prohibiting the hand off between the government and private sector in mortgage financing, housing experts say.

David Crowe, chief economist with NAHB, said that the market has hit rock bottom and is now undergoing a “slow climb out of the hole.”

The House has taken the biggest steps so far — by mid-July the Financial Services Committee had approved 14 bills intended to jump-start reform of the government-sponsored enterprises.

“As we continue to move immediate reforms, our ultimate goal remains, to end the bailout of Fannie, Freddie and build a stronger housing finance system that no longer relies on government guarantees,” panel Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said last summer.

Meanwhile, a number of GOP and bipartisan measures have emerged — Democrats and Republicans generally agree Fannie and Freddie are in need of a fix but their ideas still widely vary.

There are a handful of bills floating around Congress, including one by Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and another by Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), which would wind down Fannie and Freddie and create a new system of privately financed organizations to support the mortgage market.

“Every one of those approaches replaces them [Fannie and Freddie] with what they think is the best alternative to having a new system going forward that would really fix the problem and would really give certainty to the marketplace and allow housing finance to come back, and therefore housing to come back, as well,” Campbell said at a markup last month.

There’s another bill by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and bills in the Senate being pushed by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, made the case earlier this week for unwinding government support for the GSEs while promoting his 10-year plan that would put in place the “infrastructure for the private sector to step in behind it.”

“A big part of the problem right now is the private sector is on strike,” Corker said.

He has argued that his bill isn’t a silver bullet, rather a conversation starter to accelerate talks.

“So what we need to do is figure out an orderly wind-down,” Corker said in November. “And so we’ve been working on this for some time. We know that Fannie and Freddie cannot exist in the future.”

He suggested getting the federal government this year to gradually wind down the amount of the loans it guarantees from 90 percent to 80 percent and then to 70 percent.

“And as that drops down, we think the market will send signals as to what the difference in price is between what the government is actually guaranteeing and what they’re not,” he said.

Even Gingrich, who has taken heat for his involvement with taking money while doing consulting work for the GSEs, called for an unwinding during a December interview.

“I do, in fact, favor breaking both of them up,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “I’ve said each of them should devolve into probably four or five companies. And they should be weaned off of the government endorsements, because it has given them both inappropriate advantages and because we now know from the history of how they evolved, that they abused that kind of responsibility.”

In a white paper on housing last week, the Federal Reserve argued that the mortgage giants should take a more active role in boosting the housing market, although they didn’t outline suggestions for how to fix the agencies.

The central bank did argue that “some actions that cause greater losses to be sustained by the GSEs in the near term might be in the interest of taxpayers to pursue if those actions result in a quicker and more vigorous economic recovery.”

Nearly a year ago, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asked Congress to approve legislation overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within two years — that deadline appears to be in jeopardy.

The Obama administration’s initial recommendations called for inviting private dollars to crowd out government support for home loans. The white paper released in February proposed three options for the nation’s housing market after Fannie and Freddie are wound down, with varying roles for the government to play.

About the same time last year, Bachus made ending the “taxpayer-funded bailout of Fannie and Freddie” the panel’s first priority.

While an overhaul remains stalled for now there is plenty of other activity on several fronts.

In November, the Financial Services panel overwhelmingly approved a measure to stop future bonuses and suspend the current multi-million dollar compensation packages for the top executives at the agencies.

The top executives came under fire for providing the bonuses but argued they need to do something to attract the talent necessary to oversee  $5 trillion in mortgage assets.

Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the head of Fannie received $5.6 million in compensation and the chief executive of Freddie received $5.4 million.

Under the bill, the top executives of Fannie and Freddie could only have earned $218,978 this year.

Last week, Fannie’s chief executive Michael Williams announced he would step down from his position once a successor is found. That comes only three months after Freddie’s CEO Charles Haldeman Jr. announced that he will leave his post this year.

The government is being tasked to find replacements, not only for the two mortgage giants which have cost taxpayers more than $150 billion since their government takeover in 2008, but there is talk that the Obama administration is looking to replace FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco, the overseer of the GSEs.

In a letter to President Obama earlier this week, more than two dozen House members said DeMarco simply hasn’t done enough to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The lawmakers are pushing the president to name a permanent director “immediately.”

Also, in December, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued six former executives at Fannie and Freddie, alleging they misled the public and investors about the amount of risky mortgages in their portfolio.

In the claims, the SEC contends that as the housing bubble began to burst, the executives suggested to investors that the GSEs were not substantially exposed to sub-prime mortgages that were defaulting across the country.

GMAC Halts Evictions Related to Foreclosures in 23 States When News of Forged and Robo-Signed Documents Comes Out, by Mandelman


I’m sorry, but is GMAC… no, wait… Ally Financial… I keep forgetting they’re my “ally” now… run by a 40 Mule Team of morons?  Don’t answer that, it was clearly rhetorical.

Okay, so here’s the story… some attorneys representing homeowners in foreclosure noticed that GAMC was saying things that weren’t true, which is sometimes referred to as “lying,” and then in a deposition it came out that a middle manager at GMAC was actually signing 10,000 foreclosures a month without reading the paperwork like he was supposed to… or, one might consider… like any normal human being would do given they had a job signing 10,000 of anything each month.  I mean… what the… can you even imagine?

Well, here’s your job.  We’ll need you to sit here and sign your name roughly 10,000 times a month.  So, if there are 21.67 work days per month, which there are, according to Amswers.com, then that would mean signing your name about 462 times per day, or 58 per hour, assuming one were to work eight hours a day without breaks of any kind.  That’s one per minute, and it assumes there’s some sort of catheter involved.

No problem you say.  Except how will I be able to read what I’m signing? “Oh, no need for that, silly rabbit,” your boss says… “kicks are for trids.”  What in the world was going on here, pray tell?  Why, it’s time to play “Fraudulent Foreclosure Mill,” of course.  It’s the game where laws don’t matter and all the houses go back to the bank no matter what!  I’m not sure, but it sounds like something that might have been developed by Saddam Hussein, no?  Or, maybe Vikram Pandit and Jamie Dimon, I suppose.

NPR reported: “The company recently halted evictions in dozens of states, after news of the robo-signer came to light.”

Oh come on… I HATE it when people treat me like I’m six.  Is this “news” to GMAC, or any of the other banksters?  That’s what I’m to believe?  Really?  Well I don’t usually say what I’m about to say but this is my blog and I don’t work for anyone but me, so… GMAC… F#@k you.

I worked in corporate America for some 20 years, and quite a few of those years I even worked for banksters, including JPMorgan, and there’s absolutely NO CHANCE whatsoever that this is “news” to anyone there.  I absolutely guarantee you that there are secretaries at GMAC that know about this practice… they’ve been having meetings about it for years.  There are enough CYA memos floating about at GMAC that if you stacked them on top of each other they’d be taller than Shaquille O’Neal standing on Lord Blankcheck’s throat in a pair of 4” stilettos while on the roof of a Yukon, an image that I’d go pay-per-view to see, I don’t know about you.

No, it’s not “news,” although I guess I have to be happy that the lamebrain media has finally caught on that something might be amiss in Foreclosure Land.  And it’s about damn time.  As I recently said to a producer at American Public Television: “Thanks for coming, media people, you’re a little late, but come on in, there’s still plenty of food.”

No, even though NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and just about every news site, publication and blog on the planet reported on the story, it’s not “news,” except that perhaps because it’s us the taxpayers that actually own most of GMAC, it is.  Yep, it’s “us” that are paying that robo-signer to sign his name a gazillion times a month, thus creating fraudulent documents that are then used by lawyers with fewer ethics than pond scum to throw “US” our of our homes illegally.

We, the taxpayers, have given GMAC $17.2 billion in TARP funds, none of which have been repaid, by the way.  And I love the way the media reports that the “Treasury invested” in GMAC.  The U.S. Treasury doesn’t have any money, folks.  That’s U.S. citizen paid or borrowed tax payer money they’re “investing”.  And if we the tax payers are going to invest in companies, why do we have to invest in all the shitty ones?  (I apologize for my language in this article, but it’s just not a good day for me to play nice.)

NPR also reported that:

“The case — which could allow thousands of homeowners to challenge their evictions — has triggered other reports this week of sloppy foreclosure practices.”

Now I happen to like NPR, I’ve been listening to them on the radio for years.  But, “sloppy foreclosure practices?”  “SLOPPY?”  “SLOPPY?”  What the hell, have we all forgotten how to use the English?

Fraudulent, forged, bogus, fake, illegal, spurious, sham, false, phony, suppositious, illicit, unlawful, criminal, immoral, sinful, vicious, evil, iniquitous, peccant, wicked, wrong, vile, in violation of the law… damn it, don’t make me go find my thesaurus.

It reminds me of when that Senator was molesting that 16 year-old boy… the White House page, by at the very least, sending him repulsive, repugnant emails, and Newt Gingrich referred to them as “naughty emails”.  I mean… OH MY GOD!  “Naughty,” Newt?

Even the venerable Financial Times chimed in a couple of days ago saying:

“An official at JPMorganChase said in a deposition earlier this year that she signed off on thousands of foreclosures without verifying the details.”

Wow, really?  Who could have possibly known about that?  Oh wait… ME, among God-only-knows-how-many-others.  Here’s my story on the JPMorganChase robo-signer from LAST JUNE 4th, 2010.  Yepsiree… they call me “Scoop Mandelman,” yes they do… Oh, please.

And the Washington Post had their two cents to add:

“And an employee of a Georgia document processing company falsely claimed to work for dozens of different lenders while signing off on tens of thousands of foreclosure documents over the course of several years.”

Here’s what GMAC… oh, that’s right they’re my “ally,” had to say:

“Ally says that its review of the GMAC Finance issue has ‘revealed no evidence of any factual misstatements or inaccuracies’ in the documents that weren’t properly reviewed. And the company says it has fixed its process for reviewing foreclosure documents.”

Pardon me?  Did you just… I mean, what the… I can’t believe I just heard you say… what the… somebody oughta give you such a…  And what about the other 27 states?  Are they all fine and dandy?  People have lost homes here… God damn it…

Alright… STOP.

Look, there’s more to this story and you can bet your boots that I’m going to write about it all weekend… in great detail.  I’m going to tell you WHY they’re having to forge documents in order to foreclose on homes all over the country.  And you’re going to hate this even more than the forgeries themselves.

(Attorney Max Gardner and attorney April Charney, of Jacksonville Legal Aid, are the country’s leading experts on this and related injustices, and they’ve been gracious enough to give me enough information to write a book covering this topic on a scale of Gone With the Wind, the Next Ten Years.  I’m going to run my next piece by them before I post, but it’ll be up this weekend if it kills me.  Don’t miss it.)

But not right now, because right now I’m going to head down to my local watering hole to toss back a couple of pints.  Then I’m going to ask a friend of mine to back over me with his car to make the pain go away.

Oh, and what follows is GMAC’s “CONFIDENTIAL” memorandum… they labeled it “privileged & confidential,” but anyone want to guess how much I care about that?  Read it and weep… I know I did.

Mandelman out.

Urgent: GMAC Preferred Agents

Privileged & Confidential 9/17/10

Attorney/Client Privilege

Dear GMAC Preferred Agents:

GMAC Mortgage has determined that it may need to take corrective action in connection with some foreclosures in the following states:

Connecticut
Florida
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Vermont
Wisconsin

As a result of the above, effective immediately and until further notice, please take the following actions only in the states identified above:

Evictions:

Do not proceed with evictions, cash for keys transactions, or lockouts. All files should be placed on hold, regardless of occupant type.

REO Closings:

Do not proceed with REO sale closings. GMAC Mortgage will communicate instructions to the assigned agent regarding the management of the properties in Pending status. If the contract has already been executed by both parties, the Asset Manager will request an

amendment to extend the closing date by 30 days or as otherwise designated by the Asset Manager. Please provide appropriate notice to the REO purchaser that, pursuant to Section

1 of the GMAC Mortgage Addendum to Standard Purchase Contract, GMAC Mortgage is exercising its sole discretion to extend the Expiration Date of the Agreement by 30 days at this time. If the REO purchaser wishes to cancel the contract, GMAC Mortgage will terminate the Agreement and return the earnest money deposit.

You will receive further instructions regarding the status and handling of these assets from your asset manager. There could be asset level exceptions and you will receive direct communication from GMAC on the handling of those exceptions. Please send any questions or concerns regarding these matters to your asset manager.

Please ensure your staff is aware of these requirements immediately.

GMAC Mortgage

GMAC Mortgage LLC 2711 N. Haskell Ave, Suite 900, Dallas, TX 75204

http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/