There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.
The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.
The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it’s a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.
But Bank of America hasn’t gone out of business, for the simple reason that our government has decided to make it the poster child for the “Too Big To Fail” concept. Because it is considered a “systemically important institution” whose collapse would have a major, Lehman-Brothers-style impact on the economy, two consecutive presidential administrations have taken extraordinary measures to keep Bank of America in business, despite a staggering recent legacy of corruption schemes, many of which were simply overlooked by regulators.
This is why the question of whether or not Bank of America should remain on public life support is so critical to all Americans, and not just those millions who have the misfortune to be customers of the bank, or own shares in the firm, or hold mortgages serviced by the company. This gigantic financial institution is the ultimate symbol of a new kind of corruption at the highest levels of American society: a tendency to marry the near-limitless power of the federal government with increasingly concentrated, increasingly unaccountable private financial interests.
The inevitable result of that new form of corruption is this bank, whose continued, state-supported existence should naturally outrage all Americans, be they conservative or progressive.
Moreover, Bank of America has ruthlessly preyed upon millions of homeowners, throwing them out on the street on the strength of doctored, “robosigned” paperwork created through brazenly illegal practices they helped pioneer — the firm sped struggling families to foreclosure court using perjured affidavits produced in factory-like fashion by the hundreds or thousands every day, with full knowledge of management. Through the firm’s improper use of an unaccountable private electronic mortgage registry system called MERS, it also systematically evaded millions of dollars in local fees, forcing some communities to cut services and raise property taxes.
Even when caught and punished for its crimes by the authorities, Bank of America has repeatedly ignored court orders. It was one of five companies identified in two separate investigations earlier this year that were caught continuing the practice of robosigning, even after promising to stop in a legally binding consent decree. Last summer, the state of Nevada sought to terminate a settlement over mortgage abuses it had entered into with Bank of America after it found the company was brazenly violating the agreement, among other things raising payments and interest rates on mortgage customers, despite the fact that the settlement only allowed them to modify loans downward.
Over and over again, we see that leveling fines and punishments at this bank is not enough: it simply ignores them. It is the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain.
From Huffington Post:
The complaint unsealed Wednesday was filed by whistleblower Gregory Mackler, a Colorado resident who said he worked alongside Bank of America executives while an employee at Urban Lending Solutions, a company to which Bank of America contracted some of its HAMP work.
While working at Urban Lending, Mackler said he saw BofA and its loan servicing subsidiary, BAC Homes Loans Servicing LP, implement “business practices designed to intentionally prevent scores of eligible homeowners from becoming eligible or staying eligible for permanent HAMP modification.”
The bank and its agents routinely pretended to have lost homeowners’ documents, failed to credit payments during trial modifications and intentionally misled homeowners about their eligibility for the program, the complaint alleged.
BoA let through just enough HAMP modifications to avert suspicion and allay congressional critics, while not enough to incur any substantial losses to its own bottom line, according to the complaint.
“In other words, BoA has had it both ways. BoA has continued to maximize the value of its mortgage portfolio with anti-HAMP modification practices and managed to make money by committing fraud on homeowner,” the lawsuit said.
A lawyer for Mackler could neither confirm nor deny that the complaint was tied to the settlement. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office and a representative for Bank of America declined to comment.
We are gathering information from our clients and social media followers regarding struggles while trying to obtain help from servicers. What do you think the servicers are doing wrong? What problems have you encountered while in the process of obtaining a mortgage modification? Do you feel that you were treated fairly?
Have you reached out to government agencies or members of the House or Senate? Did they offer to help you navigate the maze? If so, what kind of help did they offer?
Do you feel that you have been further victimized by someone other than your servicer?
Your lender has finally responded to your many calls. You’ve sent your documents in repeatedly and finally have a dedicated person handling your case. But then, suddenly that person disappears. He won’t return your calls and you are in limbo again. Then you get a call from your lender, it’s a new representative asking if you’d like to apply for a loan modification. You explain that you’ve already applied and are waiting for approval. This rep can’t seem to find your documents and asks you to send them again. Oh, and by the way, since so much time has passed he will need everything you send to be updated.You call several times to check with him – has he received your documents? He tells you your file is incomplete, there are several documents missing.
This scenario happens too many times to count but each time you are contacted by a new representative it gives you hope that this may be the last one! But it never ends because it is by design to keep you in a maze.
In the meantime, even though they are giving you the impression that you are on track to receive a modification (as soon as they receive your missing paperwork) there is something else going on behind the scenes. It’s called dual tracking. While your stuck in the maze of lost paperwork and representative turnover the lender is advancing your home into foreclosure.
Call your senator, representative and attorney general’s office and demand that legislation be passed to prohibit lenders from starting the foreclosure process while a homeowner is in the process of a loan modification.
Has the foreclosure crisis affected you? Bold Progressive Change Campaign wants to hear your story.
Did your bank inhibit you from trying to save you home? Did they claim you didn’t send in the proper documentation or repeatedly lose your paperwork? Did they foreclose on your home (or try to) while you were in the process of applying for a loan modification?
It’s time for American politicians to hold the banks accountable. They have ignored this crisis for far too long.
Follow this link to share your story.
California lawmakers do not want the Attorney Generals to give the banks a “Get out of jail free card”.
The lawmakers wrote in support of Harris’ efforts to ensure that a settlement being negotiated between states and large banks over mortgage abuses provides substantial relief to California homeowners. Reports suggest that the settlement under discussion would provide just $20 billion to $25 billion in relief to homeowners, despite the fact that underwater homeowners nationwide owe $700 billion more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
From the letter, “It is clear that thousands of Californians have been hurt by unfair and, in many cases, illegal practices in the foreclosure process. For this reason, we feel that it is critical that any settlement regarding these abuses must be fair to California homeowners. In particular, we believe that a deal must be structured to provide substantial financial relief for these homeowners…
“Additionally, we do not feel that it is responsible to grant a broad release of liability for abuses that have not been investigated by the attorneys general and are not remedied in the settlement. Our constituents need to know that our nation’s largest financial institutions have the same mandate to follow the law that they do—in other words, the simple fact of being an enormous Wall Street bank cannot mean getting a get-out-of-jail free card.”
Miller said his constituents are fed up. “Wall Street banks have chewed up homeowners all over the country, with no regard for the law or for what’s right. This is not an every once in a while story – it is an everyday story. Every day we hear how banks lose paperwork or charge ridiculous fees or give homeowners wrong information about a modification. This is abuse. Pure and simple. And it has been at every stage of the mortgage process. We need to provide justice to these homeowners.”
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