When It Comes to Shady Banking Practices, Trust Your Gut
By Michael Cormier
Ever get that uneasy feeling in your gut? That “Something’s just not right,” feeling?
I’ll bet you have. It may have been the time that car salesman told you the funny ticking noise in the engine was nothing to worry about. Or when that home repair guy promised to be there in the morning after blowing you off for a week.
We all get the feeling from time to time that we’re being lied to, or just waltzed and dazzled. The problem is it’s usually subtler than the examples above because we don’t quite understand where it’s coming from. I’m talking about those times when everything you’ve been told and shown looks legitimate, and yet… well, there’s still that tinge of doubt.
My advice: Trust that feeling. It makes no difference who you’re dealing with. Trust it.
And if you happen to be dealing with a mortgage lender, trust your instinct even more. Then pick up the phone and call an expert who’s completely on your side: Peace of Mind, LLC (1-866-4WayOut; or http://www.peaceofmind.services/stop-foreclosures). When you do, you’ll be a free consultation away from the help you deserve.
What’s more, you’ll be shocked at the extent of the relief you may be entitled to. Peace of Mind has free literature available to you that covers many of the reasons you may be able to level the playing field—and even gain the upper hand—with your bank. You’re only a phone call or an email away from learning how other homeowners have worked favorable deals, and even discharged their mortgages, thanks to fraudulent banking practices – scams such as inflated fees and costs, foreclosures by phony entities, unlawful sale of promissory notes, the list goes on and on.
Sound encouraging? Read on.
We’re all familiar with the standard gripes about mortgage banks: They’re too big and impersonal, they won’t work with you, they treat you like a number. But those are small annoyances compared to the stuff that gives you that “just not right” feeling we’re talking about. Your unease stems from three basic truisms:
- banks are connected to the power grid in this country in ways you’d never think;
- banks will do anything it takes to make money; and
- banks have become masters of deception.
There was once a widespread belief that bankers were either so intrinsically honest or so heavily regulated by the government that they always did the right thing. That was probably a myth, but this belief served the banks well for decades, allowing them to gradually become more and more daring, while continuing to fly under the radar.
It’s also the primary reason why the banking crisis of 2008 caught everyone off guard, from the average man in the street to Washington politicians and bureaucrats. How could this happen to these enormous, sophisticated global institutions, everyone wondered. Especially when the government oversaw everything they did!
In fairness, government overseers probably tried to do their job in most instances. Yet they were no match for the wily operators at the largest banks. To explain the particulars of how the crisis came about would fill a treatise, but it’s instructive to understand the wheeling & dealing of two of the biggest names in the mortgage lending realm of the time: Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America.
In the early-to-mid 2000’s, Countrywide was determined to dominate the mortgage business by compiling an incredibly large portfolio of loans. The trouble was that it didn’t have the resources to do it, so it turned to one of the richest banks on earth, Bank of America. BoA was only too happy to jump on board, giving Countrywide a 4B line of credit. With this money in its coffers, Countrywide went to town like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
But Countrywide needed cash flow, too, and soon it hit upon a simple but clever scheme. It padded homeowner bills by adding on fees and expenses and inflating real costs for homeowner insurance and other escrows. It did this blatantly and without much effort at hiding it, figuring homeowners either wouldn’t notice or would ignore that “just not right” feeling. Some homeowners did balk, demanding an accounting, but Countrywide was ready for them, scaring them off with foreclosure threats. Most of these homeowners backed off; the ones who didn’t were subjected to bogus foreclosure proceedings they could not afford to defend. Ultimately, they were demoralized by a court system that chose to ignore the man behind the curtain.
And that man behind the curtain was out of control, like sharks in a feeding frenzy.
By 2007 or so, even the lazy bankruptcy judges couldn’t ignore the smell of a rat. By then, Countrywide was owned by Bank of America. Bank of America was so heavily invested in what had happened before (not to mention intoxicated by the sweet smell of profits) that BoA continued with the same fraudulent practices just to cover up its past deeds. It came up with wonderful new ideas, too. Example: fraudulently robo-signing loan documents needed to push through foreclosures.
So with all this scrutiny, did BoA stop? Of course not! (Refer to truism number 2 above.) Bank of America started getting hit with huge fines and cease and desist orders as early as 2008, yet they were profiting so much from their schemes that it was worth each hit. They got more sophisticated with their foreclosure practices and loan servicing schemes, too. They brought in other banking institutions as part of their shell game. They hid transactions and even made up transactions out of thin air to divert the hounds from their own scent. The result: the average homeowner these days has no clue what he’s paying for, whether it’s legitimate, or even who presently owns the mortgage (if any) and has the right to foreclose.
Does this sound like you? You don’t know the half of it!
The internet is rife with stories of shell corporations set up to dodge state licensing requirements. There are other clever ploys, but a lot of them have to do with shady accounting practices that we won’t get into here. The main thing you need to know is that all of this dirty dealing may ultimately benefit you substantially.
The reason is simple: the banks never counted on anyone looking as deep as they have, so they made critical errors. Errors in creating the “shells” they use, errors in transferring securitized paper, errors in accounting, errors in recording. Homeowners like you have been able to beat the fraudulent banks, and in some cases discharge their entire mortgage debt, free and clear.
That’s why any homeowner facing bank action, foreclosure, even bankruptcy, owes it to himself to take advantage of the free consultation offered by Peace of Mind, LLC (1-866-4WayOut; or http://www.peaceofmind.services/stop-foreclosures). Whatever is causing that “just not right” sensation, Peace of Mind can figure it out and help save your home and financial standing.
So call Peace of Mind today. You’ll feel better knowing you’re not alone.
Peace of Mind, LLC is a consumer advocacy group comprised of attorneys, paralegals, expert witnesses, finance professionals and other specialists whose objective is to help consumers and homeowners experiencing financial difficulties. Peace of Mind, LLC is not a law firm. The foregoing is derived from information readily available to anyone online, in legal libraries, and from government offices and agencies. It is meant only as a source of general information, and should not be construed as legal opinion or advice.