New Orleans Finally the fog is lifting around state and federal foreclosure modification programs and the real program is clear. In the way of acronyms and abbreviations that abound in such programs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest of the mortgage guarantor agencies, the real program is called “No-Mo,” which stands for No Modifications Program.
It turns out according to letters released in Congress that the guardian of Fannie and Freddie, Edward DeMarco, missing yet another deadline for revealing any other program than No-Mo, had also presided over killing programs that would have accelerated foreclosure modification programs that had been approved by the agencies and were in testing trial runs with both Citibank and Wells Fargo. DeMarco substituted the No-Mo program for these efforts to actually keep families in their homes.
In responding to two Congressmen, he gave as his rationale the following answer: “These pilot programs…ended due to complex operational issues, involving system changes, accounting considerations and the interest level of Fannie Mae’s partners.” Let me translate that into English. “Accounting considerations” means that the banks did not want to restate their balance sheets to correctly reveal the current market value of their real estate portfolios which would have exposed them to be the “ghost” banks they are. “Interest level of Fannie Mae’s partners” is a euphemism for saying that the banks did not want to modify the loans and Fannie was unwilling to push them to do so, despite that being the stated Obama Administration policy. So, as many of us have known, the real policy has become No-Mo, no modifications.
Arizona Advocates and Action brought a good example to me the other day of how extreme the No-Mo program is being implemented in Arizona where foreclosures have risen to epidemic levels. There the state government, which has pretty much been a bellwether of what NOT to do on most every program these days has even come up with the absurd proposal that $55 million of the money negotiated by the various state attorneys general for foreclosure modifications and principal reductions should in fact be used for prison construction.
Can you believe it?!? Only in Arizona could the government have figured out a way to create No-Mo on steroids.
Possibly there is an even darker side emerging in the shadow of the subprime scandals that triggered so many of these foreclosures. A message from the British Columbia headquarters of ACORN Canada came to me last night on a newly enrolled member in Kamloops who was facing foreclosure. The mortgage, if you call it that, came from a company called Interior Equities, which is surely misnamed, and even in these days of 3 and 4% interest rates was carrying a 12% rate! Reading their website it also became clear that signing up for one of these mortgages meant taking on a much discredited adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and giving Interior In-equities the right to alter the interest rate every month. This is a modern example of the old Wild West practice of claim jumping, where you simply steal someone’s property.
One there is No-Mo at the federal level it encourages states to steal relief monies and companies like Interior In-equities to steal property. When can homeowners get a break?