Tag Archives: Freddie Mac

No-Mo’s: Stealing Homes through Foreclosure No Modification Programs in AZ and USA

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?

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Housing Help or More Bank Bailout?

foreclosureLafayette More headlines, and more hopelessness seems to emerge around housing policy in the United States as both homeowners and others desperate about the economy desperately read between the lines looking for an answer and only finding more cluelessness, even as some nuggets of the Obama Administration’s failed policies continue to slip out.  This time the proposals floated have to do with refinancing houses with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteed mortgages and renting homes facing foreclosures.

No one can puzzle out whether or not homeowners facing foreclosure or owing more than 125% of what is now the current value of the house would be allowed to refinance, thereby making their homes affordable again.  I suspect not.  This would knock too hard on the door that the banks have continued to fortify which would involve writing down the value of the properties to the market, rather than continuing to pretend to modify at the wildly inflated pricing.  The Times article in its last line importantly noted:  “American homeowners currently owe some $700 billion more than their homes are worth.”  My god in heaven until that issue is addressed there is no plan for beleaguered homeowners facing the threat of foreclosures.

A refinancing program that focuses on other homes than represented by that $700 billion problem would give banks and the housing industry a shot in the arm on closing costs and fees in the moribund housing market.  This is all window dressing, not housing policy!

A Treasury Department official was quoted revealingly that Treasury was now hoarding more than half of the money allocated by TARP for foreclosure relief (almost $25 billion!) which has been an abject failure on all counts saying they wanted to save it to help pay down the deficit.  What patsies:  this is more chicken feed for the chickenhearted!

As a footnote to all of this we have to read about Warren Buffett being a “white knight” trying to prop up Bank of America still wallowing in its mess, and a new debate over whether or not Capital One might be getting “too big to fail.”  These are not the real issues, friends.

The other proposal has to do with renting out homes facing foreclosures but that would require some money to operate, some concessions from the banks which have not given an inch yet, and some recognition that tenancy is part of the future paradigm of citizen wealth, just as home ownership has been in the past.

Unfortunately no political or financial figures have been willing to walk that bridge to the future yet, so we’re still all falling into the ravine.

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