Another Blow For America's Banks (And Bank Of America) After California Kills Robosigning Settlement

Tyler Durden's picture

Anyone exiting the third quarter with a Bank of America (or Wells, or JPMorgan, or Citi) short on their books will be delighted to learn that the "other" mortgage fraud scandal, not the putback litigation which is sure to cost Bank of America billions in incremental legal fees now that that particular settlement appears to be challenged and banks even across the Atlantic are joining in the legal free for all, but the "Linda Green" robosigning affair, which various conflicted attorneys general had held a tenuous grasp over with a settlement in process, has just blown out wide into the open once again, after California joined New York AG Schneiderman in pulling out of the talks, and leaving Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller with a completely lost cause. We expect all other states to promptly follow New York and California's examples. The net impact is quite adverse for all mortgage lenders, as this development will merely snarl the traditional foreclosure process for even longer, and while beneficial to borrowers, it will put even less cash into the depleted coffers of the banks that so desperately need it. Since few if any will actively pursue distressed, or any, housing sales, it will not only hinder further balance sheet repair of the banking sector, but will keep a lid on any potential housing market improvement, which as BCG confirmed a few days ago, is the most critical missing link to any economic recovery. Without it the hands of the Fed chairman are  tied even more, and leave him (and the middle class) with just one, nuclear as it may be, option.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris will no longer take part in a national foreclosure probe of some of the nation's biggest banks, which are accused of pervasive misconduct in dealing with troubled homeowners.


Harris removed herself from talks by a coalition of state attorneys general and federal agencies investigating abusive foreclosure practices because the nation's five largest mortgage servicers were not offering California homeowners relief commensurate to what people in the state had suffered, Harris told The Times on Friday.


The big banks were also demanding to be granted overly broad immunity from legal claims that could potentially derail further investigations into Wall Street's role in the mortgage meltdown, Harris said.


“It has been  a process of negotiating and sitting at a table in good faith, but ultimately I have decided that we have to go our own course and take an independent path. And that decision is because we need to bring relief to Californians that is equal to the pain California experienced, and what is being negotiated now is insufficient," Harris told The Times in an interview.


Harris delivered the news in a letter sent Friday to Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller, who has been leading the 50-state coalition.

What is left open to interpretation is whether this is an open attack by the very much insolvent state of California against the Obama administration which has actively been pushing for precisely this settlement, which would be highly beneficial to banks, and quite damaging to the legal system, and specifically the perception of how easily it can be trampled if one is a TBTF bank.

The removal of California from the discussions is a major blow to fraying efforts by the coalition, which has been trying to strike a settlement deal with the big banks for months. The move by Harris to reject the settlement talks is also a key departure from efforts by the Obama administration, which has been pushing for a fast resolution to the so-called robo-signing scandal that erupted last year.

Chris Whalen chimes in:

“This whole concept of a settlement on foreclosure abuse is probably dead,” said Christopher Whalen, the founder of Institutional Risk Analytics. “Nobody in their right mind is going to opt into a settlement right now.”

And with California no longer on the side of Miller, the state is sure to enjoin the active pursuit of a far more comprehensive resolution to the robosigning fiasco, which will inevitably result in far greater pain for the banks.

New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman, who was originally part of the 50-state negotiations, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into Wall Street's role in the mortgage meltdown -– focusing on the efforts to bundle low-quality mortgages into sophisticated bonds.


Schneiderman has been highly critical of the proposed 50-state settlement and expressed concern that his counterparts in other states may let the banks off too lightly and provide immunity from other efforts to bring them to account for misdeeds. Schneiderman has also won support from attorneys general in Delaware, Nevada, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Minnesota, some of whom have launched their own investigations.


A spokesman for Schneiderman, Danny Kanner, welcomed Harris's move.


“Attorney General Schneiderman looks forward to his continued work with Attorney General Harris and his other state and federal counterparts to ensure those responsible for the mortgage crisis are held accountable and homeowners who are suffering receive meaningful relief,” said Kanner.

Bottom line: America's TBTF banks, which increasingly are looking like they just may be NTBTF, had a horrendous Q3. It appears that Q4 will not be any better. And as Bullard indicated yesterday, all it takes for the Fed to "act" is for "further economic weakness to develop - read another step down in the stock market." California's decision just made it certain that further "weakness" will develop. And on the day that the New York Fed first published its Operation Twist POMO schedule, it is already time to start thinking about what form the next new and improved form of  quantitative easing will take...

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ian807's picture

This smells a lot like California angling for federal money to bail out its economy. Expect a Cal bailout deal in the next month or two - one you'll never hear about in the MSM.

Cloud9.5's picture

The whole banking system is based on fraud.  If you want to save the country then you must reestablish the rule of law.   Some people need to go to jail.

Here in Florida, the banks sit on the judical nominating committees.  They own the courts.

There is no justice.   There is just us.


scatterbrains's picture

All you Chris Christie sycophants  should rememeber he is a member of the bankster harem of whores.. I supose for those Banksters that like them big.. after all, to each his own.  How much bankster nut licking is his appointed AG doing I wonder ?

Seasmoke's picture

Christie is a dirty , fat , lying scumbag......i triple dare him to run for president.......the people will get their (100 pounds) of fat

DeadFred's picture

Christie is cool!

Christie is a shill!

ZHers let your views be known!

CrashisOptimistic's picture

I thought Christie is trying to fire people swilling at the government cheese.

How can this be bad?

On the other hand, he's a politician.  How can this be good?

Seasmoke's picture

yeah his taking on the public leeches of the teachers union was fun to watch and made for good entertainment , watching the teachers get their heads bashed in, but he hasnt touched a state employee.....its all been squeezed to the local all he accomplished was to have services cut and highest property taxes in country  continue their rise, all while patting himself on his fat back, that HE didnt raise taxes .........dont get me started on how he hasnt done a thing about double dipping scumbag politicians (although i will admit he cant do it himself) but lets not give this guy any credit for be a conservative.....he is anything but !!

jeff montanye's picture

squeeze the school teachers and fellate the felon bankers; that seems about right.

Pladizow's picture

Politicians and diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason!

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Nice 12 minute interview to remind us of the magnaitude of this fraud and a perspective rarely, if ever reported on in the MSM.

Kiwi Pete's picture

Excelent video. Bill Black nails it yet again! Thanks for posting it.

tom a taxpayer's picture

G-R-U-N-T - Thanks for link.

1st and best option - Relace Holder with William Black as Attorney General.

2nd option - Appoint William Black as Special Prosecutor.

stopthejunk1's picture

Agree, Christie will not "fix" anything serious.  He will create the kinds of problems that righties like (e.g., more corporatism, more private plutocracy) at the expense of the kinds of problems that lefties like (more welfare statism, more public plutocracy.) 

I don't care that he's fat.  I'd almost rather that, than the made-for-TV stuffshirts that we have to look at most of the time.  But I do care that he's just "more of the same."

Cloud9.5's picture

I like the fact that Christie has the sand to do what he says he will do.  But, he is a Johnny come lately compared to Ron Paul.

sunnydays's picture

Totally awesome!  the banks need to lose all those houses - they committed the fraud and now they have to pay up for the fraud!  Let the people win for once!

john39's picture

i for one enjoy watching the banks burn... but long term wonder what the implications of a widespread banking collapse will be...  freedom for the people?  or one mega bank "to rule them all" which only furthers the centralization of power and control in the hands of the elites?   a related question, is the collapse now a controlled demolition?  impossible you say...

stopthejunk1's picture

It may help kill the Fed, which underwrote the whole thing.  More people, after they lose their savings, will wake up to the inherent evils of fractional banking and fiat currency, and demand a return to something more honest.

DosZap's picture


dude the people that are fortunate enough to still be in those LINDA GREEN homes, are winners.

The only problem(and one I would love to have on a $350-500k home for free, is there will NEVER be a way to get a clear title.

So, if you want,you cannot sell it, it's yours for life.

Taxes and all.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Of course there is. Called an action to quiet title. If no one shows up to defend the action, it's a slam dunk.

scatterbrains's picture

You could always listed on Ebay stating the title is unclear via Linda Green.  I would buy one marked down 70% or so.. life is about chances... anyway live in it mortgage free for 30 years and then dump it on Ebay kinda thing.. or stay until you die. Let your peeps flip it on Ebay or move in for another life time of no payments.


Das Capitalist's picture

I'm in Florida too.  Just got word that Bank of America restarted ALL of their foreclosure cases yesterday or Thursday.  A large portion had been on hold for robosigning, loss mitigation, etc. review.  I don't know what this means, but it is an abrupt change in the company policy.  They were doing this review to protecte themselves from future litigation.  Now they seem to be saying "F*** it."


CrashisOptimistic's picture

Squatting has become big in my area.

I am seeing serial squatters.  One group moves out.  The next group moves in.  The For Sale sign remains.

What I smell is this.  Insurance.  Banks can't insure vacant properties.  Insurers wont' insure vacant properties.

Also, there is the need to keep the heat on so pipes don't freeze.  Or fix a piece of trim if a raccoon rips it off.  And then there is lawn mowing if there's a town ordinance about appearance.

It's a fucking disaster and there is zero progress working out of it.

decon's picture

I live in a rural area of the sw US.  The house next to me has been vacant for 2 years.  I've been irrigating the trees (canal fed) to keep them from dying and occasionally mowing the yard.  The other day the BofA dicks showed up to assess what they needed to fix to sell it.  I had an upleasant conversation with them where one made the comment that they're "tired of getting bent over by the public" on all the housing defaults.  As I walked away I told him to buy some KY because the banks getting bent over is only starting.  I then proceeded to by some more FAZ on a pop. 

I know it was good risk managment to sell my FAZ position near the close on Fri. but I still feel regret for being too chicken to hold it and try and extract more out of the fuckers.

IrritableBowels's picture

Rolled the dice and stayed. ERY/FAZ/feeling good about next week. Thanks ZH.

toady's picture

The squatter problem here in AZ has a couple of interesting twists due to the illegals.

First, the bulk of them took their money and went home. This leaves a BIG bunch of empty houses, so there aren't enough people to fill all the empty houses.

The flip side is the illegals that remain are the hard core, make money, gangsters. When they are found squating there are usually assault weapons and tons of dope or hundreds of people jammed in there.

So I'll take the vacant houses. I call the cops if I see anybody I don't recognise at a house with a for sale sign. Better vacant than caught in the crossfire.

Boxed Merlot's picture

I've heard the same thing here in CA. Just anecdotal at this point, but an acquaintence with over 24 months of BAC negotiations just popped to the foreclosure card overnight. 


Not asking for a free house, looking for some of the relief provided to the banks to be used to asisst an honest person whose mortgage was destroyed by these bifurcating fools.


I'm afraid justice will be displaced by retribution as the rule of law is removed from the judiciary and finds it's way into the hands of the people directly.

stopthejunk1's picture

Yep. I see homeowners standing on their porches with shotguns, in a molon labe pose... sherrifs refusing to evict, because they're elected, not appointed or annointed like our Washington politicians.  Could get interesting.   

calltoaccount's picture

18000 viewers watching live feed of cops arresting NYC protestors against corporate and bankster crim greed.  they are there for us.

litoralkey's picture

THis has more to do with that fact that Kamala Harris is a moron.  Truly reached her Peter Principle several jobs back. She is a bonafide socialist whack job.

 Kamala Harris program "trained illegal immigrants for jobs they couldn't legally hold"

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is a contender for California state Attorney General. She's bad enough that some liberals in her city think she's incompetent and soft on crime. Not only that, but even the Los Angeles Times offers "San Francisco D.A.'s program trained illegal immigrants for jobs they couldn't legally hold/As she runs for state attorney general, prosecutor Kamala Harris faces questions over a program that trained illegal immigrant drug felons for jobs, kept them out of jail and expunged their records" (by Michael Finnegan, link).


Sunday, May 1, 2011
May Day! — Democrat-Socialists Rally Around Unions Of course.

It's May Day, the "International Day of the Worker."

And right on cue, at Los Angeles Times, "California Democrats rally around unions":

Framing the union battles taking place across the nation as a fundamental attack on working Americans, Democratic leaders on Saturday accused Republicans of scapegoating public employees for political gain.

"They are intent on dismantling the very economic ladder that lifted our middle class and made California the richest and greatest state in the greatest nation in the world," Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris told thousands of delegates and supporters gathered at the Democrats' annual convention in Sacramento.

Boxed Merlot's picture

Too bad CA couldn't get together with NV and reopen the Au/Ag mines that were used to finance our little family spat in the 1860s.  NY financial interests sure played that one well, didn't they?


CA / NV  still has the remnents of our sound currency days in that US mints and coinage capacities exist to strike constitutionally correct money for our own populace. Trust needs to be restored and for better or worse, we're re-entering the trust and verify stage of commercial activity. 


Script may be useful again in the future, but the fed's feeble attempt at continuing to pass their's off as USD is rapidly coming to an end.  imo again.


Bifurcate the fed from the USD.

dizzyfingers's picture

"... how much can we soak US taxpayers..."

Hansel's picture

Thread FYI:  Bank of America's website is still down, now for about 1 day.  This is a great way to frighten customers.

stopthejunk1's picture

Hmm.  Maybe the Fed showed up on Friday afternoon, to take them under "stewardship."  

Eugend66's picture

Off with their heads !

X.inf.capt's picture

im still waiting for a perp walk....

all this banking b.s. would immediately stop.....if they would put one, ONE ceo from a bank in a butt pounding prison....not club fed.

oh well, justice to the best lawyer in this system...

gina distrusts gov's picture

im still waiting for a perp walk....


If there are no  actions by the "leagle" system i fear that  vigilant justice will make a come back

WebWeasel's picture

It may start with a large number (I'm not even sure it has to be a majority) of people with a TBTF servicing their mortgage to simply stop making payments. It would overwhelm even the fraudclosure system and kill the TBTFs dead.

doomandbloom's picture

who put boiling water in the bathtub?

LMAO's picture


The Orthodontist of Omaha will not be a happy camper this weekend!

DeadFred's picture

Maybe he'll change his mind and say there is very little chance of a recession instead of very, very little chance.

LMAO's picture

I'm starting to believe we're in for an interesting monday European opening session.

youngman's picture

If this was  a normal market I would think that too...but nothing seems to move it the way it should move...Greece will go up I Econ 101 fell apart after the first bailout....nothing seems to be working to economic plan after that for me at least....

LMAO's picture

True, but the DXY has just left the launching pad and its' fuel will probably be paid for by the equity/commodity complex.

Combined with financials nose-diving on Monday in light of this robo-signing turmoil and general weakness and a failed EOM stick save I believe it's about time to put on our DOW 10.000 hats on the way down.


unum mountaineer's picture

the dxy leaving the launch pad is the last thing ben wants. currency wars this is.leads me to ponder when it will be time to focus on americas issues instead of europe. as bullard hinted at, fed just needs a reason, any reason. insert blank here and they will do more easing, more monetization, more dilluting of the dxy. of course there are many ways to trade this, including picking an american bank thats #winning, shorting dollar by buying gold. been reading reggie middleton?  heard hes going hunting for squid.

Ruffcut's picture

Even Reg can't swim deep enuff, in such murky waters to locate those slimmy squid.

Dapper Dan's picture

If more news from the MSM,  like the news linked below, keeps coming out yes monday will be

a panic.


No Rise in Home Prices Until 2020: Bankers


Published: Saturday, 1 Oct 2011 | 8:49 AM ET Text Size By: Karina Frayter, CNBC Markets Producer

 Home prices are unlikely to recover before 2020 and mortgage defaults will persist for years, says a survey of bank risk managers out Friday.


 The survey conducted by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association for FICO, found that 49 percent of respondents do not expect housing prices to rise back to 2007 levels for another nine years. Only 21 percent of respondents said they would.

SOLnow's picture

Biden's son is AG in Delaware.  Interesting to see him named alongside Schneiderman. 

litoralkey's picture


Joe Biden's other son, Robert Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden's brother, James Biden, outright stole over $100MM through a ponzi investment scheme across international jurisidictions and walked away scot free because Obama and Holder refused to investigate, let alone prosecute the crimes.  Now Beau Biden sits in judgement of other investment bankers in Delaware, jurisdiciton of convenience of many of the other investment banker fraud fronts in the country, and rakes in campaign cash and peddles influence with his father from inside his government offices on the DElaware state government dime, and he does so daily, every single day.



youngman's picture

This is an Obama jobs program...for Lawyers....the broke states see a back door bailout a 50 billion dollar award...and the Fed backstops the banks...easy money..politically State nothing there...but saving the banking system from total collapse and with it the Western world.....yeah a Politician can run on that....