I want to stay with the public meeting on BGE for one more day. There are two public interest groups in Maryland that are supposed to advocate for just this issue-----the People's Counsel and Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. People's Counsel was at this meeting to 'listen to the people' as if that was needed for them to know the situation. Both of these 'public' interest groups are composed of selected members that often are connected with the State's Attorney General's office. Since we know that Doug Gansler is a big, fat corporate lawyer it stands that membership in these 'public' interest groups may be skewed towards corporate interests, which is why we never hear from them until an issue is about to be decided. After all, they wouldn't want to stir the public outrage with public condemnation of corruption and crime in the state. I let the People's Counsel know this.....he wasn't happy with me.
I listened to WYPR, mouthpiece for the 'New Economy' while Frazer Smith reported of Mary Pat Clarke's statements at this public meeting on BGE with her list of concerns. I can tell you that Mary Pat was not there, nor were any Baltimore politicians, a fact that I heard the PSC members note. Her surrogate noted that her views were sent to the commission as I am sure all other politicians will say. IF YOUR INCUMBENT CAN NOT COME OUT AND PUBLICLY DENOUNCE THE STATE OF OUR STATE POLICY AND OVERSIGHT....IF THEY REFUSE TO GALVANIZE PUBLIC OUTRAGE.....THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR THE LOWER/MIDDLE CLASS!!! 'WE TALK BEHIND CLOSED DOORS' I'M TOLD. I SAID THAT WITH MASSIVE, MASSIVE PROBLEMS ONE MOVES FROM THE CLOSED DOORS AND SHOUTS LOUDLY, STRONGLY, AND PUBLICLY IN ORDER TO DO THEIR JOB.
Do you hear Consumer Rights Coalition? You will just before the rate hike is announced....they will decry it then. They are busy administering the foreclosure money/mortgage write-down scheme. Today on NPR we hear of a non-profit geared to facilitate the write-down of mortgage principle by basically shouldering all the administrative costs of doing so for the banks. The media won't remind you that it is the taxpayer and the fraud settlement money paying for these write-downs....it is not the banks volunteering that extra $600-800 billion they owe. That is what Maryland Consumer Rights is doing. Obama sent billions of federal taxpayer money to states to facilitate this write-down and state's attorney general like Doug Gansler assigned a portion of the $1 billion he received as settlement towards this. So you and I are funding this write-down process just as taxpayers would pay for a Superfund Environmental Cleanup. Now, it will sound as though the banks are coming around and doing the right thing in these write-downs, not that they are simply paying the fraud settlement. The settlement allows the banks to choose who gets the write-down and we expect that most of those getting the benefit will be affluent homeowners whose mortgage is underwater. Remember, your Third Way Democrat raised the eligibility for Federal Housing Protection to apprximately $700,000 home value just for this purpose. Middle-class homes run $200,000-400,000 don't you think? ASK WHO IS GETTING A WRITE DOWN IN YOUR STATE!!!
A quick mention about what appears to be another questionable action in Baltimore. The Baltimore Business Journal announced that there would be a public meeting to discuss the tax credit designation of Harbor East development. Remember, the people have a voice in this! Only when I arrived at the location below there was no sign of a meeting.....no one knew about it and it never happened. This is the Johns Hopkins Eastern Campus----Emerging Technology Building as Hopkins is Baltimore Development Corporation. I'll let Baltimore Business Journal know there was no meeting. I'm sure it was a mistake.
FROM THE BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL:
The Baltimore Development Corp. has scheduled a public hearing on the request for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Emerging Technology Center at 1101 E. 33rd St. in Baltimore. Harbor East Development officials will be there.
MARYLAND CONSUMER RIGHTS COALITION WOULD BE THE FIRST TO WARN OF THIS SCAM......DO YOU HEAR THEM?
AS I SAID ABOVE THE ENTIRE SETUP FOR MORTGAGE WRITE-DOWNS IS MANUFACTURED.....IT DOESN'T MAKE THE BANKS PAY, IT MAKES YOU AND I PAY. THESE UNDERWATER LOANS ARE UNDERWATER BECAUSE OF THE HYPER-INFLATED HOUSING MARKET CAUSED BY FRAUD AND WRITING DOWN THESE MORTGAGES ARE THE 'DAMAGES' PART OF THE CRIMINAL FRAUD CHARGES. YOU SEE HOW QUESTIONABLE THIS NON-PROFIT NACA IS.....I HAVE ONLY HEARD BAD THINGS....THEY ARE BASICALLY A PREDATORY DEBT CONSOLIDATOR FOR MORTGAGES. I'M SURE WE'LL SEE THEM IN MARYLAND.
BELOW ARE COMMENTS FROM READERS OF THE NPR ARTICLE. MARKETPLACE MAKES THE ORGANIZATION SOUND GOOD. I ASKED HOW THE FEDERAL TAXPAYER FUNDING AND THE FRAUD SETTLEMENT MONEY PLAYS INTO THE WRITE-DOWNS....DOES ANY OF THESE WRITE-DOWNS REPRESENT NEW CONCESSIONS? NO.
If you actually go to the NACA website and use the mortgage calculator there is a Home save/membership fee of $50 that is tacked on monthly for the life of the mortgage. This fee is alleged to be used for post purchase counseling, financial assistance and other NACA benefits. Over the course of a thirty year loan that fee adds up to $ 18,000. Seems like this non-profit is out to make a dollar just like the banks.
NACA is a for profit enterprise disguised as a housing non-profit and it only helps 5% of the people it claims it helps. Bruce Marks uses his image of a "banking terrorist" to get people to come to his events. He then uses the event to screen people for Community Redevelopment loans which account for 5% of the people who come through the door. Because he is legally a "housing non-profit" he can get a discounted interest rate from the bank and he gets paid by the bank. He not only gets a loan origination fee of 2% on the loans that close, he gets a SRP on the back end of the loan from the lender for 2%. So it's a numbers game. If he has 10,000 people show up and he closes 500 files with an average loan amount of $100,000 he made $3,000,000 from one session. He doesn't pay for the space, he gets the banks to pay for it and if they refuse he threatens to post the the home addresses of the bank's key executives on his website and encourages his people to harass bank executives' kids at school.
He's signs people up, tells them not to make their payments and if he can't get them a CRA loan he blows them off. I've heard countless horror stories about NACA
Persuading Banks To Give Homeowners A Break
by Chris Arnold August 16, 2012 NPR
Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.
"The banks now reach out to their borrowers, to their customers, to come to the NACA Save the Dream events so they're doing that because it makes business sense for them," Marks says.
He says he has figured out how to get this broken system to work better. In each city, he rents out a big convention center. All the big banks — Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase — send teams of people, sometimes several hundred bank employees altogether. They can approve loan modifications on the spot for homeowners who show up and qualify.
'It's Not Easy'
"It's not easy, you know; it's very, very hard because you work and you know you're trying to make ends meet and trying to get a place for your kids," says Rebecca Asare, an immigrant from Ghana who attended a recent NACA tour event in Worcester, Mass.
In 2009, Asare was working as a technician at a medical device company. But she says the work got outsourced to China. "So there was a layoff and a lot of us had to go home," she says. "So [it became a struggle] with my mortgage because I'm a single mom here; my husband is in Africa."
Asare has since managed to go back to school and get a job as a nursing assistant. She has a decent income and wants to find a way to keep her house.
But Marks says that banks too often foreclose, even in cases where it clearly makes sense to keep people in their home and paying their mortgage at a lower interest rate. Sometimes it's for seemingly crazy reasons — like they're missing a tax document that they already faxed in three times.
"This is the most dysfunctional industry in the world," Marks says.
Building His Own System
The banks disagree, but they admit that their systems were not prepared to handle the scale of the foreclosure crisis.
Four years ago, Marks decided that if the banks' computer systems and call centers were all tangled up and not built to handle the problem, he would build his own system.
"We learned what didn't work," he says. "We kept failing at various things, so then what we learned is we had to go outside of the banks. We had to set up our own systems outside of the way that they do business. In essence we had to do the work for them, and that's what we do."
NACA counselors help homeowners scan all their documents — tax forms, identification, bank statements — into a computer system that the nonprofit developed. If they're missing any papers, they can go home and get them. And NACA organizes all this into an online package for the banks.
When Marks first told the nation's biggest banks he wanted them to patch into his computer system, he says, "they said, 'Never — we don't do that because this is Bank of America, this is Chase, this is Wells [Fargo]. We have our own systems.' "
Putting Pressure On Bank CEOs
But Marks does a pretty good angry bulldog imitation. And when the banks would say no to things like this, he'd round up hundreds of homeowners to protest at the banks' headquarters — even at some CEOs' houses and country clubs.
At one point, in 2009, Marks was targeting JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, whose house is on the edge of a lake. "We were going to bring hundreds of people on rafts, going over water to do a beach landing on his property," Marks says.
That protest never actually happened. After Marks started buying up landing rafts for this flotilla, Chase got wind of this. And Marks says the bank agreed to take part in his Save the Dream tours. Marks says Chase has since been a good partner. The bank had no comment.
But while the banks seem to be playing ball with Marks now, sometimes his aggressive style creates conflicts with people you might think would be his friends. During his road shows he has had some turf battles with local housing nonprofits. But the show goes on.
When a homeowner gets approved for help in the Bank of America area, bank employees actually wave plastic clapper noisemakers and ring a gong.
A Positive Answer, Then Relief And Joy
Homeowner Asare sat with mortgage specialist Deanzala Johnson, who told her she qualified to keep her house with a modified and affordable mortgage payment. Asare was overjoyed and called her 12-year-old daughter to share the news that they could stay in their home.
"My daughter says, 'Mommy, can you fix my room back again for me because you pack all the stuff,' " Asare says.
Asare had been so worried about getting foreclosed on that for months her kids had been living out of suitcases, which had been packed in case they had to move.
But now Asare has a clean slate and can keep her house. If she stays current, Bank of America will pay NACA for negotiating a successful outcome, and that helps fund these events.
Of course, not every homeowner has enough income to qualify. "We can't make everyone happy," Johnson says. "That's just basically it. ... We try our best to do what we can as far as we can go."
But for those who do get a loan modification, Marks estimates that more than 90 percent of homeowners keep making their payments after a year.
This week, the group starts two more Save the Dream events — one on Long Island, N.Y., and the other in St. Louis.
THIS IS MY COMMENT TO NPR:
I want to add to the dubious nature of this process. I have watched NACA act as described below in the comments section. They do have a for-profit nature to their service or they wouldn't have so much revenue accumulated. My comments concern the nature of this current mortgage modification in that NPR never mentions from where the modification money comes. We know Obama sent billions in federal taxpayer money to modify these loans and we know that the fraud settlement required this write-down so it seems clear that these banks are not contributing new money or making concesstions, they are just using more taxpayer money to pay for the process as NACA describes the operation they created to do these modifications. The taxpayer is paying for the modifications themselves and the banks are selecting which write-downs to do as the settlement requirement permits. This is all on the bank's terms and much of the money lost in the modification comes from the taxpayer.
It would be important to know who receives these write-downs because I am sure most of the money will go to upper-middle class homeowners whose house is underwater. That is why Congress and Obama changed HUD's insurance range to include $700,000 homes.