Bank of America's culture of greed from the top down has been a major factor in the real estate collapse and the resulting economic recession.
Even now, years after the bubble burst, Miami foreclosures remain at an all-time high, with people being forcibly removed from their homes - sometimes illegally - all due to the illegal tactics of these large financial institutions.
All of this was the catalyst for a recent, in-depth Rolling Stone article entitled "Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail." Here, we're going to break down some of the main points of that article in this second of a three-part series.
Our Miami foreclosure defense attorneys know that Bank of America is certainly not the only financial institution to perpetuate this fraud. But it is one of the largest and most brazen.
That's why we are focusing on them in the second part of this series. Here, we're going to focus on the blatant crimes that have been committed by this organization. The depths of which should assure you, if you ever had doubt before, of the need to secure a skilled and experienced foreclosure defense attorney if you ever have to face Bank of America in a court of law.
While their list of misdeeds is nauseating, what much of it comes down to is mortgages. And the various and wide-ranging mortgage fraud schemes that resulted in a national housing crisis, with negative financial implications reverberating throughout the world.
It was, in fact, a conspiracy among mortgage lenders and banks to create a huge number of home loans that were extremely risky. These would include huge mortgages to borrowers with poor credit or sometimes without even identification. With these loans, they used sketchy math to fill in the blanks, ultimately re-selling them to foreign banks, unions, pensioners and retirement funds as AAA-rated securities. It was all a sham. In fact, many of these deals began to fall apart from the moment they were sold.
Lending fraud practices were rampant. They entered phony information on home loan applications. They made minimum wage fast-food workers into high-credit wage earners. In fact, an astonishing half of all loans were deemed "liar's loans." In other words, lenders could fill in the blank of the income of the borrower, but never had to provide any proof of that employment.
But when investors started to worry, the banks assured them everything would be fine. Yet, they refused to buy back those deals, something they should have had no problem doing if the deals were legit. But they knew from the start they were not. And to avoid responsibility, they even went so far as to go the middle school break-up route: they just stopped returning calls. Meanwhile, they were high-fiving each other in the locker room.
Even the insurance the bank sold with those loans turned out to be a bust. Because so many of the loans defaulted at one time, the insurers went out of business. In fact, that's why so many insurance companies are also now suing Bank of America.
Then of course when the fallout happened, foreclosures became widespread. But instead of providing the proof it needed to take those cases to court, Bank of American instead perpetuated the process of robo-signing. They would submit falsified documents that would be submitted to the court, in an effort to crank out the foreclosures at the fastest clip possible - nevermind the people who lost those homes.
And when they could not provide proof that they owned the home, they simply circumvented the entire court process by using the MERS mortgage tracking system. This allowed them to essentially steal homes out from under people when they had absolutely zero right to do so.
It is this final violation for which Bank of America, along with four other major financial institutions, has agreed to a $26 billion payout to borrowers in 49 states. But really, as we've written about before, this is chump change to Bank of America.
What's more, the bank has also been caught red-handed in recent years violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against the disabled, giving subprime loans to overwhelmingly Hispanic and black borrowers, and to violating the federal government's HAMP program (intended to help families victimized by banks stay in their homes).
And yet, Bank of America remains unrepentant.
If you're battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.