Citi held a conference call on the “robosigner” thing yesterday, which I previously referenced.
It’s now been reduced to memo, which Zerohedge got a copy of up on Scribd.
Here’s the salient item:
The underlying issues which have recently erupted involve the proper transfer of paperwork in the mortgage securitization process. Real estate law is “arcane” and requires that paperwork be physically transferred when mortgage ownership is transferred (“assigned”) from one party to another party. It appears that in many instances during the mortgage securitization process over the past few years, the paperwork was not properly transferred. If the paperwork was not transferred in the legally required manner, it raises questions not only about who owns the mortgages in question but also about the validity and tax exempt status of the trusts in which the mortgages reside. All of these issues also bear directly on the role played by the title insurance industry.
No kidding, as I’ve been pointing out for, uh, over a year now, and when it comes to the quality of the base loans, for three and a half years….
Levitin articulated three possible outcomes to the aforementioned issues and assigned an equal likelihood to each. In his best case scenario, these issues are deemed merely technical in nature and are successfully resolved but it takes at least year to do so and all foreclosures are delayed by at least a year. Levitin disputed the claim by banks that these issues can be resolved in a month or so and attributed the banks’ claims to “legal posturing.” In the medium case scenario, litigation ensues and it takes years to sort out these matters. In the worst case scenario, the aforementioned issues become a “systemic problem” which causes the mortgage market to grind to a halt as title insurers refuse to insure mortgages involving existing homes.
In the best-case scenario, the banks are lying (again) and it will take a year to sort out (during which time they will bleed like a stuck pig on their servicing costs and obligations.) In the medium scenario they get sued to Mars and, which he didn’t say but I will, all wind up eating the bad paper which forces them into resolution – shareholders are wiped out and bondholders take a nice chop-chop. And in the worse-case scenario the title companies say “fuggit” and it all blows up instantly.
There’s no scenario under which “it’s all ok” folks.