A prominent economist said about the 2008 financial crisis: “At the root of the crisis we find the largest financial swindle in world history”, where “counterfeit” mortgages were “laundered” by the banks.
The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems – MERS – was one of the main ways the swindle was done, and the main way in which counterfeit mortgages were laundered by the banks.
MERS is a shell company with no employees, owned by the giant banks.
MERS threw out centuries of well-established law about how real estate is transferred – and cheated governments out of many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in recording fees…
MERS … is essentially an effort at systematically evading taxes … and hiding information from homeowners in ways that enabled the Countrywides of the world to defraud investors and avoid legal consequences for same…
Outrageously, MERS actually marketed itself to its customers as a way to save money by avoiding the payment of legally-mandated registration fees. Check out this MERS brochure from 2007. It brags on the face page about its fee-avoiding qualities (“MINIMIZE RISK. SAVE MONEY. REDUCE PAPERWORK”) and inside the brochure, in addition to boasting about helping clients “Foreclose More Quickly,” it talks about how clients save money because MERS “eliminates the need to record assignments in the name of the Trustee.”
All of this adds up to a system that enabled the mortgage industry to avoid keeping any kind of proper paperwork on its frantic, coke-fueled selling and re-selling of mortgage-backed securities during the bubble, and to help the both the Countrywide-style subprime merchants and the big banks like Goldman and Chase pull off the mass sales of crappy loans as AAA-rated securities.
Here’s a detailed and thorough indictment of Big Bank corruption and thievery. Read it and weep – and then holler at your elected representatives in that sewer called Congress. Tell ’em to get off their rusty dusty and try working for voters instead of lobbyists and other corporate flunkies.
As Christopher Peterson at the University of Utah puts it – “There was no court case behind this, no statute from Congress or the state legislatures — It was accomplished in a private corporate decision. The banks just did it.”
NOTE: Didn’t notice the original source for this was Washington’s Blog when I read it at The Big Picture. Here’s the appropriate link.