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Gonzalo Lira: The Second Leg Down of America’s Death Spiral

So what the hell is going on with the God forsaken mortgage mess in the United States? It’s got a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s basically quite simple: It’s all about the fucking Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Again. So this is what happened, more or less—the short version: In the crazed frenzy to get as many mortgages securitized during the Oughts, banks took shortcuts with the paperwork necessary for the Mortgage Backed Securities. The reason was because everyone in the chain of this securitization mania got a little piece of the action—a little slice of the MBS pie in the shape of commissions. So in the name of “improved efficiencies” (and how many horror stories are we finding out, carried out in the name of “improved efficiencies”), banks digitized the mortgage notes—they didn’t physically endorse them, like they were supposed to by the various state and Federal laws. Plus—once the wave of foreclosures broke, and the holes in this bureaucratic paperwork became evident and relevant—some of the big law firms handling the foreclosures for the banks started doing some document fabrication and signature forgery, in order to cover up the mistakes—which is definitely illegal. Long story short (since this is the short version): A lot of the foreclosed properties might not have been foreclosed legally. The people evicted might still have a right to their old houses. The new buyers might not actually own the REO’s they bought off the banks. The banks could be on the hook for trillions of dollars, and in the sights of literally millions of lawsuits. In short: This could become another massive oozing sore, complete with yellow-green pus drip-drip-dripping out of some unmentionable places on the Body Economic.

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