Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chase mortgage memo pushes 'Cheats & Tricks'

The Oregonian

A newly surfaced memo from banking giant JPMorgan Chase provides a rare glimpse into the mentality that fueled the mortgage crisis. The memo's title says it all: "Zippy Cheats & Tricks."

It is a primer on how to get risky mortgage loans approved by Zippy, Chase's in-house automated loan underwriting system. The secret to approval? Inflate the borrowers' income or otherwise falsify their loan application.

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Chase, the nation's second-largest bank, originates mortgage loans itself but also operates a wholesale arm that underwrites and funds loans brought to them by a network of mortgage brokers. The "Cheats & Tricks" memo was instructing those brokers how to get difficult loans approved by Zippy.

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Chase's Kelly said the bank has never encouraged any of the suggestions in the memo. "If somebody is putting inaccurate information in their loan application, they're lying and committing fraud," he said.

Still, some local mortgage brokers view the memo as vindication. Brokers have argued they've been unfairly blamed for the lax lending standards that led to a wave of defaults. The large national lenders drove the weakening standards, they argue.

The Chase memo is "a perfect example of one of the big five banks out and out telling mortgage brokers to commit fraud," said Todd Williams, a broker with Evergreen Ohana Group in Portland. "And this has been going on for years."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having done some research into living conditions I have made the decision to move to the US! Apart from the medical care (which having just watched the film Sicko I am slightly concerned about) I have decided that there are more positives then negatives and am therefore very excited about the prospect of moving.
However I am concerned with purchasing a house, are mortgages over there the same as there are here? Do I need a large deposit and having spoke to a few people online I am concerned I wont be able to find a company to give me mortgage broker bonds.
and if I cant can I buy a house? Also I am familiar with the term surety bond so is a mortgage bond just a guarantee I will pay on time or is it more?