Video - Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert - Hasta La Vista WaMu
Washington Mutual lost more than 100,000 mortgage files and all the associated personal information of the borrowers - names, addresses, DOBs, SS#s, bank accounts, etc. - during a warehouse move to Juarez, Mexico.
Time Magazine is the source, but the story is currently only available in the print and iPad editions for December. However, I was able to track down a Houston Chronicle mention from 2008:
But we've learned where the files are being sent may not be the biggest concern.
"On the day the facility was shut down and empty, could Washington Mutual account for every single loan file that was sent to Mexico?" Arnold asked.
"No," our source answered.
Our sources say Washington Mutual lost track of more than 100,000 loan files. Files our sources said were still missing the day the Houston warehouse was shut down.
Poe has concerns about the whole process.
"Somebody else has access to that besides the people that ought to be looking at it," Poe said. "That's very disturbing."
Washington Mutual would not answer Local 2's question as to whether it tracked down all the files. Instead we received this written statement:
"For many years WaMu has worked with vendors based in the U.S. who perform some services in other countries. We don't publicly discuss details of our confidential vendor relationships. The protection of customer information is a top priority for WaMu and our dedicated internal Quality Control organization implements ongoing evaluations of our vendor relationships to ensure that controls are being implemented, both in the transportation of customer information and the management of the information," wrote Missy Latham, Washington Mutual vice president and manager, Southwest Bureau National Public Relations.
TIME reporter locates mortgage documents in 4 HOURS that Bank Of America called 'lost and unrecoverable.'
Foreclosure Foul-up: Tracking Down Those 'Lost' Mortgages - Time
Just how bad is the problem? TIME dug into the mortgage of one troubled borrower. What we found suggests that many promissory notes are not lost. In an effort to rush homeowners to foreclosure, and hide damaging information, bankers' have needlessly created a huge legal mess that once again questions the financial industry's credibility and ethics. "They [banks] don't comply with the law when they're taking people's homes," says Michael Olenick, who owns Legalprise, a legal research firm.
Douglas' mortgage broker got him a loan from subprime lender Fremont General, which before it went bankrupt in 2008, was based in Brea, California. In mid-2005, Fremont sold the loan to New York-based Goldman Sachs, which packaged it up with other loans and sold it off to investors. In June, Iris Owens, an official in the servicing arm of Bank of Amerca, signed an affidavit attesting that after a "diligent search," Douglas' original note could not be recovered.
But even without the bank's internal record it took me about four hours to find Douglas' loan.
Where is it? About five miles east of downtown Minneapolis, in a warehouse owned by Wells Fargo. A simple search of public documents on the Securities and Exchange Commissions website was able to produce the address and telephone number of the building it was in. Bank of America now concedes it made a mistake. Instead of calling Wells Fargo, an associate in Bank of America's mortgage-servicing division requested Douglas' note from Deutsche Bank, which runs the mortgage trust Douglas' loan is in, but is not the document custodian. Wells, as the SEC documents say, has that job. What's less clear is why Deutsche didn't tell the associate to call Wells or why someone at Bank of America didn't look up the same SEC filing I did. Instead, Owens, based on the information from her associate and doing no checking of her own, signed the lost-note affidavit. Douglas' loan had officially disappeared.