Post Earnings Update: Lender Processing Services Has Trended 10.89% Lower In Past 29 Days (LPS)

Written on Sun, 05/23/2010 – 10:25am
By Chip Brian

When Lender Processing Services (NYSE:LPS) reported earnings 29 days ago on April 22, 2010, analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of $0.79 on sales of $595 million.

The company actually reported EPS of $0.80 on sales of $592 million, beating EPS estimates by $0.01 and missing revenues estimates by $3 million.

Since the company’s report, share of Lender Processing Services have fallen from $38.66 to $34.45, representing a loss of 10.89% in the past 29 days.

SmarTrend is bearish on shares of Lender Processing Services and our subscribers were alerted to Sell on May 07, 2010 at $35.31. The stock has fallen 2.4% since the alert was issued.

U.S. drops criminal probe of AIG executives: REUTERS

The logo of American International Group Inc. (AIG) on the outside of their corporate headquarters in New York, November 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The logo of American International Group Inc. (AIG) on the outside of their corporate headquarters in New York, November 10, 2008. Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has dropped a probe of American International Group Inc executives involving the credit default swaps that sent the insurer to the brink of bankruptcy and forced a huge taxpayer bailout, lawyers for the executives said on Saturday.

The investigation had centered on AIG Financial Products, which nearly brought down the giant insurer after writing tens of billions of dollars on insurance-like contracts on complex securities backed by mortgages that turned out to be toxic.

The U.S. government stepped in with a $182 billion bailout to avert a bankruptcy filing by AIG.

The criminal probe had focused on whether Joseph Cassano, who ran the financial products unit, and Andrew Forster, his deputy, knowingly misled investors about the company’s accounting losses on its credit default swaps portfolio.

“Although a 2-year, intense investigation is tough for anyone, the results are wholly appropriate in light of our client’s factual innocence,” F. Joseph Warin and Jim Walden, Cassano’s lawyers, said in a statement.

Forster’s lawyers also confirmed the probe had been dropped.

“We were very pleased but not surprised to hear from the DOJ late yesterday that they were dropping the criminal investigation of our client,” David Brodsky, one of Forster’s lawyers, said in a statement. “In the end, the facts were stronger than the emotions surrounding AIG’s problems.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

AIG said in a statement it welcomed the decision’

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday that the two-year investigation, one of the highest profile of the various probes stemming from the 2008 financial meltdown, had been dropped.

The FBI and other government agencies had been looking into whether Cassano misled investors with overly optimistic forecasts about the extent of the firm’s exposure to securities backed by risky subprime mortgages.

Investigators were said to have focused on a December 2007 investor presentation at which Cassano played down the market value of losses on the credit default swaps.

Over the course of the next year, AIG took writedowns of more than $40 billion on the swaps and had to put up billions more in collateral to counterparties like Goldman Sachs.

Cassano resigned under pressure in March 2008 as AIG’s financial situation began to weaken.

(Additional Reporting by Jim Marshall in Chicago and Jim Vicini in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Sanctions Motion filed 5/21/2010 Against LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES (LPS)

Dear Editor:

Once again, a U.S. Trustee is leading the way in exposing fraud in foreclosures. On Friday, May 21, 2010, United States Trustee R. Michael Bolen, Region 5, Judicial Districts of Louisiana and Mississippi, by Mary Langston, Assistant U.S. Trustee, New Orleans, Louisiana, filed a Motion for Sanctions against Lender Processing Services, Inc. and The Boles Law Firm. The Motion was filed in a bankruptcy action, In re Ron Wilson, Case No. 07-11862, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

The U.S. Trustee is seeking to sanction LPS and The Boles Law Firm for making misrepresentations in statements and/or in testimony in open court, during the course of Show Cause proceedings initiated by the Court. Show Cause Orders were entered on May 9, 2008, July 11, 2008 and July 18, 2008. The misrepresentations relate to a Motion to Lift Stay (“2d MFR”) filed on March 10, 2008 and execution of a false affidavit supporting the 2d MFR, filed on behalf of Option One Mortgage Corporation, n/k/a Sand Canyon Corporation.

The misrepresentations concern payments received but not posted by Option One, dated January 2, 2008; January 31, 2008; and March 3, 2008 (the “Unposted Payments”).

According to the Trustee, Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (now, Lender Processing Services, Inc.) misrepresented to the Court its knowledge of, and whether it communicated with Boles about the Unposted Payments. Further, the Trustee alleges that LPS/Fidelity misrepresented that it did not function as a “go between” in this case, between Boles and Option One, with respect to the Unposted Payments.

“Boles lacked candor before this Court, based on statements that one if its attorneys made to the Court on June 26, 2008 during the OSC [Order to Show Cause] proceeding. In that hearing, the Boles attorney indicated that, although Boles possessed one or more of the Unposted Payments, Boles did not know why it had received them. Upon information and belief, the proof will show that Boles received the Unposted Payments because Boles had issued instructions directing that each of the Unposted Payments be sent to it.”

Again, according to the Trustee, “The respondents’ [LPS and Boles] representations were not well grounded in fact, were made in bad faith to avoid potential liability, and have resulted in unnecessarily protracted discovery and litigation concerning their roles involved with the 2d MFR and false affidavit.”

In a 19 page Memorandum of Law supporting the motion for sanctions, Trustee Mary Langston set forth that Dory Goebel, an officer and employee of Fidelity, was questioned regarding an Affidavit she had submitted regarding unposted mortgage payments. Goebel essentially denied communications between Fidelity and the Boles firm:

“Goebel testified that Fidelity would not have communicated with the Boles law firm regarding post-referral payments; rather, Option was responsible for notifying its counsel directly about such payments. Goebel further testified that she reviewed the Wilson file, and that were no communications between Fidelity and Boles regarding the Unposted Payments because “[n]o, that is not the responsibility of Fidelity. We would not know of additional payments, Option One would.” August 21, 2008 Tr. 110:18 – 111:5. Goebel’s testimony thus portrayed that Fidelity would not even know that a borrower’s post-referral payment had been received unless Option posted the payment on Option’s accounting system; and that Fidelity would not communicate with Option’s counsel about payments received.” (Memorandum, p.8)

According to Trustee Langston, “However, Goebel’s testimony simply does not comport with the evidence the United States Trustee has obtained from Option, Fidelity, and Boles through discovery.” (Memorandum, p.8) The Trustee goes through the many communications that contradict Goebel’s testimony. She concludes, “… the evidence establishes that both Boles and Fidelity had knowledge about the Unposted Payments which they misrepresented to the Court. Upon information and belief, Fidelity and Boles played an integral role in communicating about those very payments, participating in queries about how to handle the Unposted Payments.” (Memorandum, p.9)

This is not the first time that a U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee has sought to impose sanctions against Fidelity and/or LPS. Most recently, the in the case of Niles and Angela Taylor, 2009 WL 1885888 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2009), Judge Diane Weiss Sigmund also determined that sanctions were warranted in a foreclosure case involving Lender Processing Services. Judge Sigmund described in great detail how the default mortgage servicing and foreclosure systems really work.

Lender Processing Services (“LPS”) was described as the largest out-source provider in the United States for mortgage default services. The LPS systems frequently resulted in incorrect information regarding mortgages reported to litigants and judges in foreclosure actions. The LPS network of national and local law firms were required to communicate directly with LPS, and not the mortgage servicers, about any issues that arose in any given case. Likewise, the servicers were required to execute a 51-page Default Service Agreement with LPS that delegated to LPS all functions with respect to the default servicing work. LPS used a software communication system called “NewTrak” to deliver instructions and documents to the LPS network attorneys and to deliver any information to the servicers. LPS also had access to the servicers data-base platforms. The law firms were staffed primarily by paralegals with little supervision by attorneys. See
In re Taylor, supra, at 1885889 to 1885891.

Judge Sigmund found that he LPS system was designed to minimize human involvement. She concluded, “When an attorney appears in a matter, it is assumed he or she brings not only substantive knowledge of the law but judgment. The competition for business cannot be an impediment to the use of these capabilities. The attorney, as opposed to the processor, knows when a contest does not fit the cookie cutter forms employed by the paralegals. At that juncture, the use of technology and automated queries must yield to hand- carried justice. The client must be advised, questioned and consulted. The thoughtless mechanical employment of computer-driven models and communications to inexpensively traverse the path to foreclosure offends the integrity of our American bankruptcy system. It is for those involved in the process to step back and assess how they can fulfill their professional obligations and responsibly reap the benefits of technology. Noting less should be tolerated.”

In a case pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, In re Silvia Nuer, Case No. 08-17106 (REG), in a Memorandum of Law of the United States Trustee in Support of Sanctions Against J.P.Morgan Chase Bank National Association, filed January 4, 2010, the Trustee reviewed the testimony of Mr. Herndon, a witness for Chase, who testified that the chain of title for the property in question passed through three entities. Previously, however, Chase had submitted contrary documents. In particular, Chase had submitted an assignment “that appeared to show that Chase assigned its right as mortgagee to Deutsche, as trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Trust 2006-2. The Assignment was signed by Scott Walter as “Attorney in Fact for Chase (the “Walter November 1 Assignment”)…It was signed on November 1, 2008, after the Filing Date. This 2008 Assignment to a trust that closed in 2006 signed by an individual who did not in fact work for Chase has become the focus of the sanctions debate. Regarding the Walter Assignment, the Trustee states: “Here, the misconduct of Chase includes the attachment of the Walter November 1 Assignment…Chase’s own witness could not explain the Walter November 1 Assignment…”

Walter was actually an employee in the Minnesota office of Lender Processing Services.

What is an appropriate sanction for a company that repeatedly makes false statements in bankruptcy proceedings – and files false mortgage assignments and Affidavits – so that the bankruptcy judge will lift the stay and allow a foreclosure to proceed more quickly?

If the debtor engaged in these acts, the case would be referred to the U.S. Attorney so that criminal charges of bankruptcy fraud could be filed against the debtor. Why should a repeat offender deserve less?

Lynn E. Szymoniak, Ed., Fraud Digest

Buyers lose interest in foreclosed homes: “Shadow Foreclosures”

Source: The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)
Publication date: May 21, 2010

By Duane Marsteller, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.

May 21–MANATEE — Buyer interest in foreclosed homes is waning as a growing number of them are poised to hit the market, a combination that could spell trouble for the U.S. housing market’s recovery, according to survey results released Thursday.

Just 45 percent of those questioned said they would consider buying a foreclosure, down from 55 percent a year ago, according to a national online survey conducted for RealtyTrac and Trulia.com. The most common concerns cited: potential hidden costs, a risky, time-consuming process and fears the home will lose value after the purchase.

“It appears that potential homebuyers are taking a more realistic view of foreclosure purchasing,” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s senior vice president.

At the same time, lenders are repossessing U.S. homes at a record rate: 918,000 last year and another 258,000 in the first three months of 2010, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing service. Only about 30 percent of those properties are on the market.

The remaining “shadow inventory” has stoked fears that lenders will swamp the market with foreclosures, further depressing prices. But Sharga said lenders have been managing that inventory “in an orderly, measured manner” and are unlikely to suddenly open the spigot.

“We’re not going to see a flood,” he said during a conference call with reporters. “We’re going from a trickle to a steady stream.” DinSFLAno-no we are going to see a TSUNAMI!

But both he and Pete Flint, Trulia.com’s co-founder and chief executive, said home prices likely won’t rise much in the next year as a result. That means the U.S. housing market won’t return to normal until 2013 and much later in harder-hit markets, including Sarasota-Bradenton.

The Manatee Association of Realtors’ president said she wasn’t surprised that interest in foreclosures has diminished, but she said it remains strong locally.

“A year ago, the market was just picking up and everybody wanted a deal,” said Cindy Greco, of Wagner Realty. “Now there’s a greater awareness that foreclosed properties aren’t a walk in the park … but they’re still attractive to investors and savvy buyers.”

She said sellers who aren’t facing foreclosure also have become more realistic in their asking prices, thus making foreclosed properties less appealing to buyers.

The survey also found that four in 10 homeowners would consider intentionally defaulting on their mortgages if their homes are “underwater,” or worth less than what’s owed on them.

It’s the first time the semi-annual survey, first conducted in May 2008, asked that question. But Flint said he suspects more will be willing to consider walking away as the stigma of foreclosure lessens.

Sharga said that willingness is higher in markets with a larger proportion of condominium units and ones that saw overbuilding, rapidly escalating prices and heavy speculation during the housing boom — all characteristics of the Sarasota-Bradenton market.

“I think there is a lot of visceral anger at the banks right now” on the part of homeowners, he said, especially those who feel banks are stonewalling their efforts to avoid foreclosure. “If lenders had the appearance of being more willing to work with homeowners, there would be fewer people willing to walk away.”

Harris Interactive questioned 2,956 U.S. adults aged 18 and older for the survey May 10-12.

Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.

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To see more of The Bradenton Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.bradenton.com.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.

Judge Slashes ‘Fat Cat’ Bank’s Bill for Subpoenaed Documents

Mark Fass
New York Law Journal
December 28, 2009

A Brooklyn judge has rejected a bank’s request for $9,112 in costs for producing subpoenaed documents, calling the claim an example of the excess and greed among “fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

JPMorgan Chase, a non-party in an action to confirm an arbitration award, sought 25 cents per page and $25 per hour for producing 18,248 pages of subpoenaed documents demanded by the petitioner.

In a blistering 11-page decision, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack granted JPMorgan Chase only $1,250.27, or about one-seventh of the amount the bank requested.

The judge quoted a recent interview of President Barack Obama on “60 Minutes” in which the president suggested that the greed of “fat cat bankers” played a role in the present recession.

“Clearly, Chase’s arbitrary $25.00 per hour … fee for the unsubstantiated 182 hours of research by person or persons unknown only helps to unjustly enrich ‘a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,'” Justice Schack wrote in Matter of Arbitration of Klein v. Persaud, 8007/09. “This Court is not a collection vehicle to further enrich already rich bankers.”

Schack called the bank’s CEO, James S. Dimon, the “fattest cat” at JPMorgan Chase, citing Dimon’s compensation of nearly $20 million in 2008.

Petitioner Abraham Klein initiated the underlying action to confirm a multimillion-dollar arbitration award against Christine Persaud and Caring Home Care Agency.

In July, Schack asked non-party JPMorgan Chase to submit an affirmation regarding its production expenses.

The bank claimed it provided Klein 18,248 pages of documents and requested $9,112 — $4,550 for locating and retrieving the documents and $4,562 for printing them.

In opposing JPMorgan Chase’s request, Klein called the bank’s demand “flawed and disingenuous.” He argued that the bank sought to be “rewarded for ignoring court orders” and reimbursed for pages it never produced. Klein also claimed that JPMorgan Chase flooded his attorneys with “thousands” of documents they never requested.

JPMorgan Chase denied those allegations.

“Chase produced approximately 12,000 pages by [the] deadline set by the Court … The 12,000 pages are responsive to petitioner’s unequivocal and explicit demand for all documents for that account,” the bank contended in court papers. “Chase has also produced more than 6,000 pages of documents for the other four accounts listed in the June 12th subpoena.”

Schack sided with Klein.

First, the judge reduced the bank’s hourly fee from $25 to $6.55 — the minimum wage in Indiana, where the judge believed the work may have been done, at the time the documents were produced.

“[T]he Court … is guided by the principal that ‘[o]rdinarily, the retrieval and evaluation of documents should be done by the lowest-level person consistent with accurate and reliable identification of the material called for,'” Schack wrote.

The 182 hours worked by JPMorgan Chase employees therefore came to $1,192, not $4,562, the judge concluded.

In order to determine the compensation rate per page the bank copied, the judge “examined” the Web sites of “three major stationary suppliers” and determined that a case of Hammermill Copy Plus Paper, containing 10 reams (i.e., 5,000 sheets) lists for $44.99, or a little less than a penny per page.

Schack therefore awarded JPMorgan Chase one cent per page for paper, plus an additional two cents for “toner, copier maintenance and electricity.”

The judge also noted that of the 18,248 pages that JPMorgan Chase produced, the bank placed 16,317 pages online, as opposed to printing them. For those pages, the bank only deserved compensation for labor and not supplies, the judge wrote, calling the bank’s claim “disingenuous.”

At three cents per page for only 1,939 pages, instead of 25 cents per page for 18,248, the bank deserved $58.17, not $4,562, Schack concluded.

The judge ordered Klein to pay JPMorgan Chase a total of $1,250.27.

Michelle E. Tarson of Simmons, Jannace & Stagg represented Chase. The firm did not return calls for comment.

Paulino J. Salazar and Mendel Zilberberg of Mendel Zilberberg & Associates in Brooklyn represented Klein.

Subprime Legal: Judges Scrutinize Mortgage Docs, Deny Foreclosures

By Amir Efrati JULY 25, 2008, 8:27 PM ET

foreclosureIt’s been about nine months since several federal judges in Ohio issued the widely-read amir foreclosure dismissals that shined a light on sloppy paperwork done by companies that specialize in handling foreclosures.

Since then, the WSJ reports tonight, other judges across the country have caught on and are carefully scrutinizing mortgage documents filed as part of foreclosures and dismissing cases based on mistakes they’re finding, which borrowers might be able to exploit when facing foreclosure. (For another good read on judges and lawyers working to staunch foreclosure, click here for a recent NLJ story.)

Among the issues hitting snags among the judges, according to WSJ:

“Backdated” mortgage assignments: Assignments, documents that transfer ownership of the mortgage, are executed after the foreclosure process has begun but state that they are “effective as of” a date prior to the foreclosure action. Some judges are dismissing those cases, saying attempts to retroactively assign the mortgage aren’t valid.

Suspicious multiple hats: Employees for mortgage companies are signing affidavits stating they are employees of one company, but other mortgage documents say they work at another firm. In some cases, an employee claims to work for companies on both sides of a transaction, prompting one skeptical judge to ask for that person’s work history for the last three years.

Shared office space: In foreclosure filings, one judge has found that numerous mortgage-related companies, including units of Wall Street banks, all claim to share the same address: a suite of a West Palm Beach, Fla., building. “The Court ponders if Suite 100 is the size of Madison Square Garden to house all of these financial behemoths or if there is a more nefarious reason for this corporate togetherness,” the judge wrote in a recent decision.

Judge SchackBrooklyn Crusader: The judge making Madison Square Garden references is Brooklyn’s own Arthur M. Schack (pictured) of Kings County Supreme Court, who has dismissed dozens of foreclosures sua sponte because of shoddy documents or suspicious patterns he notices in the filings.

Schack, 63, a former counsel to the MLB Players Association who is known for peppering his rulings with pop culture references such as Bruce Willis movies, says barely any of the foreclosures he has denied eventually are completed.

In one of his foreclosure dismissals, Schack (Indiana, New York Law School) cited the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” to make the point that homeowners now deal with “large financial organizations, national and international in scope, motivated primarily by their interest in maximizing profit, and not necessarily by helping people.”

In an interview, Schack, a Brooklyn native, told WSJ: “Taking away someone’s home is a serious matter. I’m a neutral party and in reviewing papers filed with the court, I have to make sure they’re proper.”

A ‘Little Judge’ Who Rejects Foreclosures, Brooklyn Style: Judge Arthur Schack

If other judges knew more of what really is than whats not perhaps they would also know the fraud that is being played in their court rooms.

By MICHAEL POWELL Published: August 30, 2009

The judge waves you into his chambers in the State Supreme Court building in Brooklyn, past the caveat taped to his wall — “Be sure brain in gear before engaging mouth” — and into his inner office, where foreclosure motions are piled high enough to form a minor Alpine chain.

 Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

“I don’t want to put a family on the street unless it’s legitimate,” Justice Arthur M. Schack said.

Every week, the nation’s mightiest banks come to his court seeking to take the homes of New Yorkers who cannot pay their mortgages. And nearly as often, the judge says, they file foreclosure papers speckled with errors.

He plucks out one motion and leafs through: a Deutsche Bank representative signed an affidavit claiming to be the vice president of two different banks. His office was in Kansas City, Mo., but the signature was notarized in Texas. And the bank did not even own the mortgage when it began to foreclose on the homeowner.

The judge’s lips pucker as if he had inhaled a pickle; he rejected this one.

“I’m a little guy in Brooklyn who doesn’t belong to their country clubs, what can I tell you?” he says, adding a shrug for punctuation. “I won’t accept their comedy of errors.”

The judge, Arthur M. Schack, 64, fashions himself a judicial Don Quixote, tilting at the phalanxes of bankers, foreclosure facilitators and lawyers who file motions by the bale. While national debate focuses on bank bailouts and federal aid for homeowners that has been slow in coming, the hard reckonings of the foreclosure crisis are being made in courts like his, and Justice Schack’s sympathies are clear.

He has tossed out 46 of the 102 foreclosure motions that have come before him in the last two years. And his often scathing decisions, peppered with allusions to the Croesus-like wealth of bank presidents, have attracted the respectful attention of judges and lawyers from Florida to Ohio to California. At recent judicial conferences in Chicago and Arizona, several panelists praised his rulings as a possible national model.

His opinions, too, have been greeted by a cry of affront from a bank official or two, who say this judge stands in the way of what is rightfully theirs. HSBC bank appealed a recent ruling, saying he had set a “dangerous precedent” by acting as “both judge and jury,” throwing out cases even when homeowners had not responded to foreclosure motions.

Justice Schack, like a handful of state and federal judges, has taken a magnifying glass to the mortgage industry. In the gilded haste of the past decade, bankers handed out millions of mortgages — with terms good, bad and exotically ugly — then repackaged those loans for sale to investors from Connecticut to Singapore. Sloppiness reigned. So many papers have been lost, signatures misplaced and documents dated inaccurately that it is often not clear which bank owns the mortgage.

Justice Schack’s take is straightforward, and sends a tremor through some bank suites: If a bank cannot prove ownership, it cannot foreclose.

“If you are going to take away someone’s house, everything should be legal and correct,” he said. “I’m a strange guy — I don’t want to put a family on the street unless it’s legitimate.”

Justice Schack has small jowls and big black glasses, a thin mustache and not so many hairs combed across his scalp. He has the impish eyes of the high school social studies teacher he once was, aware that something untoward is probably going on at the back of his classroom.

He is Brooklyn born and bred, with a master’s degree in history and an office loaded with autographed baseballs and photographs of the Brooklyn Dodgers. His written decisions are a free-associative trip through popular, legal and literary culture, with a sideways glance at the business pages.

Confronted with a case in which Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs passed a defaulted mortgage back and forth and lost track of the documents, the judge made reference to the film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the evil banker played by Lionel Barrymore.

“Lenders should not lose sight,” Justice Schack wrote in that 2007 case, “that they are dealing with humanity, not with Mr. Potter’s ‘rabble’ and ‘cattle.’ Multibillion-dollar corporations must follow the same rules in the foreclosure actions as the local banks,savings and loan associations or credit unions, or else they have become the Mr. Potters of the 21st century.”

Last year, he chastised Wells Fargo for filing error-filled papers. “The court,” the judge wrote, “reminds Wells Fargo of Cassius’s advice to Brutus in Act 1, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’: ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ ”

Then there is a Deutsche Bank case from 2008, the juicy part of which he reads aloud:

“The court wonders if the instant foreclosure action is a corporate ‘Kansas City Shuffle,’ a complex confidence game,” he reads. “In the 2006 film ‘Lucky Number Slevin,’ Mr. Goodkat, a hit man played by Bruce Willis, explains: ‘A Kansas City Shuffle is when everybody looks right, you go left.’ ”

The banks’ reaction? Justice Schack shrugs. “They probably curse at me,” he says, “but no one is interested in some little judge.”

Little drama attends the release of his decisions. Beaten-down homeowners rarely show up to contest foreclosure actions, and the judge scrutinizes the banks’ papers in his chambers. But at legal conferences, judges and lawyers have wondered aloud why more judges do not hold banks to tougher standards.

“To the extent that judges examine these papers, they find exactly the same errors that Judge Schack does,” said Katherine M. Porter, a visiting professor at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and a national expert in consumer credit law. “His rulings are hardly revolutionary; it’s unusual only because we so rarely hold large corporations to the rules.”

Banks and the cottage industry of mortgage service companies and foreclosure lawyers also pay rather close attention.

A spokeswoman for OneWest Bank acknowledged that an official, confronted with a ream of foreclosure papers, had mistakenly signed for two different banks — just as the Deutsche Bank official did. Deutsche Bank, which declined to let an attorney speak on the record about any of its cases before Justice Schack, e-mailed a PDF of a three-page pamphlet in which it claimed little responsibility for foreclosures, even though the bank’s name is affixed to tens of thousands of such motions. The bank described itself as simply a trustee for investors.

Justice Schack came to his recent prominence by a circuitous path, having worked for 14 years as public school teacher in Brooklyn. He was a union representative and once walked a picket line with his wife, Dilia, who was a teacher, too. All was well until the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

“Why’d I go to law school?” he said. “Thank Mayor Abe Beame, who froze teacher salaries.”

He was counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association in the 1980s and ’90s, when it was on a long winning streak against team owners. “It was the millionaires versus the billionaires,” he says. “After a while, I’m sitting there thinking, ‘He’s making $4 million, he’s making $5 million, and I’m worth about $1.98.’ ”

So he dived into a judicial race. He was elected to the Civil Court in 1998 and to the Supreme Court for Brooklyn and Staten Island in 2003. His wife is a Democratic district leader; their daughter, Elaine, is a lawyer and their son, Douglas, a police officer.

Justice Schack’s duels with the banks started in 2007 as foreclosures spiked sharply. He saw a plague falling on Brooklyn, particularly its working-class black precincts. “Banks had given out loans structured to fail,” he said.

The judge burrowed into property record databases. He found banks without clear title, and a giant foreclosure law firm, Steven J. Baum, representing two sides in a dispute. He noted that Wells Fargo’s chief executive, John G. Stumpf, made more than $11 million in 2007 while the company’s total returns fell 12 percent.

“Maybe,” he advised the bank, “counsel should wonder, like the court, if Mr. Stumpf was unjustly enriched at the expense of W.F.’s stockholders.”

He was, how to say it, mildly appalled.

“I’m a guy from the streets of Brooklyn who happens to become a judge,” he said. “I see a bank giving a $500,000 mortgage on a building worth $300,000 and the interest rate is 20 percent and I ask questions, what can I tell you?”