For years borrowers of Washington Mutual Bank and its affiliates have been searching for and attempting to obtain the "original loan file" containing the original Note, Deed of Trust and supporting loan documents in order to save their homes from foreclosure. Across the United States JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA has delayed discovery efforts of homeowners fighting for their homes, their families and lives. Chase obfuscates, delays, and plays games with people's lives and what little financial means remain after being devastated by WaMu, the FDIC, Chase, their agents and minions.
We are now seeing Chase provide copies of what they purport to be the "original documents." Recent court cases reveal that Chase or their agents have been forging documents and then providing forged documents to litigants, their attorneys, and the court thus presenting a potential fraud on the court. It is a highly sophisticated system.
So what happened to the original loan files? You can't make this stuff up!
KPRC TV out of Houston discovered through excellent investigative reporting that in May 2007 Washington Mutual Bank sent thousands and thousands of loan files to a warehouse located in Juarez, Mexico, owned by Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services, Inc, or ACS. KPRC's sources say this was part of an outsourcing contract to have all the loan files imaged into a computer data bank then destroyed. Once all the files were shipped to Mexico, Washington Mutual Bank closed its Houston warehouse on July 27, 2007.
KPRC learned that where the files are being sent may not be the biggest concern for on the day the facility was shut down and empty,Washington Mutual could not account for every single loan file that was sent to Mexico. Their sources say Washington Mutual lost track of more than 100,000 loan files. Files their sources said were still missing the day the Houston warehouse was shut down.
AND if Washington Mutual Bank outsourced original loan files to Mexico between May and July 2007, what did they do with files of loans made after July 27, 2007 up until the date WaMu failed and was placed in Receivership with the FDIC?
You may find the source article on the web site of U.S. Congressman Ted Poe who was concerned about the 2007 outsourcing of loan documents to foreign countries by Washington Mutual Bank.
"Tonight Local 2 Investigates the security of your personal information. We all work hard to make sure our financial identity doesn't fall into the wrong hands. What you may not know is some of the companies you trust with this sensitive information may be sending it to foreign countries. It's called outsourcing and KPRC Local 2 investigative reporter Robert Arnold joins us with the results of his hidden camera investigation into what one of the country's largest banking institutions is doing with your personal data.
"If you've gotten a loan, you know what type of information is in that file: bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, copies of your driver's license. If the loan is big enough, there's also copies of your tax returns.
"Our investigation begins with one question: Why is Washington Mutual sending all of this personal information to Mexico? It's just before 11 a.m. in Juarez, Mexico, and you're watching thousands of files loaded with confidential, personal information from Houston being delivered to a warehouse. Your information could be part of this shipment and you'd never know it.
"Before we tell you exactly what these files are, we need to show you were the files came from. This is Washington Mutual's Consumer Loan records center in northwest Houston. Longtime Washington Mutual employees, who asked not to be identified, tell us more than 1 million consumer loan files from around the country were stored in this secure warehouse.
"You had peoples' lives in your hands or access to them," an employee who worked in the Washington Mutual warehouse said.
"But earlier this year Washington Mutual decided to shut down the Houston facility, lay off the employees and ship all the files out. Employees who worked inside this warehouse contacted Local 2 Investigates when they say they became concerned the initial shipments left the warehouse without proper tracking.
"We had several occasions where we knew things had left the building, but they weren't being accounted for on the other end," this confidential source told Local 2. The other end is Juarez, Mexico. "You started calling Mexico saying, 'Hey, we need file x-y-z' and Mexico would say what?" Arnold asked. "We don't have it," our source said.
In May, Local 2 followed one of the trucks as it left Washington Mutual's Houston warehouse and headed west on I-10. We followed that truck through the night to the next morning, hundreds of miles until it arrived in El Paso. A driver from Mexico then picked up the load and we followed him across the border and through the streets of Juarez. More than 16 hours after leaving Houston, the documents from Washington Mutual loaded with all that sensitive, personal information, finally made it here to the heart of Juarez's "industrial district." The files were delivered to a warehouse owned by Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services, incorporated, or ACS. Our sources say this was part of an outsourcing contract to have all the loan files imaged into a computer data bank then destroyed. Once all the files were shipped Washington Mutual closed its Houston warehouse on July 27.
"When you start outsourcing jobs, that's one thing. When you start outsourcing personal information to another country that makes it even worse," Houston Congressman Ted Poe said. "If I were a consumer and they told me that they were shipping all my loan documents to Mexico I would be a former customer." 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. We also had questions about how closely guarded your personal information is in Mexico. We'll show you what our hidden cameras spotted and the response from the company handling all that sensitive information. That's tomorrow morning at 6:50. Then tomorrow night at 10, we'll show you why you may never know when your personal data is sent to a foreign country.
KPRC followed a shipment of documents as it left Houston and arrived in Juarez. What they found in their investigation was troubling, but not particularly surprising:
- Customers were not informed that their customer loan records were being shipped out of the country to Mexico, where they do not have the same privacy and data protection laws as the U.S.
- Washington Mutual allegedly lost track of over 100,000 loan files, i.e., it could not account for specific documents shipped from Houston to ACS’s facility in Juarez. Insiders report that all told, WaMu sent over 1,000,000 loan files to ACS.
- The reporters observed that boxes were left overnight in the ACS warehouse parking lot, boxes were stacked high in the loading docks, and although there was a guard at the front gate, there was no evidence that the parking lot was being patrolled. They could not determine whether it was bank files left in the parking lot or some other types of documents for some other client, and ACS did not answer their question on that.
The government does have some oversight in this area. Banks like Washington Mutual are overseen by the Federal Office of Thrift Supervision. This office has the authority to send examiners to foreign countries to inspect facilities handling personal financial information from the United States. When Local 2 asked if the office has ever inspected any specific facilities in Mexico, officials refused to answer, citing agency policy.
“It bothers me, but it doesn’t surprise me that they won’t respond to the inquiry and they won’t respond, it seems to me, because they haven’t done it,” said Poe.