Utah Federal Judge David Sam is WRONG (IMHO) RE ReconTrust is Operating Under the National Bank Act Regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

I have brought this up a few times before. Now it looks like it is time to bring it up AGAIN.

First from Utah…


Utah Federal Judges Decisions Conflict in ReconTrust Utah Home Foreclosure Actions

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah senior federal Judges Dee Benson and Bruce Jenkins have ruled Bank of America’s foreclosure arm, ReconTrust Company, N.A. (NYSE: “BAC”) may not be qualified to perform non-judicial foreclosures in Utah. However, this week senior federal Judge David Sam ruled that ReconTrust is operating under the National Bank Act regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), is a trustee under the Texas law where ReconTrust is located rendering Utah Code 57-1-21(3) inapplicable. Ruling

The ruling comes in a case filed by attorney John Christian Barlow, in which ReconTrust is being sued by Utah homeowner Garry Franklin Garrett accusing ReconTrust of conducting an unlawful foreclosure sale because it’s is not a qualified trustee under Utah Law.

The judge’s decision conflicts with rulings by other Utah federal judges over the Bank of America’s Utah foreclosure activities. The Utah Attorney General intervened in another Utah homeowner’s lawsuit filing an Amicus Curiae petition charging that the Bank of America was illegally foreclosing on Utah homeowners. Peni Cox vs ReconTrust

The Utah Attorney General accused the Bank of America in May 2011 of illegal foreclosure activities using its subsidiary ReconTrust Company. In the letter, the Attorney General said that ReconTrust is in violation of Utah law as set forth in Utah Code Sections 57-1-21 and 57-1-23, which outline the requirements for lawful non-judicial foreclosures. Support for the attorney general’s position is found in a recent 10th Circuit case, Shurtleff v. Kleinsmith in which Utah Code Sections 51-1-21 and 57-1-12 were found to be constitutional. The lettersaid that ReconTrust is in violation of the National Bank Act, which does not allow national banks to operate in contravention of State and local law. ReconTrust’s exercise of the fiduciary powers in the State of Utah is a violation of State law and applicable federal law, the Attorney General said.

From an OCC Letter I published in July of 2010…



Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 371, national banks may “make, arrange, purchase or sell loans or extensions of credit secured by liens on interests in real estate, subject to * * * such restrictions and requirements as the Comptroller of the Currency may prescribe by regulation or order.” The OCC’s real estate lending regulations provide that, “[e]xcept where made applicable by Federal law, state laws that obstruct, impair, or condition a national bank’s ability to fully exercise its Federally authorized real estate lending powers do not apply to national banks.” 12 C.F.R. § 34.4(a).

Section 34.4(a)(10) states that national banks “may make real estate loans under 12 U.S.C. § 371 without regard to state law limitations concerning * * * [p]rocessing, origination, servicing, sale or purchase of, or investment or participation in, mortgages.” 12 C.F.R.§ 34.4(a)(10) (emphasis added). However, in no sense, under the facts presented, can the Banks be viewed as making a real estate loan under 12 U.S.C. § 371 and 12 C.F.R. § 34.4. The Banks did not originate the loans. They did not fund the loans at inception. Nor did they “purchase” the loans as part of any real estate lending program comprehended by the regulation. Here, the Banks act as trustees for the benefit of investors in the trusts. The substance of the transaction is that the investors, not the Banks, are purchasing the loans that have been made by Delta. The investors own the beneficial interest in the loans held by the Banks as trustees. And the effect of any liability for violation of the CFA ultimately falls on the investors. Nowhere do the Banks allege that they themselves, as opposed to the trusts they represent, are exposed to liability for any violation of the CFA. For all these reasons, 12 U.S.C. § 371 and 12 C.F.R. § 34.4(a) simply do not apply to the transactions by which the Banks acquired legal title to the loans in the circumstances at issue here.

With respect to the activities of Wells Fargo and Bank One as trustees, the banks derive their power to act as trustees from 12 U.S.C. § 92a. When state law conflicts with national banks exercising powers granted to them by federal law, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution requires that the state law yield to the paramount authority of federal law, with the result that application of the state law to national banks is preempted. The Supreme Court has explained this principle stating that it interprets “grants of both enumerated and incidental ‘powers’ to national banks as grants of authority not normally limited by, but rather ordinarily pre-empting, contrary state law.” Barnett Bank of Marion County v. Nelson, 517 U.S. 25, 32 (1996).

As the Supreme Court demonstrated in its review of preemption cases in the Barnett case, Supremacy Clause principles animating conflict preemption have been expressed in a wide variety of phrases that do not yield materially different meanings, including “stand as an obstacle to,” “impair the efficiency of,” “significantly interfere,” “interfere,” “infringe,” and “hamper.” See Barnett, 517 U.S. at 33. Thus, if application of the CFA to the loans held by the Banks as trustee were to obstruct, impair, condition, or otherwise interfere with the Banks’ exercise of fiduciary powers granted to them under federal law, the state statute would be preempted.

Based on the facts presented, we do not believe that to be the case. The Banks have not claimed that application of the CFA would impair their ability to act as trustee in these circumstances or that the state law otherwise interferes with the performance of their legal obligations as trustee. Nor could they claim that having to respond to state law defenses to recovery on assets held in trust obstructs or impairs their power to act as trustee absent some indication that the state law infringes their authority, conditions their actions, or imposes a burden in a way prohibited by federal law. In short, the Banks’ authority to act as trustees under federal law does not insulate the assets the Banks hold in trust for the benefit of investors from state law requirements otherwise applicable to those assets.

Matt Weidner had a good take on this document as well…


There is a growing body of evidence that stands for the proposition that the banks and shadowy trust companies sweeping across our nation to take homes are not in fact exempt from state banking and business regulation. I have posted the Cuomo and Watters Supreme Court cases, but below is a very interesting letter from the Office of Comptroller and Currency which makes an even more compelling presentation of the facts.

Quite simply, we must continue to challenge the shadowy, unidentified anonymous entities that are filing suits and taking homes from Americans…..this letter should become a regular part of your research and pleading.

For more of Matt’s post go here…

Be sure to check out the full letter below…




No Federal Preemption by a Trustee of a Mortgage Backed Security Trust from Senior Counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

One Response to “Utah Federal Judge David Sam is WRONG (IMHO) RE ReconTrust is Operating Under the National Bank Act Regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)”
  1. Tee says:

    They keep trying to “take” any way they can but……the TRUTH keeps leaking out. I was so pleased to receive paperwork from the office of the comptroller who was going to investigate the sub prime b s that went on with my mortgage…..but….now wondering if….arghhhh!!

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