Foreclosure Fraud: More Reasons to Hate It

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The more the experts and analysts look into the Foreclosure Agreement the more reasons are found to hate it and why, to Yves Smith‘s descriptive word, it “sucks”:

Not only are the banks getting away with fraud they are still going to be allowed to systemically overcharge homeowners and wrongly take their homes.

Remember that the Administration also trumpeted that enforcement would be tough, even as Abigail Field has shown that idea to be a joke. For instance, the servicing standards allow for the astonishing concept of an acceptable error rate. Banks aren’t permitted to make errors with your checking account and ding you an accidental $10,000 and get away with it. But with people’s most important asset, their homes, servicers are allowed a certain level of reportable errors, and many of them can be serious as far as borrowers are concerned.[..]

She also points out that wrongful foreclosures at a 1% rate are acceptable. Procedures around real estate are deliberate because any error of this magnitude has devastating consequences. But this new provision means that 1%, or over 33,000 erroneous foreclosures since 2008 would be perfectly OK as far as the authorities are concerned.

Field also points out in a separate post that this deal is in no way done. Key points remain to be resolved, in particular, how the Monitor will supervise the pact. That’s a huge item, and leaving it unresolved shifts the power to the banks (if you don’t believe me, I refer you to what is happening to Dodd Frank).

Field also wonders “how did all our meaningful law enforcers do this deal?:

I hate the term Too Big To Fail because it’s a loaded premise presented as fact. But looking at the weasel parentheticals, maybe we should start asking if the banks as too big to be competent. I mean, why do the banks need a ‘hey, we tried but didn’t have enough time to stop the sale’ exemption? If the B.O.Bs (bailed out bankers) want their lawyer or trustee to call off a foreclosure sale, all they need is two things: a) to contact their agent and b) have a competent agent.

What does “took appropriate steps to stop the sale” mean, anyway? Does it mean that someone at the bank left a message or two with foreclosure counsel? If the B.O.B.s made a real effort to stop the sale but their agents did it anyway, why isn’t that the B.O.B’s fault for having incompetent agents? Doesn’t giving the B.O.B. a pass remove any incentive to have competent (and thus more expensive) agents?

Wrongfully selling someone’s home should be a strict liability issue. Strict liability is, well, strict: no one cares what you were trying to do, what your intentions were, what you did or didn’t do. Did the harm happen? Then you’re responsible.

Before you give me any, hey, let’s be reasonable here, a business needs to operate and we’re so big some mistakes will happen, remember what we are talking about: homes; property rights; land records; fundamental fairness. How can the B.O.Bs be held to any standard other than strict liability when it comes to wrongfully selling a home?

Neil Barofsky, the former Special US Treasury Department Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Matthew Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute give a good overview of why this settlement really “sucks”

There is no accountability, no punishment for what has to be the largest fraud ever perpetrated in this country.  

1 comment

    • TMC on March 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm
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