Category Archives: Financial Crisis

Blame Where Blame Is Due

One can’t argue with this…

Limbo

Given the unwillingness of Republicans to take any active role in boosting the U.S. economy over the last year, and the fact that George W. Bush left the country in the poor financial state that it’s had to endure since 2008, these findings from the latest Pew Research survey should come as no surprise:

The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress. A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this. By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs. And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained the edge as the party better able to manage the federal government.

Read more about this survey here.

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Filed under Financial Crisis

Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

This can’t be good news for the incoming GOP led Congress…LOL!

Gallup

Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

Barack Obama averaged 50% job approval in the most recent three days of Gallup Daily tracking, the first time his rating has reached that mark since the Memorial Day holiday last year.
 
 
Americans enter the new year with considerably more optimism than pessimism about what it may bring: 58% say 2011 will be better than 2010, 20% say 2011 will be worse, and 21% say it will be the same.

Looking at 2011 Economy, Optimists Double Pessimists

Twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011. Forty-four percent think their personal financial situations will be better this year than in 2010.
 

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Filed under Economy, Financial Crisis, Gallup Polls, Obama Administration, Obama Approval Rating, Obama Policy, Obama Presidency, Politics, Poll, President Barack Obama

Think you’ve read the worst about foreclosures? Read this

Seal of Miami, Florida, United States

Image via Wikipedia

McClatchy

MIAMI — All she wanted was $50,000 from the equity in her house to help pay the bills while looking for a job in nursing. What Imogene Hall got was a brutal lesson in the sometimes shady ways of the mortgage industry.

It’s a lesson learned by untold numbers of homeowners in Florida, epicenter of the foreclosure crisis gripping the nation.

“Everywhere I turn, someone else is scamming me,” said Hall, a 49-year-old Jamaican immigrant who stands to lose her Miami Gardens home the Monday after Thanksgiving. “All I do is work hard, and I get surrounded by thieves.”

A review of court records found evidence of misconduct at nearly every stage of Hall’s experience. Consider:

_ Johnson Cuffy, a former mortgage broker now serving an 11-year prison sentence for grand theft, handled Hall’s refinancing in early 2006, using a strategy a state investigator described as “outright mortgage fraud.” He faces up to 30 more years in prison if convicted of 16 other mortgage fraud charges he’s facing.

_ The title agent who signed the crucial deed transfers that Hall’s fraud claim rests on operated an unlicensed title company that stole more than $1.5 million from South Florida home buyers during closing proceedings between 2005 and 2007, according to Florida Supreme Court records.

_ A man who listed his employer as a nonexistent Blockbuster Video store in New York somehow used Hall’s home as collateral to secure a $230,000 loan from subprime lender Argent Mortgage.

_ Hall’s foreclosure was processed by the Florida Default Law Group, one of four Florida law firms being investigated by the state attorney general for using flawed documents to repossess homes from thousands of owners.

Read more…

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Filed under Financial Crisis, Foreclosure Fraud, Home Foreclosures, Home Mortgage Crisis, Mortgage Fraud

Foreclosure Fairy Dust

Is Bank of America a miracle worker? (Not.)

Slate

Did Bank of America really review 102,000 foreclosures in two and a half weeks? Yeah, right.

On Oct. 1 Bank of America said it would temporarily halt foreclosures in the 23 states where foreclosures require a court proceeding so that it might review the seizures in light of reports about industry-wide irregularities. (See my previous column, “Ask George Bailey.”) The bank pledged to “amend all affidavits in foreclosure cases that have not yet gone to judgment.”

Seventeen days later, the bank said it had completed its review in these 23 states and would resume foreclosures starting Oct. 25. (It will continue the review it began Oct. 8 of the remaining 27 states where foreclosures do not require a court proceeding—and where the likelihood that anyone will care about fake notarizations, missing documents, and the like is therefore more remote.) In effect, the bank said on Oct. 18 that it had reviewed 102,000 foreclosures, figured out whatever may have been wrong with them, and was ready to get back to the business of seizing and selling off these delinquent properties.

The foreclosure crisis was brought on by bluffing and corner-cutting banks (or foreclosure mills subcontracting for those banks) that had too many defaults to process at once. Might a similar bluffing and corner-cutting be the hallmark of Bank of America’s Evelyn Wood-style review? One can’t be certain, but three clues suggest the answer is “yes.”

Continue reading bullet points…

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Filed under Financial Crisis, Foreclosures

Nine Stories The Press Is Underreporting — Fraud, Fraud And More Fraud

This report exposes a lot of what the mainstream media refuses to report on…

Huffington Post

If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious that pervasive fraud was at the heart of the financial crisis and the ensuing foreclosure catastrophe, you would think that the latest news — that banks have routinely been lying their heads off in the rush to kick homeowners off the properties they fraudulently induced them to buy in the first place — would pretty much clinch it.

[...]

1. The astonishing amount of mortgage fraud (literally, millions of cases annually) and how it hyperinflated the bubble and led to the Great Recession.

2. The fact that these mortgage frauds were overwhelmingly due to consciously fraudulent lending practices in which the CEOs of seemingly legitimate entities used accounting tricks as their “weapon of choice” to report higher profits and get bigger bonuses. (George A. Akerlof and Paul R. Romer got it right in the title to their 1993 article: Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.)

3. The disgraceful lack of prosecutions which has resulted from regulators virtually ending the practice of making criminal referrals and the pathetic March 2007 “partnership” that the FBI entered into with the Mortgage Bankers Association (the trade association of the “perps”) that led the FBI and the Department of Justice to (implicitly) define out of existence fraud by the lenders (and to conceive of them as the “victim” — which they are, but only of their controlling officers). Bush administration attorney general Michael Mukasey in June 2008 notoriously refused to create a national task force against mortgage fraud based on his claim that mortgage fraud was analogous to “white collar street crime.”

4. The “echo” epidemics of fraud set off by the primary epidemic of accounting “control fraud“. The fraud designed by CEOs in turn kicked off an epidemic of fraud among loan brokers and appraisers. Reporters should explore the concept of the Gresham’s-style dynamic in which bad ethics were a competitive advantage and drove good ethics out of the marketplace.

5. The massive foreclosure fraud we are seeing now as another “echo” epidemic. To optimize their accounting control fraud, lenders gutted underwriting. [...]

6. The ongoing massive cover up of losses on bad assets, particularly by the “too big to fail” institutions, which I call “systemically dangerous institutions” (SDIs). Those institutions, along with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Congress (at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce and with no opposition from the Obama administration) in April 2009 forced the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to change the rules so that the banks do not have to recognize their losses unless and until they sell the bad assets. The implications of this cover up are large (and rarely reported). At the very least, it means that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s propaganda campaign about TARP saving the world at virtually no cost (perhaps even a “profit”) is nonsense — despite its success in influencing the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times[...]

7. The continued absence of effective regulation. It should be scandalous that President Obama left in charge, or even promoted, the anti-regulators who permitted the Great Recession. The (failed) anti-regulator of Fannie and Freddie, for example, remains FHFA’s acting director. This is significantly insane as a matter of both economics and politics. (The administration doesn’t even seem to realize the issue of integrity.)

8. The crises of state and local government and the lack of a rational basis for Republican and Blue Dog opposition to the proposed revenue sharing component of the stimulus bill. The compounding insanity of the administration failing to fight for its concept and failing to make explicit how badly its removal would harm the recovery, employment, and vital government services.

9. The insanity of accepting mass, long-term unemployment rather than having the government provide productive jobs for everyone willing to work (as the employer of last resort).

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Filed under Financial Crisis, Financial Regulatory Reform, Foreclosures

Cantor Opposes Foreclosure Moratorium: ‘People Have To Take Responsibility For Themselves’

In light of millions of people losing their homes and the jobs are not “there” to accommodate the millions out of work, not to mention the GOP stonewalling any legislation to help those people affected by the above, I am hard-pressed to see how the hell can they say that the GOP will sweep the mid-terms and glide into a majority for the House this November.

Think Progress

In recent weeks, there have been extremely disturbing revelations about how the nation’s biggest financial institutions handle foreclosures. After widespread reports about “robo-signers” — bank officials who would sign foreclosure forms without even reading them — several large financial institutions declared they were halting their foreclosure process. For example, a Bank of America official admitted in a bankruptcy case that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and “typically” did not read them “because of the volume,” and last week, Bank of America announced it was stopping all foreclosures across the country until it could be sure the process was fair to homeowners.

Several lawmakers have joined the banks in calling for foreclosure moratoriums until banks can carry the process out in a fair and legal manner. And a bipartisan group of attorneys general is also demanding action — for example, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, is asking 30 lenders to stop foreclosures until they can prove it’s being done legally.

On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) called for a nationwide moratorium on foreclosures, saying “it’s absolutely imperative that we keep people in their homes.” House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) disagreed strongly, however, saying he was “just perplexed” at Wasserman Schultz’s answer, and that “people have to take responsibility for themselves.”

CANTOR: I’m just perplexed to that answer, Bret… what we’re seeing if you do that, if you impose a moratorium on foreclosures what you are telling people and institutions that lend money is they do not have the protection to take the risk they need to, to extend credit for people will get a mortgage. You’ll shut down the housing industry if that is the case[...]

What we’re talking about, Debbie, you have 10 percent, if that, of the population who are now in a foreclosure situation or in a mortgage that they have been unable to meet the obligations… Now, come on, people have to take responsibility for themselves. We need to get the housing industry going again. We don’t need government intervening in every step of every aspect of this economy.

Watch it:

Continue reading…

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Filed under Financial Crisis, Financial Regulatory Reform, Foreclosures, Rep. Eric Cantor

In California: 10,000 LINE UP TO SAVE THEIR HOMES!

 

Sacramento Bee

They came by the thousands, transforming normally festive Cal Expo into a venue emblematic of California’s nightmarish housing meltdown.

An estimated 10,000 people were in line Friday morning when the Cal Expo Pavilion’s doors opened on a five-day event aimed at helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The line for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America’s “Save the Dream” event stretched from the Pavilion, through Cal Expo’s east parking lot, onto Exposition Boulevard and nearly to Ethan Way – a distance of half a mile.

Sacramento-area homeowners stood shoulder to shoulder with those from all parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona and far beyond, hoping to have their mortgage payments lowered in order to keep their homes.

Their stories ran the gamut: underwater mortgages, unemployment, financial crises, long-missed loan payments and frustration trying to talk with lenders.

NACA officials this week wrapped up a six-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where an estimated 40,000 came through the doors.

NACA CEO Bruce Marks said Friday that he expects that many at Cal Expo by closing time Tuesday.

“You’d think that the crowds would diminish by now, but they’re not. They keep coming,” Marks said. “This (Sacramento event) is probably going to have about as many as we had in Los Angeles.”

NACA, headquartered in the Boston suburb of Jamaica Plain, will be working with homeowners around the clock through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Its services are free, and it serves both the employed and unemployed. Options include renegotiated loans, interest rate reductions, loan principal reductions and mortgage restructuring. NACA said it has legally binding contracts with major lenders, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/09/3091190/10000-wait-in-line-at-cal-expo.html#ixzz11uTuhBNd

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Filed under Economic Inequality, Economy, Financial Crisis, Financial Regulatory Reform, Foreclosures