Too Many Unanswered Questions, and Too Little Relief

The settlement could be a step in the right direction, but a follow-up investigation is needed.

Comments: 106

  1. I share people's desire to see the banksters and other Wall Street financiers who undermined our economy be punished and required to make their victims whole. But in evaluating the merits of the $26 billion foreclosure settlement, it is important to keep in mind various hurdles facing the effort to make the banksters pay.

    First, part of the problem is that at least some of the sleazy behavior by the banksters was not technically illegal thanks to 30 years of conservative deregulation that eliminate many of the rules that had protected our financial system for decades since the Great Depression.

    Second, settlements in litigation inherently consist of less than either party would like. The tradeoff is giving up some of what you would like in exchange for quick relief and certainty.

    Third, the settlement includes numerous changes to how the industry handles loans, foreclosures, etc., including making foreclosure the option of last resort, that should help avoid a future meltdown. These changes could not have been achieved through legislation in today's political system, so it is good to get these changes through the settlement.

    In the end, 49 state AGs (all except Oklahoma), including progressive AGs in NY, CA, CT, etc., signed onto this settlement. While much more remains to be done, this suggests it wasn't a bad deal.

  2. 30 years of conservative deregulation? It was Bill Clinton who enthusiastically signed the repeal of Glass Steagall. I didn't know that Bill Clinton was a conservative.

  3. I still don't see how robo-signing is legal. Especially the name of a fictitious person, like the famous Linda Green.

  4. Progressive AGs signing off on a settlement touted by their president during his re-election campaign? That's politics.

  5. This deal is so spectacularly bad that its terms are being withheld from public view. At best, a few million illegally foreclosed people just might, years from now, get the equivalent of a moving truck rental and a month's rent to compensate them for what is probably the biggest single case of criminal conspiracy, grand larceny and fraud in the history of the United States. This amounts to a second bailout for the too-big-to-exist banks. They will end up paying mere pennies compared to the billions they stole. They will not go directly to jail, but they will pass Go and collect their bonuses.

    According to "American Banker", the actual settlement terms will not be released to the public because there is still no real deal on paper. The Obama Administration put the cart before the horse in its haste to put this mess behind them. More details can be found here:

    It was just a coincidence, too, that the "deal" was announced right after the Democrats decided they'd join in the SuperPac money game, and Obama campaign director Bill Messina met with Wall Street bankers to assure them that the president had no beef with them - just with Mitt Romney. So it's all good.

    They must really think people are stupid, and will just keep voting corporate Democrat because the alternative is worse. But guess what? The alternative is Occupy.

  6. Hi Karen,

    I like both your indignation and analytical grasp. (See my own post on financialization of the economy somewhere below.) The political aspect of the "settlement"--you did a beautiful job on the timing of it--is really dwarfed by the ideological and structural aspects: Obama, by his very action from day one, shows he is heart and soul on behalf of the megabanks, hedgers, and major corporations like GE and Boeing. Progressive are blind to the record. Your comment should help open their eyes.

    But the alternative? I wanted the Occupy Movement to succeed, but its inability to formulate goals has made it feckless. Demonstrations empty of content lead nowhere, and ultimately to apathy. I would like to see Obama challenged in every Democratic primary--and even if the result is slight, it will at least smoke him and his advisers out for what they are: deregulators, shills for business, heartless: bailouts for banks, zilch for school nutrition programs, and bupkas for job creation and forestalling the mortgage juggernaut. So, thanks for your piece.

    Norman Pollack

  7. As usual, Ms. Garcia can't resist a dig at Obama here and there. /the alternative is not Occupy. The alternative is Occupy or re-Occupy congress and possibly the White House--by Republicans. Since Obama had no chance of getting a more generous bill for homeowners through congress, he had to make the best executive deal he could get. Of course the agreement is not nearly enough, but if Romney were president, he would let the housing market bottom out, no prisoners taken. He promised.

  8. President Obama has a habit of announcing things that have not yet defined. Sometimes, they exist only in his world.

  9. If the President is serious about holding Wall Street accountable, he will ask Congress to extend the statute of limitations on these massive and historic financial crimes.

  10. Let's be honest, this is payoff....a tiny drop in the bucket designed to help the government claim they've done their job to hold Wall ST. accountable.

    In reality, it is the last sign that confirms we are a nation of, by and for the corporations. Bankers made hundreds of billions of dollars scamming the American people, and now they have to pay back 25 billion. I'll take a deal like that any day!

    Please, let me get away with a crime of stealing a million dollars if it only take $10,000 to pay you not investigate me.

    Millions of lives have been forever destroyed, and all President Change could do was bow to the banks and pretend to hold them accountable while the people who made calls and went door to door and gave what little money they had to get him elected cry themselves to sleep at night, that is, if they even get a chance to sleep rather than work two or three jobs just to pay for heat and food.

    It's sad that America is crumbling. What's even sadder is that we may very well deserve it if we sit idly by while the government and banks bleed us dry.

  11. The reason that "America is crumbling" is that for a long time the belief of our government has been that if you support the corporations, they will create jobs and everybody wins. What has changed is that the corporations are creating profits but not enough American jobs. Our policy has to change to adapt to the fact of a changed global economy. Corporate profits are not everything that we should be focussed on as a country, big corporate profits alone do not support a healthy US economy. Banks were encouraged to lower their mortgage lending standards to support housing starts which everyone agrees pumps up the economy. Until those borrowers no longer have jobs with which to pay their mortgages and the risk has been spread all through the system so that it crashes. Our health care system is broken by the same belief that profits for the providers and insurance companies will provide the best care for our citizens. Wrong. We have to stop running our government by what's best for corporate profits. We need to have publicly financed campaign spending so that politicians are not bought by corporate interests. One person, one vote? No, it is the dollars corporations spend lobbying and campaigning that currently make our US industrial policy. This is why we have the banking mess among other economic problems and no one is being held responsible - because the banks and other monied interests bought the politicians who are governing us.

  12. What do we do about all the millions of foreclosed homeowners who had many thousands of dollars of equity in the homes they lost? Can we just let the mortgage makers walk away with a resaleable house AND the equity in it?
    What is the point of buying a home, if after 15 or 20 years, you loose your job and can't make the mortgage payments and ultimately your house is repossesed?
    How can you be happy with a two thousand dollar check?
    If the homeowner is not given some latitude in remaining in the home, either with deferred payments accruing interest, or reduced payments to provide some income for the mortgager, then what is the point of owning a home if you have no residential guarentee? You might as well just rent.

  13. It's not nearly enough is the best and only important sentence in this commentary.

  14. "We applauded President Obama’s decision to appoint Mr. Schneiderman as a co-chairman of the new investigation, along with officials from the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies".

    I would not be surprised that the only reason Obama wants to appoint Mr. Schneiderman is to prevent him from further investigation. Remember Paul Volker? A title without a power! In what Mr. Schneiderman does, he is an opposit of Geithner and Obama supports Geithner.

  15. It does not solve the problem. There is more to be done.

    The mortgage crisis is not solved because it is difficult to assign blame. The first reaction is to blame banks and wall street. However, many borrowers knew they were lying on their mortgage application and went into the transaction highly leveraged and financially stretched. They were counting on housing price increases to cover their over exuberance. They lost the bet.

    There were other innocent borrowers who put significant equity into the transaction and kept their payment at reasonable levels. They were innocent victims of the housing bubble caused by sub prime lending, which brought about an over supply of housing and causing housing values to fall.. These are the homeowners who have the clearest case against the banks, wall street and un-spurious mortgage and real estate brokers. These are the citizens most justified in demanding some kind of retribution from the culprits.

    Here is a reasonable solution..

  16. William Black, former banking regulator during the S&L crisis:
    “It’s overwhelmingly lenders that put the lie in liars’ loans—they were big in 1990 and 1991. We killed them by regular regulatory means and stopped a crisis for a decade. Our successors—I mean, how hard is it to figure out that something called a ‘liar’s loan’ shouldn’t be allowed? This was not tough.”

    The FBI warned in 2004 that there was widespread mortgage fraud that would lead to a crisis at least as large as the S&L scandal. Instead, Bush put his wrecking crew throughout the regulatory agencies—trade representatives and lobbyists for the bankers.

  17. RLS: Look again. Many people made up this "wrecking crew", as you call it. There were plenty of democrats who supported Fannie's push to kill any regulation that would impede its profit-making.

    Many times, it was the republicans who wanted to make Fannie less of a risk to taxpayers, but democrats resisted their efforts in the interests of promoting home ownership to low income Americans.

    Just another example of the unintended consequences of government's good intentions.

  18. To say that the banks wrought the economic damage of the housing boom and bust is wrong if you mean they caused it. They were a great many people and institutions involved in "wroughting" the boom and bust. But the Times only wants the "Banks" or "Wall Street" to be blamed and made to pay. By the time we realize the important role banks and Wall Street play in our economy, it will be too late.

  19. Government must step aside so markets can clear, otherwise the stagnation will continue.

  20. " unsparing follow-on investigation": Don't count on it if past performance is any indication. The Administration, the Democratic party, the Department of Justice, all have bent to the will of the financial industry. (Someday perhaps even Dodd-Frank will be recognized as a wrist-slap.) The problem runs deeper than the political influence of campaign dollars. Rather, with the erosion of America's manufacturing base, we are witnessing the actual financialization of the total economy, which comes down to this: banking holds the economy hostage for everything from recovery to growth. Neither the president nor anyone else (exceptions being Paul Volcker and Elizabeth Warren) has the courage to stand up to a wealth-consolidation capable, if angered or threatened, to inflict great damage--from which it nonetheless could benefit--upon market operations and the business cycle.

    Yet a stand must obviously be taken, and at the moment Mr. Schneiderman seems the first ray of sunshine. His recent appointment was a face-saving device of the president, but, like Mr. Volcker, he will probably become marginalized while the prestige of his name will be used. As the mortgage settlement itself reveals, we, the public, are dealing with a cynical bunch masquerading as liberals and progressives. Will Secretary Geithner, for example, meet The Times's criticism of the settlement, including the need for criminal penalties for peddling fraudulent mortgage-backed securities? It's doubtful.

  21. Addendum to my post: please see Gretchen Morgenson's "The Deal Is Done, but Hold the Applause," in Today's Times. This is must reading and should dispel doubts that the settlement is anything but further goodies for the megabanks. Even compliance for the meager provisions is in doubt, given the banks' documented stonewalling of existing agreements. When will the scales of justice catch up with swindlers who have wreaked havoc on millions of American families? That the Obama administration negotiated and hailed the current settlement borders on moral turpitude.

  22. A sweetheart deal. The banks have the money earmarked and in some respects they'll even show a profit. It's miniscule compared to the bailout funds they received.
    The administration ramrodded the deal. Of course, nothings "changed" the big money rules as always. Accountability? Watch how quickly news of any further investigation disappears from the so-called press as we got closer to election time.
    The only possible good that will come from this is more fodder for OWS, Anonymous and any other groups looking to upset the golden applecart.

  23. The deal will have a harder time benefiting its intended targets in Wisconsin. Now that Governor Scott Walker, who opened up a hole in his budget by shoveling tax cuts over to business which did not produce the predicted jobs, has sucked up about 20% of Wisconsin's share of the settlement to help close the budget gap he gratuitously aggravated.

    And leave shafted many of the illegally foreclosed on homeowners in his state yet again.

  24. Obama has vowed to follow up with an expanded inquiry that is supposed to produce broader accountability...Why did it take Obama three years to take any action at all? Don't be surprised if the results of the "expanded inquiry" aren't made known until after the presidential election, if Obama wins. Of course, if a Republican wins, the cover-up will continue.

  25. Mr. Obama didn't do anything for distressed homeowners, period. People have memories.

  26. Too many unanswered questions is the understatement of the last several years. Why we are swallowing the need for answers to questions that haven't even been asked. The "what did you know and when did you know it" questions at the top of every criminal conspiracy. Never before in my lifetime has the government of the United States conspired to cover up such widespread criminality on the part of one industry. The question then becomes why are we not ALL demanding justice in the streets.
    For perspective on the $26B, not all of which will come from the banks, Goldman Sachs paid out $15.3 billion in pay and bonuses in 2010, and Citigroup, which received $45B in bailouts, paid $25B in bonuses in 2009, despite being in the red.
    It's incorrect to say the banks are not off the hook for criminal prosecution related to this mess. The release from future liability for crimes related to the foreclosure process, the loss of documents, the robo-signing, etc, is a release from the central crime, from the toxic fraud in the belly of the beast. Those are also the crimes for which there is overwhelming condemnatory evidence. A slam dunk for prosecutors. That was the crime that threatened to disrupt business as usual. The remaining potential liabilities are much more difficult to prove. Securities fraud charges will be on a case-by-case basis and the bundlers weren't executives and their alibi will always be that credit rating agencies approved. Face it: Schneiderman was bought.

  27. You utterly fail to mention the single, simplest no-brainer way to avoid the foreclosures:

    Making the timely mortgage payments 'owners' contractually agreed to !!

    A house temporarily 'underwater' doesn't mean owners can not afford mortgage payments. Nor has it ever been the bank or taxpayer's responsibility to guarantee that housing purchases turn a quick profit - or any profit at all for that matter !

    When markets and profits are soaring, everyone demands free market capitalism;
    when the markets fall back to earth, as they inevitably do, then everyone screams for Marxism.

    Sorry, you can't have it both ways !

    If banks/housing speculators made bad decisions, then they deserve to fail.

    The role of government should be strictly limited to promoting good paying jobs so that debtors can pay their bills without requiring massive welfare programs.

    Instead we have yet another reward for greedy, reckless and irresponsible lenders and borrowers, and zero interest rates designed to indefinitely punish the prudent and responsible.

    What a travesty this country has become.

  28. The article does not specify how the President discouraged or impeded a tougher prosecution. Given the rapacity of the banks involved, we need a prosecution that brings new meaning to the word "Draconian" -- to the point of every perpetrator literally begging for mercy.

    Is this a sadistic, vindictive plea? No: it's just the simple straightforward justice of "reap as ye sow.". We can't forgive for the simple reason that without justice, and perpetrators having a small taste of what they greedily inflicted on others, their continued enjoyment of lavish lifestyles coddled in stolen wealth amounts to ongoing predation, salt in the wounds of those injured.

    Anyone including the President who allows a single ammunition against perpetrators is an enabler, a moral accessory after the fact.

  29. While I agree that because of deregulation the mortgage industry got out of hand, this article puts all the blame on the banks. None of the blame is placed on the reckless borrrowers who were more than glad to spend their new riches acquired from inflated "cash-out refis" - shouldn't we punish these people as well? Why are you encouraging people not to honor their debts, and additionally, who says that the value of a home should only go up? Homes are not sacrosanct, thier values can flucuate up OR down like every other investment. It's time for homeowners to live up to their commitment or get out of the homeownership class and rent like the rest of us.

  30. Right, and what are the odds that is going to happen in this kleptocracy of ours where the big money, in particular the big banks, own our government?

    Slim to none.

  31. There has been much said about the need to redress wrong doing by the banks, and there has indeed been wrong doing, no doubt, but I must ask... "Who was it that took the home buyers by the hand and forced them to sit down in the bank loan officers chair and then proceeded to twist their arms or other some such torturous act, and force them to sign for the loan which they knew they could not afford?" Obamas actions make me wonder why I bother paying my bills.

    This action by the Obama administration is so onerous in its closed door actions and its selective favoritism to specified individuals that it looks less like an act of justice, and more like an election year publicity stunt.

    Obama has embarked on actions this year that are both shady in their dealings and partisan in their effect, most have no real objectives of bettering the nation. Many of his actions actually work to our detriment. Keystone Pipeline denial, monetary waste and fraud to Solyndra, auto bailouts that are not repaid, all adding to the national debt. On the birth control issue I have been doing some research, and I have yet to discover the part of the Constitution that grants the President the power to "make law". In concise terms, the process is that the Congress makes law, the President approves/disapproves and the courts decide the constitutionality. Obama seems to feel that he has been empowered to do all three personally, no need for an actual "government".

  32. Another Fox News Talking point Right Wing remark. Where is your criticism of the banking institutions that should have been allowed to go out of business, but with the TARP money the shareholders were bailed out.
    As to Solyndra, if this was such a bad idea why were conservative politicians such as Rep. Issa of California seekin money from the federal government for alternative energy projects in his district?
    Finally, the First and Fourteenth Amenments address the issue of Religion and no where in the establishment clause does it state that by the basis of its being a religious organization is exempt from public policy laws passed by the legislation. Their is a Supreme Court decision where a church was required to follow the dictates of the FLSA even though this violated their basic tenets. Even in a case where the Supreme Court upheld religious exemption, Wisconsin v Yoder, the Court used a formula that if applied to the contraception issue the Court would have ruled favor of the government. This fact is reinforced by the simple fact that the Supreme Court refused to hear a similar challenge to the contraception issue brought by the Catholic Charities in Caliornia.

  33. Probably fair to say at this point that this band aid applied to a gaping wound, will cause a groundswell in the occupy movement. Homeless people are already in the streets and sleeping in the parks.

  34. They should repay the money they owe.

  35. Lofie

    No, the banks who failed to properly assess risk should have been allowed to go out of business and the shareholders should have been wped out.

  36. Too big to fail is also to big to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Wow, wad-a-CON -try! A concerned effort to divide the banks and put them on the chop block
    needs to be done, but AFTER we first take all bribery OUT of politics, NOW. If banks suceed in preventing this, you -fail-I-fail and America is in 4th qtr, last play, on the 1 yard line with nothng but a tired and exhausted receiver to make an impossible catch, which means our better days have truly passed and we'll become has-beens in history................ or a revolution of some type changes the rules.

  37. This settlement is worse than a slap on the wrist to he large banks who cheated millions of Americans out of their hard earned savings, and into risky, guaranteed to fail ballooning mortgages. It is more like a hard slap across the face to offer someone who has lost a house to foreclosure, through no fault of their own, the measly sum of $1500.00. In most housing markets, that is barely one month's rent. It is certainly not compensation for the losses incurred. They might as well have told under water homeowners, 'tough - you lost, we win'.

    For the banking titans 'justice' is for 'just us'.

    I've said it before, as have many others - why is this financial trickery not only tolerated, but practiced with impunity? Why has no one gone to jail, or suffered any real penalty for the enormous damage that has been done? Has our America become that corrupt?

  38. I wonder; why did the extraordinary number of foreclosures come at a time when the banks needed money or write-offs to stay afloat? The robo-signing practice seems like a get rich quick idea.

  39. No one has claimed that any papers were signed fraudulently. Not much different than using a signature machine. Does the deadbeat borrower owe the money or not?

  40. Lofie

    That is exactly the claim, the Robosignerswere verifying the existence of documents that did not exist or were clearly flawed.

  41. " the economic damage wrought by the banks " ???

    what about the borrowers? did they not take the bank's $S to pay for a house???

    what about the government? did they not force the banks to loan $s in "red-lined" neighborhoods???

    and who pays for this, yet another, bailout???

    and who gets bailed out? the truthful borrower? no. the prudent borrower? no

    no. the ones getting bailed out are those who finagled more $s than they could handle, and now, to fix that problem, get more $s dumped on them.

    the whole thing is silly.

  42. Not just silly but a tragic replay of how Greece became Greece.

  43. Who gets bailed out? the banks management and the shareholders who should have been wiped out by failing institutions. Afterall it was the banks that were responsible for determining the quality of the mortgages they were approving and the CDO's, RMBS instruments in which they invested.
    As far as investing in redlined neighborhoods, this law hass been in place since the 70's and there was no problem until recently, further most of the mortgages written in these areas were issued and sold to companies who were not subject to the CRA regulations.
    Unfortunately, your comment represents the Right Wing narrative that somehow a percentage of the population that owns less than 3% of the overall wealth in the US was responsible for the collapse of the US economy.

  44. Any "deal" that offers absolution for blatant fraud (oh, wait, that's this one...) ought to be anathema in any society absent an oligarchy (oh, wait, that's close to what the bankers are making this one...).

  45. Americans are indeed fortunate that once more the Times Editorial Board has spoken as the conscience of our community. If we continued moving toward a bad place regarding the banks' bad behavior, there is little doubt we'd have all suffered both economically and morally as a result, not just the affected homeowners. Thank you for the difference you make.

  46. What needs to be clarified is how will the sleazy borrowers who borrowed and spent more money than they could afford be held accountable? Why should responsible taxpayers, bank depositors and bank stockholders bail them out? And please don't tell me that the Banks are paying. Stockholders own banks, banks hold money deposited by you and me. Banks do not print money. At the end of the day a Bank is nothing more than a brick and mortar building which safeguards, circulates and invests people's money.
    Every homeowner who obtained a mortgage signed a note promising to repay the amount of the loan. They knew precisely how much the note was for—they signed the notes! So why is it that the number on those notes is being reduced for some?

  47. To those who keep harping about the borrower's culpability for taking a loan they probably could not pay: the terms of these mortgages were usually designed so as to conceal the degree of risk borrowers were assuming: the first two years of these loans the interest and principal payments required were negligible, but after two years they became balloon mortgages that were almost impossible to repay -- and this was even true without a decrease in the value of the home. The banks (and the mortgage packagers) knew this, but they were making so much money on the initial loan, the repackaging and binding and reselling of those loans (billions of dollars), that they did not care about default two years later -- they would already have passed on the risk to others, bundled the risky loans to disguise their riskiness, and sold them to banks that never vetted the bundled loans. (Read Michael Lewis's The Big Short).

    Borrowers, many of them poorly informed, were usually encouraged to sign complicated contracts they had little understanding of, while being counseled by the banks that they would have no problem paying off the mortgage and nothing to worry about. (Consumer law always gives the consumer the benefit of the doubt in giving effect to the small print in a contract -- because consumers usually don't know about the small print and because the small print is written so as to obscure its real meaning.) In this case, who is really to blame?

  48. The bank shareholders were the biggest beneficiaries of the TARP program as the FED did not require the banks to dilute shareholder value and as you point out the shareholders own the banks and I agree with this statement, therefore the banks that were failing should have been allowed to fail wiping out all shareholder equity. This is based entirely on your own statement that management at the banks were making the decisions on what mortgages to issue and since bank management was ultimately responsible for the meltdown those institutions should have been allowed to fail.
    As far as your point that banks do not print money, where did you get that idea? A bank is printing money whenever it can issue debt and purchase investment vehicles at leverage ratios of 40 to one.

  49. Meanwhile, "[t]he nation's top six banks -- Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs -- paid out $144 billion in bonuses and compensation for 2011, second only to the record $147 billion paid out in 2007 at the height of the economic boom . . . ."
    The 26 billion settlement is a drop in the bucket -- a favor to the banks.

  50. I'm so tired of hearing about the poor pitiful underwater mortgage deadbeats.

  51. Most underwater homeowners are paying their mortgages and have suffered at the hands of the complicity between the federal authorities and the financial industy. If you do not have mortgage then good for you, but if you do have a mortgage and prices continue to deteriorate then you too may join the ranks of the underwater deadbeats.

  52. The settlement seems like a whitewash to me.

    Another in a long series of slaps on the wrists and promises not to do it again.

  53. It never ends. Those thats gots, gets. The banks felt it more profitable to look as if they wanted to do something/anything. The banks will win, and a cowardly hog at the trough congress will do nothing to endanger their sugar daddys. When will it end?

  54. Some features of the settlement are laudable, but in the end the borrower of the future will pay for this settlement.

  55. President Obama promises that this is just a down payment and a start. He promises that it does not shut down future prosecutions. I'm banking on that.

  56. Welcome to the New America, with Liberty and Justice for the 1% (and only the 1%). $2000 per, can you imagine, it's almost an insult (forget that "almost").

  57. This really is pathetic. Another example of enabling bad behavior both for the individuals who over payed for their homes and second mortgages as well as the banks and others who granted these loans and then sold them off as investments. Definitely sends a bad message to those responsible individuals who lived within their means and/or struggled to make sure they did not default on their loans. Our government seems intent on "giving it all away" until there is nothing left to give. Remember this at election time!

  58. For all those who pronounce along the lines of "What about those people who knew they were lying?"

    What about them? What is your suggestion? There is a long chain of individuals who were involved, from the borrower to the CEO. How will you prosecute them? How will you decide, for each case, the degree of culpability, so that you can exercise your righteous justice? How many new government employees will you hire to do the investigation and legal work? And which of the group, along that continuum, is most likely to suffer the consequences, given the cost of a legal defense?

    As for the "But they signed a contract! How come *I* don't get a bailout?!" crowd:

    Well, these are the same people who say: "But the banks will just pass the cost along to their customers and stockholders." Sorry, but we do live in this absurdly convoluted and interconnected economic construct; there is no simple, morally calibrated way out---we are all going to pay no matter what.

    Stop complaining, and look at the Case-Shiller Price Index. Do you want the downside of the bubble to be as extreme as the upside? Or, wouldn't we all be better off if we stabilized to the price level that the trend projected before the bubble? There has to be some intervention; let's not make the same mistake on the downside that we did on the up.

  59. I'm sorry but the phrase "buyer beware" was something I heard much about while studying business and law. Also, the saying, "buying a home is the biggest investment of your life" was quite prevelant. Any investment, including buying a home, implies risk. What's your thesis - you lose money on your investment, we pay? Further, almost all home buyers are represented by an attorney at closing. Everyone knew or should have known what they were getting into when they entered into their contract.
    True the banks were lending money to high risk folks but they were largely doing so at the behest of Fannie and Freddie.

  60. Tom,

    " the behest..."?

    What exactly does that mean, Tom, with all your training in business and law?

    Putting aside the well-established fact that F and F (foolishly and greedily) jumped on the bandwagon at the end but were not the originators, how did Barney Frank and friends *force* all these agents to go against their usual strict ethical standards (hah) by giving out bad loans, making commissions, and then reselling fraudulently rated instruments at a profit? Sounds like the excuse of a child who broke the cookie jar.

    As to the presence of an attorney: The exact people that you are dog-whistling about almost certainly *were not* represented by an attorney, at least not one acting in their interests. Seriously, you think people who were so naive as to accept second mortgages as a source of their down payments had the wherewithal to hire legitimate representation?

  61. Tom Wheeler

    Hiring an attorney when someone purchased a home has gone the way of the PITI principles that once governed eligibility for qualifying for a mortgage. In fact, at closing the only attorney the purchaser is required to pay is the bank's attorney.
    Additionally, you do not address the principle question addressed by the original post, and that is how do you determine who was at fault? Was it the buyer who provided bogus information or the mortgage broker who did not follow basic underwriting standards by investigating these fraudulent claims.
    Further, you claim that "buyer beware" is a basic business tenet, yet your simplistic analogy fails to address the fact many of these toxic mortgages were sold in the secondary market and they failed to follow the same buyer beware advice you apply only to those who purchased a home they could not afford.
    Moreover, to foreclose the CRA narrative that is popular on the Right, I would like to add that the majority of these secondary mortgages were not sold to Fannie and Freddy. During the height of the sub-prime crisis Fannie and Freddy's percentage of the secondary mortgage market had shrunk to 47% and the remaining players in the secondary mortgage market were not subject to CRA rules.

  62. The AGs in New York and California are notable for fighting to preserve the right to prosecute any illegal bank conduct concerning mortgages. Whether enough is preserved is a question. For many of us who live in jurisdictions other than New York and California, we heard barely a peep from our state attorneys general. As citizens, we need to remind our state officials that we want prosecutorial vigor, not timidity.

  63. The over/under is ten months on how long it will take banks just to get a form that addresses the issues in the legislation. Once the form is filled out, how long before anyone at a bank signs off on anything ? Political paralysis suggests that whenever laws now do get passed, there should be checklists and forms attached to the legislation to be used within days by those required by the law to do something. Otherwise, the attacks on the law after it is passed just encourages those required to act to stonewall. President Obama should refer back to FDR, who said in the 1936 political campaign that the republicans hated him and he welcomed their hate--he swept everything in1936.

  64. Obama has been in the tank for the banks since his inaugeration, therefore why would anyone believe this settlement will help distressed homeowners. The TBTF banks are bigger than ever and have more political clout than even before the banking meltdown of 2008. The only meaningful legislation would be to break up the TBTF banks and that is unlikely to happen until the next crisis or campaign finance reform in the way of a constitutional amendment that removes money from the political process. Reagan spoke of Welfare Queens, well now we have Welfare for the politically connected. What we need is a true progessive movement in this country that removes both democrats and republicans who are indebted to the corporate overlords and speaks to the needs of the American citizens. Unfortunately, until the dwindling Middle and Working classes understand that the policies of the past 30 years are at the heart of their deteriorating financial and educational opportunities this is unlikely to happen. Divide and Conquer always works.

  65. Obama's quacking during the State of the Union notwithstanding, don't hold your breath. He's made it clear from day one that he's a total tool of the 1%.

  66. The settlement sends a message that some people are above the law. Fraudulent activity should not be swept under the rug. It will not discourage more bad behavior if the penalty for a felony offense is a parking ticket.

    “The Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Hate the Mortgage Settlement” by Yves Smith who writes the blog, Naked Capitalism, and has spent more than 25 years in the financial services industry.

    “If the new federal task force were intended to be serious, this deal would have not have been settled. You NEVER settle before investigating. It's a bad idea to settle obvious, widespread wrongdoing on the cheap.

    “As we’ve said before, this settlement is yet another raw demonstration of who wields power in America, and it isn’t you and me. It’s bad enough to see these negotiations come to their predictable, sorry outcome. It adds insult to injury to see some try to depict it as a win for long suffering, still abused homeowners.”

  67. Peanuts. This "settlement" is a paltry amount of money for the big banks. The terms and conditions of this deal do not begin to address the harm done both to individual home owners and the economy as a whole.

    The banks will diddle and fiddle over the next three years. No substantial, effective relief is guaranteed in any way. Take a look at the Countrywide settlement.
    What will $2000 buy for the wrongfully foreclosed homeowner?' How fast will the deal actually be implemented over the "three year period of time"? When will forebearance kick in? And principal reduction, who and when? Another ream of paperwork for the distressed homeowner that the clerks hired by the big banks will loose, feign to not receive, nit pick, screw up, and kick on up the corporate line.

    The big banks will put distressed homeowners through bureaucratic hoops in order to delay implementation of this deal.

    And the big banks have big law firms charging hourly rates. The AG offices have state employed lawyers who are not trained and not familiar with this area of the law. Sheep to the slaughter.

    But the politicians and the banks get through another election. A real sweetheart deal.

  68. You ignore the personal responsibility of the homeowners.They make the purchase deciding that this is a good investment for themselves.If the value of the house increases considerably,the profit would be their's.If it decreases,the responsibility is their's also for making a bad investment.

  69. Realistically the mortgage bankers have never been on the "hook for criminal prosecutions" related to what the editorial mislabels the mortgage mess. For almost a decade a state of lawlessness has existed concerning the predatory origination, securitization and servicing of mortgage loans. The top mortgage banking institutions in this country are responsible for this state of lawlessness that has directly harmed taxpayers, pensioners and homeowners.

    As long as the criminal justice apparatus of the federal government is controlled by the mortgage bankers' former white collar criminal defense lawyers, United States Attorney General Eric Holder and head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division Lanny Breuer, there will be no meaningful criminal prosecutions of the kingpins.

  70. In an election year where both the incumbent and his challengers seek campaign contributions from the investigatees, does the conflict of interest inherent in the system make it very difficult to be both bold and ethical to get to the heart of solutions and policies that right wrongs , strengthen the economy and prudent regulation, and find the good balance between lasses faire capitalism and fair socially responsible capitalism?

  71. The $3.5 billion allocated for legal aid and counseling is insufficient.

    If this administration had adequately funded legal aid and counseling resources for borrowers facing foreclosure in 2008, probably 80% of the abuses which occurred would have been prevented.

    I am a lawyer who has specialized in mortgage law for 30 years and cringe when I read some of the stories of lender abuse and ineptitude. All these borrowers needed was a lawyer. Some borrowers retained lawyers to fight their lenders and won. In one well known case, a judge awarded punitive damages against a lender whose representative lied under oath about the amount due on their mortgage. The facts in this case were very similar to other stories of lender misbehavior: borrower submitted paper work, paper work lost, lender grants forebearance (extra time to pay) and then another arm of the bank institutes foreclosure, bank representative has no idea what is owed on the mortgage, bank miscalculates amount due (penalties, default interest, etc.).

    Also, many mortgages are bundled into securities and are subject to restrictions which prohibit modifications of the mortgage (including foregiveness of principal). This is a problem which the so called settlement ignores.

    Finally, I have read that the so called settlement excludes Fannie, Freddie and FHA. At least 50% of the home mortgages in the US are owned by these entities.

  72. Yet again the tax payers are being duped into paying for those who were unqualified, undercapitalized, over extended and victimized by the liberal "homeownership is every Americans right" mantra.

    While I feel badly for them, it is not my job to bail them out of their mess.

    Show me what portion of the Constitution gives the government the authority to send my tax dollars to someone to fix their mistake.

  73. I thought large federal spending decisions had to be passed by Congress then signed by the President. It appears I have a poor understanding of civics.

  74. I truly appreciate the family who lost a job or is up side down on a property like 3 of my family members. However banks are also going to reward the people who never had any business buying in the first place ? No money down,walked the property, cry fowl and make $2000 dollars?
    When will we
    investigate Barney Frank or Chris Dodd as the top Government officials ?
    We let the same idiots who got us into this mess rewrite the rules ? It's akin to letting the prisoners run the legal system......

  75. The banks ,Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offered mortgages to homebuyers who were poor credit risks and are at fault for that.
    The homebuyers had the choice of accepting a mortgage or not.That is their responsibility.If the house value increased,they would be elated with their choice.When it decreased,they cannot blame anyone other than themselves.

  76. Exactly how many individual homebuyer mortgages did Mac and Mae offer to anyone???

  77. This is another slap on the wrist. The banks are, at best, guilty of fraud on the foreclosed homeowners and the courts that rubber-stamped the bank's fraudulent filings. At worst, these banks are guilty of RICO-like activities and, in some cases, outright theft.

    $2.5 Trillion and some mechanism to address the conspiracies and theft would be a much better settlement.

    It is a shame that the U.S. Department of Justice is much more interested in accommodation than it is in fairness to the victims of the banks inappropriate and illegal activities.

  78. I desperately fought for a loan modification for 3 years. Not only did I not get a modification and eventually lost my home, I did not even get an answer to the most basic question that I asked: I have 2 mortgages with the same company. Can you offer a modification to include both loans? What good is it to get an answer on the primary mortgage if the total payment does not include both mortgages? This is not a difficult question to answer. All I ever received was a speech going on and on about the banks "investors." I expect to get nothing from this new ruling. I hope the banks involved get the same in return.

  79. $2,000 to 750,000 borrowers who were treated unfairly? Unfairly? Were not many of them mistreated and illegally? Were not many of them foreclosed on by banks who did not have the legally required paperwork? That is the mortgage itself? How can there be a world without documentation? How can a bank foreclose on a property without a mortgage? Why do the banks always walk away with a wrist slap?

  80. Answers to every question about this settlement were available the day before the Obama administration announced it. That's the day Obama announced his epiphany on Super-PACs and donors could begin to contribute unlimited amounts to his campaign anonymously, nod nod, wink wink.

    How else can you interpret this settlement of the biggest fraud in history and NOBODY GOES TO JAIL?

    The US Executive branch is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of largest financial institutions, it just seems that way.

    Let's hope for a change in 2012.

  81. Any change would be for the worse

  82. Those politicians and interest groups that pressured banks and other lending institutions, under threat of massive law suits, to give mortgages to people who had no down payment funds, no realistic ability to pay their mortages, and with poor credit histories, largely under the 'civil rights' banner, should be the primary focus of criminal and civil litigation. Let the Jessie Jacksons, Rev. Sharptons, Barney Franks, and other mainly Democratic Party entities (although some Republicans pushed an 'ownership society') have their lavish wealth confiscated for the financial harm they've caused to the American populace at large.

    Regarding banks and other financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, hold them financially liable for the derivitives debacle which they propogated. But in the final analysis, homeowners who bought houses without down payments, with mortgages they couldn't afford, deserve nothing...Especially considering that many if not most haven't paid their mortages for months or even years, and during the entire length of their mortgages, have received enormous tax benefits for interest paid, benefits no renters have enjoyed.

  83. Since the government in general and the Obama administration in particular have decided to bail out any bank that even looks like it may be in trouble and they seem bent on giving tax payer subsidized handouts to the irresponsible people who took these loans, and to do NOTHING for those of us who acted responsibly, stayed in our homes and toughed it out paying our bills and doing without a s result, I for one will NEVER borrow from a bank in the future, nor will I have any dealings with a bank. I have already moved my finances to a local home town credit union, and as soon as the few bills I do have are paid off, I will never borrow again. There is no justifiable reason to borrow money from a bank and allow government to have a hand in my personal finances, therefore I won't be allowing them to do so any more. There is no benefit in dealing with bank nor is there any positive side to dealing financially with the government as they are both in the business of taking money from people who work for a living and handing it over to the lazy who have nor desire nor motivation to to earn a living.

  84. Banks and mortgage brokers were being paid much higher commissions to write the type of loans that were guaranteed to fail. And by that I mean if you called up your mortgage company to refinance in 2006 the only product offered to you was a five year interest only ARM. I had to refinance my house to pay for legal fees of a custody battle for my two children. I had to get them out of a house of a sex abuser. This abuse was substantiated by the division of child welfare and therapists. There was little else I to do to but to refi to pay legal fees. Up to that point every mortgage payment was in time. The only loan I was offered was an ARM. I even said to my mortgage broker "what if the economy takes a dump in a year or two and housing goes bust.". His answer?? Mr. H the Govt will never let that happen. This is what fuels our economy". Needless to say that guy no longer has a job and the company he worked for no longer exists. My current mortgage servicer has so far been unable to produce original paperwork and a legally valid chain of transfer.

    Banks did all of this so they could securitize and sell the loans in a speeded up process that didn't require notarized transfer, county registry etc. in short all of the things needed in a real estate transaction. Then that very same bank could hedge against the securities in a well crafted CDS, collect interest on the loan for a few years, let the home slip into default, repossess the home and then collect on the CDS hedge fund.

  85. Hey, I lost money in the stock market! I think the government ought to pay me or make the banks pay me. WAH

  86. I see one weakness in this and other articles in NYT on the issue: None of them touched upon why those AG's decided to make the deal when its effectiveness and fairness are both very questionable.

    I am also perplexed why no one, either journalists or politicians, have ever mentioned revisiting and working toward a bill to give an authority to bankruptcy judges to modify the loan terms including the principal reductions. This would give enormous incentive to lenders to modify the loan and it would cost nothing to tax payers. The bill was killed (successfully from banks' point of view) at the Senate few years ago with oppositions from Republicans and, surprisingly, by many Democrats. I am yet to see any analysis by any journalists as to why so many Democrats participated in killing the bill.

    Overall this is very depressing. Economy will not recover if foreclosures do not stop and there is a plenty of reasons for us to believe the deal will not work.

  87. In our society, a roof over your head is far too important to be left to the free market. Regulation on house purchasing, borrowing and repossession (or foreclosure ) is necessary. It is the responsibility of any government to protect its citizens from predatrory trade practises. .Just do it.

  88. Under Obama and Bernanke we were supposed to see the end of " too big to fail ". Instead, what we really have is about seven of the largest banks in this country holding an excess of 75% of depositor's monies and assets........which reinforces to big to fail.

  89. And you want more? As a shareholder I deeply regret that the banks allowed themselves to be shaken down by this onerous settlement. The bank officers' cowardly action is mearly an attempt to get a negative publicity onslaught by the administration and democrat party leaders seeking to gain election advantage from a rediculously exagerated harm.

    One wonders if in the Obama administration defined society, when are people ever responsible for their own inept or untimely behaviors? When are government agency leaders, as in the heads of Fannie and Freddie, good friends of Barney Frank, ever responsible? And when are the great society stalwarts who directed constant legal action against banks for strict lending practices ever responsible?

    The Times should not decry the attorneys general for this settlement. The alternative would have been a long series of court litigations with the real possibilty, based on the skimpy, politically blown-up evidence, of coming up blank.

    Now that "Eric" is in charge, one can only hope and wish for the banks the guts to take on this self-proclaimed enforcer and seek justice in the courtroom.

  90. My home is worth less than I paid for it. Although my mortgage is not "underwater" where is my relief? My home is worth more than I paid but not as much as three years ago, where is my relief? We are slowly institutionalizing government shakedown actions as a way to right perceived wrongs in often complex situations. By the way, was your article on Friday supposed to make me feel sorry for a guy in NYC who owns a townhouse and has a $600,000 mortgage? Is that where we are headed.....

  91. Why isn't each instance of "robo-signing" one count of felony forgery?

  92. At the end of your article you suggest:
    "President Obama will need to press his own administration hard to deliver an unsparing follow-on investigation that results in more clarity, more money and more justice".
    You're kidding right! Obama has all but ignored this issue for 3 years, He "saved" this issue until his reelection year to make himself "look" like a man of the people who is interested in "justice" for the commoners. Do you really think a man who shelved this issue until it could be used as a PR campaign for his reelection is really going to make sure of anything - come on - he already has what he wanted - a deal he can spin and PR to make himself look good - he doesn't care about the details or problems in this "deal". That was never his purpose to start with. This is all about Politics - plain for anyone to see.

  93. Banks, banks, and bankers. Seems it is always their fault (I agree), and they get off easy (I agree) and make even MORE money. Now, don't be blasting Obama for it, folks. Anybody think the GOP would be more strict with the banks?

  94. Tired of hearing all the moralizing blaming some homebuyers! If a homeowner cannot or will not continue making payments, he/she is not breaking any law. They had a contract with a lender, who made a bundle on the downbeat. if the contract goes south, the lender's (only) recourse is spelled out in that contract and in state laws. It is the lenders and bankers who are breaking laws, not the homeowners.

    We don't enjoy seeing (small) bailouts going to fraudulent buyers. But most of the bailouts, by far, and going to protect lenders and fatten the banks.

  95. The big banks have simply turned the HAMP program into an unadulterated big scam!

  96. First, the government required lenders to lend to people who otherwise would not qualify (the Community Reinvestment Act and other programs). Then, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it purchased loans from the lenders, and transferred the risk of loss to the taxpayer. Because the lenders made money each time they repeated the process, they naturally kept the cycle going, and the money circulating. Borrowers, being human, appreciated the easy money, and understandably took advantage of the plate when it was being passed around. Now, the banks are being thrown into the briar patch, Congressmen are retiring with rich pensions for creating the mess, taxpayers are stuck with the bill, and homeowners who did not overextend themselves are feeling like marks at the circus. The settlement assuages the consciences of the guilty while doing nothing to help the real victims, the taxpayers. The article cannot be taken seriously since it paints with a broad, partisan brush, placing all the blame on the banks. There is plenty of blame to go around; none of the players - the government, the lenders, and the borrowers, could have acted without the willing assistance of the others, This is just more storm and thunder that signifies nothing.

  97. "The big redeeming feature is that the deal was crafted to allow for further investigation into mortgage abuses that led to the financial meltdown."

    Call me cynical, but it seems like this is the first step of a quid pro quo deal. The proverbial shot across the bow to the big banks. I need someone to fund my super PACs. If you step up and help me get reelected, we'll let this slap on the wrist die quietly in the night. If you don't and I get reelected, you'll end up like Ken Lay or Jeffrey Skilling (dead of a heart attack/sentenced to 24 years in the pokey) and heads are going to roll.

  98. We need a national MORATORIUM on foreclosures until these investigations are completed. Time out! Or the downward spiral will continue -- home prices drop, more owners slip underwater, more foreclosures, devastated housing sector continues to drag down the struggling economy.
    Principal reductions for underwater homeowners, including Fannie and Freddie, must be MANDATED; puny "incentives" clearly don't work. Let's try to keep people IN their homes instead of throwing them out. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 18 million homes empty, whole neighborhoods dying.
    We need to put some teeth into this "settlement." Turn this country around!

  99. This is a settlement where governtment is going to release claims they don't own. Individuals have these claims and most of those claims are going to be settled for pennies on the dollar by their government. It will also be a "claims made process" and statistics show only a small percentage of people will actually go to all of the trouble to file their claim. After someone does make a claim , they will have to locate all of their proofs. Many of the potential claimants may also never get notice since they no longer live at the address where they were foreclosed. Good luck to the little guys. Who wins? The banks and the political class who trumpet this as a great thing. Maybe a better thing for government to do is to first tell everyone the gross amount of the damages to the public and then explain why they are giving these claims away for pennies in an unfair process. They should then wait for a response and do the right thing--not the expedient thing.

  100. I know first hand what is like to lose a home to Bank of America foreclosure. After 16 years of making every payment on time, I lost my business and we fell behind on our mortgage. At 3 months delinquent, B of A initiated foreclosure.

    We spent the next two years and every penny of our savings trying to hold on to our home. At every turn, B of A proved their indifference towards helping us find a way to keep our home. Our efforts to secure a federally-sponsored modification (for which we amply qualified) were met with lost paperwork, errors in record keeping, poorly trained agents, voice mail hell, interminable phone calls to innumerable departments and host of bungling.

    In the end, I had actually regained employment as was prepared to resume our mortgage without modification, if only B of A would agree to forestall foreclosure while we resumed our payments. Still, B of A was unwilling to work with us.

    Most disgusting is that B of A expresses no accountability regarding their contribution towards this awful mess. And no leadership towards helping our country recover. A $25 billion settlement is a total joke. Mortgage modification is a myth!

    As a former entrepreneur and business person, I once had (misguided) faith that our banks were there to help us grow and prosper. That was totally wrong. Banks are the worst actors in our economy - just sharks with a nice suit.

    RC - Portland, OR

  101. Maybe someone can help me understand this. In the 11th hour of the bubble bursting banks got caught holding some very toxic assets which no one would buy from them. These mortgages were left on their books and I believe are still there today. For if they got rid of them they'd have to mark them to market and take the deserved losses for their greediness and stupidity.

    So tell me. This is only a "deal" with the banks and no one else. Where's the pony in this pile of horse manure?

    Something doesn't smell right for me.

    Bankers never do something for nothing.............never.

  102. Another Obama boondoggle!! The ones on the hook, in the final analysis, are the homeowners who signed home loan commitments, and are current on their mortgage payments. When are the citizens of the USA (and the NYT) going to wake up and realize that this President is incompetent, inexperienced, lacks real leadership, and never keeps his promises?

  103. This article is so ridiculous it could only be printed in the NYT - THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is DIRECTLY responsible for the housing bubble - Clinton is to blame for FORCING banks under threat of severe penalties by THE government to lend to people who could NOT afford a house - and who profited? DEMORATS - and who else now that BO'Marxist has DEMANDED banks to pay $$$ to those same idiots who signed those mortgages - WARREN BUFFET, king of crony capitalists (Immelt Gates are pikers compared to Buffet's unethical behavior and his lap dog, BO - and this new "demand" is nothing more than BO's Chicago thug roots buying votes - The prez has NO authority to do this or any other moral imbecilic petulant demand he makes - infanticide/birth control/abortion paid for by we who are religiously opposed to it all and in direct violation of our Constitution. The NYT is pathetic - Marxist liberals are incapable of truth - they rely on - as does prez BO - is equivocation. The United States of America is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, which means the people rule, NOT a democracy as BO and the Demorats would like Americans to believe - Obama. Mr. 57 states - is an unmitigated embarrassment and disgrace - uneducated/unethical/arrogant/sociopath spoiled brat/angry little man in love with himself and bearing an outright hatred of the USA and all our principles and freedoms.
    Americans better wake up and throw this Marxist whiny baby thug and all Democrats and the RHINOS out - LIVE FREE or DIE -

  104. The banks entered in an agreement with the borrower. If the deal goes south, seems both sides should take a hit. Borrowers lose house and banks lose nothing? Taxpayers are involved because the banks decided taxpayers should handle their loss and the politicians looking for campaign contributions agreed. Oh and people who vent against foreclosed borrowers have involved the taxpayers by falling for the bank's blame the victim campaign. How dependably gullible that group is.

    Borrower the victim? How could that be when these greedy borrowers are the ones who defaulted?. Pretty simple if you aren't listening to the banks, corporate media and government versions. Banks colluded with appraisers/realtors/mortgage brokers to artificially (illegally?) inflate the prices of property. With prices properly inflated the co-conspirators handed out homes and money to anyone who was willing to sign paper committing them to the inflated prices. Knowing the mortgages were trash, banks conspired with rating agencies to sell off the mortgages to countries like Greece. For some reason foreclosure was the end game so the banks tripled credit card payments if a borrower sneezed the day your bill was due. Surprise we have massive foreclosures. Then the foreclosure mill began with banks hiring judges to rule in favor of banks presenting forged documents to the court. When a few brave attorneys challenged the scam the government had to step in a clean it up with a pardon. Whats next

  105. The only plus 2 this deal is further investigation of banks.By disallowing loan mods 4 those who's loan contract pre-dates 2008 & were bought by Fannie or Freddie It irreversibly damages many home-owners .
    Also, it rewards those who thumb their noses at our immigration, fraud and banking law by.compensating illegal immigrants who defrauded banks by using fraudulent T.I.N. #s 2 purchase homes.
    These same illegals r now: pooling/laundering their ill-gotten/ un-taxed gains--2 pay cash 4 home at bargain-basement prices- 4 homes they lost due 2 their past fraudulent acts; using unfair business practices- 2 buy-back these homes at bargain-basement prices by employing/harboring illegal immigrants 2 repair them, again w/o permits; outbidding Americans; then renting these homes 2 multiple families of illegal immigrants who have no consideration or respect for their neighbors' right 2 PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT OF THEIR HOMES ; stalling economic recovery; driving down property values by creating Mexican Slums w/ 3-10 cars per household; 3 or more families in each SFR; blaring obnoxious Mariachi Music; loudly revving-up vehicles & scattering garbage & unwanted furniture on lawns & our roadsides; w/ scores of their screaming kids disturbing our peace.
    TO BE FAIR, only Americans or documented aliens whose homes were lost or under water w/interest rates above current ones-- regardless of lender or date of contract--should benefit from this settlement & be allowed modifications.

  106. I had a B of A loan on a Condo in Florida. The loans were originally with Countrywide. When I first got their notice to foreclose, they admitted that they did not have the "Note". So I responded back to the service that was personally made to me at an adress that began with "W " in the street address, that I was disputing the Foreclosure, because they did not have the "Note" and had no right to foreclose. I cited the approriate clause, an attorney I had consulted gave me the proper wording. He had told me that he was so busy at that time in Florida, that unless I personally lived in Florida in the property and could give him $500 per month to fight the Foreclosure with these same type of letters. I could write the same back citing the Commerce code violations. I didn't hear anything back. Then at Spring Break, I am in the Condo the HOA manager comes and tells me a Real Estate Agent is their to list the Condo for sale for the bank. The Agent then tells me the bank bought it on the Court house steps last week. I go to the court house steps, BOA deliberately, sent all the notices, after the first services to an address begining with "T" that I had not lived at for 3.5 years. This is after I sent them registered letters that I was objecting to the foreclosure, that had my real address where they served me in person. They lied to the court and said they couldn't find me. But every month they sent me via e-mail and regular e-mail insurance information, that I responded to. Theifs