This is a (fairly outraged and rightfully so) discussion of MERS, the electronic system used by the foreclosure industry to prove ownership of homes. Depending on the state, it proves a little or a lot. It appears as time has gone by that the faults of the system have become more and more obvious.
Of course, many who lost their homes to companies using this system never really got a day in court since this weakness in the ownership status has only recently become well known. This was not fair and that it produces strong feelings of rage and hopelessness is not surprising.
I hope the thoughts here can help some people get justice.
Ezra Klein: (Klein has just asked why should we do a moratorium, this is his follow up question.) But won’t that just freeze the markets and throw everything into more chaos? And as for the homeowners, most of them will end up being foreclosed on anyway. We’ll have delayed the inevitable, adding uncertainty to economic pain.
John Taylor: (John Taylor is president and chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.) Those are people who don’t understand what’s happening in the crisis. The point of a moratorium is to give the counselors and the attorneys time to negotiate a fairer, more responsible mortgage product. Mortgages where properties have been abandoned and the banks are repossessing them should go forward. But in other cases, where people have just lost jobs, we can be more patient. Citibank has given those people six months to get back on their feet. That’s what we need, not greasing the skids of this process. People need to understand, every time there’s a foreclosure, if you’re near that house, your property value goes down.
Taylor goes on to discuss the time a moratorium should last. I’ve been calling for three months. I’m a piker. Taylor calls for 6 to 8 months.
But he makes sense, a moratorium would encourage banks to renegotiate the loans, not just foreclose. We could do with a little reason, a little intelligence in this process. As I have pointed out before, giving people BMW sport utility vehicles for signing record numbers of foreclosure documents without looking at them is not just illegal, it’s crazy. It doesn’t make any sense to game the system like that. Rewarding people for good performance is not a bad idea. Rewarding people for lunacy, rewarding people for things that get your sanity questioned is not good management practice.
We could do mortgage foreclosures like people, not like process. We can live as decent human beings. We have choices. We can try to keep people in their homes. We can try to make the best of a bad situation. We don’t have to live this way.