Three years ago, the states began to get concerned about mortgage fraud. So they asked the banks about it.
From the Washington Post –
As foreclosures began to mount across the country three years ago, a group of state bank regulators suspected that some borrowers might be losing their homes unnecessarily. So the state officials asked the biggest national banks for details about their foreclosure operations.
Guess what! Some banks didn’t cooperate.
When two banks – J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo – declined to cooperate, the state officials asked the banks’ federal regulator for help, according to a letter they sent. But the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, denied the states’ request, saying the firms should answer only to inquiries from federal officials. In a response to state officials, John Dugan, comptroller at the time, wrote that his agency was already planning to collect foreclosure information and that any additional monitoring risked “confusing matters.”
You see it’s a “federal” matter. If the states stepped in, it would “confuse matters.”
But even as it closed the door on state oversight, the OCC chose itself not to scrutinize the foreclosure operations of the largest national banks, forgoing any examination of their procedures and paperwork. Instead, the agency relied on the banks’ in-house assessments. These provided no hint of the problems to come until they had tripped the nation’s housing market, agency officials later acknowledged.
Basically, the foolish states get in the way when they investigate things, you know, “confusing matters.” This is especially true when you, the feds, are not under any circumstances whatever going to investigate the banks yourselves.
From further down in the article –
“Based on what we were seeing and what we were concerned about, it felt like a chronic underreaction at the federal level,” said John Ryan, a senior official with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.
What John Ryan means is, “We could have cracked this case, but you made sure we couldn’t by using federal preemption to keep us out. Why don’t you explain that?”
I want to hear that too.
Further in the article –
Even when the mortgage industry itself identified possible flaws in foreclosure paperwork, the agency was slow to act. In September, Ally Financial suspended foreclosures after discovering problems with tens of thousands of cases. But even then, the OCC did not begin to examine the operations of other major banks. Instead, the agency asked them to undertake internal reviews and told them it would conduct its own examination later, an OCC official said.
So, after waiting three years and only after the mortgage industry admits problems, do the feds leap into action. Our valiant defenders armed with certain knowledge that something is wrong put the full weight of the federal government on the problem.
They ask the banks to do internal reviews.
Two weeks ago, for the first time, the OCC began sending its staff into the banks to examine their foreclosure operations, interview bank employees and review paperwork.
Three years. What’s the big deal? A few (well, we don’t actually have any concept of how many) actual citizens thrown from the homes that the banks didn’t own. Giant financial institutions are held in no way accountable because the federal government refused to act and made sure the states could not. What’s the big deal?
Tell me, which is worse? 1) Breaking the law or 2) Refusing to enforce the law.
Tell me, are any bankers going to jail, any homeowners going to get their houses back or is anybody at any of these helping services, whoops, I mean regulatory agencies, going to get fired, at least reprimanded?
None of these things are going to happen.
Don’t be mistaken, this no low level official making the call. This is the direct policy of the Obama Presidency.
Nothing else is possible.
Let’s ask the questions. Sit in the chair with our esteemed President. Three years ago, the states begin suspect widespread fraud in the foreclosure industry. They tell the feds.
What do you do? Well, you’d probably say, “We’d better ask some questions. Show us what you got. We’ll follow up.” Isn’t that about right.
Okay, what did happen. The feds used preemption to stop the state investigations and then conducted no investigations of their own.
Three years later, the banks admit that there are serious problems. Let’s sit you in the President’s chair again. The banks have admitted that they have used fraudulent affidavits in hundreds of thousands of cases and that their paper trail of ownership may have problems. I bet you would want to get some people down there to find out what’s going in. I suspect you would probably consider a criminal investigation.
What happened? The feds asked the banks to do an internal review.
Next, the fifty states attorney generals launch a joint investigative action against the mortgage companies. The media, national and international, are jam packed with stories of scandalous repossessions, like foreclosing on paid for homes.
Now after patiently waiting until two weeks ago, the President and you have the same opinion. “We’re going to investigate.”
That’s how you make decisions, isn’t it?