Why Elizabeth Warren Is Still the Best Choice for CFPB Director (via Rortybomb)

Just like the writers at Rortybomb I have long believed that Elizabeth Warren was the best choice.

I have written about this before. You can read my July 26, 2010 post – Elizabeth Warren Should Be The Head Of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the July 24th, 2010 post –  Treasury Makes A Mistake – Claiming They Are Not Blocking Elizabeth Warren (via The Baseline Scenario).

Please read the post and add Rortybomb to your favorites.

James Pilant

Why Elizabeth Warren Is Still the Best Choice for CFPB Director The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just launched its website. Meanwhile, Shahien Nasiripour has a story that found “… if the White House can’t get a nominee through the Senate by July, the bureau will lack the authority to supervise nonbank lenders, according to a Jan. 10 report by the inspectors general of the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve obtained by The Huffington Post.” One of the main reasons for creating a Consumer Financi … Read More

via Rortybomb

Third Way Comments on Foreclosure Fraud Policy in the Post-Ibanez Landscape (via Rortybomb)

Once again another policy recommendation that would free the banks and their mortgage foreclosure lackeys for any responsibility for their acts. It never stops. It never will. A citizen would be found in contempt and thrown in jail for what they have done. A citizen would have been tried in court for selling property they did not own and covicted of fraud. And if a citizen went to court and said we don’t need any legal documents from the court house, we have a computer system, they would be laughed to scorn.

Read Rortybomb and get the full scope of these apologists’ recommendations.

James Pilant

You can tell that the landscape is changing.  Third Way has just released a memo titled Fixing “Foreclosure-gate” which details out a policy solution to the current foreclosure fraud crisis. That the post-Ibenez landscape is so drastically different that groups are mobilizing in a policy way should tell us that things may move in Congress, and we need to be ready. There’s been some fantastic writing on the memo that I’ll point you to – Yves Smith … Read More

via Rortybomb

Banks Suffer Major Setback

When foreclosing on mortgages the banks have been skipping the rule of law. They have not followed the rules for the transfer of property preferring to pretend that their electronic records are a viable substitute. I never believed the courts would go along with that and the Massachusetts court did not. Here’s the story from that excellent blog, Rortybomb.

From RortybombBig Week in Foreclosure News

The biggest news is the decision in Massachusetts’ “Ibanez case”, where the Massachusetts Supreme Court voided the seizures of two homes by Wells Fargo and US Bank based on their inability to show that they owned the mortgages at the time of foreclosure. Tracy Alloway walks you through the case, David Dayen has more including the PDF of the decision, and analysis from Yves Smith and Felix Salmon.

From the opinion: “Where, as here, mortgage loans are pooled together in a trust and converted into mortgage-backed securities, the underlying promissory notes serve as financial instruments generating a potential income stream for investors, but the mortgages securing these notes are still legal title to someone’s home or farm and must be treated as such.”

They ruled through Massachusetts law instead of New York law, so no answers on looming New York trust law. Bank stocks are down. This is likely to have major implications down the road. We’ll have more on this opinion later.

I do not believe the ruling will stand. Congress will ride to the rescue of the banks legalizing their reckless disregard for state law and afflicting the suffering homeowners with even more pain. Congress will enact it. Obama will sign it. He will then explain it as a major legislative victory. Everything he does merits a press release and a couple of morning show appearances demonstrating his successful legislative record.

I wish there was someone somewhere who was as concerned with the rights and privileges of the American middle class and less concerned with the welfare of the banks.

James Pilant

On Fighting And Losing Well, Financial Reform Edition (via Rortybomb)

Rortybomb is one of my favorite web sites. Here, is a discussion of the efforts necessary to shape the new regulations on financial transactions in a more effective way. It’s a very sad story to me because the people (the President) we thought would be pushing for effective legislation were only interested in photo op legislation when the country needed better.

From Rortybomb

Last week I wrote about President Obama and losing poorly, about how he loses in a way that doesn’t build toward long-term liberal goals, that leaves his enemies stronger and in control of the narrative while splitting his supporters. I want to talk about this argument and financial reform, specifically how the progressive community was able to overcome it. I would argue that the progressive community fought financial reform well for two key reasons.

A Community of Experts

The first is that Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), Roosevelt Institute, the financial blogosphere and many others found a large number of experts, built them up and deployed them in ways that pushed for stronger concrete changes. On Roosevelt’s end alone, our Make Markets Be Markets conference and Will It Work? How Will We Know? conferences took experts working in a variety of different places and on a number of individual topics and brought them together.

These were experts in their fields who had a different, stronger vision of how the financial sector should be regulated than what was proposed by Treasury. They made strong recommendation, markers for what serious reform would look like. This builds us for the long run, as there are now experts with a strong vision who have been tested in the public sphere, experts that wonks, media, lawmaker and regulators can call on for expertise in the future. That’s building a community.

(It was also fun! Frustrating, hard-work, a complete pain-in-the-ass, disappointing at times, but fun. Matt Stoller pointed that out to me, that this kind of political community building should be fun, along with the smart insight that financial reform battles that are lost need to be lost in a way that builds coalitions. How many liberal groups had a fun 2010?)

For the second reason, you will have to go to the full article.

Rortybomb is eloquently stating what I and many others have come to realize, the President is not on our side. It doesn’t matter what he said. It doesn’t matter what he did. He’s not on our side.

So, we have to fight for issues just as if he were an enemy politician. This involves experts and grass roots campaigning.

If there was anything more plain in 2008 than the need to put a stop to the casino style gambling on Wall Street, I would have been hard pressed to name it. Yet, the President let this thing sit for almost a year and a half till a good part of the outrage died and then the President deliberately tried to weaken the bill and to some extent succeeded. This is pathetic.

Well, it’s not getting any better. The President of the United States has thousands of issues upon which he has not yet caved, not yet surrendered or not yet modified to the interests of monied interests. We get to watch.

James Pilant

P.S. If you would like a simple, easy new year’s resolution that will benefit you for the entire year, click on the link to Rortybomb and then add it to your favorites. You’ll never regret it. jp

Federal Reserve Proposing Mortgage Rule to Eliminate Key Foreclosure Protections (via Rortybomb)

Rortybomb has it right here. The Federal Reserve is rushing into to save the banks from their forclosure fiasco. I have blogged on this. I was expecting Congress to rush to the banks’ aid but apparently the Federal Reserve is going to beat them to it.

The banks, the forclosure industry, they never seem to lack for friends in all the right places. Have you noticed that? Where are the homeonwners’ friends? Where are our friends? Is the only value in this society cold hard cash?

Read this. It’s good writing.

James Pilant

In the early 2000s the subprime lender Household Finance settled the largest consumer fraud settlement in U.S. history. Household Finance paid a whopping $484 million in fines to a joint settlement with a group of attorneys general. One month later Household was acquired by HSBC, the London financial giant, for $16.4 billion, setting off a bidding war on subprime dealers by the highest parts of Wall Street. It's like they were being rewarded, ins … Read More

via Rortybomb

Progressivism, Liberaltarianism, Roll-Out Neoliberalism. (via Rortybomb)

This is hard going. It deals with the philosophy behind regulation and the policies against regulation. But it’s not that simple. Like all reality there is a mix of characteristics. If you want to improve your grasp of the intellectual background of the economic wars in our government, this is a good piece to read.

James Pilant

Will Wilkinson blames progressive financial reforms for the revolving door Peter Orszag recently went through. Oh no, not progressive financial reform.  That's where I live! Our Peter Orszag problem: Mr Fallows hits the nail on the head, but what this structural injustice means, politically and ideologically, remains unclear. In my opinion, the seeming inevitability of Orszag-like migrations points to a potentially fatal tension within the progre … Read More

via Rortybomb

Why The Tax Cut Deal Isn’t Cutting It. (via Rortybomb)

Rortybomb is great. I wanted to take a paragraph out and quote him but I couldn’t pass up the graph, so, I reblogged.
Give him a read. It’s richly merited.

James Pilant

Why The Tax Cut Deal Isn't Cutting It. I want to be sold on this tax cut deal on the economics, but the more I look at it the less I'm impressed with it. According to Ezra Klein, the White House is circulating this diagram around the Hill.  James Kwak dissects this chart and the narrative that "Obama won" on this deal; I'll do the same.  Let's take the "What We Got" apart. Child Tax Credit From the Republican Pledge To America (pdf): …these looming tax hikes will hurt every family i … Read More

via Rortybomb

Lots of Links on the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis (via Rortybomb)

As usual, our good friend, Rortybomb does not let a day go by (even a holiday) without staying on top of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

My compliments!

James Pilant

If you are not reading Rortybomb, let me ask you, “Why not and how soon can you start?”

Like you were going to get any work done today. Chris Hayes has really been on the foreclosure crisis over at MSNBC. Here he is, substituting for Lawrence O'Donnell, interviews noted foreclosure defense attorney Bubba Grimsley about servicer abuse. I can't embed the video, but the link is here (also here). Here he is on Rachel Maddow also interviewing Matt Taibbi on the recent foreclosure fraud … Read More

via Rortybomb

Foreclosure Freeze – The Best Sites

Absolutely number one – Foreclosureblues. The writing is excellent and they are doing very well on staying on top of the situation. Read it! Here’s a quote –

The failure to uphold fiduciary duties of even a few larger institutions will put the entire banking system in doubt. What we witnessed in 2008 and early 2009 was a loss of trust, faith, confidence. It was a classic solvency crisis masquerading as a liquidity crisis – with doubt about which specific institutions had engaged in reckless behaviour putting a cloud over every bank in the entire system and causing liquidity to dry up economy-wide. When banks engage in unsafe and unsound business practices, they put the entire economy at risk in a way that you see in no other sector of the economy. This is why regulators in the US are supposed to take prompt corrective action in closing insolvent institutions and those institutions with unsafe and unsound business practices.

Rortybomb is fantastic. Read it! This guy is sharp and he keeps an eye on the rest of the internet that I can only envy.

I think a simple dose of game theory helps with these things. Given that servicers are being sued by their investors, wouldn’t they want a moratorium, want the government to step in with a heavy-hand and lend credibility? Nobody believes them, and nobody has a reason to. And I can’t tell what is scarier: that Bank of America knows it isn’t credible here, and just wants to hope it goes away, or Bank of America is simply too large, complicated and poorly functioning to figure out and/or learn whether or not they have a problem here.

How’s that returns to scale in banking working out for everyone?

Another site I recommend you check regularly with is National Foreclosure News. They keep tabs on the news across the nation on the foreclosure crisis. It gives you a good feel for how the whole thing is playing out in the media. It doesn’t take long to scan one days entry. So, it’s a good place to go for a summary picture of the foreclosure mess.

The web site, Living Lies, is very good place to go. However, it’s really for attorneys. Nevertheless for the layman there is still a lot of interesting stuff there.

$hame the Banks is another good web site. It’s definitely got some teeth. I really like it. There is a lot of material on this site. Here’s a quote.

After years of high-flying success and millions of dollars in profits, the future suddenly looks grim for the Law Offices of David J. Stern. The firm, which was the subject of a long MoJo investigation published in August, used to be one of the nation’s most powerful “foreclosure mills,” those assembly line-like operations that handle hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases for the nation’s largest mortgage companies.

(In 2009 alone, the Stern firm handled 70,382 foreclosure cases.) But in the past few months, the corner-cutting and alleged fraud in the foreclosure business, as described in my August story, erupted into a national scandal. As a result, the Stern firm has seen its fortunes plummet, with major clients, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Citigroup, cutting ties to Stern. Stern’s operation has also laid off hundreds of employees in recent weeks.

This is a realtor site but the guy has some independent thoughts. It’s a brand new site, so you might check it from time to time and see how it develops. It’s called Gilbertazrealtor’s Blog.

That’s my best advice at this time. As the crisis continues there will be other web sites dealing with the issue. I’ll try to get them up as quickly as I can.

James Pilant

Drumroll: Bank of America reviews several hundred foreclosure cases and finds…. (via Rortybomb)

Further evidence is coming in that the banks’ and the Obama Administration’s assurances of no systematic abuse in the foreclosure process are just nonsense.

Here’s some more evidence.

By the way, the web site Rortybomb seems to really have their stuff together. If I were you I’d give it a regular look.

James Pilant

Drumroll:  Bank of America reviews several hundred foreclosure cases and finds.... Uh-oh: The Charlotte, N.C., lender [Bank of America] discovered errors in 10 to 25 out of the first several hundred foreclosure cases it examined starting last Monday. The problems included improper paperwork, lack of signatures and missing files, said people familiar with the results. In certain cases, information about the property and payment history didn't match…. Some of the defects seem relatively minor, according to the bank, and bank of … Read More

via Rortybomb