Dayen’s Roundup for May 8, 2012

By: Tuesday May 8, 2012 6:45 am

David Dayen return from slumming in Yurp to bring us links on stories about Eric Schneiderman, David Viter, Federal Reserve, HAMP, Matt Taibbi, bin Laden, oil speculators, Spain, underwear bombs, labor participation rate, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Angus King and much more.


What Did You Think Would Happen?

By: Thursday April 26, 2012 12:05 pm

Did you think that if you cheered on the destruction of these institutions of which you write so eloquently, nothing would go wrong?

Frank, Miller Try to Open Up Accountability for Fed, OCC

By: Thursday April 19, 2012 5:45 pm

Barney Frank and Brad Miller tried to shake up a House Financial Services Committee hearing yesterday. As per usual, Republicans wanted to go after the CFPB’s funding and subject it to the appropriations process. As it stands, CFPB derives its funding from a portion of the funding of the Federal Reserve, which comes from sources independent of Congress. The argument goes, why should CFPB be exempt from Congressional oversight in terms of its funding? The real agenda is that Republicans would then squeeze funding for CFPB to render them ineffective, or attach strings to the funding, either explicitly or implicitly.

Analysts Missing the Point on DeMarco and Principal Reduction

By: Wednesday April 11, 2012 10:10 am

Coverage of Ed DeMarco’s speech on principal reductions has sometimes missed the point he’s talking about applying reductions to only a small subset of the underwater mortgates held by the GSEs, so the benefits of the policy are also seen as relatively small. It seems he and the Administration are focused more on interest refinancing than principal reductions.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (II): Giving Homes to Charity as a Penalty

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 9:15 am

Part II in this series discusses credits the banks get towards meeting their multi-billion dollar settlement obligations. The federal government and state AGs want you to assume that means a set amount of principal reductions that the banks will grant. But in reality, the banks can employ a variety of non-modification strategies to receive credit toward the settlement, including a number of routine actions they would probably undertake whether or not there was a settlement in place.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs Finally Released With Long List of Liability Releases

By: Monday March 12, 2012 11:35 am

The foreclosure fraud settlement has been filed in federal court in Washington. The Justice Department has provided the relevant documents, over a month after the settlement was announced. So now we can finally begin to assess the settlement and what it will mean for housing policy. At first glance, the list of offenses for which the banks are granted release from further liability is so long, you have to wonder why these banks are allowed to stay in business. More to come.

Illinois HAMP Lawsuit Can Go Forward, Could Set Mandatory Modification Precedent

By: Monday March 12, 2012 7:50 am

Throughout the life of HAMP, the banks have had discretion to string along borrowers, to deny permanent modifications for obscure reasons after granting trial mods, and to trap homeowners and threaten foreclosure after the fact. The 7th Circuit just revived a case against this practice, allowing it to go forward, which means that similar plaintiffs may now go after the banks for unlawfully denying loan modifications.

Whistleblower Lawsuits Against Banks Extinguished in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

By: Sunday March 11, 2012 4:00 pm

How could a private citizen’s whistleblower suit get extinguished in a federal settlement? We haven’t seen the terms, of course, but apparently the Mackler suit could have been filed under the False Claims Act on behalf of the US government, which was being defrauded. Mackler probably got a payout for his services, but the suit sought $5,500-$11,000 in fines per violation, which could have ranged into the billions. So when faced with documented proof of noncompliance with and abuse under HAMP, the government simply passed it off and folded it into their settlement, and for good measure gave back all the incentive payments owed to the same banks alleged to have defrauded them in this lawsuit.

If there’s anything approaching accountability in the Obama Administration’s actions against the banks, I’m not seeing it.

Here We Go Again on the “TARP Worked” Meme

By: Friday March 9, 2012 1:30 pm

The zombie meme that TARP somehow worked to fix the financial system at no cost to the taxpayer?

This is getting tiresome. But the idea that the banks were nursed back to health “at essentially zero cost to the government” is pernicious because it will encourage future bailouts. It’s also totally wrong.

Whistleblower Alleges BofA Defrauded Homeowners Using HAMP

By: Thursday March 8, 2012 6:40 am

Fresh off his Daily Show appearance, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that Bank of America will provide additional assistance to homeowners under the as-yet undisclosed foreclosure fraud settlement. BofA will write down to market value, according to Donovan, over 200,000 loans that correspond to certain criteria: if the homeowners are underwater, delinquent by more than 60 days, and saddled with payments that are over a quarter of income, then they must be offered the mod. These are slightly better terms, we are told, than the rest of the settlement (other banks aren’t required to offer mods to everyone who fits the criteria, and they can write down to within 120% of loan-to-value, not market value).

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