Even Bankers Don’t Trust Banks

Those in power didn’t learn anything from the financial crisis we’re still riding out. The banksters have so much power over government and regulators that they keep growing in both size and risk.

The Atlantic reporters Jesse Eisinger and Frank Partnoy dug into Wells Fargo’s annual report and what they found scared them and should scare you, too. These bloated power-hungry entities are truly too big to manage and destined to fail and bring the U.S. economy down with them.

Read What’s Inside America’s Banks?

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Take a Break. Watch a Movie.

Divorced.   Downsized.   Foreclosed.
And he bounces back. New friends, new job, new love.

Even if you don’t believe in fairy tales anymore, this is a friendly, feel-good film that might give you a mental break from what sucks in your life.

If you’re stuck in the deep hole right now, take an evening off from writing letters your attorney general and Congressman ignore. From putting together the 95th mailing of the same forms you bank says you have to send yet again for your mortgage-mod-review-to-nowhere. From wondering who is ever going to protect average people from the big corporate banksters.

If you haven’t already seen it (or even if you have), watch the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie Larry Crowne. Feel-good fluff? Sure. But don’t we need every good thing we can get these days?

I’m not finding any online sources to watch the movie right now, but I checked it out from the local library, so you might be able to find it at yours.

Take a break. Breathe. Laugh a little. Imagine your life on the other side of foreclosure turning out just fine.

 

Another Foreclosure Settlement Farce?

So, the powers that be have decided the Independent Foreclosure Review being carried out by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve wasn’t working out and wouldn’t have helped many homeowners anyway.

Instead, we got yet another settlement that is supposed to provide billions of dollars to homeowners whose homes were wrongfully taken in shady foreclosure actions and to those still deluded into thinking their loan servicers will modify their loans.

The 10 banks are supposed to pay $3.3 billion to 3.8 million borrowers whose homes were in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. And they are required to provide $5.2 billion in other assistance, like loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.

The headlines sound great, don’t they?

Banks to pay $8.5 billion in foreclosure settlement

Trouble is, instead of the regulators reviewing each case and assigning compensation to those most harmed by the banks, now the banks get to decide how the money is distributed.THE BANKS! Yes, it appears this is just the latest in a long line of settlements that say homeowners are supposed to get real financial help fighting foreclosure and foreclosure fraud, but that lets the banks get away with business as usual.

Somehow, in these big settlements, the money doesn’t seem to actually find its way to those homeowners and the banks don’t mend their wicked ways.

Take, for example, back in February 2012 similar headlines touted a $25 billion settlement reached between the five largest banks and the attorneys general of 49 states. The settlement supposedly provided $17 billion for principal reductions and loan modifications and $2.5 billion for states to help their homeowners fight foreclosure. Too bad the vast majority of mortgages (those involving Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) were excluded from receiving principal reductions and several of the states re-allocated their money to shore up their budgets without providing any foreclosure relief at all.

In addition, the AG settlement also supposedly required the banks to follow certain rules when working with homeowners facing foreclosure. As far as I can tell, these were just words on paper. For example, the terms of the settlement specifically prohibit banks from using robo-signers to create  foreclosure documents. I’m pretty sure there are already laws against forging legal documents, laws the banks had been skirting without penalty for years – even during the AG settlement talks.

Now here we are, a year later, and the banks are once again paying up for continuing to flout the law and the previous agreement. It doesn’t take a genius to see it will take more than billions of dollars to prod bank executives into behaving. They seem to believe they are above laws, rules, ethics, even basic professional behavior.

Take, for example, another of the AG settlement’s impotent rules: one that  prohibits banks from foreclosing on a homeowner who is working through the mortgage loan modification process. Well, the government’s HAMP program guidelines, put in place in early 2009 and clarified in 2010, stated that same prohibition. But the banks have been ignoring HAMP and dual-tracking foreclosures for years.

My personal favorite of the AG settlement rules – and something banks have been saying they’re doing for years now – is the so-called “single point of contact.” As far as I can tell from commenters on this blog and my Twitter feed, homeowners seeking mortgage mods are still getting the run-around from all the big banks.

Anyone want to place any bets about how much of the $5.2 billion in the new settlement will fund loan mods that will actually keep people in their homes. (Seems the AG settlement mostly covered the banks’ losses in short sales, which left homeowners out on the street as surely as a foreclosure would.) Or how many people wrongly foreclosed on will get any meaningful compensation from the same banks that screwed them in the first place?

Oh well. It’s not as if the Independent Foreclosure Review was that independent, anyway, seeing as it was basically being carried out by the banks themselves.

When will someone in power realize that sending the fox into the hen house to count the eggs is just plain stupid?

Update 1/10: Tellin’ it like it is …
Pending Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Achieves New Level of Abject Regulatory Failure

Life After Foreclosure

Sending good wishes for a Happy New Year to those who have gone through foreclosure in the past few years, as well as those still fighting or facing the end of their fight. Take heart. There is life after foreclosure.

“There is a grieving process after foreclosure much like that which is experienced after the passing of a loved one. Just as it is important to grieve for the loss of life, it is important to grieve the loss of a dream. It is, after all, a life-altering experience. And just as critical to remember is that the grieving won’t go on forever. There will be a future that will be brighter after the struggle you’ve just come through.

 There will be a time of reflection followed by an awakening when you recognize the silver lining and the resurgence of hopes and dreams.”

What happens to people after foreclosure?