We’ve all been reading with horror about the developing situation in Italy with the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that capsized last Friday, killing several people.
What really caught our attention is the actions of the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino, who reportedly abandoned ship in the middle of the evacuations. He’s been blamed for causing the tragedy by recklessly taking the ship off-course and too close to shore
We can not compare the loss of life with the foreclosure crisis, but an argument can certainly be made that there is a parallel between the captain’s actions and that of big banks.
Banks have also been reckless, taking the economy from its intended destination and showing a complete lack of disregard with their shady real estate and foreclosure practices. We believe they have abandoned the homeowner and the taxpayer, while failing to consider their well-being and solely worrying about their own self-preservation.
Whereas the cruise line’s executives have quickly held the captain accountable, we’ve yet to see our federal government do the same to the banks, despite countless opportunities to do so.
In this excellent editorial published in the New York Times, the paper calls on President Obama to steer this ship back on course by forming an inter-agency task force to investigate the banks for their actions, many of which could be considered criminal.
Yes there’s been investigations and settlements, but there’s been very little accountability for the top executives, who’ve been rarely held personally responsible. For example Angelo Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide, didn’t have to admit to any wrongdoing when he settled civil fraud charged level by the SEC. Yes he had to pay a 67.5 million dollar fine, but that’s a fraction of the 521.5 million he’s reported to have received between 2000 and 2008, according to the NY Times.
Bottom line is we agree with the Times that unless the federal government gets more aggressive, and brings in everyone from the Department of Justice to the IRS and the state attorneys and gets them on the same page with an aggressive plan to weed out mortgage fraud, then the ship will never be righted. The banks have been steering us off-course for years, and it’s time for Obama and the government to take the steering wheel for this foreclosure crisis to finally end.