It’s 4th and Inches, the score is tied, and it would be nice to avoid overtime.
Today we could learn whether the much-discussed robo-signing settlement with Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and CitiGroup will come to pass, and in what form.
With California AG Kamala Harris returning to the negotiating table, the deal looks closer than ever to being sealed. Harris, who represents the state with the largest amount of foreclosed homes, has rightfully been hesitant to sign off because her state has the most to gain, or lose, from this deal.
We were initially very hesitant to see this deal go through ourselves, but the time has come for it to put to bed.
Because we feel the deal in its current form does a lot. Does it help every single homeowner who’s underwater? Of course not. There is no deal that will.
But here is who it does help. The homeowners who have fought to keep their homes from day one, who were at the forefront of these legal challenges against the banks. Much of what we have learned about robo-signing and the lack of standing banks had to bring foreclosure, would not have come to light without these crusaders, and its time they got a reprieve.
In theory it also helps the responsible homeowners, the ones who paid their mortgages on-time and whose homes went underwater through no fault of their own. They too need to be rewarded.
The reported 25 billion dollars (perhaps more if all 50 states sign on) that the banks are putting up will finally offer these homeowners some principal reduction, and the chance to refinance, two things we have long sought to see.
For those who just walked away, who left their homes to fall into disrepair, it’s our opinion that they should not be a priority.
The longer this deal lingers without any hope of conclusion, the longer we face the chance of a social contagion where everyone decides to stop paying their mortgage. That will not help the market, and more importantly it won’t help the homeowners who’ve truly been wronged by the banks.
There are some bloggers and commentators who are still urging the AGs to not sign this deal. Is it a slap on the wrist? Yes, but that’s all it can be. We must not forget that rob-signing is the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever state claims that might be washed away by this agreement will seem like small potatoes once Schneiderman and his team wrap their investigation.
In fact they’ll seem more like little potato crumbs. Trust us what lies ahead is far worse.
If this settlement is the homeowner’s Super Bowl, then what lies on the horizon is the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Bowl.
There is nothing more important to us than making sure the banks face punishment for their dirty dealings. It is very important that people continue to challenge the banks by trying to flesh out whether they truly have standing to bring foreclosure. There’s no reason why this should end with this settlement. When it’s said and done, we believe the banks will be punished.
So far Schneiderman has not wavered in his efforts to go after the banks. His efforts in the last few weeks have them running scared for the first time. We’re confidant he’ll do whatever it takes to get the banks. He has been one of the holdouts against this deal, but he is starting to turn around on it.
If he can be comfortable with it, then so can we.