The dust has finally settled on last week’s mortgage settlement.
It dominated the news cycle once the details of the agreement broke. I spent the bulk of my day a week ago talking to the media and weighing in on it’s significance.
But there is one clear question that I haven’t heard anyone been able to definitely answer yet.
Has anyone seen the darn thing, in it’s entirety? I sure haven’t!
Right now Waldo is easier to find.
No formal agreement has been filed with the courts and we hear it may not even be completed!
And according to my friends at the Crew of 42 Blog, Congress hasn’t seen a copy of it either.
Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings is quoted in Crew of 42 as saying he wasn’t concerned that he hadn’t seen a copy and that he trusts his attorney general.
Color us slightly more skeptical.
A website was set up explaining the details of the settlement the day it was announced, but where the actual settlement is supposed to be it just says coming soon.
For a government that prides itself on being transparent, this just can not stand.
President Obama may be reengaged and all signs point to him being back on the side of the homeowner, but there are plenty who remain unconvinced and this doesn’t exactly help.
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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.
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Leading up to the State of the Union, we heard a lot of chatter that a proposed $25 billion settlement with the banks would be a selling point in President Obama’s speech.And maybe it would have been, had President Obama delivered the State of the Union. But clearly the person we saw last night addressing Congress was candidate Obama, who is a very different individual.
The State of the Union, at times, felt more like a stump speech that an address from a sitting president. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Obama finally sounded like someone willing to play tough with the banks with his ‘No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts’ line. Only time will tell if this is a true change in the President’s perspective, or if he’ll go right back to being the same man who handed out bailouts like candy.
We were glad to see Obama acknowledge that Wall Street was playing by its own rules, but he had a hand in allowing them to do so, so we hope he understands if we’re still a bit skeptical.
Right before the State of the Union, the Huffington Post broke the news that New York Attorney General Eric Scheniderman has been named to lead a new Unit on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses, which could be a real game-changer. Like the editorial team at Oppenheim Law, Schneiderman has been a vocal critic of the aforementioned settlement.
He has been very tough on the White House’s foreclosure policies before, so maybe we’ll finally see the accountability and thorough investigation that we’ve been demanding.