Week In Review: Foreclosure and the GOP; Banks May Lose HAMP Money; Bondi Stands Behind Settlement; Stern Wants Fries With That
We’re finally starting to catch our breath, with the substantial amount of news we’ve seen come down the pipeline in the housing market this week.
President Obama’s State of the Union, and the apparent collapse of the federal government’s settlement with the banks have been our focus this week, and rightfully so. But there’s been lots of other stories that have crossed our desk this week, some big, some small, but all important.
Most of our attention has been on the President this week, but we’ve also been keeping our eyes of the Republicans as well. With the Florida GOP Primary just days away, the candidates have been descending on Florida as expected. Foreclosure, which has been long absent from the GOP discussion, has become a more focal issue this week.
Unfortunately, it feels like much of the talking points have focused on the candidates blaming each other for causing the housing crisis, and less on what they plan to do to fix it.
This excellent piece in The Street details all the remaining Republicans comments on foreclosure. They all have suggested a hands-off approach, and appear to be under the misguided notion that the market will correct itself on its own. Gingrich and Paul have made one-note villains out of the Dodd-Frank Act and The Federal Reserve, respectively.
Romney’s past comments about market correction have come back to haunt him as he tries to pass himself off as sympathetic to the homeowners’ plight. Frankly we don’t feel like any of the Republican candidates are looking out for the homeowners.
Anything that hurts the banks in the pocketbooks, we’re all for. We realize that $131 million is chump change to them, but it’s great to see the banks being held accountable for failing to live up to expectations. This story further proves how little the banks have done to correct their own mistakes.
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is threatening to take away this money because both banks have failed to improve their performance in the in the Home Affordable Modification Program. In a report released this week, the SIG said both had failed to properly evaluate homeowners for the HAMP program.
While the report states that Bank of America has made some headway, it was particularly critical of JPMorgan Chase, saying “JPMorgan Chase’s continuing refusal to comply with program requirements is deeply troubling and there must be serious repercussions.”
We can’t get through this recap without some mention of the robo-signing settlement, as Republican Pam Bondi continues to stand with it as it crumbles. Our Attorney General, whose been accused before of being soft on lenders, came out Thursday saying the deal needs to be passed now so Floridians can start getting foreclosure relief. Bondi has been one of the settlement’s biggest backers.
“The settlement under discussion contains all the elements California purports to be looking for; transparency, substantial relief for distressed homeowners, and strict enforcement,” Bondi said.We of course, strongly and respectfully disagree, particularly when it comes to her belief the settlement offers strict enforcement, which is why Obama’s plan to form a new investigative unit is so necessary.
From the sublime to the ridiculous — Foreclosure attorney David Stern, the lawyer at the center of one of the largest foreclosure mills in Florida, is now making money in the fast food business.Stern has now invested in a company that owns several Five Guys Burger and Fries franchises.
Stern’s law firm closed last March, and Stern is now being sued by the company that paid him $60 million and now claims his business was unlawful, so he has to make money somehow right? Of course the fact that he has money to invest in such a large chain probably doesn’t make homeowners too happy.If you’re hungry we’d be cautious about stepping into one of his restaurants, Stern might steal the fries right off your plate!