Category Archives: Regulations and regulators

Quelle Surprise! Ginnie Mae Says Bank of America Has Lots of Servicing Documents Missing; MERS Also in Hot Water

An article by Kate Berry in American Banker earlier this week hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Anyone who was paying attention to the mortgage beat in 2010 through 2012 knew that mortgage securitization originators and servicers were playing fast and loose with critical documents like mortgage notes because they couldn’t be bothered to observe […]

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SEC Lawyer on Goldman CDO Case Describes How the Agency Wimped Out

Susan Beck at American Lawyer (hat tip Abigail Field) has managed to get an inside view of what was going on at the SEC when it launched its case against Goldman and a Goldman vice president, Fabrice Tourre, over a Goldman CDO called Abacus that went spectacularly bad. So was the SEC corrupt or merely incompetent?

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SEC: More Than Half the Private Equity Firms Gouge on Fees

Today, two stories broke on the SEC’s activities in private equity, one in Bloomberg, another in Reuters, and they look to be based on authorized leaks. Together, they suggest that the SEC, which obtained new oversight authority for private equity firms under Dodd Frank, has been turning over rocks and found so many creepy-crawlies that even the normally complacent agency felt compelled to take notice.

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Michael Lewis’ Repeat Omission: No Crimes Were Committed

In Flash Boys, Michael Lewis has again launched a book that hews to his established formula: colorful outsiders take on a big bad entrenched establishment and win. Even though Lewis seems assured of having yet another best-seller, this book is getting more criticism than his works usually do. Put it this way: when commentators as diverse as Felix Salmon, Matt Levine, and Pam Martens feel compelled to object, it looks like Lewis has overfitted this tale to his blockbuster formula.

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David Dayen: How Chase Bank Denying Services to a Condom Shop Is Really About Deregulating Payday Lending

Under the odd conventions of journalism, if someone else writes about a topic, especially if it resembles a “scoop,” nobody else can write about it. So if you go down the road for a week or so chasing a story and then you see it in your friendly neighborhood copy of The Huffington Post, you can basically stop chasing. Thanks for taking food out of my mouth, HuffPo!

But in this case, the complicated story in question warrants more attention, because it’s a really good lesson in how “lobbying” incorporates more than just paying rich people in suits to sweet-talk politicians and regulators. This is the darker side of lobbying, with the venerated “small business owners” everyone loves to deify caught in the crossfire.

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Chris Whalen Goes Off the Deep End, Issues Error-Filled Screed in Defense of Mortgage Servicers

I once had a good opinion of bank analyst Chris Whalen, despite having some reservations about him. But his error-filled screed against mortgage servicing regulations means he can no longer be taken seriously on the subject of banking. Whalen has become a textbook illustration of the Upton Sinclair saying, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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