Make Yourself Heard on Mortgage Abuses

One of the most frustrating parts of the financial reform game is how powerless most of us really are, most of the time. Take this story:

Top policymakers at the Federal Reserve are fighting efforts to rein in widely reported bank abuses, sparking an inter-agency feud with the FDIC and the Treasury Department. The Fed, along with the more bank-friendly Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is resisting moves to craft rules cracking down on banks that charge illegal fees and carry out improper foreclosures.

The same day the New York Times takes note of how banks are breaking and entering on a regular basis during the foreclosure process, we learn that the Fed is trying to prevent even the meekest regulations on their behavior.

This time, though, there is a way to stand up against the banks. And the reason is because in this case, Sheila Bair at the FDIC actually wants to do the right thing. There’s an open letter from Wall Street reformers to regulators advocating a wide range of new measures on the mortgage and securitization fronts. Congressman Brad Miller, who has been on predatory lending since 2004, penned a letter to the regulators. His effort is getting traction.

And now there’s a petition that you can sign, at If you missed it before the holidays, sign it now. We will be submitting the signatures today by the end of the day today. We up to 12,000, which is a large number for this sort of initiative, thanks to the efforts of Credo, FireDogLake, Mike Konczal, Chris Whalen, and Josh Rosner (the total on the site does not reflect the signatures obtained through some of these channels). We added a comment field, so your comments will be delivered to Geithner, Bair, Bernanke, and Walsh. Tweet it. Put it on Facebook. Send it to your friends and family.

This is meaningful action that every citizen can take.

If you aren’t trying to be part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem. Take action.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. psychohistorian

    A big thanks to you for being part of the solution.

    I was struck by your use of the part of the solution or part of the problem analogy because I used it just today with my brother who is a clinical psychologist. I read a news item recently about the VA changing the guidelines for a serious TBI to include a minimum of 30 minutes of unconsciousness. We all know damn good and well that this change was made to deny psychological rehabilitation services to the tens of thousands of American veterans that have suffered TBIs serving their country.

    If the medical community will not stand up to the greedy bastards of the world and say enough is enough then they can no longer say they do no harm.

    At least the doctors say they don’t want to do harm to society. We could wish that the legal and financial communities had some societal morals and the guts to stand up for them.

    The longer it takes for the system to crash, the more will be hurt, the longer it will take to rebuild and the greater the chance that we suffer ecologically from imprudent (GREEDY) behavior. Please someone find the RESET button and bash it hard!

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves

    If you aren’t trying to be part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem.

    Well, since you put it that way…
    Took me less than one minute.

  3. Francois T

    I’m part of the solution!

    Now, why can’t we have the names of these “top officials” at the Fed? We’d like to know who are the Enemies of the State and the Economy.

    I mean, with this data public, we could do much more than sign a petition; we could force the mofos to behave or blow.

  4. Diogenes

    I will sign.

    I am in Phoenix, ground zero for foreclosures.

    We recently stopped paying on our house (strategic default). After 60 days, we offered the servicer a deed in lieu, thinking that would be good for everyone(the original bank sold the loan to Freddie Mac and retained servicing rights). No, we have to try to short sell it first. Well, that’s a waste of everyone’s time and efforts, as I know many that have tried to short sell and are still tied to maintaining their properties after 2-2.5 years.

    Please note that we removed all of our possessions from the house before defaulting because of everything I’ve read here. And, as we have a great security alarm, we’ll get a call when, and if, the bank tries to break and enter.

    But it’s a different credit world now than it was a couple years ago. We only lost one credit card, but that was replaced by a new one, and interest rates were dropped on our other cards as we now have “less debt.” These card companies are aware of what we (and others) are doing. And friends that did a strategic default, just bought a new car at reasonable terms.

    And many here are aware that the Debt Foregiveness Act expires at the end of 2012.

    1. Fractal

      Diogenes, did you mean to say that “interest rates were dropped on our other cards as we now have ‘less debt'” because you dropped the one line of credit linked to the one credit card you lost, or because you have “less debt” due to your rejection of the mortgage?

      1. Diogenes

        The only card we lost was issued by the bank that is now the servicer. $10,000 limit with $3,000 balance when closed.

        As for lowering the i rate, my guess is rejection of the mortgage, which freed up substantial cash flow for us. BUT, we also paid off a small (less than $10K) HELOC used to redo a bathroom, as this money is recourse in AZ.

    2. reslez

      After 60 days, we offered the servicer a deed in lieu, thinking that would be good for everyone…. No, we have to try to short sell it first.

      Yes, their scam is to string you along as long as they can. Due to perverse incentives they profit most by convincing you to pay as long as possible before they foreclose at their convenience. I have family in AZ in nearly the same situation — trapped in a mortgage that benefits no one but the bank. Congratulations to you for putting your family first. You’ve made the only moral choice possible.

    3. Overa Year

      Moved everything out prior to default!? Wasn’t that a bit quick/ not immediately necessary?

    4. Steve Sewall

      “Please note that we removed all of our possessions from the house before defaulting because of everything I’ve read here.”

      Real quick, what’s the reason for NOT removing possessions prior to default? Adverse possession, I presume, but what are the consequences, apart from the fun of being evicted, when someone simply decides to hang in as long as possible?

  5. morpheus

    There is a saying, “you get the government that you deserve”. We sat around and let our government do what ever it wants. We shouldn’t be surprised. Nothing works in this country and we all know it. But do we do anything about it. Not much.

    Maybe this will help:::::

    Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

    We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

    1. Ian

      The real cost of the Countrywide/BOA mortgage putbacks IS going to be much larger- but will be paid by taxpayers. The cash which fueled the housing “bubble” was basically stolen from investors worldwide,with the deficiency judgement chipped in by the US taxpayer,under the auspices of the Obama administration, the Fed,Treasury,the 50 states AGs,and all the Fla.”rocket docket” judges brought out of retirement to “clear the dockets” of these “deadbeats”. Each judge’s benefits package includes transportation to and from the courthouse,as many of them have had their driving privileges taken away due to senility, also a weekly supply of diapers,denture cream,and free batteries for their hearing aids. Ain’t it grand?

  6. Paul

    It is a negative strike against our ability to stop these abuses when Bank of America can settle billions of dollars of mortgage putback risk so cheaply. I have little doubt that the real cost of the Countrywide mortgage putbacks was going to be much larger.

  7. Indigenous Centurion

    petition that you can sign, at If you missed it before the holidays, sign it

    ~~Yves Smith~

    Thanks, Yves! I’m wit chew. Me an’ you all the way.

    We *should* make ourselves heard. Talk to our children. Tell them to study. Tell them to study up on building own house from inexpensive kit made in factory with precut pre-drilled 2x4s and intuitive instructions. Tell me something! Should each of our children learn the hands-on approach to self-home-construction? Learn it before the age of 18? With self-built-home to prove it?

    When enough teens learn to handle a nail gun and a brick-layers trowel, there will be plenty homes on the market for the homeless, plenty fuel efficient, well insulated, modest mansions available for trickle-down.

    I am going to make a confession. When my grand-dad built his own house with stones from his own quarry, his castle was so large that it eventually got divided into 7 apartments. You can’t kill the thing. It will last for centuries. But really — couldn’t he have built it lot smaller? Could our teens learn to build homes that will be appropriate for the secondary market? Smaller, modest homes? Now that insulation is so inexpensive is the rational for multi-family dwellings now defunct? Was the rational once the idea of less exposed surface area per volume? Should we now shoot for more surface area for more photon admitting windows for more passive-solar-heating? Should we learn from nature? Should we teach our teens to make homes so rife that market prices will drop enough for nobody to have good reason to be homeless and nobody to have reason to jump for a mortgage or spring for a repossession?

    Teach your children well

Comments are closed.